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BrentGH 11-05-2002 09:33 AM

Cruising Sail Inventory
Hey Everyone,
I have a 30ft. Sunbeam sloop, which is heading towards the South Pacific, Mexico, Panama, South America, then either West to the open Pacific or East through the canal. The boat is about 10,000 lbs, and has a moderate rig, main hoist is just over 30ft, the Jib hoist is just over 33. The J measure is 11ft. Currently, I have a new main, full batten with a large roach. I have a pretty old and beat up 138% genoa with a low clew, a 96% in good shape, and a asymetric in good shape. As well, I am having a staysail made for the inner forestay. My question is whether I ought to invest in a new, large genoa of 145% or so, or whether it would be a waste of money. Right now, I sail in the SF bay area and coastal waters, so the 138 is too large, but heading south I have been told that a large genoa will be used more often than a small one. Of course, I do have a staysail as well, so I could just use the 96 with the staysail to make extra area, though tacking becomes difficult short handed... my internal debate is endless! Anyone have any experience in said waters in similar vessels?

WHOOSH 11-05-2002 03:07 PM

Cruising Sail Inventory
Brent, you pose a good will be interesting to see what others think.

Your two routes are somewhat different (tho'' you don''t tell us what comes after the South Pacific), so picking a sail plan to fit both of them is a challenge. Light winds & downwind sailing along the Central American coast is intermixed with some real Papagayo blows where the Trades sneak thru the mountain chain in Nicaragua and S Mexico, so that inner stay (and staysail/storm sail?) is a good idea. Once you turn the corner (R or L), the SoPac leg is mostly downwind beam & broad reaching until you reach the Indian Ocean (where winds become stronger) altho'' the doldrums will have lots of hard/short thunderstorms. OTOH clearing the Canal, you''ll be on a close reach if heading N up the Central American east coast OR fighting for every mile if hoping to get eastward to the E Caribbean islands & Trinidad. Moreover, the wind blows like stink half the time and just blows hard & steady the other half.

Given all that, I''d forget the large genny but do think a case could be made for a 120-130. I don''t see any scenario where a 140+ is a critical sail over an extended period of time. I''d make sure that staysail can handle heavier air AND I''d double check the main is easy to reef down double; also don''t forget to avoid the chafe in the reefing line at the aft (clew) cringle if you''re jiffy reefing.

You don''t tell us if you have furling gear. If so, double check not only that hardware but also that your furling line has NO chafe occuring early in the lead back to the cockpit - that''s the only thing holding in the sail and you''ll reef that jib on either route on occasion, at which point you can''t afford to lose the furling line. Also, do you have a pole? With downwind sailing it would help the jib avoid chafe and also increase boat speed.

Asymetrics are great. If only we used them as much as we thought we would when offshore.<g>


BrentGH 11-06-2002 10:42 AM

Cruising Sail Inventory
Thanks for the response. To answer the questions you pose first: What would come after the South Pacific is as undefined as any other plans. Basically, I have a simple boat, simple life, and just enough saved up to cruise for six months or three years! It really just depends on my own condition as well as the wind! The inner stay will have a staysail(10.2oz, 80 sq ft.) with a storm reef in it(59 sq. ft.), and will be hanked. The forestay has a furling unit. I''m also fortunate enough to have the time and ability to completely disassemble the rig, rudder, and diesel to inspect, service, and upgrade, so I hear ya on the furler line, very true.

As far as the main goes, it does have 3 reefs as well, and I''m running both the tack and clew lines for the reefs back to the cockpit and making darn sure that the system works well, another good point. Sounds like you''ve done this before!

No pole yet, but it is on the list, for sure. And yeah, I''m also a bit hesitant to fly that asym offshore solo, its only prudent, I think, as long as you are making way well enough without it. I''m sure I''ll be more inclined to use it when I''m running longer distances, and I''m more familiar with the prevailing weather. Otherwise, I''m leaning towards a moderate overlap as well, closer to the 120/130 you mention. The 145 was born of the thinking that my sunbeam is a bit heavy for her length and sail area, so in light air, she needs a bit more power than many similar boats to get moving. The upside to this is that she weathers very well for her size, and takes a blow without much fuss. And so, heading towards lighter air, mostly downwind, the local Hood sailmaker and myself sat down and drew up a jib top with a slightly higher clew, to keep the foot out of the water on a reach, and for visibility. However, that sail would be effective mostly off the wind, because of its CE being aft, and furled very much past 130 and its shape and CE are not good at all. So, given that I do have a staysail, its area added to a 120/130 would provide enough power in the closer reaching scenarios in winds from 5 true to 35 true (reefing as necessary!), quite well. And off the wind further, the asym should do just fine, even better with a pole, in 5+ true to 15 true. More than that and I won''t need the extra area. The tradeoff is mostly in the legwork required to manage two headsails at once, both hoisting the staysail, and tacking both. A secondary loss would be a few degrees of pointing in really light air, that the 145 may handle better than a dual headsail rig. Probably worth the extra versatility, though. And probably why the most recent design trend is towards fractional rigs with small, manageable headsails and big mains. Anyone have any counterpoints here?

