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Downwind tradewind rigs thoughts - cheap/easy to handle


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Bear with me, this is a long post...a bit of a brain dump as I try to think through and understand pros/cons of various downwind/tradewind sailing rigs —for a singlehanded or, more likely/more frequently, shorthanded (2-3) crew that compromise between cost (#1 priority), and ease of handling and performance.  In that order of importance: low cost most important, ease of handling a close second.  As for performance, very low priority, really - just go downwind at a reasonable speed - so won’t even talk about performance. This is basic cruising, not racing. Let’s assume downwind NE trades cruising to Hawaii, or UK to Caribbean.  What’s a good choice that balances off low cost with ease of handling?  Trying to get the most for the least $$.

If you’re an impatient type, skip to the end, where the punchline/executive summary is - but wading through all the points below might be interesting/useful, and I’d welcome any critiques of my reasoning.  Reading stuff amd thinking things through, I realized how little I know about sail stuff, and understanding strategies for various types of sailing is important. My experience level isn’t there, y I’ve never really raced, which o see can (sometimes) be a huge asset.  Anyway, my laboured thinking process for choosing a downwind/trade wind sailing set up without spending tons of money...hopefully :-)  Again, assume NE trades to Hawaii or Caribbean.

1) mainsail/boom forward and prevented, headsail poled out.  Cheapest (assuming you already have a pole, as most do), easy to handle...well easy downwind, that is, until you have to round up to shorten sail in the middle of the night in a sudden line squall from astern.  But in some ways, the best choice: cheap (assuming you have pole), simple (no major extra gear needed), easy to handle until needing to shorten sail/deal with pole.  Pay attention to the weather. Her lucky  :-) My pole doesn’t stow on the mast, which is probably why I’d be hesitant with this approach single or shorthanded offshore downwind in the trades - maybe if pole is made more easily handled, off the mast, I’d accept the compromises inherent in this set up in exchange for it being very cheap - virtually nothing new to add/change.  (And, yes, the boat will roll horribly in swells downwind day after day after day...)
 

2) symmetrical spinnaker: cheapest (b/c many older boats already have this set up available), but probably hardest to handle (needs crew to manage typically).  Not a real “practical” option unless you enjoy tweaking stuff undersail (which is ok, but I’m thinking lazy cruising here, not active ‘performance cruising” or racing).

3) symm spinnaker set up to run like an asymm - still cheap b/c you can set up the old symmetrical spinn you already have to sorta work like an assymetrical (by using an ATN tacker, or with a homemade device like that using parrel beads [thanks @SloopJohnB for the info on these in some earlier post...].  Relatively easy to handle with a sock - accept the extra control lines for the sock. Seems reasonably easy to douse if having to deal with squalls from astern (i.e., no need to round up, as with a poled out Genoa). Pretty cheap - sock (get a good one from ATN with apparently an improved control line set up that minimizes tangles, etc compared to “old school” sock with lines that are not captive in pockets, or something like that), and an ATN tacker (or make a simple parrel beads ring thingie).

4) assym spinn: gets too expensive b/c you need to have one purpose made.  Not a realistic option now for me b/c of cost. Need gear to handle (sock or furler?). Expensive overall. And only single purpose - just for downwind.

5) twin headsails: cheap if you have a twin luff groove furler foil, and a smaller working headsail -as many do anyway to supplement their larger Genoa. I plan to have such a smaller working headsail made anyway, and many offshore boats would too, so I don’t factor this in as a “cost”.  However, my foil has only one luff groove.  Relatively expensive to upgrade to twin luff groove foil/relatively complicated (detach headstay and furler), but not that hard, since I installed my furler myself.  Just seems pretty expensive to upgrade foils.  Haven’t checked price but likely pricey.

6) twin headsails, without twin luff groove foil??? An article I read on twin headsails says, “Most of us cruising types have twin luff groove headsail furling systems on our sailboats, which are ideal for tradewind sailing. But rather than hoisting two headsails at the same time, each in their respective luff groove, a better approach is to attach a good quality block to the head shackle on the top swivel and reeve a 6mm Spectra halyard through it with both ends tied off to the tack swivel on the furling drum.  The usual headsail can be hoisted and operated in the normal way and the second headsail hoisted only when needed.“ (from: https://www.sailboat-cruising.com/tradewinds-sailing.html )

WTF?  Anyone understand how you’d raise and operate a second headsail on a halyard reeved this way?  I don’t get it at all.  Seems like a very cheap way to set up two headsails without a twin luff groove furler foil.  But also seems to good to be true.  What I don’t like about the twin headsail approach overall, though, whether in a twin luff groove foil or not (using Spectra halyard, described above) is the need for a second pole. Expensive, and a pole/piece of gear that’s basically single-purpose.

7) Twin headsails, with second headsail set flying (no need for second luff groove).  The article above goes on to say, without providing more info, “In the absence of a spare luff groove, the second headsail can be set flying, but this is likely to induce more rolling than the twin-luff set-up.”  I guess you just attach head to halyard and tack to a tack shackle; luff remains loose. Maybe worth trying just to see what the deal is.  But, again, presumably requires a second pole.

8) specialized dual-purpose  “Tradewind Sail” that works like twin jibs downwind, 150-180 degrees, but only requires one pole, can be furled if desired (requires a Code Zero type continuous line furler, I think?) - and also works, with one side of the sail folded over on itself (two ply) as a reaching sail, with wind 70-140 degrees, much like a Code Zero.  I’d never heard of these until the other day when a sailmaker was describing them to me in the midst of talking about my new mainsail, and I was highly skeptical —having a very hard time imagining what they were talking about— yet quite curious...which led to me looking into them, and writing this super long post after thinking through various trade wind route headsail strategies.

This seems like a pretty damn cool sail since it’s pretty versatile.  Not cheap to have made, certainly - but it seems like it would eliminate the need for me to have a new Genoa made, which I’d been planning since mine is utterly toast (sorta ok just for local sailing), as I reckoned I needed a Genoa as part of my downwind offshore sail inventory - and it works as a light air reaching sail too, which is very good.  Just supplement my headsail inventory with a working jib for the furler (I have a staysail, too, as we’re cutter rigged), and with one sail (the “Tradewind Sail” I’d be sorted for downwind, through reaching in light air; then strike that and fly smaller jib and staysail for reaching in higher winds...then furl jib and reef staysail (and reef main) for heavier air.  (Much beyond this is a different set of concerns/sails.)

In sum...for bang for the buck, and ease of handling, it seems like 3) symm spinn set up to run like an assym is cheapest/easiest to setup, and pretty easy to handle provided your sock is set up well. (I.e., the improved ATN sock which apparently has less prone to tangle/foul lines).  Downside is the cost of the ATN sock, surprisingly expensive (and not strictly required).  We could likely figure out an easy way to modify/improve our sock on the sewing machine.

