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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Roberts Mauritius 45 foot ketch, 18 tonne steel boat. I have a furling genoa, main and mizzen sail. Also, I have a detachable inner stay fore the main mast and aft the furling stay.

From what I have learned I need to use the furling genoa with moderate winds. On average, past 12 knots I tend to reef the furling genoa. Around 15 knots I reduce the size of the main. I use the mizzen to compensate for weather helm or lee helm. Now I need to know how bad it has to be for me to put on the trysail and then the storm jib. I have never experienced really bad weather conditions. So, please give me an idea in knots about when to have one or these two sails up.

1) When and under what conditions should the trysail be used, knots, etc.
2) When and under what conditions should the storm jib be used, knots, etc.
3) Can the Fuling be used as a storm jib by reducing its size to a bare minimum or is it better to have the proper storm jib on.

Also, I have never used the stay sail on the detachable stay beetween the main mast and the main aft stay.

4) What would you recommend. Should I just stick to using the furling genoa and reef it according to conditions. Would you recommend to use of the staysail and the furling genoa at the same time when facing moderate conditions.

And last but not least. I have a spinnaker, but I haven't used it ever. I know that it should be used windward when winds are light, opposite to the main, and that I should reef the furling completely.

5) What is a safe limit in knots and others, for the use of the spinnaker.

Before hand, thank you very much for your help. You have been very good to me.

All the best.

Keko.
 

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I'm surprised at the relatively low wind speeds that drive you to reef. What size is your genoa?

My 40 ft sloop weights 11 tonnes. With the 135 genoa on the furler I reef down to about 100 at 15 knots. Offshore I have a 100 jib on the furler and don't touch it until after three reefs in the main. First reef in the main at 18-20 (apparent). Second reef at roughly 25-28 but really driven by 10 degrees of weather helm. Third reef again driven by weather helm but generally around 35 kts apparent. Somewhere around 40 apparent I roll up the jib/genoa entirely and use the staysail on a removable forestay.

Opinion: always rig the inner forestay and hank on the staysail when going offshore - it's too late to rig once the weather gets bad.

I suspect that you have a quite big genoa that is throwing off the balance of your boat and driving the early reefing. The shape is bad as your roll it up and the windage continues to drive heel. Am I off base?

With a balanced sail plan I would expect you to start reefing the main first, then switch from jib to staysail, and then roll in some mizzen. By that point you would be in 50ish knots.

Where are you geographically?
 

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In my opinion, you wi lln ot need your try sail. with a similiar rig of yours storm jib and the mizzen should be able to cope with any wind.

If you are running with the wind you can use the storm jib alone, otherwise you will need both strorm jib and the mizzen (maybe reefed if it is large enough).

you may stay nearly hove to if you use only the mizzen sail. It is very diffiucult to give figures for wind speed for changing sails. One of the famous sailors states: If you start asking yourself the question "Do I need to reef?",it ishe exact time to reef. If you are sailing downwind you might stick to larger sail areas than you are going upwind.
 

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There really aren't set figures for using the sails. You have to judge by how your boat handles the wind. Is this your first boat, or first big boat? Study and practice. There are plenty of good books on sailing. Try to find someone who has experience to sail with you.
 

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I don't know your boat specifically but:
A deeply rolled large genoa is very inefficient and should probably have been rolled away and stowed before you get to 20k. A smaller rollerfurling jib could be carried longer but, again, when deeply rolled it will be inefficient - giving windage far forward but not providing much drive.
With a cutter rig beyond 25k I'd be using just a staysail and maybe a single reefed main, perhaps with a reefed mizzen for balance. If the wind goes higher and you continue to beat you would switch to your storm jib on the staysail stay and, being a ketch, you could consider dropping the main and using 'jib and jigger' - storm jib and mizzen. Personally I didn't like this configuration on my ketch and would have taken down the mizzen at 25k and had a double reef in the main.
With storm jib and deeply reefed main you should be able to make headway in 35 - 40k. Beyond that I'd be hove-to, or running downwind.
I've never used a trisail, a deeply reefed main has always done the job for me. If you have a particularly large main (unlikely on a ketch) a trisail would make more sense.
Others will have different opinions I'm sure.
 

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Also consider durability of the sailcloth. If what you're doing involves much luffing or chafing of sailcloth, you may shred or blow out your basic sails if you're in the strong wind long enough. the storm jib/ trysail will be 2-3 times as thick as your working sails, and way stronger around the connection points.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you S/V Auspicious, celenoglu, john1066 and nolatom. Your advice is more than wellcome. I am located in Melbourne, Australia. I normally do my sailing in Port Phillip Bay. I have sailed from Hobart-Tasmania to Port Phillip Bay. Yes, this is my first sailing boat. I haven't had much experience with heavy weather. I have never used my spinnaker, storm jib, stay sail and traysail. I have just installed a new Furuno 1715 on the Mizzen mast, at about 21 feet from the water level and I am learnig to use for the first time.

