Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: CT/ Long Island Sound
Thanked 45 Times in 44 Posts
Rep Power: 18
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.