Best overall value seems like it would be the “Tradewind Sail” - versatile —basically does the work of two sails/two different angle sailing “types”; eliminates the need for me to have a new Genoa made.  No need for a second pole. Now, as to the actual cost of the sail, stay tuned... :-)

Would be interested to learn more about these, see one used, especially being “converted” from downwind use to reaching.  And how do you shorten sail without a dedicated Code Zero type furler? (The North Sails page for the sail says “optional furler”.  The pic below of the sail on downwind mode appears to show the sail’s tack attached to the Genoa furler...but maybe that’s just poor pic quality, and there is another furler forward?  But if a furler is “optional”, how in the hell would you manage the sail in downwind mode without a furler?!  Questions :-)

 

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  • Jud - s/v Sputnik changed the title to Downwind tradewind rigs thoughts - cheap/easy to handle

Well if criteria is cheap & easy to handle, jib on a stick wins hands down, no contest. Next best is setting a 2nd headsail either loose - luffed or on a temporary headstay (on hanks, so can be dropped under control. 3rd would be a custom twin sail (like the blue North set up) on a furler. last is any sort of spi.

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I will chime in with what might not work.  Asyms on my displacement boat without a sprit, I just run the tack line through the anchor roller, don't seem to work at angles  sort of near downwind, sort of like a genoa, they get back winded by the main.  On a broad reach they seem really great, easy to handle (without a sock, but my boat is only 34' and fractional rigged), but you would have to gybe to maintain angles if you didn't want to pole it out like a genoa (have not even tried that yet).  It is a little more stable than a genoa "wing and wing" without a pole, but not by much.  All that might just be due to the sail I have though.

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Your problem is, you start with an unstated assumption and then work away from there.

If you want a downwind rig that's cheap and easy to handle, you get a junk rig.

But you never considered that possibility so - shrug.

Takes me maybe 30 seconds to reef my 380 sq ft mailsail on any point of sail. And going downwind under main and fore wing and wing is dead simple.

FKT

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14 minutes ago, longy said:

Well if criteria is cheap & easy to handle, jib on a stick wins hands down, no contest. Next best is setting a 2nd headsail either loose - luffed or on a temporary headstay (on hanks, so can be dropped under control. 3rd would be a custom twin sail (like the blue North set up) on a furler. last is any sort of spi.

Ok, but the jib on a stick option, while cheap, isn’t necessarily “easy to handle”, though, no?  Because of the need to round up to reef?  I’ve limited experience - but what I’ve read is that it’s not great- 15-20 kts downwind in the trades, heavier air squalls come up from astern, your singlehanding or short handed, tricky to deal with.  Versus the North type sail on a small furler.

I guess by “easy to handle” I meant easy to handle while sailing downwind —and also easy to handle when winds get up and you have to reef. I realize there’s no magic bullet here with a Marconi rig...but I like the North Sails idea more and more.  But the cost...?

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If there is much breeze at all, I gybe downwind, so no pole needed, just main and jib, trimmed for apparent wind on the beam. That is certainly the cheapest and fastest and safest and most comfortable approach.

If its under about 5 knots true, then DDW works for me, but it's barely faster than gybing. My jib is fully battened (obviously non overlapping) with the lowest batten running from the clew to the luff perpendicular. So that lower batten puts downward pressure on the clew, and we can sail wing and wing without a pole. The price of making the jib fully battened was a few hundred dollars. Pretty darn cheap, safe, fast, easy, but of course not as comfortable.

When cruising, rolling is simply awful and very much to be avoided. Sailing in big seas DDW with any sail configuration is an uncomfortable and dangerous way to sail.

Here we are in 10-12 knots, sailing downwind gybing angle, main and jib.

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2 minutes ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Your problem is, you start with an unstated assumption and then work away from there.

If you want a downwind rig that's cheap and easy to handle, you get a junk rig.

But you never considered that possibility so - shrug.

Takes me maybe 30 seconds to reef my 380 sq ft mailsail on any point of sail. And going downwind under main and fore wing and wing is dead simple.

FKT

Sure, but changing my rig to a junk rig is by far the most expensive option of all!  But I’ll plan for that “next time” :-)  (I do certainly understand their benefits.)

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1 minute ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Sure, but changing my rig to a junk rig is by far the most expensive option of all!  But I’ll plan for that “next time” :-)  (I do certainly understand their benefits.)

You didn't specify starting with your existing hull :-) That was another unstated assumption.

If you had then I'd agree with you. Changing a rig to any other rig is going to be an expensive PITA.

I just got the monster balance wheel hand crank for my Sailrite sewing machine and am waiting on the thread to arrive. Then as soon as I get the bloody dodger out of the shed and onto the boat I can start making my new smaller mainsail. Maybe another month.

FKT

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6 minutes ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

You didn't specify starting with your existing hull :-) That was another unstated assumption.

If you had then I'd agree with you. Changing a rig to any other rig is going to be an expensive PITA.

Marconi rig.  Heavy displacement fin keel/skeg-hung rudder 33’ cruising boat.  Downwind to Hawaii.  Short handed, relatively inexperienced crew. Occasionally singlehanded.  Not focused on performance.  Safety and ease of handling while sailing and reefing are large priorities.  Not a large budget, but “safety conscious” and focused on upgrading to new stuff where needed (e.g., new mainsail, and standing and running rigging, etc.).  No interest in changing the rig.  No automatic weapons on board (that I know of). Tried and true anchors subjected to every possible load and aesthetic test per the Anchor Geekdom thread. Etc.  Those are the base assumptions.

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You must remember that in trade winds you typically have ample wind. In the Atlantic and Pacific generally 10 -15 apparent, in the Indian Ocean 20 to 30 knots. For us, heavy hull Marconi-rig we used a full Genoa with reefing done on the main (we had furling main so we could have the equivalent of seven reefs if we wanted it. This also kept the sail area forward which helped the Monitor steer. In lighter stuff, we often used the spinnaker pole that came with the boat - a beast that was something like 19' feet long with a lift, forgery, and after guy or we used the asymmetric (with a sleeve). The asymm worked well but we used only to about 13 knots true and did not use it at night. We ran a preventer from the boom to the bow. All this took time to set-up but was not hard and one person could do it, perhaps with a second person in the cockpit to pull strings. You don't need an asymm, but nice, but you do need a pole.

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Jib on a stick is easy if you have a simple bridle for the stick - stick doesn't move and furl/unfurl the genoa as needed. I find connecting the tack of my cruising assy to the stick also helps get a little more angle DW .   I have a permanent preventer on the boom and foreguys going to the bow serve double duty for my mainsail and run back to clutches   I store my stick on the mast. Between that and my afterguy/sheets, getting a downwind set up going is very quick and simple. 

