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dacap06 06-19-2012 10:18 PM

How Does Your Islander Sail?
I'm interested in your thoughts on how well your Islander sails. Talk to me about the sails you have and what kinds of speeds you see in various tacks at a given wind speed. How well can you point into the wind? When do you furl and reef?

Having asked that of you, I'll pass on my own observations. My Islander Bahama 30 (a Bob Finch design) is forgiving but needs to be reefed early. I start furling my 127% jib starting at about 11 kts of wind and need to reef the main at about 15 kts. If I don't it starts developing some significant weather helm and heels excessively (and slows down). In a 10 kt breeze, I manage about 5 kts on a beat and 6.5+ on a reach. At 12kts and higher I'll get to 7 to 7.2 kts on a reach, depending on how flat the water is. The LWL is 24 1/2 feet, giving a hull speed of 6.64 kts. With a SA/D ratio of 17.66 and a D/LWL of 247, I am delighted that my relatively heavy coastal cruiser manages those speeds.

That said, it took me an entire sailing season to find the best way to shape the sails to achieve best speed, and it took a change of head sail to the current 127% genoa (from a 155% genoa) to get the speeds I quoted. The old genoa is great in 5 kts of wind and below but has to be furled so much in decent wind that it spoils the sail shape, and that huge cylinder of material ruins air flow over the leading edge. This model of boat develops the majority of its power from the jib rather than the main anyway (the standard jib is 256 sq ft and the main is 194 sq ft), and the difference is even more pronounced with a genoa. Clearly, having a great head sail is critical to good sailing on the 30-2 and Bahama 30 models.

My boat has the shoal keel, so it is not great at sailing to weather. If I am very careful with sail trim, the wind is steady, and the sails do not require reefing I can get to between 45 and 50 degrees of true wind. When I come about on a beat the course difference is 90 to 95 degrees in optimum wind conditions. This 4' 0" draft shoal keel also produces less lift than the fin keel, so it makes more leeway than I'd like -- but then again I can get into some awfully skinny water. For cruising purposes, that's an OK tradeoff, I guess.


spillarc 06-21-2012 04:18 PM

Re: How Does Your Islander Sail?

I sail the same boat, an 83 model with the original tired main and 150% genoa in the standard draft configuration. Although I haven't taken the time to record boat speeds at particular wind speeds and all points of sail, I believe your numbers are similar to what I get and perhaps a little higher. I love the way this boat sails to weather with standard keel, but I would trade it in a heartbeart for a shoal draft version for the Galveston Bay area.

I totally agree with your assesment that this boat has to be reefed early. Last season I don't think I ever shook the reef out of my main as we consistently had 15-20 kt days all summer. I have been seriously considering going to a 120 to 130% genoa for my next head sail and based on your results it sounds like the way to go.

I sail mostly on this boat and also on a friends Islander 32 (shoal draft version) and the two boats have a very different feel. I think the Bahama 30 has a very nice feeling helm when the sails are trimmed properly, whereas the 32 has to wrestled no matter how it's trimmed. Not that the 32 isn't a nice sailing boat, it's just different.....Definitely not a tender as the 30. All in all I have to say that I love the way my Islander sails.

On another subject, if you haven't ever pulled, or replaced, your chainplates I strongly suggest doing so. A recent check of mine revealed one having serious corrosion all the way through even though you couldn't tell by examining them from the bulkhead. I had six new ones made and just installed them last weekend. This was a pretty simple project as all of the bolts are very accessible.

dacap06 06-22-2012 07:00 AM

Re: How Does Your Islander Sail?

Thanks for the reply. My hope with this thread is to help anyone who is considering an Islander gain some insight into what sailing it would be like. The next time you sail on the I32, could you take some notes? I guess it is the engineer in me that likes measuring things that causes me to collect statistics like that.

