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Pick FIVE sails you consider the most important

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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So many sails are available now, and so many threads, and so many options.

I thought I would try and "crowdsource" the ideal sail plan.

Scenario is a typical "snowbird" in a 35-45' boat

  • Topical cruising in the Caribbean.
  • Shorthanded.
  • Includes offshore passage to get there and back.
 

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Staysail sloop with a deep third reef in the main...

Good through 50 knots!

After that we sail well on just the stackpack and a deeply reefed staysail.
 

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Since it included offshore passage(s) I threw in the try and storm sails just in case.. for island hopping/shorthanded (depending on the boat) a sub 100% jib (not on the list) would have made the list as well. Ultimately preferable to a partially rolled 100, esp if fighting your way north in some boisterous NE trades along the chain.
 

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On such a trip I'd leave the spinnaker at home; As I could find something else to fill the space!..Dale
 

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It might be an asymmertric sail instead of full blown spinnaker especially if it is a single handed cruse. Other than that a storm, main, and head sails would get it done without too much trouble. My .02 worth.

Brad
Lancer 36
 

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Specialized storm sails are far safer than deeply reefed main and small (or partially furled) jib. You can leave them up without too much worry about heavy blows.
 

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oops.

I voted for 6....oh well, those would be the sails I would choose for offshore. Local, not sure a trysail would be on the list........So that puts me down to 5 or there abouts........So why do I have 7 sails on my current 28' local sailing boat, and want an 8th?!?!?!?!?!?

Marty
 

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Because there was a other choice box to check my other choice is a Yankee . That is the head sail on a cutter rig . I know that is not 100% technically the right term but it's the best I got, (help). Because I'm talking about a cutter rig Westsail there is a sail that was invented for WS, it is called the Supper Yankee . And lets not forget my favorite sail , the Drifter . Here is the deal, going down wind I pole out the Yankee to windward , I set the Drifter to leeward , In a mild breeze 12kt. I do about 6kt. Why is that so hard to believe tb?
 

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If only one 'spinnaker' is allowed, for 35 feet and under I'd choose a normal symmetrical. Overall more versatile, ultimately easier to gybe (so we're finding, anyhow, though flat water helps a lot..)

For a larger boat I kind of like the newer setups with a top-down furler-rigged asymm and would likely start experimenting more with DDW wing-on-wing for the deep stuff.
 

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Hi Vtsailguy , a penny for your thoughts . And a big penny, in this ecomeny that penny would be worth a mil. A Yankey's Clew is off the deck by about 6ft. And is a small sail compared to a big Jib . Brother.
 

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Our sail inventory for 30,000 miles, mostly offshore on a heavy boat that can be driven. BTW, our trip from Norfolk to St Thomas was the second hardest (after Mauritius - South Africa) of the entire distance.
- 135% genoa - used all the time including at times it probably should not have been; wonderful sail
- 95% genoa - used once, going to Easter Island when we stupidly damaged the #2
- staysail - not very big and quite heavily built; used a few times, generally going to weather (which you don't do often) in 30+
-storm jib - never used
- asymmetric - used pretty often, especially going from Cape Town to the Caribbean where it was very much downwind. I know the sail is not really meant for the wind angle, but it worked better than anything we could do with the jib.
- roller reefed main - all the time, roller reefing was great for getting the balance right for use with the Monitor vane
- trysail - never up, although it was on deck on its track crossing to South Africa.

For the scenario you are talking about, I would suggest:
- genoa around 130%
- genoa around 95% (more as a spare than to be changed frequently)
- staysail/storm jib
- main (roller or with 3 deep reefs)
- a light air downwind sail - asymmetric cut for

That's five.
 

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Interesting so far already, people are going for spinnakers rather than other easier to handle downwind sails....
Like a drifter...which is my "other" choice.
 

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Seems the collective wisdom is consistent. Take a specialized storm sail and an asymmetric spin instead of a newer style downwind sail.
Hmmm, what would be an example of a downwind sail that would be "a newer style" than an asymetric?

I sail a boat with a similar sailplan to your Tartan 41 - large foretriangle, and a small, high aspect main, so here's my take on what's worked for me...

130% genoa on furler with a fairly high clew, almost more of a reacher... For cruising shorthanded, I detest not being able to see under the foot of the jib to leeward at 15-20 degrees of heel, that's a major safety issue for me... Some folks might be surprised, how easily an 800-foot merchant vessell can sneak up on you at sea, behind the cover of a genoa with a clew cut close to the lifelines. No need to ask how I know this, as usual...:)

I've added a staysail on a furler, tacked 25% of the J dimension aft of the stem... Part of my rationale for doing so, was to add some additional support for my deck-stepped mast with inline spreaders and single lowers, and to reduce pumping when sailing to weather in heavier winds and seas... I LOVE this arrangement, gives me much more confidence in the integrity of the rig, and when the breeze pipes up beyond 25 or so, the staysail is often all I need... With it on a furler, switching gears from the genoa to staysail is a snap, and for heaving-to or forereaching, the staysail is ideal... However, the addition of a staysail and running backs can turn out to be a rather expensive upgrade, and might not necessarily fit into the budget of a single cruise to the Caribbean and return, and lots of folks manage fine without it...

Being a relatively small blade, my main has only 2 reefs, but they are very deep... The head of the main when double-reefed sets below the mast attachment of the running backstays, which I think is very important, as it allows me to leave both runners on in heavier weather, and be able to jibe or change tacks without worrying about the runners. On boats with longer booms, that may not always be possible, but I would not want to sail a boat offshore, shorthanded, where the runners could not be left on all the time when the main was reefed all the way down...

