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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have actual experience using a storm trysail on a Pacific Seacraft 37/Crealock 37? If so, what's your advice on the sail setup: size, dimensions, sheeting arrangements, type of slides (is plastic OK?), etc.?

I asked my sail maker for the design of a trysail of 66 sq. ft. total, which I think is what Crealock recommended. The sail maker has come up with these dimensions:

5.0 meter luff, 2.54m foot, 5.54m leech.

Does anyone know if these dimensions are about right? I wonder if the foot should be longer, with a shorter luff, to keep forces lower down. The foot will have to be well above my boat's boom to clear the mainsail in the lazy bag.

I realize that there's a debate about whether to carry a trysail at all, whether a third reef is better, etc. I'm not asking about that stuff, but feel free to share ideas.

I have two reefs and by the time the wind hits 30kts I'm thinking about a trysail a lot...

Many thanks.
 

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Crealock 37
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I have a trysail for my 37. I don't know the dimensions off hand but I'm heading to the boat tomorrow for 10 days. I've never used it so I need to figure out sheeting and should be able to get measurements and a pic of mine hoisted for you to compare with.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Sailak. Ten days sailing in Alaska. Some people have all the fun.

If you have mainsail lazyjacks, I'd like to know how the trysail works when it presses against the lazyjack lines, as I assume it will do on a starboard tack even when sheeted in very tightly (assuming your trysail track is on the starboard side of the mast, as it is on my boat). It may be necessary to ease the lazyjack lines (???), but then they'd be flopping around in strong winds. I reveal my ignorance.
 

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I have lazyjacks and a trisail on NiftyNickers--If you are down to storm tri then your main should be either lashed down tight or better yet removed from the boom.and the boom should be securely lashed down.The lazy jacks should be tightly secured to the mast or removed.The storm tri luff is secured at the mast base ,the foot is loose and the outhaul is sheeted to the starboard main sheet winch.I have only rigged this once in 20 yrs and that was practice--never want to "have to rig"

good luck,

Dianne and Chuck Burke S/V NiftyNickers C37 #139
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I have a trysail (and a storm jib) on a Bristol 45.5. In 35K miles I have never even thought about the need to use the trysail. Seems to me that the money and space on the boat could be used better for other purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have lazyjacks and a trisail on NiftyNickers--If you are down to storm tri then your main should be either lashed down tight or better yet removed from the boom.and the boom should be securely lashed down.The lazy jacks should be tightly secured to the mast or removed.The storm tri luff is secured at the mast base ,the foot is loose and the outhaul is sheeted to the starboard main sheet winch.I have only rigged this once in 20 yrs and that was practice--never want to "have to rig"
good luck,
Dianne and Chuck Burke S/V NiftyNickers C37 #139
Wow, I can't imagine doing all of that. It would not be possible to remove the main at sea (the foot is on slides in the boom track, as is the lazy bag). Usually when I start thinking 'storm sail' I'm already in rough conditions. My 'problem' is that I have lazy jacks and a lazy bag, the latter wraps over the second track on the mast. My plan was to simply lower the sail, zip up the bag, detach the bag from the starboard side of the mast (to expose the trysail track), lash it all (mainsail, lazy bag) to the boom (which I have done before when weathering a typhoon while moored), and then the raise the trysail.

Does anyone reading this who sails a Pacific Seacraft/Crealock 37 have a triple-reefed main? I can't get my head around how I'd use a third reef. I have two now, with lines leading to the cockpit. For a third reef, I would have to do something similar to the above, leaving the lazy bag open and lashing everything to the boom. It seems to be very messy thing. I'm inclined to think that a trysail would be better.

I welcome more comments. I'm about the buy new sails and I need to decide whether to get a trysail as part of the package -- and/or whether to have a third reef put in the main.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have a trysail (and a storm jib) on a Bristol 45.5. In 35K miles I have never even thought about the need to use the trysail. Seems to me that the money and space on the boat could be used better for other purposes.
I don't know anything about a Bristol 45. On my PS37, when the wind gets over about 25 kts I start thinking about a trysail. The PS37 (mine, at least, and I think many others) has lots of weather helm, which may be part of the reason. Of course the weather helm can be counteracted by headsails, but then I would have so much sail up that the boat is heeling uncomfortably, and leaning over in strong gusts. In strong winds I want less sail, not more.