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@carcrash nailed it. You left out the most obvious, default, choice for a Marconi rig: main and headsail. There's a long and oft-repeated list of reasons for sailing higher angles. To that I like to add one more: From time to time you can choose the favored gybe. Perhaps for distance to destination, but more often to sail towards favorable pressure or perhaps away from an unfavorable squall (the ones with waterspouts ferzample).

No preventers, trivial shortening of sail, no rolling, higher speed, more pressure on the windvane, nice gurgle-y sounds, zero cost, no poles, etc. When things are right, and you feel like it, pop some kind of flying headsail.

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I've done a fair amount of this type of sailing, and learned the real lessons doing a circumnavigation on a traditional heavy cutter, albeit one with a big modern rig and a full Harken racing deck layout. 

Started out with the classic asym tacked on centerline, which works fine to an AWA of about 118-120, after which it starts collapsing and is fairly useless.

I had a 1.2 J carbon pole to use with that with either the tack or clew on the pole, but it was still too big to sail DDW.

Threw away the original Doyle 135% reefing genoa in NZ, and had Norths Sails NZ build a very good 117% genoa with fairly high cut clew.

That sets perfectly on a 1.2 J pole rigged as a conventional spinnaker pole with topping lift and foreguy, but set with the clew on the pole rather than the tack. Pole is set with a lifting purchase on the inboard end mast track, just like a conventional spinnaker pole.

Main boom set on the opposite side with a preventer to the bow and led aft to a cockpit winch and big clutch, and a big Lewmar soft vang with a dacron "diaper"  over the boom basically at a position to lead up and down to the outboard track on the rail. (This is a very deep boom section, so no danger of breaking it in the middle as might be the case with a more typical shallow boom.)

Part of the vang load is shared by a big Hall Quickvang  rigged conventionally, but it took a while to balance that load, shearing a shackle in the vang as part of the learning process.

You can literally run dead downwind with this rig without touching anything, and can vary the course by about 10 degrees with all adjustments made from the cockpit.

If you want to move up to a broad reach, you ease the pole forward as you would with a spinnaker, taking up on the foreguy, and roll in a enough headsail so the it continues to set properly. Trim the mainsail in as required, easing the soft vang to enable that.

This is a very powerful downwind setup, once I got it all figured out after a frustrating and slow downhill passage from the Galapagos to the Marquesas using the painfully slow A-sail tacked on centerline set-up.

We first used this arrangement across the Tasman from NZ to Brisbane AUS, then with great effect across the Indian Ocean. On both of those passages, we averaged 150 miles per day on a 30,000 pound fairly traditional custom 40' footer.

It came into its own on a transatlantic from the Canaries to Antigua, when we did 2800+ miles in 18 days two hours, doing everything from dead down wind  to near-beam reaching with this same rig, with the pole eased or trimmed, headsail rolled in and out, and main trimmed or eased to suit. It blew stink on that passage, averaging more than 25 knots for about half of it, after blowing about 10 knots for the first third.

Part of the key to this is the overlength carbon pole. Ours was an unused surplus pole built by Hall for a Reichel-Pugh 45, so it was plenty strong enough.

This was an experienced old geezer couple (about 75,000 bluewater miles, including 40,000 miles together by the end of this trip) on a boat they built themselves for the trip.

 

 

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I'm guessing, but it seems Jud thinks he has to go upwind to furl a genoa on a pole. You don't. You just roll it up under full control and leave out what you want. This assumes your furling gear works the way it should.

Going down the west coast from Friday Harbor to San Francisco, we ran into some heavy weather and kept shortening sail. With the boom furling on the main and the genny on a furler, we just kept rolling it up. Since it was mid-fifties gusting into the low sixties we eventually took in the genny completely.

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1 hour ago, accnick said:

I've done a fair amount of this type of sailing, and learned the real lessons doing a circumnavigation on a traditional heavy cutter, albeit one with a big modern rig and a full Harken racing deck layout. 

Started out with the classic asym tacked on centerline, which works fine to an AWA of about 118-120, after which it starts collapsing and is fairly useless.

I had a 1.2 J carbon pole to use with that with either the tack or clew on the pole, but it was still too big to sail DDW.

Threw away the original Doyle 135% reefing genoa in NZ, and had Norths Sails NZ build a very good 117% genoa with fairly high cut clew.

That sets perfectly on a 1.2 J pole rigged as a conventional spinnaker pole with topping lift and foreguy, but set with the clew on the pole rather than the tack. Pole is set with a lifting purchase on the inboard end mast track, just like a conventional spinnaker pole.

Main boom set on the opposite side with a preventer to the bow and led aft to a cockpit winch and big clutch, and a big Lewmar soft vang with a dacron "diaper"  over the boom basically at a position to lead up and down to the outboard track on the rail. (This is a very deep boom section, so no danger of breaking it in the middle as might be the case with a more typical shallow boom.)

Part of the vang load is shared by a big Hall Quickvang  rigged conventionally, but it took a while to balance that load, shearing a shackle in the vang as part of the learning process.

You can literally run dead downwind with this rig without touching anything, and can vary the course by about 10 degrees with all adjustments made from the cockpit.

If you want to move up to a broad reach, you ease the pole forward as you would with a spinnaker, taking up on the foreguy, and roll in a enough headsail so the it continues to set properly. Trim the mainsail in as required, easing the soft vang to enable that.

This is a very powerful downwind setup, once I got it all figured out after a frustrating and slow downhill passage from the Galapagos to the Marquesas using the painfully slow A-sail tacked on centerline set-up.

We first used this arrangement across the Tasman from NZ to Brisbane AUS, then with great effect across the Indian Ocean. On both of those passages, we averaged 150 miles per day on a 30,000 pound fairly traditional custom 40' footer.

It came into its own on a transatlantic from the Canaries to Antigua, when we did 2800+ miles in 18 days two hours, doing everything from dead down wind  to near-beam reaching with this same rig, with the pole eased or trimmed, headsail rolled in and out, and main trimmed or eased to suit. It blew stink on that passage, averaging more than 25 knots for about half of it, after blowing about 10 knots for the first third.

Part of the key to this is the overlength carbon pole. Ours was an unused surplus pole built by Hall for a Reichel-Pugh 45, so it was plenty strong enough.

This was an experienced old geezer couple (about 75,000 bluewater miles, including 40,000 miles together by the end of this trip) on a boat they built themselves for the trip.

 

 

I've twice crossed from Canaries to Caribbean with basically this set up. Once on a slow heavy 40' sloop (20 days, of which 10 I don't think we touched the running rig even once), once on a 61' cutter (16 days). You can reef to suit without rounding up by rolling the headsail as needed, and with good jiffy reefing on the main you just drag it down - recalling that your AWS DDW doesn't tend to spike up like going upwind. The 61' cutter had in-mast furling which, used properly, can be rolled in or out on any point of sail. 

