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post #1 of 26 Old 04-12-2019 Thread Starter
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Sails for light winds

does anyone here have any ideas about head sails for light winds. Iíve got a 150 genoa but in light winds it doesnít fill out, and I suspect that a light weight fabric sail would perform better. Is that what a code zero is? is that an option for a boat as small at the C-22?


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post #2 of 26 Old 04-12-2019
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Re: Sails for light winds

Yes, a code zero is a light weight sail designed primarily for reaching. Usually set on a retractable bowsprit using a spinnaker halyard or other halyard above the headstay so it can be tacked by rolling the sail up. If it is set with a regular halyard, best set aft of the forestay or you'd have to disconnect the tack of the sail to tack/jibe. Same goes for the sail if tacked to a bowsprit with a regular halyard. Usually is hoisted on a two part halyard to get the needed tension on loose luff sail.

Might try a regular reacher/drifter but that would require a sail change as they are normally handed on the headstay. Wonder if anyone has tried setting an R/D on a furled sail with soft shackles.
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post #3 of 26 Old 04-12-2019
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Re: Sails for light winds

Here's a link to some basic information about a code zero. CRUISING CODE ZERO FAQ - Ullman Sails

IMO, before you seriously consider buying a sail with a limited range of use, you should first learn how to get the most performance out of the sails you have.

Sailing in light air requires powering up the sails, keeping them full and reducing drag.

You power up the sails by easing all the controls, including the main and jib halyards and the mainsail outhaul to give the sails a powerful, deep draft.

You keep the sails full by moving your crew weight to leeward, to force the boat to heel. Gravity will then cause the sails to hang in that curved shape that drives the boat.

Finally, you reduce drag by moving your crew weight forward, near the mast stays. That will force the bow down and raise the stern slightly, lifting part of the stern out of the water. That reduces wetted surface, which reduces drag.

In light air, you have so little air movement to work with, that you have to do all three of these things to maximize the boat's performance. Most racers do one or two, but not many do all three.
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Re: Sails for light winds

What point of sail won't the 150 fill? Upwind? Downwind?

I'm with Sailormon6 that you should first learn to maximize the sails you have. If your problem is going downwind or on a deep reach, do you go wing-and-wing and use a pole?
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post #5 of 26 Old 04-13-2019
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Re: Sails for light winds

If you are hardcore, sail no matter what, you need a reacher/drifter, Code Zero, Asym to keep the boat moving. Regular sails are just too heavy and stiff to capture the wind especially if there is any sea running. Yes you should learn all the tricks in making a boat move in light air but sometimes you need a specially built sail to do the job. Jib type, Reache/Drifter, Light air sails usually aren't max overlap designs and actually look a bit puny next to a 150 Genoa. They usually have a high cut clew so they can be sheeted to the boom on a reach. The sail cloth is light enough to fill in very light winds below 5k and shape is a bit baggy. You have to be ready to strike the sail when winds kick up as the light material is easily blown out into a big bag. Probably the reason Code Zeros are usually set on their own furler. They are not a sail for going hard on the wind, that's a 150% plus genoa's job. Used our Dacron reacher/drifter a lot on our W32 because we didn't turn the engine till we'd gone nowhere for two days on passages.

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post #6 of 26 Old 04-14-2019
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Re: Sails for light winds

On a C22 a 150 genoa is a light wind sail. most likely just to heavy a fabric even for a 150. if you want to go up wind in in very light conditions a then you would want a lighter weight 150 very very very light condition were 99 % would be motoring you want a Windseeker which is made of nylon like a spinnaker but shaped like a jib. only used when you can't use the motor like racing or if your motor is a paddle. A true code 0 is a specialized and very expensive spinnaker that can be used to go upwind in light conditions . it is used to get around racing rules that allow a 155 max size for a genoa. many code 0 sails are up to 180 but they meet spinnaker requirements and are legal under the rules. by having a long bowsprit the sail can be a up to a 180 and the j measurement is taken with the bowsprit for a spinnaker which makes the sail even bigger. on my 33' race boat with a 6' bowsprit the foot of the code 0 is 33' long. made of very high tech fabric and cost more then the main and jib combined if you want a sail that will be used Reaching and off the wind then you would want a drifter which is a spinnaker that is shaped like baggy genoa. when going down wind you would lower or furl the genoa and use a spinnaker.

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post #7 of 26 Old 04-14-2019
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Re: Sails for light winds

Absent an adverse current, our race committees will usually start a race in any wind that is consistently 3 kt or more, and a 155 can be kept full and driving to windward in air that light. Chop isn't much of a factor in air that light, except chop that's generated by power boat wakes. After the start, everyone prays that more wind will fill in before we start the downwind leg, because there might not be enough air movement to lift even a light air sail. That's when we hope for a shortened course at the windward mark.

IMO, special sails that are useful in narrow wind ranges are of more value in longer races, but not so much in shorter, around-the-buoys races, because you have time to make sail changes in longer races. If the wind increases during a short race, I'll sail past you while you're struggling to change the sail, and you won't be able to catch me because you changed to the same sail as me.

I think those sails are useful for longer races and especially for modern ultra light designs that can glide on a whisper of air. For older, heavier boats, I think they're too expensive, considering how seldom you'll really need them, and they don't help a heavier boat as much as a lighter boat.

That's not to say they're not useful, as long as you can justify their cost.
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Re: Sails for light winds

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Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
Absent an adverse current, our race committees will usually start a race in any wind that is consistently 3 kt or more, and a 155 can be kept full and driving to windward in air that light. Chop isn't much of a factor in air that light, except chop that's generated by power boat wakes. After the start, everyone prays that more wind will fill in before we start the downwind leg, because there might not be enough air movement to lift even a light air sail. That's when we hope for a shortened course at the windward mark.

IMO, special sails that are useful in narrow wind ranges are of more value in longer races, but not so much in shorter, around-the-buoys races, because you have time to make sail changes in longer races. If the wind increases during a short race, I'll sail past you while you're struggling to change the sail, and you won't be able to catch me because you changed to the same sail as me.

I think those sails are useful for longer races and especially for modern ultra light designs that can glide on a whisper of air. For older, heavier boats, I think they're too expensive, considering how seldom you'll really need them, and they don't help a heavier boat as much as a lighter boat.

That's not to say they're not useful, as long as you can justify their cost.
this is a case where we would use the code 0. our rig only allows a 108% jib and we would start the race with the jib, the code 0 already hoisted and furled and as soon as we could we would unfurl the code 0, we would not be able to point as high as boats with a 155 genoa but would be sailing about twice as fast which would make up the difference in the distance we would sail by sailing a 5 degree lower angle. just before the windward mark we would furl the code 0 and lower and hoist a furled spinnaker for the downwind leg. with all the foresails on furlers the length of the race does not make that much difference.

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Last edited by overbored; 04-14-2019 at 09:25 PM.
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post #9 of 26 Old 04-14-2019
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Re: Sails for light winds

The usefulness of a code 0 varies among boats and circumstances, but a Catalina 22 is limited by class rules to a jib, genoa, mainsail and spinnaker, as are many smaller classes. Their goal is to keep racing simple and affordable. That's where they develop the skills to sail more sophisticated boats. The OP should consider whether he'll get his money's worth out of a new $1400 sail, or whether he'd benefit more by learning to maximize the sails he has.
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post #10 of 26 Old 04-15-2019
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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.

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