I'm tentatively planning a trip that will put me in the North Pacific (way north, possibly Aleutians) before mid-year, so I can expect some very significant winds.
 

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Lantau,
I donot have a third reef in the main feeling that 2 reefs is certainly sufficient for almost all conditions.About rigging the storm tri remember that when you are down to storm tri you are in survival mode.Anything on deck or on the boom is probably going to be washed away.Hopefully you will have enough warning to rig everything before the blow starts.The good part is that a C37 is a very tough boat designed to get you through and bring you home,or as Bill Crealock said"she's designed for a sailors worst day at sea".
Good luck,
Dianne and Chuck Burke S/V NiftyNickers C37 #139
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Lantau,
...The good part is that a C37 is a very tough boat designed to get you through and bring you home,or as Bill Crealock said"she's designed for a sailors worst day at sea".
Good luck,
Dianne and Chuck Burke S/V NiftyNickers C37 #139
Thanks again Chuck. So many good ideas from your way...

Indeed, you are describing a very significant reason for having a PS37: it's a very strong boat that is likely to keep us safe in a storm. This is one reason I didn't buy one of the typical 'plastic fantastic' boats that cost half as much (or less than half as much). That said, I need a plan. I would like to just button up the boat and retreat down below in a storm, and that might be possible if there are many miles of searoom. If the sea room isn't there, I need a way to at least maintain position or creep upwind. That's where the trysail comes into the plan -- a plan that I might never need to implement (like man overboard, etc.).

At the same time, I can see a place for actually using a trysail in conditions well short of a storm. I was out in a Force 6 a few months back and envied another boat who was having fun sailing on a trysail alone...
 

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I don't know anything about a Bristol 45. On my PS37, when the wind gets over about 25 kts I start thinking about a trysail. The PS37 (mine, at least, and I think many others) has lots of weather helm, which may be part of the reason. Of course the weather helm can be counteracted by headsails, but then I would have so much sail up that the boat is heeling uncomfortably, and leaning over in strong gusts. In strong winds I want less sail, not more.

I'm tentatively planning a trip that will put me in the North Pacific (way north, possibly Aleutians) before mid-year, so I can expect some very significant winds.
25+ knots for trysail

Reminds of some friends who had a Crealock 34 and sailed extensively out of San Diego and the Pacific coast of Mexico (both areas of light winds). After their first season in the Caribbean they replaced the main with a main the size of double reef main ..... After one season of that the new smail main was left in the garage in Florida. After that season they had gotten used to the winds and reefing when necessary.

At 25 knots I am usually fairly comfortable with single reef, maybe thinking about about a second.

Weather Helm

If you believe the 37 has lots of weather helm I question on how your rig is set up compared to what Crealock specified. The Crealock is one of the most balanced boats I have ever been on. Many have commented on how well windvanes such as the Monitor work on the boat and windvanes have a bit of an issue with a heavy weather helm.

Have a great time on your trip to the Aleutians.

Regards
Marc Hall
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37 | SV Crazy Fish
 

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Discussion Starter #11
25+ knots for trysail

Reminds of some friends who had a Crealock 34 and sailed extensively out of San Diego and the Pacific coast of Mexico (both areas of light winds). After their first season in the Caribbean they replaced the main with a main the size of double reef main ..... After one season of that the new smail main was left in the garage in Florida. After that season they had gotten used to the winds and reefing when necessary.

At 25 knots I am usually fairly comfortable with single reef, maybe thinking about about a second.

Weather Helm

If you believe the 37 has lots of weather helm I question on how your rig is set up compared to what Crealock specified. The Crealock is one of the most balanced boats I have ever been on. Many have commented on how well windvanes such as the Monitor work on the boat and windvanes have a bit of an issue with a heavy weather helm.