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As noted above, you can (slowly) reef a main while going downwind. It is plastered over the shrouds, but can be pulled down slowly without damage. Jib just roll up. As the boat will prefer more sail area up forward rather than aft, you keep the main small & add sail up front. Setting some sort of 2nd headsail is better than going full size on the main (and the small main allows a sail set to leeward to fly well).

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2 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Ok, but the jib on a stick option, while cheap, isn’t necessarily “easy to handle”, though, no?  Because of the need to round up to reef?  I’ve limited experience - but what I’ve read is that it’s not great- 15-20 kts downwind in the trades, heavier air squalls come up from astern, your singlehanding or short handed, tricky to deal with.  Versus the North type sail on a small furler.

I guess by “easy to handle” I meant easy to handle while sailing downwind —and also easy to handle when winds get up and you have to reef. I realize there’s no magic bullet here with a Marconi rig...but I like the North Sails idea more and more.  But the cost...?

not sure i understand what you think is the problem...

most cruising boats have the jib/genoa on a furler.

wing and wing - main rigged with preventer, and jib poled out to weather is very easy.

you can roll up the jib with the pole still attached.., and leave it attached.., and roll it out when you want it again...

with one person on watch, it's easy to roll the jib when needed - do that in a squall, and reef the main if needed. i usually don't roll the  jib all the way - even if it's not a "reefing jib", it will still be okay DDW, but many cruising boats do have reef points on the roller furling jib.

you never have to turn up

forget reaching unless you have a fast boat. most cruising boats will not go fast enough to justify the extra distance - you can go hull speed wing on wing DDW.., why would you want to reach? Cruising Asym will not work DDW

 

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Main and Jib wing on wing.  No need to head up to reef the main as long as you're paying attention and reefing at appropriate times and your track isn't total shit, especially with a main as small as yours.   

In a squall, you just roll the jib away, sail through it with main, and then unfurl again.  You pick the amount of reef in the main based on average wind speed, and adjust jib amount for the squalls.  

Have had no problems sailing wing on wing downwind for 10's of thousands of miles on my Islander 36 (circumnavigation), our current Pouvreau 42 (twice around the atlantic), and also on the Challenge 72 (100K in Atlantic and Pacific) we used to run.  

If you have limited self steering a double headsail rig has some real benefits.

If you have swept spreaders, you either need to be sailing hot angles and gybing or chafe through your sail.

Have found that twin headsails is even worse rolling than wing on wing, and hard to project enough sail area to be useful without two poles and bigger jibs than you'd want to use on other points of sail.

We like having a spinnaker for the light stuff, but tend to take it in around 12-15 kts as we're not super heroes or racing.

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5 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Marconi rig.  Heavy displacement fin keel/skeg-hung rudder 33’ cruising boat.  Downwind to Hawaii.  Short handed, relatively inexperienced crew. Occasionally singlehanded.  Not focused on performance.  Safety and ease of handling while sailing and reefing are large priorities.  Not a large budget, but “safety conscious” and focused on upgrading to new stuff where needed (e.g., new mainsail, and standing and running rigging, etc.).  No interest in changing the rig.  No automatic weapons on board (that I know of). Tried and true anchors subjected to every possible load and aesthetic test per the Anchor Geekdom thread. Etc.  Those are the base assumptions.

Yeah all makes sense. Whan I read the first post I didn't know if you were talking theoretically or what specifically you could/should do with the boat you have. That's all.

I'd not even think about changing the rig myself either. Far too much hassle/expense. I wasn't suggesting doing it either, FWIW. Just making a general observation.

As I know fuck-all about downwind sailing with a conventional rig I'll just read along with interest now.

FKT

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Left St George's (Bermuda) in front of a weather system heading for the Azores. Got the main halfway up then took it all back down. Did the next 4 days with a #4 poled out averaging 200 -220 nm/day on a Baltic 51. Fingertip steering. Worst was the sun rising straight ahead every morning - for about 45 minutes you could not look over the bow.

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Another vote for poled out headsail + reefed main. I'm assuming genoa/jib of reasonable size on a furler.

A few hundred dollars gets you a T-track mounted on the mast high enough so you can hoist the pole inboard end vertical. You also need a sturdy car that has lugs to raise it /  lower it, and preferably that has an articulating pivot. Use a 2:1 or 3:1 purchase to move the car up and down.

You need to have the pole under control at all times. This means a pole lift, and at least a foreguy and maybe afterguy or foreguy and bridle. The pole is never lifted by hand. The lower end is swung out and clipped on the jib sheet. Then the pole upper, inboard end is lowered until the pole is horizontal and properly positioned. Adjust guys as you are doing so to keep it from swinging.

When gybing, partly furl the genoa, trip the pole outboard end. Raise inboard end of the pole, swing to other side. Grab lazy sheet and put in jaws. THEN lower inboard end of the pole, and extend it outboard. When pole is all squared away and you are back in the cockpit, gybe the sail and unfurl. I suggest furling the sail to keep the loads nice and low for the pole movement. 

If you need to reef the genoa in a squall, you do so. The pole just stays there, locked in place by 3 ropes.

You can reef a main DDW. Did it all the time. If you are reefing from the cockpit (my experience on our 40' cat) - tension the shit out of the tack reef line, release the rope clutch on the halyard and the main drops a few feet. Re-tension the tack line, and repeat until the reef line reaches it's pre-marked position. If you want, take in the slack on the clew line but not tight. Close rope clutch on the clew line to hold it, then tension the main halyard to the pre-marked spot. Finally tension the clew line to it's pre-marked spot.

On our 30' mono we reefed at the mast. So the sequence was slack the main halyard, grab the luff rope and drag the sail down to the reef point. Hook it over the reefing hook. Tension main halyard. Tension clew line. Somewhat faster but smaller sail (180 sq ft versus cat's 320 sq ft)

 

Also - find a cheap ass craigslist symmetric spinnaker and use it when winds are really light and when you are coastal cruising (day sails) with well rested crew. It's hard to motivate the crew to get the spinnaker up when on an offshore passage because they are tired and thus lazy. 

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Cheap type car 

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/NAUTOS-91417-SLIDING-SPINNAKER-CAR-CONTROL-WITH-EARS-FOR-T-TRACK-32MM/111481953599?hash=item19f4d79d3f:g:fLEAAOSwofxUeNKo

Fancy dancy articulating car

https://www.marineoutfitters.ca/index.cfm?category=11545|11158|10385&product=61701978&code=028026127938

Forespar says don't use ring cars for vertical stowage but I have used one. It may be that typical spinnaker jaws bind on the ring and then you have a 14' lever bending them. Anybody with more experience about types of cars?

Don't get one of those horrible line control Forespar poles. Super heavy, super expensive. Just a nice big chunky fixed length pole.

