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post #10 of Old 04-15-2019
SailingUphill
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Re: Sails for light winds

A Cat 22 is hardly a light air machine so (in 3knts) you have a combination of reduce drag and power up.

You state you already have a 150 (probably a 155 I assume), there are 155 light and 155 heavy options for those boats. Upwind, a 155 light will work well up to about 10 knots of true wind after that, it'll stretch and become less useful. You can see a difference in built between light and heavy as the material will be markedly heavier.

I submit that a more modern string sail will "fill" with gravity to leeward, and maintain shape to keep the boat moving heavy or light. Also many people neglect the influence of sheet weight when it comes to headsails. I've seen 3/8" line on 150+ sails on our small boats (under 26 feet) in our club on light air days. When it gets that light I use soft shackles and 1/4" line, usually something real light like MLX or warpspeed, because anything heavy like 5/16 or bigger will pull the clew down and ruin shape.

Also one of those things that everyone forgets when you are in these drifters, stop trying to point!

Oh and biggest thing you can do to help yourself when you sail in these drifters a lot is to keep a drag free bottom. The Cat 22 isn't known for being real well shaped, but that only means there is lots of room for improvement. Some biggies to tackle? obviously smooth bottom (clean it before the race), properly shaped rudder, properly faired keel (that's a biggy on the Cat 22), and if you can figure it out, replace the keel swing cable with some dyneema or something (with as thin a line as you feel you can get away with). I am not sure what the PHRF and class requirements are on the boat so obviously check there first.

Oh and boom kicker instead of topping lift on the boat. The trailing edge gets all wonky with a line dragging behind it, and in that light of air you need to lift the boom and bag it a bit for more power, also the boom needs to come up to centerline, so you'll be competing with down versus up, versus port to starboard to make the most power out of the main. Given that the boom is about 12 feet off the water on that boat, every little bit will help.

Freedom, a 1983 C&C 32 sailing Smith Mountain Lake, VA
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