Always a bit surprising to hear that an asymetrical might be "harder to handle" than working sails... With modern snuffers and top-down furlers, when such sails are flown in light to moderate conditions, that's just not the case... IMHO, the only difficulty handling an asymetrical, is either when it's being carried in winds close to the upper limit of its designed range, or when being used on boats approaching 50' or more... (Another reason why I don't care to sail boats of such size) Now, it's debatable how much use an asymetrical might see sailing in the typically stronger breeze of the Caribbean, but I usually get plenty of use from mine during a trip down to the Bahamas and back... Finally, don't underestimate the 'Fun Factor' of flying an asymetrical - using light air, free flying sails can afford some of the most fun you can have sailing, and for that reason alone, I remain mystified why one sees cruisers flying spinnakers or Code 0s so rarely...

I am a HUGE fan of Code 0 sails for cruising... No other single sail can so often make the difference between sailing, and motoring, on a heavily loaded cruising boat in marginal conditions. Very easy to set and fly with today's continuous line furlers. In addition, over the long haul they can have great utility in helping to 'save' your genoa from wear and UV exposure, and extending its life in using the Code 0 in light to moderate conditions, instead... And, while most sailmakers would not endorse a Code 0 as a downwind sail, I've found that it can be pressed into service quite nicely sailing deep downwind, as one of a twin-head rig...



But again, for the more brisk winds you're likely to find in the Eastern Caribbean, whether a Code 0 is worth the considerable extra expense is tough to say, only you can make that call...

As for a trysail and storm jib, I carry both... If I had to choose just one, it would be the try, but that's due to the fact I have a roller furling staysail, as well... However, I have only once, so far, felt compelled to resort to using my trysail 'in anger', and could have managed without it... Again, many people manage to make it down to the islands and back without such sails, no problem... I wouldn't want to sail offshore without them on my boat, but that's an individual call, and I've delivered boats without them... Frankly, I think one of the most underrated - and most likely uses of - such storm sails, might be in the even of a dismasting... One might easily have to sacrifice a headsail on a furler, or even the main, in cutting away the rig... In cobbling together a jury rig using a boom or spinnaker pole, a trysail and storm jib could be worth their weight in gold, being already appropriately sized for such a small replacement rig...
 

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Thanks Jon and Killarney... great posts, as usual, from someone who's 'been there done that'.
 

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If only one 'spinnaker' is allowed, for 35 feet and under I'd choose a normal symmetrical. Overall more versatile, ultimately easier to gybe (so we're finding, anyhow, though flat water helps a lot..)
I'd agree for our area. The winds here tend to mean that we are sailing deep downwind or pretty directly into the wind. Asyms don't like to sail that deeply.

However I might bring an asym and a pole. The pole lets you bring the luff of the asym windward and lets the sail work a lot deeper. My asym is a little easier for me to manage single handed. There are many steps involved to jybe when it is on the pole, but at each of the steps the sail is pretty easily managed.

The sails that I keep on board sound a lot like killarney's list:
* 135% genoa
* 105% working jib
* 60% storm jib
* asym spinnaker
* sym spinnaker
* main

When I'm cruising some of these get more deeply buried, but they all tend to come along for the ride. When I get a higher quality sym spinnaker the asym will probably stay at home.
 

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much much easier to rig an deep asym and use even a whisker pole to help like alex says then rig a standar spinny especially if shorthanded. For cruising I have never seen a standard spynnaker used on any of the boats I have seen and or been on except a cal 40 racer recently leaving san diego for baja. so its not a common sail at all on voyaging boats...especially for most boats cruised by a couple.

a sock or homemade sock(bucket) to douse and release the asym spinnaker is a cruisers dream. and is wonderful. we used it a lot.

I like hank on sails so any foresail that can fit either the standard forestay and or a solent rig or inner forestay and be rigged fast works for me

Redundancy is a cruisers dream...that way you can fix what needs to be fixed while still sailing.

on the boats I have cruised and mine I much prefer this instead of say a huge 150 or 160 plus jenny on a furler

furlers fail at the worst time and if jammed is a nightmare...seen it happen a lot especially in marinas where they are shredded to peices by not stowing the properly and tight...I have seen it also with boats entering anchorages after a long passage where the furlers are stuck and they had to sail with main and or other sail only. with the flapping shredeed furler a mess...

im not familiar with new modern sails and codes 0 for example but the pic posted a bit before seems like a small blooper to me...with a nice asym shape...

looks great as posted...

twin headsails are a god send...

for trades nothing beats them...yes its 2 poles and 2 forestays but you eliminate using the main and the boom rolling effects....in light winds twin headsails were a standard for many many decades and the preffered simplistic aproach yes they can get a bit rolly but you get over it.

now an asym for anything under 15 knots is considered standard in my experience

trysails I have never used. storm sails yes and like mentioned before if you lose your mast...small sails are again a godsend....

a long spinaker pole or the boom even if you dont normally use a spinakker can be stood up and then using high test lines rigged up to sail. using again small sails, storm gale ridiers, whatever...will be your sail plan to get home.

anywhoo

great luck getting your ideal setup...
 

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I didn't mean using a whisker pole at the clew of the asym. I meant a spinnaker pole at the tack of it.

This is flying an asym like a sym. It brings the sail forward a little bit and brings the tack windward, which lets the sail fly a lot deeper. A jybe is done like a dip-jybe on a symmetric spinnaker.

This is an example:


There are some flaws with how the sail is rigged there, but overall it shows the idea. This was taken in light wind (around 3mph) as we decided if we should sail or give up and motor.

In addition to your normal asym rigging you need to borrow the pole, topping lift, and guys from your symmetric spin rigging.
 
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