Have a great time on your trip to the Aleutians.

Regards
Marc Hall
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37 | SV Crazy Fish
Thanks for these good ideas. As you say, the boat is very well balanced. It's super easy to set up my Monitor windvane and let it do most of the work in most conditions I have experienced (tricky when boat speed goes below 2kts, though). But the boat doesn't balance itself; all of this requires me to balance it first. More sails mean more options for balancing, including in very (very) strong winds, when that mainsail has an exponentially bigger effect. As I said before, I could always balance the main with headsails, but do I really want lots of headsail up in a storm? I don't think so.

My sails are just as Crealock recommended. It took me some time to realize this. Even all the reefing lines ('single-hander package') and sheets are exactly as he recommended. (By the way, he also specifies a storm trysail.) But there is just no way my boat will stay upright and on course on a beam reach in 25kts when a big gust comes by, even with a double reefed main, unless I'm constantly on the wheel changing course or manhandling the sails or both. I don't like a wild ride, and I don't like to work too hard (and cannot when single handed for very long) and (when not single handed) my first mate won't tolerate more than 15 degrees of heel (which is good, because after that the boat isn't as efficient as it should be).

I was not saying that at trysail is needed in 25kts, rather implying that using one above that could make for a nice easy sail -- which is what I like. But if I'm a thousand miles out and storm conditions arrive, it sure would be nice to have the trysail that Crealock recommends as an option. It may be like a life raft -- never to be used, ideally -- but good to have. Or, unlike a liferaft, I could use it the next time the wind is 25kts...
 

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I'm chiming in with thoughts from a PSC34 owner.

In 25 knots of wind on my PSC34 it's time to tuck in a second reef.

I had three reefs in my main. I have been out in winds up to 35 knots, deliberately and comfortably with the third reef. So I'd be thinking about a storm trysail in winds over 40 knots.

I was talking with friends about the storm trysail because I was thinking about getting one. They talked me out of it:
- because none of their circle of sailing friends has had occasion to use one
- because it's really challenging to set up: 30 minutes, multiple crew, strong winds, probably big seas; not something you want to do at night
- because it takes up space

One of my friends recommended I read and watch a video by Skip Novak who sails larger boats between Cape Horn and Antartica... he does this for fun. Skip advocated for putting a fourth reef in the main in lieu of a storm trysail... with approximately the same sail area as an appropriately sized storm trysail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P66FPQhRwy8

All of this information convinced me that a fourth reef might be a better alternative than a storm trysail so I had the sailmaker put the fourth reef in my main. I may never need that fourth reef, but I take some comfort in knowing that if it does get crazy windy, I have a straightforward plan of sail reduction.

Hope you find the right sailplan for your sailing!

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
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One of my friends recommended I read and watch a video by Skip Novak who sails larger boats between Cape Horn and Antartica... he does this for fun. Skip advocated for putting a fourth reef in the main in lieu of a storm trysail... with approximately the same sail area as an appropriately sized storm trysail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P66FPQhRwy8
...
Thanks Bob. Good stuff.

The Skip Novak video is interesting, but I wouldn't consider it to be very instructional. It's amazing to me that he has only one halyard on that boat. Even my little Crealock 37 has a spare. And why wasn't the trysail ready to go -- already on the track and ready to hoist -- before setting off? Of course he was trying to promote his alternative, but in doing so what he really does is show us some of the mistakes not to make.

He also understates the complications of adding a fourth reef and actually doing it. For those who don't have a fourth reef and all the lines installed already, it might be a lot easier just to drop the mainsail into the lazy bag (if you have one) and raise a trysail -- one that's already prepped to go at the mast and using a spare halyard, which I think is always a good idea to have. Six of one, half dozen the other?

One thing I learn about sailing alone most of the time is that I have to plan ahead and get ready in advance. With all those people on Novak's boat, I guess he has the luxury of not doing that so much. Or he wanted to make using his trysail look more difficult than it needs to be...