I'd love to have wind like the Gulf has near Galveston but I'm not sure I want all the heat and humidity that comes with it. I did my higher education in Houston and I remember it well. When I reported to school as a Freshman in the middle of August, I thought I was gonna die with all the walking in it. It was 10 degrees hotter and 10 points more humid than the Midwest. Then, every afternoon the T-storms would roll off the gulf about 4:30 or 5 PM. Houston is flat as a flannel cake, so one of the greatest engineering issues is how to deal with all the water. I remember the streets having standing water for half an hour afterward until it all finally got down the storm drains. But the payback was no Winter to speak of. It stayed nice all the way into December, and in February it started warming up again. Nice!

spillarc 06-22-2012 11:12 AM

Re: How Does Your Islander Sail?
The weather hasn't changed here at all....We'll be in the triple digits by the end of this weekend. We're just getting into night sailing season for me.

On the subject of my boat's sailing performance, I'll do some experimenting this year and record some statistics. Now would be a good time as I just had the bottom cleaned.

I assume if you went to engineering school here in Houston that would be either the Cullen College of Engineering (my Alma mater), or that other school I wasn't smart enough to attend?

John Y. Jackson 06-22-2012 11:43 AM

Re: How Does Your Islander Sail?
I have a 1974 I 30 MK II. It has 5 feet of draft and I am a bit surprised that you need to reef or change jibs as soon as you do. I have carried a 170 jib to 18 knots before reefing. Yes, the boat is designed for larger jibs, and that is where the power is. I almost always reef before changing jibs. However, I need to amend my reefing statement a bit. That is if there are 4 of us on boar racing, with three on the rail I can use the 170 to 18 knots. With myself and my wife the 150 needs to be reefed at about 18 knots, of wind. We can sail at very close to 30 degrees of aparent wind on either tack. Also with either sail.

As a general rule, I figure the boat speed should be at least half the apparent wind, i.e. closed hauled at 6 knots appaent, I aim for, and usually get 3 knots of boat speed, 10 wind, 5 boat speed. On a reach the speed sholud be even closer to the apparent wind. Of course when hull speed it reached, that's it. Hope this helps.

John on Aquila
New Bern, NC

shogan50 06-25-2012 06:33 PM

Re: How Does Your Islander Sail?
That is interesting. I'm still pretty green and my 1975 30-2 isn't set up very conveniently for reefing, so I don't very often and experience pretty significant weather helm after about 12 knots, but frequently take it up to 18 with a 150 genoa and no reef in the main. With that, I don't see much consistently over about 6 knots except in uncommonly flat water and if I'm on a port tack, my knotmeter isn't in the water.

I'd love to see a photograph of a 30-2 or Bahama goose neck to see what the stock reefing hooks looked like. Mine doesn't have any.

John Y. Jackson 06-25-2012 09:25 PM

Re: How Does Your Islander Sail?
I don't use a reefing hook. I have a line tied to a block near the back of the boom, it then goes up through the reef cringel on the back of the main, and back through the block, along the boom to a turning block on the mast, up to the cringel (eye) on the front of the main, back down to a block on the deck, and back to the cockpit. I think you can find a diagram if you look up slab oer jiffy reefing. If not let me know.

As far as I'm conerned, it is much easier to reef than to change jibs. Also, don't hesitate to lower the traveler, to the leeward, downwind side, but keep the main sheeted in. It is amazing how much it takes the heel out, and keeps you pointing well.


