inner forestay for fitting an upwind jib? - SailNet Community

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Old 06-26-2011
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inner forestay for fitting an upwind jib?

This months practical boat owner had a section on how to make your cruiser into a club racer, one of the suggestions was if you have a roller furling genoa as we do to fit a forestay and use a hanked on working jib for going upwind, the suggestion being that this aids pointing and boat speed.
We have a 3/4 fractional rig on our 26 footer and the boat does really well on a reach or downwind in club races but has always been poor upwind, has anyone tried or know anything about the merits of this inner forestay/jib idea..?
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Having two forestays makes getting the proper tension on either of them difficult. Adding an inner forestay to the already smallish foretriangle of a 3/4 rig may not provide the dividends expected...

If your furler has a decent foil section then I think you'd get much better performance by using the correct sized sail for the conditions (ie not using a partially rolled headsail to go upwind) and having good provision for setting headstay tension (likely 'runners' or checkstays in your case).

Some furling drums are removeable allowing you to set full hoist headsails on the foil by tacking to the deck and feeding the sail above the lowered swivel... If the foil is a twin grooved one and you have two halyards you can change headsails on the fly losing less speed/position during the change.

I think those sorts of options might prove better... even with the second 'more streamlined' sail and stay, the bulk of the furler will likely still be there, affecting flow around the sail in use.
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Old 06-26-2011
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Faster seems to have the right idea. The actual point of the article you read may be that it's better to have the right sail up for the conditions. Many r/f jibs are sufficiently blown out to not be very effective upwind foils, or (like gennakers) are designed more for reaching performance at the outset. The best solution would be to have a new genoa that works well upwind, or to change headsails to what the situation calls for. Leaving a rolled-up genoa up will only disrupt the windflow over the other jib. It also adds unnecessary weight aloft. For a 27' boat with a fractional rig, changing headsails (if you need to) should not be that big a deal.
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thanks for replies.
We have always used the roller furler as it came with the boat, we have raced it for 6 years & upwind performance has always been the problem. Never used hank on sails as this was my first keelboat but i gather they are better than a 1 size fits all furler.
Is changing sails only an option for passage races or would it work around the cans?
@ Faster, The foil we have on the furler is twin grooved, im sure we could set two halyards easily, how exactly do you change sails on the fly?
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Changing sails in an around the buoys race needs do be done as a peel so you don't lose any speed. You hoist the new sail up (hopefully outside the first one) & sheet it in, then lower the other one. Lowering the sail on the inside is easier; you can pull it down from the foredeck. If the sail you change to is the right one, it should help your results. If your sails are 6 years old, however, new ones could make a huge difference. Old sails may still look good, in terms of the cloth and stitching, but their shape may be better suited for raking leaves than for winning silver.
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As Paul explained you can hoist one sail before you drop the other, and avoid what is known as a 'bareheaded' change.

Hoisting a sail on the outside can be more difficult, our standard practice was to do a tack change. We would hoist a new sail inside the one in use at the time, (choosing the tack that kept the halyards from crossing) The new sail is controlled/contained by the already set sail as you hoist off the deck.. very tidy. Then we would tack the boat, sheet in the new sail (now the outside sail) and drop the old sail on the inside again. This really made keeping the headsails on board and dry much easier.

On a windward leg it wasn't difficult to find the right time to do a tack change. On longer legs it's a bit of a different story and you may be forced to do a same-tack change as described by Paul above.


If you choose to try this, you have two options, really... use sails that fit your furler now, but drop the swivel as far as you can and feed the sails into the grooves about the un-used swivel. This means the furler is not usable in this mode, as the swivel is out of the picture.

With a removable drum you split the drum and stow it for the race, the swivel still sits at the bottom of the foil but if you're so equipped you can use full hoist sails tacked to the deck.
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120 views & only two people responding, must be some shy types on sailnet!

thats been really useful faster & paulk im starting to get the picture of using the two sails, is there an option of using the dual sails but still being able to operate the furler to reduce sail area? probably not critical just a thought

what suit of sails would you recommend for us? we could keep the current roller genoa for crusing and look at the dual foil system for racing

thanks again
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@paulk, 'The actual point of the article you read may be that it's better to have the right sail up for the conditions. Many r/f jibs are sufficiently blown out to not be very effective upwind foils, or (like gennakers) are designed more for reaching performance at the outset. The best solution would be to have a new genoa that works well upwind'

to quote from the article on PBO 'If you have a furling Genoa, it's much faster upwind to use a working jib on an inner forestay than to try to reef the furling sail.'

I think you are dead right about the right sail for conditions, ive came to the conclusion our poor performance upwind is caused by the roller genoa, but im no expert, i like the idea of trying the dual foil dual sail idea for using an upwind jib and changing around the marks, or alternatively as you suggested a furling sail cut more for upwind performance? im guessing this would not be the most efficient for reach and broad reaching?

i wondered about the option of fitting a pad eye a few inches behind the furler and hoisting an upwind cut of jib specifically for beating, if the jib had a wire luff could it attach to the pad eye at the foot then be tensioned with a dyneema halyard at the head without using a forestay? then quickly removed prior to rounding the mark..

options seem to be..

A. a new upwind optimised furling heasail, pro's easy & fast to handle, cons a compromise on performance on different points of sail

B. changing headsails for different conditions on the dual foil, pro's optimum sail for conditions, cons, never used it before, harder to operate than furler, dont know if the sails can be furled once hoisted

C. try to fit a 100% ish type jib optimised for upwind sailing behind the furler, pro's convenience of keeping the furler & sail always ready to go for reaching and broad reaching, con's not sure how much performance would be lost with the air disturbance behind the furler, or how easy it would be to rig the upwind jib..

decisions decisions
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Nice summary OB...

As to furling, if you hoist the sails into the foil without using the swivel you cannot furl the sail. If you use the swivel you are forced to do bareheaded changes because you can't drop the swivel once another sail is in a groove.

So you're stuck in one mode or the other. For racing there's no debate in my mind...

It would be very difficult to get enough luff tension on your 'temporary inner wire luff removable upwind jib' and I think any potential advantage would be lost there.

Take a look at your average local casual racing fleet... see how many boats are rigged with a removeable forestay that is truly intended for racing. I suspect you'll have difficulty finding any workable setups like this...

Nothing wrong with thinking outside the box, but in this case I think there's enough history that there's no need to reinvent the wheel.

What furler? Do you know if it's a split drum/removable type??
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Trying to race a boat with an inner forestay upwind anywhere near shore in an area with tidal changes is just a complete pain in the arse. The typical set up is the 140-150 on the outer, and 100-110 on the inner. The inner is great so long as there's enough wind to power up the boat, but if you're trying to make it work in anything less than 15kts tws, it's very very very slow. Trying to effectively tack the big genoa on the outer (roll it up, tack, roll it out) is also incredibly ineffective. Try following a shoreline closely for tidal relief. One tack might be 100 yards... good luck. It's just nuts. If you're doing offshore stuff, sure, it can work when you're on the same tack for hours/days at a time. For someone who's doing club racing and cruising, harken makes some nice furlers with a dual track foil with a removable drum. Racing, you change headsails just like normal. Cruising, you just go with the furler and whatever headsail is appropriate for your particular venue and/or season.
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