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5 hours ago, Zonker said:

 

Forespar says don't use ring cars for vertical stowage but I have used one. It may be that typical spinnaker jaws bind on the ring and then you have a 14' lever bending them. Anybody with more experience about types of cars?

Don't get one of those horrible line control Forespar poles. Super heavy, super expensive. Just a nice big chunky fixed length pole.

The ring car is asking for trouble when you stow the pole up the face of  the mast, for the reasons you cite above. A toggle car ("donkey dick") generally prevents this.

This set-up is not a place to cheap out. Alloy adjustable poles will fail at some point.  Sparmakers often have used or surplus carbon spinnaker poles from larger racing boats that are perfect for this application. 

In the ideal world, the pole length is roughly equal to the LP of the headsail you set on it for downwind sailing. Sure, you can roll up some headsail and use a J-length pole, but you are losing sail area on a lighter-air passage.

You generally want to balance the area between the main and the headsail for easiest steering. Getting the total center of effort of the sailplan in the right place takes practice, and it shifts with slight changes of wind velocity and angle.

Obviously even the trades do not blow at a steady velocity, so some tweaking is inevitable during almost any passage. Coming from a racing background, I always wanted to get the best performance out of the boat even when cruising, so sail adjustment is part of the routine, although not like it would be on a racing boat. What else are you going to do on a long watch offshore during an ocean crossing?

Keeping the rig balanced properly makes the autopilot a lot happier, too.

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22 minutes ago, Zonker said:

I'd say balancing the sail plan with more area forward does lots to reduce loads on the pilot.

Like a huge spinnaker in rolly seas? :-0

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Even in flat seas we love having a spinnaker. This was a casual cruiser's race "hey we're all heading back to town at the same time; it's downwind; let's race." Blowing maybe 20 knots. We were doing an easy 12 or more knots.

image.png.2c9dd40dc9a594e73b4afa681fdd9dea.png

The lazy competition behind us at the start line still managed to get downwind though. Catamarans with big main/swept shrouds/tiny jib have the hardest time going DDW. (on the right)

image.png.7bf8d0fda2ffb5fbee94ed8d8de27ffb.png 

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18 hours ago, us7070 said:

not sure i understand what you think is the problem...

most cruising boats have the jib/genoa on a furler.

wing and wing - main rigged with preventer, and jib poled out to weather is very easy.

you can roll up the jib with the pole still attached.., and leave it attached.., and roll it out when you want it again...

with one person on watch, it's easy to roll the jib when needed - do that in a squall, and reef the main if needed. i usually don't roll the  jib all the way - even if it's not a "reefing jib", it will still be okay DDW, but many cruising boats do have reef points on the roller furling jib.

you never have to turn up

forget reaching unless you have a fast boat. most cruising boats will not go fast enough to justify the extra distance - you can go hull speed wing on wing DDW.., why would you want to reach? Cruising Asym will not work DDW

 

 

17 hours ago, hdra said:

Main and Jib wing on wing.  No need to head up to reef the main as long as you're paying attention and reefing at appropriate times and your track isn't total shit, especially with a main as small as yours.   

In a squall, you just roll the jib away, sail through it with main, and then unfurl again.  You pick the amount of reef in the main based on average wind speed, and adjust jib amount for the squalls.  

Have had no problems sailing wing on wing downwind for 10's of thousands of miles on my Islander 36 (circumnavigation), our current Pouvreau 42 (twice around the atlantic), and also on the Challenge 72 (100K in Atlantic and Pacific) we used to run.  

If you have limited self steering a double headsail rig has some real benefits.

If you have swept spreaders, you either need to be sailing hot angles and gybing or chafe through your sail.

Have found that twin headsails is even worse rolling than wing on wing, and hard to project enough sail area to be useful without two poles and bigger jibs than you'd want to use on other points of sail.

We like having a spinnaker for the light stuff, but tend to take it in around 12-15 kts as we're not super heroes or racing.

 

Great info in this thread - much appreciate all the thoughts and details (e.g., had no idea about the difference between the ring car —on mast track for pole storage— and the articulating type of car, er, “donkey dick” :-) )...and I’d never even really considered the fact that since my pole doesn’t stow on a track on the mast, it isn’t self-launchable/droppable for my wife who, while pretty game, isn’t terribly tall.  Having it on the mast, by contrast, would definitely make it easier shorthanded (or solo if just me).  While local sailing, it’s always me who manages the pole —detach it from where it’s stored clipped to starboard bow rail and back along stanchions and set up on mast/Genoa sheet— which isn’t a super practical/safe method offshore short handed.  Lots to consider.
 
Overall, I get now that basic white sails (main prevented/headsail poled out) are just fine downwind for long ocean distances (perhaps supplemented by occasional assym use?) - which I’d actually never really “known”.  (I’d read on some authoritative-sounding website that dealing with squalls with such a set up could be a real hassle, supposedly requiring you to frequently head up to reef the main...but better, as hydra said, to pay attention and reef ahead of time!)  A recent survey of 2019 ARC boats indicates that the downwind set up for many, and used very frequently, was, in fact, a simple main with poled out headsail. https://www.yachtingworld.com/sailing-across-atlantic/arc-2019-skippers-survey-results-easy-transatlantic-sailing-127310
 
But - and this is what got me thinking about downwind sailplans - the second most popular downwind headsail in the ARC survey was twin headsails- not the (very) old style of two separate headsails (hanked on), but a new version of it (currently made by Elvstrom Sails and North Sails, the “TradeWind”, North calls it) that converts from twin headsails for downwind to a single Code Zero type of sail for different conditions/angles, i.e., reaching in light air.
 
Since I need a new Genoa anyway (which a Code Zero type of sail kinda sorta is, but, yeah, I know not really), and I’ve been thinking about downwind sail plans, too, this seemed like an interesting option:  it would give a purpose-made downwind sail plan: twin headsails. And, converted over, for on the wind, it would give a light air reacher —certainly not replacing our big 150% Genoa, but still an upwind-type sail.  We’re cutter rigged, so would carry a 110-20% or so jib on the furler, anyway, and staysail, for actual windward work over, say, 15 kts or so, when the light air reacher (i.e., the dual-use TradeWinds converted from downwind use) is no longer useful.  So, the TradeWinds sail (in ‘reaching mode’) wouldn’t “replace” our currently totally bagged out, rotting Genoa...but seems like it might supplement our light air wind-forward-of the-beam-sail wardrobe.
 
Just kicking around ideas to see if it makes sense, since I was thinking about downwind sails anyway, and since we also need to replace a big Genoa anyway...kinda 2 for 1 sail without price of two sails?! :-). Dunno -haven’t checked cost.
 