But still interesting and worth thinking about.
 

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S/V Argo-Pacific Seacraft
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Does anyone reading this who sails a Pacific Seacraft/Crealock 37 have a triple-reefed main? I can't get my head around how I'd use a third reef. I have two now, with lines leading to the cockpit. For a third reef, I would have to do something similar to the above, leaving the lazy bag open and lashing everything to the boom. It seems to be very messy thing. I'm inclined to think that a trysail would be better.

I welcome more comments. I'm about the buy new sails and I need to decide whether to get a trysail as part of the package -- and/or whether to have a third reef put in the main.

Thanks!
Lantau,

I have both. I had a third reef point put in a few years back that meets the IOC's rules for trysail area, and this past fall I bought a used trysail from Bacon. We only have jiffy reefing lines and clutches for two reef points, so typically keep them on #1 and #2, and plan to drop the sail all the way to rig #3, or just do it the old fashioned way w/o jiffy reefing.

That said, we had some concerns about using a third reefed main as a primary storm sail for several reasons. One, in testing at 35-40 kt, it didn't seem to balance and heave to well with the storm jib. Two, the construction details are not as robust as a trysail. And third, we wanted redundancy.

We only have lazy jacks on the main and a removable cover. We can rig the trysail in about 15 minutes right now (haven't practiced as much as we'd like), but it's pretty straightforward. I would say to watch the foot length because that can start to complicate the sheet leads to turning blocks, winches, etc.

Another option is a drogue, I'm just finishing up building a series drogue. If you have the sea room and just want to go below and run with the seas, it's a pretty good option. I plan on carrying the main with a third reef, storm jib and trysail, and the drogue for offshore work under the, "Two is one, one is none," philosophy of redundant ship systems and survivability. The beer, books, and clothes I sacrifice in stowage is more than worth the preparation and peace of mind.

Regards,
Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Ryan and everyone else for sharing ideas. It's fascinating how views vary dramatically on this topic. I guess that's normal for sailors.

Your message came at a good time. I just asked my sailmaker to add a third reef to my new mainsail, with the final reef leaving no more sail than Crealock recommended for a trysail.

As with your setup, I'll have to put in the third reef by hand. I don't have reefing horns (and don't want to add them), but I can find a way. My lazy bag is attached to the mast, but I can disconnect it on the starboard side when using a trysail, lashing everything down. Goodness knows how all of this would fair in a true storm, which we should still try to avoid.

Your comment about the shape of the trysail is important. I must check that again with my sailmaker. I would like to have the option of tying the clew to the boom OR running the sheets back to the cockpit.

I don't have a drogue (just a parachute anchor). I'll add that to the very long to-do list. Do you have a windvane steering system on the stern? Is there any conflict with the drogue line in practice? I have the stern anchor fairlead on the starboard quarter (the one with the rubber rollers), which is what I use for running lines off the stern (stern anchor rode, dinghy towing).

Maybe this thread should be more general: preparing for storm sailing.
 

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S/V Argo-Pacific Seacraft
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I don't have a drogue (just a parachute anchor). I'll add that to the very long to-do list. Do you have a windvane steering system on the stern? Is there any conflict with the drogue line in practice? I have the stern anchor fairlead on the starboard quarter (the one with the rubber rollers), which is what I use for running lines off the stern (stern anchor rode, dinghy towing).

Maybe this thread should be more general: preparing for storm sailing.
Landau,

My Master Plan involved prepping the boat over the winter and sailing to Bermuda from Baltimore this may, getting back yesterday. However, a knee replacement got in the way of that.

I have a Hydrovane self-steering unit partially installed. I plan to run the drogue bridle from the after cleats and chocks. I made the bridle legs extra long to avoid fouling or chafing on the hydrovane, but haven't been able to check yet. Worst case I can rebuild the bridle legs longer.

The Bermuda trip was supposed to be the offshore shakedown cruise to sort some of these things out, but alas, it will have to wait til next year.

Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This discussion has convinced me that I definitely need at least a third reef in my new mainsail.

My sail maker wants to add "pig's ears" (or "pig ears" or "pig-ears" -- different terms are used in different diagrams they have sent to me) to the luff cringle on the third (uppermost) reef. I have not heard of pig's ears on a mainsail and don't know how to use them. My guess is that they are intended to be hooked onto the reefing horns (which I don't have), but could also aid tying the tack down when reefing (my first two reefs are controlled via lines to the cockpit; the third will be done at the mast).

Can anyone explain to me how pig's ears are used? I have not been able to find any reference to them on the internet (but I'm not very good at internet searches).

Thank you.
 

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S/V Argo-Pacific Seacraft
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This discussion has convinced me that I definitely need at least a third reef in my new mainsail.

My sail maker wants to add "pig's ears" (or "pig ears" or "pig-ears" -- different terms are used in different diagrams they have sent to me) to the luff cringle on the third (uppermost) reef. I have not heard of pig's ears on a mainsail and don't know how to use them. My guess is that they are intended to be hooked onto the reefing horns (which I don't have), but could also aid tying the tack down when reefing (my first two reefs are controlled via lines to the cockpit; the third will be done at the mast).

Can anyone explain to me how pig's ears are used? I have not been able to find any reference to them on the internet (but I'm not very good at internet searches).

Thank you.
Landau,

That's pretty much it, I've always called them "pigtails". It's a short length of webbing (4-6" probably) folded over so it's several layers thick with a stainless steel ring in each end such that one ring is on each side of the sail. Once you haul down to reef, you hook them onto the reefing horns, then you can tension back up with the Halyard. If it's anything more than the most casual weather, we still go up forward and do this even with the jiffy reefing lines. I tried to attach a sketch that shows this, though not sure if it came through.

Also, depending on your jiffy reefing set up, if the reef lines don't have a block on the mast such that pull DIRECTLY DOWN from the reefing cringle on the leech, it ends up pulling more back than down. And if you secure the reefer portion of your sail to the mast too tightly, a gust and pull the sail up at the clew and rip the sail. Wide open. Happened to us in the Bahamas. So we manually downhaul the leech cringle with a separate piece of line now.

Hope this helps.

Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks again Ryan.

Indeed, my reefing system pulls the sail directly down using lines passing around cheek blocks on the boom, then eventually back to the cockpit. I have separate lines to tack and clew (that is, two lines for each reef). I have two deep reefs now. The third reef on the new sail will leave about as much sail area as a storm trysail.

My problem, which I'm sure I can resolve, is that I don't have reefing horns, and ideally I won't have to install them. I'm sure I can manage the third-reef tack by running a line through the cringle (or the pigtails) and then down to chocks on the mast (which I believe are there because Crealock intended them for traditional reefing). Worst case I will have to install reefing horns. What I can't quite get my head around is how best to manage the clew. I guess I can secure it to the boom by running a line through the eyes on the underside of the boom that hold the mainsheet blocks (three of them, so I have choices of location along the boom to get the angle about right). But a worry is chafe on all of these lines.

This "problem" highlights one of the advantages of having a cruising sailboat: even if you don't go sailing, all the equipment and gadgets keep you occupied so you aren't thinking about work (for one's employer, that is; then again, you have to go back to work to pay for it all...).
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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The only problem I see with a third reef is that if it gets used instead of a trysail, it will likely damage a nice cruising sail. Better to have a really heavy sail made for those kinds of conditions. My trysail takes up very little room. It's just not that much canvas. I have never used it for real and hope to never have to:)

I have found that too much weather helm is mostly caused by poor sail trim, carrying too much sail for the wind speed, and poor rigging adjustment. It's about getting the center of effort of the sail in the right place. Forestay tension and length, Cunningham use, luff and foot tension, twist, etc. all have a lot to do with weather helm problems. In very gusty conditions, I've found that weather helm is going to happen to some extent but the boat should not be rounding up out of control into the wind. If that is happening, there is simply too much sail up for the conditions.
 
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