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Discussion Starter #21
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.
Excellent points. I should keep in mind your point about not using the third reef as a substitute for a trysail. Having said that, the weight of my new mainsail will be the same as the weight that my sail maker proposes for the trysail. I assume the trysail has stronger stitching and reinforcing, but maybe this will be built into the third reef. If the stitching is strong, that final reef will be very sturdy. The sail area will be low (about 60'), so there will be much stress on everything than from a larger area of sail -- but of course in very high winds even that tiny bit of sail will be subject to tremendous forces. I like the boat to be at ease as much as possible (I make changes anytime heel goes over 15 degrees), so I expect to use that third reef quite often in winds far below the point where a trysail would be necessary.

Regarding your comments on trim, you remind me that I must check the headstay tension (mental note: add this to the to-do list). I doubt I'll ever have perfectly trimmed sails. I do try, but there are so many variables that I usually settle for "good enough," especially when not going very far. My first mate thinks I'm anal about sail trim, but I think I'm lazy about it...
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Excellent points. I should keep in mind your point about not using the third reef as a substitute for a trysail. Having said that, the weight of my new mainsail will be the same as the weight that my sail maker proposes for the trysail. I assume the trysail has stronger stitching and reinforcing, but maybe this will be built into the third reef. If the stitching is strong, that final reef will be very sturdy. The sail area will be low (about 60'), so there will be much stress on everything than from a larger area of sail -- but of course in very high winds even that tiny bit of sail will be subject to tremendous forces. I like the boat to be at ease as much as possible (I make changes anytime heel goes over 15 degrees), so I expect to use that third reef quite often in winds far below the point where a trysail would be necessary.

Regarding your comments on trim, you remind me that I must check the headstay tension (mental note: add this to the to-do list). I doubt I'll ever have perfectly trimmed sails. I do try, but there are so many variables that I usually settle for "good enough," especially when not going very far. My first mate thinks I'm anal about sail trim, but I think I'm lazy about it...
I sewed the trysail from a Sailrite kit. It is all triple stitched, 10 oz cloth, with very heavy patching and heavy hand-sewn corner grommets. They are obviously made to take a beating that would shred a regular sail. The shape of a Trysail seems to be different as well as it gets the maximum wind force lower than a third reef would be. I would love to have a second mast track which many boats have for the storm sail but will have to tie up the main tightly and drop the boom to use the trysail. I don't see a real reason to remove a mainsail completely if it gets wrapped tightly around the boom. Maybe AFTER all else is accomplished it could come off. I also bought a sea anchor and made a drogue which hopefully all stay buried deep inside a locker along with the trysail but it's nice to know they are there.

I have never deployed these pieces of gear in heavy wind which bothers me a bit. I made up some well though out, large print, detailed, step by step laminated instruction sheets which are right in the bags so the procedures for deploying (especially the sea anchor) can be reviewed before making some big mistake and putting the cart before the horse, like getting a line on the wrong side of the lifelines, etc.

After dealing with excessive weather helm, I shortened my headstay by close to 2" when installing new rigging. It made a big difference. That is definitely something to check, especially on a boat with a large mainsail like the older designs.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
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. ...
I probably have this wrong, but I think I'll ask the sail maker NOT to install the pigtails/pig's ears. They would have to be rather long to reach the reefing horns -- to get past all the battcars stacked up at the mast -- and I don't want the tails/ears flopping around way up there on the sail. I'll plan to reeve a line through the reef clew cringle, hook one end on a reefing horn and the other around a mast cleat. A bit of tension will keep this line from jumping off the horn until I get back to the cockpit to tension up the halyard. The third reef will be very traditional, which isn't such a bad thing I guess.

Now I must put more thought into the trysail. My sail maker wants to use 8.8 oz. ('US weight') Challenge cloth, which is what the mainsail will be made from. I guess I should defer to them. It seems a bit lightweight, but I guess these latest Dacron weaves are sufficiently strong and it'll depend on the strength/quality of the stitching.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I sewed the trysail from a Sailrite kit. It is all triple stitched, 10 oz cloth, with very heavy patching and heavy hand-sewn corner grommets. ...
smurphny,

Do you by chance know the measurements of your staysail?

My sailmaker has proposed 5.0m luff x 2.54m foot x 5.54m leech. Is that about right?

Many thanks!
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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smurphny,

Do you by chance know the measurements of your staysail?

My sailmaker has proposed 5.0m luff x 2.54m foot x 5.54m leech. Is that about right?

Many thanks!
I used the m/ms in Sailrite's database which seemed pretty close to what I wanted. If anything I might have made it smaller but decided to sew in a reef/second grommet on it which makes it "postage stamp" sized. The Sailrite site has sail m/ms for lots of boats: ALBERG 35 (hul no 222+) Sailboat SailPlan Data and Sail Quoting System

Your dimensions sound like they are correct.
 

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Crealock 37
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676 Posts
Lantau,

I apologize for taking so long to get back to this.

My trysail measurements center of grommet to center of grommet:

Foot 10' 2"

Luff 15' 5"

Leech 19' 10"

 
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