Downside of this approach/type of sail, as I see it:
 
-seems like you need a dedicated Code Zero type continuous line furler (expensive) for it.  And, being a nylon sail, most likely shouldn’t be left out on a furler for weeks/months (sun rot).  (Doubt it has UV protection strip on foot/leech, but it might.). And it becomes a bigger thing to store belowdecks, being the size of two sails plus furler.  But it seems like it gives you a pretty easy downwind set up (drag out the bag, shackle furler to foredeck, hook up halyard, hoist everything, set sails), and then also the ability to have a light air reaching sail, for those times.
 
Here’s more on “modern twin headsails” that work as downwind and reaching when converted over (couple vids too):
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IIRC this sort of thing comes around every 15 yrs or so, never gains traction. Personally I would set a separate light cloth (or heavy nylon) reaching sail on it's own bottom up furler. This sail would fly to leeward of the poled out jib, or by itself for light air reaching where the regular jib is too small/too heavy to fly well.

A downside of these 'twin sail' type setups is that if a sail requires work, you are lowering both sails at once. That's a lot of cloth for a short handed crew to control

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Note the lengths sailors go to to get these desperately under-canvassed heavy cruisers to move in what should be ideal conditions....jus'sayin'.

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Don't forget with a cutter rig, a 110-120% genoa is like a 135-140-150% genoa on a sloop in terms of area. You've got a proportionately longer J. Unless yours is cut like a Yankee / jib top (very high clew, mitre cut old school type).

Both my cutters came with high clewed headsails. Not enough power in light winds, even flying the staysail. Changed both of them to about 115% genoa shaped sails and was much happier. Upwind, we'd furl them to a small scrap of genoa + staysail. When it was really breezy, just the staysail + reefed main.

Downwind boomed out genoa + main or main + spinnaker if it was light.

 

Do you really have a 150 genoa? It must have a foot length like a VO70 code zero. That's the one I'd make of light cloth for light air upwind/reaching work. How does your boat perform currently in say 8-10 knots upwind?

Got a sailplan of your boat you could post?

 

 

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55 minutes ago, El Borracho said:

Note the lengths sailors go to to get these desperately under-canvassed heavy cruisers to move in what should be ideal conditions....jus'sayin'.

Well, yeah, it’s the boat I got right now.  No money for anything else right now.  Jus’ sayin’.  Personally, I don’t expect to go fast on a 33’ cruiser.  (Unless like a Hobie 33.) Just trying to figure out a decent, affordable downwind sail plan that’s easy for us to handle.  Shocking, I know, but 5-6 kts fine for me.

I do know someone with a SC50 in extremely good condition that I’d love to buy when, in his dotage, he decides to downsize...if the time is right for me, that is :-). Sweet boat, but feels like a lot to handle...

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Here's a Valiant 40 with a traditional Yankee headsail + about a 135% genoa. That's probably too big unless it is a light wind drifter type sail.

valiant_40_long_drawing.jpg

Here is a later model V42 with about 105% genoa.  This is what I'm suggesting might work for you. Maybe a bit more overlap depending on position of existing tracks/cars.

 

bob3.jpg.e13a53d55233ca420af1387554245172.jpg

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47 minutes ago, Zonker said:

Don't forget with a cutter rig, a 110-120% genoa is like a 135-140-150% genoa on a sloop in terms of area. You've got a proportionately longer J. Unless yours is cut like a Yankee / jib top (very high clew, mitre cut old school type).

Both my cutters came with high clewed headsails. Not enough power in light winds, even flying the staysail. Changed both of them to about 115% genoa shaped sails and was much happier. Upwind, we'd furl them to a small scrap of genoa + staysail. When it was really breezy, just the staysail + reefed main.

Downwind boomed out genoa + main or main + spinnaker if it was light.

Do you really have a 150 genoa? It must have a foot length like a VO70 code zero. That's the one I'd make of light cloth for light air upwind/reaching work. How does your boat perform currently in say 8-10 knots upwind?

Got a sailplan of your boat you could post?

Pretty sure it’s 150% -I was surprised.  Had it stretched out in my backyard and measured LP, etc.  It’s high-clewed - part of the issue?  And it’s an old, old sail, recut from a tri-radial laminate type Genoa for a 35’er last year (that I got for free) as a test fit furling headsail after I installed a furler.  (I liked my old hank-on headsails, they worked well; I have Genoa, Yankee, #1, 2, 3, and storm jib, but they take up so much room below.)

Sounds like the “weird” double headsail rigs are a bit gimmicky - the modern iteration of them anyway.  
 

I think you’re right - a new Genoa I get should be much lighter cloth than what I’ve got now —and probably not so high cut— and be the light air upwind/reaching sail (to complement the working jib/staysail I have.)  Lots to learn. Keep it simple.  And for downwind sometimes instead of Genoa, new mainsail and run the classic spin we have like an asym with a sock and ATN: good enough.

I do have a drawn sail plan, but it’s currently being borrowed by someone.

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54 minutes ago, Zonker said:

Here's a Valiant 40 with a traditional Yankee headsail + about a 135% genoa. That's probably too big unless it is a light wind drifter type sail.

valiant_40_long_drawing.jpg

Here is a later model V42 with about 105% genoa.  This is what I'm suggesting might work for you. Maybe a bit more overlap depending on position of existing tracks/cars.

 

bob3.jpg.e13a53d55233ca420af1387554245172.jpg

Thanks for the pic - that’s a very low Genoa...or drifter type sail?!  Our Genoa is cut much higher...which we like for visibility, but now I’m seeing how, getting a new headsail made, lighter fabric and much lower clew might be the way to go - as a light air drifter type sail.  A lot of this stuff is pretty new to me - sails other than the basic white sails and classic spinnaker.  Helpful info, for sure - making more sense now.

drifter talk 

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You really want a high cut genoa for off-the-wind work. The low clew cuts cannot be trimmed without moving blocks and using poles. They barely trim for a close reach. A high-clew automatically trims like magic. The downwind pressure is up high anyways - upwind pressure is lower (it's true...more magic). A sailmaker can figure the max practical size. Likely around 135% LP as the block gets too far aft unless it is on a sprit. If you have no need for speed that is the only big headsail you need. I wouldn't even bother with the whisker pole. A zillion miles and 50 years never had one. Never wanted for one.

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That is not a "very low" genoa. It's not touching the deck like a racing sail. Lots of good visibility under it. I'd say it's their everyday genoa; not a drifter.

El Borracho - you've got to be in the minority for not using a pole downwind. I'm sure more than 3/4 of long distance sailors use one.

A high cut clew is great for reaching, and for not having to adjust the block - but move it when convenient after a gybe. The sail sets just fine with a pole and a lower clew. A high cut clew really gives away sail area when sailing upwind. In a heavy 33' boat every bit of sail area helps. 

