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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 02-21-2011
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Storm sails for cutter rig

My first post into the forum. Thanks for creating such a great resource. I haven't found my scenario in the archives, so I'll start a new thread.
I own an Island Packet, a 37' cutter rig with both headsails on roller furling. My main is also roller furling. I have a separate track on the mast for a trysail. I'd like some advice on what storm sails I should carry. With the cutter rig I have ridden out 40kts with reefed main and reefed staysail. Beyond that, the rig is untested (at least by me). What would you recommend? I'm leaning toward a trysail and an ATN gale sail on the inner forestay, but I'd welcome your input. Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Remittance; 02-21-2011 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 02-21-2011
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The advice I've seen and the storm rig for my boat, was the storm jib should fly from an inner forestay, for better balance and so the reduced jib and main(trysail) can work together, just like their larger versions. Sloops rigging for offshore will add a removeable stay just for this purpose, as my last boat was configured.
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Old 02-21-2011
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Your plan sound good to me. I have a Hunter 37 cutter with furling on the outer forestay but a hanked-on, club-footed staysail on the inner forestay. My staysail has a slab reef in it that reduces its size to about that of a stormsail. I also have a 3rd reef in the main. I have never had to shorten down to this small a sail area. Two reefs in the main and a full staysail have worked for me in 40 knots. Obviously it varies from boat to boat. If the weather was really bad - i.e. storm to hurricane force - I think a trysail or bare poles would be the answer...hope I never have to find out.
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Old 02-21-2011
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If you are planning on long distance open ocean sailing then a trysail (on separate track) and independent storm jib (used on foil of the headstay with the 'normal' genoa removed) is probably the best. But that includes the requirement that the headstay foil can keep the storm jib attached... many will pull out.

For moderate distance 'dashes' (just a few days) between points, I favor a triple reefed mainsail with slab reefing, a boom gallows, and staysail with (slab) reefing points. My choice is to eliminate or 'disconnect' any roller reefing to minimize 'complexity' and vulnerability of failure.

The staysail size on an IP seems much too small in area for 'aggressive' sailing in maximum wind ranges of ~50+ kts. for long periods, especially in attempting to go 'upwind' ... but Ive only sailed IPs a few times and not in max. conditions. That you have 'roller furling' for the staysl would suggest that 'adjustability of sail shape' (depth of draft and location of maximum draft) is going to be a problem as with 'roller furling' most of the 'broadseamed' sections of a staysail will be hidden within the 'roll'. That, to me, will leave only a flat sail shape which is so 'depowered' when furled beyond 30% reduction of SA that you will have quite a reduced ability to 'go upwind' into large waves, etc. Flat shapes are really only good for 'speed sailing' not for 'powered-up punching'; of course going downwind with a flat shape doesnt matter but 'upwind' can be a problem in heavy going. My personal preference is for a slab reefed stays'l (on clubfoot, etc.) that can be 'powered-up' yet area reduced .... so the sections of the sails 'broad-seaming' (curvature of the cord-length)- still exposed and 'working'.

Guess you can tell that Im not a big fan of roller reefing for maximum wind ranges ... all because of their resultant flat shape that doesnt provide the sometimes needed 'drive'. With a severely reduced SA roller furled sail all you have aloft is similar to a triangular shaped flat sheet of plywood; in contrast, with very deeply reefed slab reefing you still have the ability 'to punch through' because the fully exposed upper broad-seamed panels are 'still working' and I can still position the amount of draft and fore/aft location of that draft. If I NEED to go upwind, I dont want to sit there bobbing like a frigging cork because the sails no longer have a 3D sail shape, just a 2D flat shape: I want to GO and MOVE.
Thats my experience and preferences from sailing in F9-10 long term conditions a few times.

BTW & FWIW - on a cutter rigged boat the stay farthest in front of the mast is the HEADSTAY, and the stay directly in front of the mast is the FORESTAY ... thats where the FORESTAYSAIL (staysail) is flown - (FORE)STAYSAIL on the FORESTAY.

FWIW if you 'really' look at roller furling ... the effective sail reduction that can still yield 'good and usable sail shape' is about 30% maximum SA reduction.

Last edited by RichH; 02-21-2011 at 01:41 PM.
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