Once again thank you for your insights. I am looking forward to trying your advice.

Keko
 

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Keko,

I used to own a Roberts 45 Classic ketch, which is very similar to your Mauritius 45. Main difference is probably the keel (mine was full where your's is probably separate keel and skeg) and mine was fibreglass so a bit lighter, around 14 tonne. So probably very similar performance.

My rig was also similar in furling genoa, main and mizzen however my inner forestay was fixed and I had a staysail (as well as a storm jib) so would probably be described as cutter / ketch.

In nearly all conditions I would not start reefing anything below 15-18 knots. Above 15-18 knots I would first put a reef in the main.

Above 20-22 knots it depends on which way you are heading. If I was heading upwind I would tend to furl the genoa 2-3 feet, unless I believed the wind was going to keep increasing. If I thought it would be above 25 knots I would fully reef the genoa and switch to the staysail on the inner forestay. I have used this combination up to 35 knots going upwind (with the engine chugging along at 1,500rpm in the last part to improve pointing and get into Bunbury harbour) and the boat felt nicely balanced. Plenty of water over the bow, however my old yacht had a pilothouse so it was'nt an issue.

Going downwind above 20-22 knots I would tend to get rid of the main and just use the genoa, and start furling the genoa above 25 knots. Above 30 knots I would fully furl the genoa and just use the staysail. Going downwind I use to often "wing and wing" the partially fueled genoa and the staysail, especially if I had already gotten rid of the main. Meant that the boat was more balanced plus it meant going forward in lighter breezes to hoist the staysail. Again I have carried just the staysail downwind in 35-40 knots and apart from one instance when the fitting blew apart on a jibe no problem (next time I would probably "tack" the boat in 40 knots rather than "jibe" :D )

Note that I have not mentioned the mizzen and in the 5 years I owned the Roberts we rarely used the mizzen. In broad reaches it would add a couple of knots to the boat speed, however above 15 konts of wind the yacht would be doing hull speed with genoa and main, hence hoisting the mizzen was'nt neccessary. Note that the mizzen really worked well by itself when heaving-too.

With regard to the storm jib, we never took it out of the bag. I guess above 40 knots you would look at the storm jib, however above this windspeed going upwind you would not be making any progress without the engine and I would probably be looking at heaving-too in those conditions. Going downwind above 40 knots you may want some sail to help balance the boat, however you would probably be doing hull speed with a bare rig. If you were broad reaching above 40 knots I would probably be looking at a double or tripple reefed main.

Hope this helps. Below is a photo of one of the few times just about "everything" was up, around 10-12 knots broad reach on the way out to the Abrolhos Islands.

Have fun with your Mauritius.

Ilenart


 

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Discussion Starter #9
Big thanks Ilenart. When you haven't gained enough sailing experience like me; your sharing of your own experiences helps me a good deal. In addition, I get more confident about handling my boat.

One more question sailors: Where would be the ideal place for the storm jib in a ketch, in the inner stay (in my case the removable stay) or around the Furling Genoa?

Thank you very much.

Keko
 

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definitely the inner stay / removable stay. Your storm jib should be small enough to fit and will be a lot easier to rig further back where the inner forestay attaches, rather than further forward. Bringing it closer to the mast should also help balance the boat.

Ilenart
 

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When you get in high wind conditions the reason to use the storm sails is often to save the bigger sails. High winds can flog a sail to death is very short order, and flog they will, no matter what you do. And then you are really stuck unless you have a good sailmaker aboard. A storm trysail allows you to lash down the boom, which can be a man killer as it flails in high winds with the boat being tossed around by big waves. A storm jib on a forestay brings the sail inboard and gives better balance and certainly better shape than a rolled up genoa on a headstay and saves the genny for when the wind abates and you want to get to where you're going. Two small sails close to the center of effort are much better for boat balance than spreading them out as would happen with a rolled up genoa.

As to when to go to storm sails... it depends. You can't just give a wind speed. What kind of crew do you have at the time? With a crack, ocean savvy and large racing crew I hold on till the last possible moment. If I'm cruising shorthanded or out with inexperienced sailors I would shorten sail dramatically early in the game and certainly if it was getting late in the day. Also what heading to the wind are you making? I could see running before the wind with just a bit of a rolled up genoa showing but not trying to claw into it. Do you foresee heaving to? Nothing beats riding out a disturbance hove to with a Trysail and a Spitfire jib, sitting dry under the dodger with a cup of something hot in your hand.

It is impossible to give hard and fast answers. It depends on the boat, the crew (and the state of the crew - seasick? scared? hurt? exhausted? - or doing fine and eager for the challenge), the skipper (is he/she relaxed, confident and giving the rest of the crew confidence?) , the location (near a lee shore?). The list goes on. One of my favorite quotes comes from Will Rogers and fits the situation (and me)

"Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."
 

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Any recomendations for the Gale Sale if I do not have any inner forestay? I was also thinking of purchasing incase my furling sail gets blown out I could hoist the Gale Sail.
Regards
 
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