If you have a high clew yankee you give up sail area that you really do need a light genoa upwind as well. Then how to deploy it on the furler? Do you take down the yankee off the furler and re-hoist the genoa? Or do you make it loose luffed and then it won't point very well

A slight exaggeration saying lowerer clewed genoas "barely can be trimmed for a close reach."

I was not suggesting a light genoa for Jud - more of an all purpose genoa good from 5-20 knots of wind. So about a 8 oz fabric if in Dacron. It will go upwind, it will go downwind. 

So my suggested 4 sail cost-efficient inventory is:

1) mainsail
2) staysail  (maybe add a reef point if it's big enough to justify and not on a furler)
3) new 110-115% low cut genoa to replace the high clew existing sail
4) used nylon downwind sail (assymetric preferred, symmetric spinnaker). Up to 90 deg TWA if you push it a bit.

5)  fixed pole, stowed on the mast for easy deployment.

.

 

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@Zonker All 135% genoas for a given rig have the exact same sail area. Raising the clew loses nothing. The high clew version will have more area up high where it is a benefit off the wind. Some penalty on a beat...but who does that...? Low cut genoas, for racers, will have way too much twist with even a small ease. Greatly reducing projected area as the head twists off and perhaps flogs while the clew remains over-trimmed inboard. Can a short pole really be used between close and beam reaches? Could help if it can be rigged. Never seen it. Just a lousy situation all around. Maybe cruisers don't care? Having only a 115% will certainly satisfy any desire to go slow.

Don't know about moderately high clewed genoas. Seems like clearing breaking seas and vision are the only pluses. Trim will not be much better. Does the pole end up in the water when sailing gets sporty?

I use a medium weight 135% high clew genoa on legs expected to be downwind or light. Switch out to a short hoist high clew non-overlapping jib for beating in anything moderately breezy. Changing is a moderate amount of work, but fortunately doesn't happen at sea very often. A staysail won't work on my rig but is a good option for some. Might make the big genoa even bigger in that case. But in heavy air beating it seems foolish to have a furled genoa up.

Some say the pole is good for preventing flogging in a windless seaway. I'm not convinced of that either. Furling and getting some sleep is my method. Skipping the bleak hours entirely.

Neither distance sailed, years at sea, or numbers of cruisers voting with their pocketbooks make it best. I don't mind being in the minority.

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Yes, I'm aware of the geometry of triangles. You're perhaps thinking about sloops too much. 135% genoas on sloops are fine. But Jud's boat is a cutter.

Here's an example of a representative 33' cutter sailplan, with the mast stepped around amidships.  

The purple 115% genoa is the sort of shape I think works well with cutters. If I have a high clew 115% red genoa of the same area - the sheeting point is behind the the boat which doesn't work. If I shorten the J of the high cut jib so the sheeting point is on the boat, you do lose area compared to a low genoa. Many cutters have even smaller high cut yankee jibs which are even shorter on the J measurement and don't overlap. Great for reaching in a strong breeze but upwind in light wind, they suck.

I haven't found twisting off of a low cut genoa's head impedes my progress to any degree, to a beam reach and below. I don't put it on a pole until somewhere around 110 deg TWA. 

image.png.d60d81356bade0a692c34c53bc2cf466.png

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Jud,

After playing around sailing down wind in my Annie my current plan for down wind on the way to Hawaii is to pole out the jib on one side and the stay sail on the other. If the main is up it will be on the 3rd reef to minimize the shading of the two head sails. My slip neighbor had a double sided genoa made for his sloop on his most recent crossing to Oahu. He poled out each side. Previous two trips he used a spinnaker. He said using the double sided, poled out genoa was easier to deal with and ended up being faster overall. 

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Of course the sail needs to fit the boat. I'd run the sheet fully aft if necessary.  It is a fact that a low cut genoa cannot be well-trimmed (if good trim is any interest in CA) as it is eased into a close reach. My North Sails book here says at 35% AWA the lead must go out to the rail. And it must not go forward as the then foot becomes too deep. Greater AWA requires a reaching (high clew) sail. North is likely a better sailing reference than something like "most cruisers do it."

I tell ya, it is a magical all-points sail. Will even fly wing-on-wing in perfect trim (with or without a pole) if that rocks your boat. Plus, the sheets are far overhead not down screwing with all the popular cruiser deck clutter.

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Your N Sails book is over blown - there is no accounting for the vast range of "inboard" sheeting angles and no accounting for similar range of side deck width out to the rail. Or even if there IS any way to rail sheet at that point. Your statement on trimming a low cut genoa also is not true.

I sailed for with Lowell North for 4 yrs, picked up a 1st in the '82 Clipper Cup, a 2nd & a 1rst in '83 & '84 SORC, so I might have a clue

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you can get as tech as you like but it's ard to beat a chunk of bamboo wrapped in carbon fibre and a decent size polytarp laced to it, rig a bridle and braces to it as well as a downhaul to get it down (you need to semi winch it down) coupla sheets to the bottom corners and hoist it up..... no crash gybes to worry you and surprisingly efficient oh and hoist it inside the forestay

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The late Jon Eisberg had a pretty ingenious set up of semi- permanent afterguy/sheets, foreguy/preventers going to clutches on the coating that makes things a doddle to rig and de-rig all sorts of sets ups with and without sticks.  I copied it unashamedly. 

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11 hours ago, Zonker said:

 

So my suggested 4 sail cost-efficient inventory is:

1) mainsail
2) staysail  (maybe add a reef point if it's big enough to justify and not on a furler)
3) new 110-115% low cut genoa to replace the high clew existing sail
4) used nylon downwind sail (assymetric preferred, symmetric spinnaker). Up to 90 deg TWA if you push it a bit.

5)  fixed pole, stowed on the mast for easy deployment.

.

 

That's very close to where I ended up after a lot of experimentation. The staysail was on a furler the same size as the one on the small genoa, and was capable of being reefed to storm jib size. 

Genoa was 117%, with clew height the same as the lowest usable pole height. Sheeting position of the sail for upwind to close-reaching was via inboard Harken big boat track with 4:1 purchase through clutches on deck. Outboard track for beam reaching plus soft vang attachment, but that track was conventional T-track with movable plunger pin cars.

Corel 45 spinnaker pole with external Kevlar reinforcement on the outboard 4' or so, stowed on long track up the mast  to just above lower spreader height, with lower end  near deck held by a soft Forespar chock backed up by a sail tie around mast and through the jaws. All-up weight of that pole maybe 18 pounds. Usually used a spinnaker halyard as a topping lift when using the pole with the genoa because of the better angle and ready-to-go mast hardware such as ST spin halyard winch.

Foreguy was rigged to fitting on a very large custom stemhead/anchor roller fitting (not a sprit, but projected slightly out from the stem.)

The pole had a fitted condom to protect it when not on passage, since it was just clear-coated.