WHOOSH 11-07-2002 12:07 PM

Cruising Sail Inventory
Brent, just a couple of follow-ups...

You don''t mention if your inner stay is removeable and you have a way to tension it when stowed (so it doesn''t bang and flop around). You make a good point about ease of handling and a removeable stay will make jibing/tacking the genoa easier on you. I think this is especially true for single-handers, e.g. when you''ve lost the engine and are working your way into an anchorage. I think this same comment (about ease of sail handling) relates to why a large(r) genoa just doesn''t make sense for you. And as you point out, its versatility is much less than a smaller foresail given the availability of a staysail and the wider wind range in which it will serve well.

I''m not sure you caught my caution about the jiffy reefing line(s). The failure point is at the aft (clew) cringle and the failure is eventually guaranteed offshore. No matter how tight you winch in that reefing line, once the reef is set and wind pumps, that line will stretch and tighten along its run...and where it rides over the cringle is where it will chafe. Since the early 1900''s (that I''m aware of), a seamanlike task after reefing is to seize the cringle to the boom using a piece of dacron line or (my preference) a piece of webbing, then release some of the tension on the reefing line. You''ll get far less chafe and on a line you don''t care about. This is not convenient when off the wind and it defeats the clever arrangement of reefing from the cockpit...but it saves the reef coming undone in the middle of the night, which is what will eventually happen.

Sounds like your cruise has already begun (since you''re working on your boat and getting her cruise ready) so good luck to you and don''t forget - in those awkward, exhuasting, expensive moments - that you''re doing this for the pleasure of it.


BrentGH 11-30-2002 05:28 PM

Cruising Sail Inventory
Hey Jack,

Sorry to be so long, just hauled out, dropped the diesel out for overhaul, pulled the prop and rudder off. All was in better than expected condition, save the rudder, which has a design problem with the 3rd(lowest) bearing, lets water into the rudder after a time. Anyway, I am definitely designing the inner stay to be removable, and I''ll think of a way to tension it properly when stowed. I ended up going with a 135 with a low tack, and raised clew. It will have a small luff pad, which ought to allow it to furl nicely to around 100%. I opted for a mid sized genoa, on the larger size of what you had recommended based on my boats particular handling characteristics. She''s a bit of a dog in light air, having a pretty large D/L ratio. The staysail is also designed with a reef and made of heavier cloth, so it will be a good storm sail, along with a trisail reef in the med/heavy main.

I follow you with the chafe on the clew reefing line as well. I''ve seen the sacraficial webbing used as well, and plan to do the same. I feel that a very important part of my plan is the preparation itself. I am going to take a boat that was in good shape, an A1 German Lloyds Cert. boat, and go over every detail consulting the collective experience of people like you. The boat will not only be more functional, better performing, safer, and tougher, but I will get to test her extensively coastally around the San Francisco bay.

My own boat work is on a scheduled vacation for a few months as I will be delivering a brand new Amel from La Rochelle to Antigua via the Canaries. I hope to find a berth crewing on boats back to the mainland, then return to complete the overhaul in the summer. I appreciate the words of wisdom, they are quite salty! Perhaps our wakes will cross out there.


kimberlite 12-01-2002 06:59 AM

Cruising Sail Inventory
when will yu be delivering the Amel?
We are currently in the canaries and will be heading to the carib in january.
fair winds,

BrentGH 12-01-2002 05:28 PM

Cruising Sail Inventory
Hey Eric,
I leave for La Rochelle tomorrow(Dec.2), we comission the boat, provision, wait for a weather window, then run! Hard to say for sure, but we''re looking at leaving around mid december, arriving late dec./early jan., and then heading over to the carib in mid jan. How''s the weather down there?!?!?

kimberlite 12-03-2002 04:44 PM

Cruising Sail Inventory
when i was in grand canarie two weeks ago the weather was 80-90 degrees.
do you know what options the owner got with the boat? if you have the owner contact me i can give him some pointers about la rochelle and where to get what. also there are better harbors in grand canarie than las palmas.
please e-mail me backchannel


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