Large Head Sail vs Jib and Main
I have been doing a significant amout of sailing with my 150 Jenny only.
Reason: It is alot easier to get out and put away then the main alone and even more so if I put up the jib and main.
Concern: Is this likely to stress the hull of the boat in inapproate ways?
I sail a 30 + year old Mirage 24.
The boat sails beautifully on the genny in anything up to 25 knots of wind.
But, again is this a problem for her structure?
I don't see a problem with it. My first boat liked to sail with just a 120 Jenny, it was a 30 foot full keel ketch rig with a bowsprit. My last boat was a fin keel-er sloop and would sail OK on just the jenny until the wind picked up, but handled best with both. The problem is if the wind picks up you have fewer options in reducing sail without putting up a smaller jib.
Jason it is just about impossible to hurt a Mirage 24. They are a very heavily built boat. I drilled some holes in the transom of mine many years ago to install a split back stay and it was 7/8" thick of solid glass. The rest of the hull is also solid.
That being said, do not be so lazy, you will never get true sailing performace on one sail alone.
Try it you will like it.
While sailing under just the 150% genny is probably not going to stress the hull in any undue way, it really isn't the right question to be asking. The thickness of the laminate does little to help if his rigging is in bad shape.
Not to be a doomsayer, but I'd like to point out that if you haven't checked the rigging on your boat, and checked it thoroughly, running under just a large headsail can stress the backstay more than normal. If the backstay swage fittings are at all compromised, from stress or corrosion, you could be risking your rig. A mainsail will tend to help pull a mast aft, reducing the load on the backstay.
Just my $0.02 worth.
At some time or another, most of us sail on the jib alone, for the same reasons as you. Sometimes it's too hot to work that hard, or you're too tired. But the boat doesn't perform well when you sail on the jib alone. The mainsail helps the boat tack and sail to windward, and, absent the mainsail, the boat wants to sail downwind. You can nurse it to windward, but it isn't efficient. When most of the driving force is forward of the keel, the sail tends to pull the bow off downwind. The only way you can get the boat to go to windward is if you can get its speed up enough so that the keel generates enough lift to overcome that tendency. More often than not, I've ended up exerting more energy trying to get the boat to go where I wanted it to, than I would have exerted if I had just raised the mainsail. As a result, I don't sail on jib alone very often.
I don't worry too much about stressing the rig or hull when sailing on jib alone. Most rigs are strong enough to tolerate it, at least until the wind becomes really strong, and, when that happens, the boat will become pretty unmanageable without a mainsail, and you'll likely furl the jib and use the motor.
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