Do yankees go to windward? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 02-26-2010
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Do yankees go to windward?

No this isn't a southern vs yankee kind of thing, I'm talking about the sail!

I'm about to buy a new headsail and I have heard from the cruising community that a "yankee cut" (basically high clewed sail as far as I can tell) is the way to go for the headsail. It keeps visibility high and keeps the waves from getting into the sail.

So what's the down side of the yankee? Racers use deck sweeping genoas that create a huge blind spot? Do yankees not go to weather? I'm also a bit worried about the sheeting angle if the clew is half way up the mast. Doesn't that mean I have to move my car waaaay back? I'd hate to order a sail that I can't sheet.

What's the best way to measure and figure optimal clew height for my new sail?

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Old 02-26-2010
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It seems like some people use cruising as an excuse to make their boat slow and downwind-oriented. I don't understand trading visibility for performance, I seem to be able to peek past my genny quite easily. When the waves are up on deck, it would be nice to have the yankee, but really how often are you out in big breakers with no wind flying a genny? I would save the yankee cut for jibs, the sheeting angle, and performance downgrade just don't seem to be worth it to me.
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Old 02-27-2010
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I suspect the other advantage to a yankee is that it might be easier to tack it, especially around an inner forestay. If this doesn't apply to you, a genoa is probably better. My genoas get their feet wet, and I have to strain sometimes to see up ahead, but it's no bother really.

If those two issues are a big problem for you, consider getting a genoa with a slightly shorter luff and putting a pennant on the tack, maybe a foot long. I have one on my 135%, and it's a lot easier to see under and clears the lifelines more easily too. Still gets well-doused on a beat in any kind of a sea, though.
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Old 02-27-2010
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I'm considering changing my set up forward. Currently I have a staysail and roller jib. The jib sheets outside the shrouds, and throws her a bit uot of balance. This hurts to weather in light breezes. I thought I might get a Yankee, cut flat for windward work, and an asymmetric spinnaker for reaching and running.
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Old 02-27-2010
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We have a high cut genoa on the headstay for visibility and ease of tacking thru the slot (works very well BTW). I can't say for sure whether a yankee is less efficient going to weather or not, but I suspect it probably is to some degree. Ours is cut lower than a true Yankee and it is a 125%, gives us pretty good visibility and doesn't take any considerable water until the wind is in excess of 25 knots and if we are heeled over to about 20 degrees or so. I don't race (officially ) so the other factors won out when we ordered the new sail. You DO need to figure out your sheeting angles before ordering a high cut sail, you are correct that you need to move the blocks back considerably. We ordered sails from Dirk at National Sail (excellent sails and advice, and price) and he did the calculations for us and they worked out just the way he figured. We use an assy spi for light winds.
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Old 02-27-2010
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John: would you describe your staysail as a yankee as well, or only your jib?
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Old 02-27-2010
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A yankee, with such a high clew position, will have a relatively high CE in comparison to a 'blade'.
I run a (true) cutter, and prefer a blade-jib over a yankee.

A blade can have a set of reef positions added; very difficult to do on a yankee due to the high 'slope' of the foot.

:-)
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Old 02-27-2010
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The yankee is my least favorite headsail although we admittedly sell a fair number of them.

Our recommendation is your clew height be based on visibility and seakeeping considerations. Most yankees far exceed that. Generally speaking, higher clews equal poorer windward performance. In a boat like a Formosa 41 I would suggest doing everything you can to help the boat perform better as opposed to compromising it.
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Old 02-28-2010
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Adam- the staysail is a standard jib configuration(different sails than in the avatar pic). Our headsail is not a true yankee either, more of a high cut genoa. The combination seems to work well for how we sail. The genoa and full main are good for winds up to about 20 knots, maybe a bit less. Then we take the first reef in the main, then furl in a bit of genoa, 2nd reef in main, then completely furl the gennie. 2nd reef in the main and staysail alone should be good for most everything, but if it gets worse we can take the third reef in the main. Assy spin for lighter winds.
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Old 03-01-2010
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