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Old 10-12-2006
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Sail inventory basics


This is my first sailboat and I'm wondering what sails would be considered "the basic necessary inventory." I sail a Ranger 22, no open water, just a large lake but I've encountered just about every wind condition out there I can think of. Right now I have a main and a 155% head sail that came with the boat. What else should I have? Is there a significant difference between a %110 and %125? Ijust cruise, no racing so I'm not sure I would even notice the difference.

And how do you decide what sail to use? What wind speeds dictate a specific sail? If there's a standard or rule of thumb that folks use would you please share?

Thank you,
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Old 10-12-2006
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The sail inventory you need depends upon a lot of things. Formost is the boat you have. If it's a catboat, you don't have to worry about jibs or spinnakers for example. Next is the conditions you sail in or that you are likely to encounter. If you're sailing on a large lake like Lake Michigan, conditions can change once you're out there to something very different from what you set out in, (possibly very nasty) and you'd still want to be able to keep sailing, to get to a harbor. You'd want to have a main you could reef at least once, and maybe twice. You might want a smaller (about 100% of the foretriangle) jib so that you could keep the boat balanced. Of course you'd need to make the sail change before it got too bouncy up front there! If the lake you're on isn't THAT big, you can probably duck back into a harbor before the weather gets too bad, and you don't need the smaller jib as much. The sail the boat came with probably fits well with the local conditions most of the time. Adding another sail gives you more flexibility, but... you may not need it a lot. The type of sailing you do also impacts the kinds of sails you may need. If you're going on long cruises that include overnight passages, it's often smart to hoist a smaller jib at night. If the wind picks up in the middle of the night, you'll have fewer problems. On a long leg in a heavy breeze, a smaller (100%) jib can be just what you need to provide the punch to get you through the waves without overpowering the boat. If you're only going out on daysails when the weather is nice, you probably don't need much more than you already have. If it was blowing hard enough for you to need a smaller jib, you might decide not to head out anyway. If you plan to race, a spinnaker needs to be under your tree at Christmastime, perhaps along with a smaller jib to provide total flexibility. You are the one who has to decide how you want to sail and how many options you need. Our boat came with #1, #2 and #3 jibs, but the wind conditions and race lengths around here really call for using mostly the #1 or the #3. When the #2 wore out (from UV degradation, mostly, rather than from sailing mileage) we didn't replace it. Sail for a season and then decide what would improve your enjoyment of the boat. You'll find out quickly what works and what you need.
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Old 10-13-2006
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Thanks Paul. I like to keep things as simple as possible so for now I'm just going to pick up a 110 or 125 and see if that works. Thanks again for the help.

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I sailed a 25' boat for many years on a small inland lake, and had a 155 and a 110 (hanked-on sails). I used the 110 in the spring and the fall, when the winds were strong and gusty, and the 155 in the summer, when the wind was lighter. Personally, I think a 125 would generally be a little too big for those stronger winds, and a 100 would be a little too small (assuming you'll only have 2 sails, and you're on a small inland lake). Those two sails cover a wide range of winds.
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Old 10-13-2006
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The Ranger 22 was an IOR era race boats and was actually designed for a pretty large sail inventory. In full racing form, they carried a #1 (155%), Number 2 (roughly 130% if I remember correctly), a number 3 (roughly 110% and a spinnaker. They are tender and unforgiving as compared to Rangers non-IOR style boats. In racing form, the right sail decision was crucial, so much so that even on small boat like this, sail changes might be made during the spinnaker leg.

For daysailing and cruising, because of the Fractional rig you should be able to get by with just a #1 and a #3, carrying the #1 into moderately high winds using a increasing amounts of backstay tension and perhaps throwing a reef in the mainsail if things get to be too much. At some point around 12-15 knots the 110% really is a better sail in all ways. I would not think that you would want a #2 unless you fully planned to race and even then it would be the least used sail in your inventory. These boats had very poor performance dead down wind without a spinnaker, but they were easy to deploy, fly, jibe and retrieve,

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