John Y. Jackson on Aquila

Islander30Vagabond 07-16-2012 12:41 AM

Re: How Does Your Islander Sail?
I have a 1971 Islander 30 MKII, and am also puzzled by your need to reef early and also by your decision to scuttle the 155% headsail. I find that my boat is GREAT in heavy air. I always reef my main before changing headsails because that is where most of this boats power comes from. Typically I find myself starting to consider a reef at about 15 kts steady. at 22 kts my 155% comes down and my 130% goes up. At 30kts I go with my 115%. I also can generally maintain half of apparent wind speed untill the boat hits about 7 kts going to windward. I havent made an notes on speed at wind speed but I'll try to pay more attention to it. Although our boats are very similar I believe the Bahama had a slightly taller rig, also I have a fin keel those factors may be the reason that your boat is a little more tender than mine.
Happy Sails!

dacap06 07-16-2012 06:47 AM

Re: How Does Your Islander Sail?
That's good information, Vagabond! Thanks for sharing.

milkehmc 11-02-2012 05:12 PM

Re: How Does Your Islander Sail?
I would echo all these for our 1983 bahama 30. quoted text; "...starting at about 11 kts of wind and need to reef the main at about 15 kts. If I don't it starts developing some significant weather helm and heels excessively (and slows down). In a 10 kt breeze, I manage about 5 kts on a beat and 6.5+ on a reach. At 12kts and higher I'll get to 7 to 7.2 kts on a reach, depending on how flat the water is. The LWL is 24 1/2 feet, giving a hull speed of 6.64 kts. With a SA/D ratio of 17.66 and a D/LWL of 247, I am delighted that my relatively heavy coastal cruiser manages those speeds." end quoted text.

however, we do a lot of sailing without best trim.

I have a new set of party dresses made for lady. Got a 135 foam luff furling jib which we frequently furl to 100%. We have a full batten slightly high road main, just taps backstay at top batten as we tack. it has two reef points for cockpit rigged reefing lines. we keep one set run and rarely reef main.

we have sailed home on weekends in 30plus knows multiple times with just a storm sail corner of jib out. once with two reefs in main and we ended up shaking out to just one reef as boat just was not balanced. performed very comfortably in Puget sound (ie about 3 foot waves).

she handles comfortable in up to 18-20 knots without main reefed and jib furled to 100%, but kills pointing. probably my skills (lacking). But I had to get used to the full batten. We are now comfortable with main top twisted very far out. it looks strange to me but is a full knot faster than heeling. and the sailflow tell tails on the main all fly, the top one wont fly till sail is very twisted off.

we had one fun 45 mile long slightly aft reach in august. hit 7.9 multiple sustained times on impeller speed. at 40 miles the gsp said average speed 7.2. pretty satisfying.

We have raced he some in 20 mile long races and down pretty well. We are going to do a five race jack and jill series next summer and hope to be in top five as we beat several boats this year who were in top five this year in whole series. we ahve a rating of 201 with the 135 jib, so that helps. But it is a small jib. in one single hand race this year I was in a 10 mile shootout with a ranger rated 199. I had to reach back and forth on a the run, where he wing and winged it (flying sails not allowed on this single hand race) with his 150+ jib. stayed just ahead till downwind mark. They we had a five mile tacking dual which saw the lead change hands five times. Mostly do to single hand blown tacks. At the drag to the finish it was a contest to see if he could sail high enough to escape before I rolled him. Ended up winning by 11 seconds corrected. I really really wish we had some local B30 boats here to go head to head.

in another race we sailed with jib furled to 100% and full main doing 6.5 upwind in 15+. we though we had missed the time limit (very light wind first half of 30 mile race) so didnt push it to finish. But got scored very competitive and passed a couple similar 30 foot boats who were heeled over further.

We were under a small asymmetrical we purchased off a 28 ft boat one day just coming home from a cruise. Just about as tight a reach as we could sail the chute and got knocked down as crew was going forward to douse sail in a quickly rising 15 knots. We got knocked down had and had a brave soul on the leeward side knee deep in the water say the whole lifeline went under. at the main shrouds. But boat popped back up quite nicely. We doused main too as it looked to keep rising and sailed on jib in 20 knots last 4 miles in a rolling (waves from stern coming from both stern quarters) but comfortable sail.

due to a dispute with an unmarked dolphin (read log!) in a harbor entrance we are having a new rudder built with a little more elliptical design to replace the large square original. design should make steering easier yet.


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