The A-sail lived in the deckhouse quarterberth, and rarely came out. It was made for the boat, but was too long on the luff, and we had that shortened by a full panel in NZ.

The main was set for jiffy reefing with clutches on the underside  of the top of the boom cutaway near the mast.  That set-up was for two  fairly reefs, with a custom Harken outhaul car and track as well. I would use that same set-up again, except would add a third reef instead of the trysail on a separate track we had, which was never deployed in anger.

We had Battcars on the main with custom-made high-strength low-friction sail slides in between. There was a lot of friction in that arrangement, and I would now go with roller-bearing batten cars and luff cars to make off-wind reefing easier. You really don't want to head up any more than necessary when running downwind in a breeze with everything nailed in place. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on that issue on any boat with a main over 400 sq ft or so.

For a racing sailor, it's a new challenge setting up a fairly large cruising boat for efficient shorthanded sail handling. This was effectively single-handing in our case, since my 43 kg 1.51 m tall wife was not going to be tasked with much sailhandling outside the cockpit in robust conditions. I still have a very vivid memory of her being flipped in the air and over the side during a spinnaker take-down in the Solent on a 72' Farr we used to race.

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We sailed from the Canaries to the Caribbean on a big, old, heavy displacement ketch. Then days dead downwind. We had: no mizzen, a reef In the main (strong preventer), and the Genoa poled out wing-on-wing with the spin pole, secured by one upfucker and two downfuckers - one forward, one aft. We then rigged a big Yankee free flying opposite the Genoa (behind the main). So with pretty much most of the sail area far forward, we had excellent course stability (easy on the autopilot/batteries), but rolled like a log. It also took about an hour to gybe, but we only gybed twice in ten days so that was ok. Remember to check the halyards for chafe (and don’t ask me how I know)! 

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9 hours ago, longy said:

Your N Sails book is over blown - there is no accounting for the vast range of "inboard" sheeting angles and no accounting for similar range of side deck width out to the rail. Or even if there IS any way to rail sheet at that point. Your statement on trimming a low cut genoa also is not true.

I sailed for with Lowell North for 4 yrs, picked up a 1st in the '82 Clipper Cup, a 2nd & a 1rst in '83 & '84 SORC, so I might have a clue

Pics or it didn't happen...Post a pic of boat (monohull) in proper trim reaching with a low clew genoa. Make sure it shows a proper depth at the foot and firm head. I'll stick with the textbook and my very own eyeballs, thanks.

Why you sailors fighting this? You are arguing against a century of history and sailmaking. Have sailors wasted much money buying Jib Tops and Blast Reachers? Jud asked about "Downwind...Cheap/Easy" for long shorthanded offshore crossings. The high clew genoa elegantly satisfies everything Jud asked for: Simple trim and good performance from close hauled to by-the-lee wing-and-wing. Possible to delete cars, tracks, twingers, up-fuckers, down-fuckers, whisker poles along with all their control lines and clutches. Trouble-free tacks around a staysail and foredeck clutter too! The only sailing it will not do is beating upwind in a heavy breeze.

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1 hour ago, El Borracho said:

Pics or it didn't happen...Post a pic of boat (monohull) in proper trim reaching with a low clew genoa. Make sure it shows a proper depth at the foot and firm head. I'll stick with the textbook and my very own eyeballs, thanks.

Why you sailors fighting this? You are arguing against a century of history and sailmaking. Have sailors wasted much money buying Jib Tops and Blast Reachers? Jud asked about "Downwind...Cheap/Easy" for long shorthanded offshore crossings. The high clew genoa elegantly satisfies everything Jud asked for: Simple trim and good performance from close hauled to by-the-lee wing-and-wing. Possible to delete cars, tracks, twingers, up-fuckers, down-fuckers, whisker poles along with all their control lines and clutches. Trouble-free tacks around a staysail and foredeck clutter too! The only sailing it will not do is beating upwind in a heavy breeze.

I won’t deny that a good deal of this discussion occasionally has gone over my head.  :-)  (high clew vs. low clew Genoa consequences, etc). Learning, trying to grasp essentials and build knowledge from there.  I don’t race, never really have, and don’t really groove on tweaking stuff, control lines, etc etc etc.

I’m not a “lazy cruiser” per se, like on the stereotypical Island Piglet loaded down with tons of jerry cans (none), a full enclosure (small spray hood only), and massive dinghy hanging off davits (always stored behind mast).  I like trimming a bit to get what I can given the boat’s limitations, and getting my nav and currents right as I can, and sailing as much as I can instead of motoring, but, yeah, I want minimal rigging extras, up-fuckers, down-fuckers, extra blocks, etc etc etc.

I like Zonker’s 4-sail inventory above but would probably alter it to:

1) mainsail (new one coming shortly...)
2) staysail  (maybe add a reef point if it's big enough to justify and not on a furler): already have hanked-on staysails: a small-ish staysail, and one bigger than the other: bigger one is reefable)
3) new 110-115% low cut genoa to replace the high clew existing sail - maybe a bit bigger/light fabric for light air/reaching/upwind?
4) used nylon downwind sail (assymetric preferred, symmetric spinnaker). Up to 90 deg TWA if you push it a bit.  (have already)

 

—>re: Genoa, maybe go with a bit larger, light-ish fabric Genoa for lighter air upwind type of sailing??

—>100% jib for stronger air upwind. This is missing for us - i.e., don’t have a sail like this.  Yeah, it adds cost but I think definitely needed? Not for downwind (unless for bigger air downwind in higher lats, poled out with staysail), but upwind.  I recall before leaving Honolulu on the SC50 delivery back across, we took down the large Genoa and put on a much smaller #4 (or #3?) for the several-day beat north and for the rest of the trip back to Vancouver. 

(BTW, no foredeck clutter (bare, open foredeck, on purpose, to make it easy to manoeuvre. Up there. Dinghy always stored aft of the mast.)

 

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2 hours ago, El Borracho said:

Pics or it didn't happen...Post a pic of boat (monohull) in proper trim reaching with a low clew genoa. Make sure it shows a proper depth at the foot and firm head. I'll stick with the textbook and my very own eyeballs, thanks.

Why you sailors fighting this? You are arguing against a century of history and sailmaking. Have sailors wasted much money buying Jib Tops and Blast Reachers? Jud asked about "Downwind...Cheap/Easy" for long shorthanded offshore crossings. The high clew genoa elegantly satisfies everything Jud asked for: Simple trim and good performance from close hauled to by-the-lee wing-and-wing. Possible to delete cars, tracks, twingers, up-fuckers, down-fuckers, whisker poles along with all their control lines and clutches. Trouble-free tacks around a staysail and foredeck clutter too! The only sailing it will not do is beating upwind in a heavy breeze.

I don't care what works for you & your boat - that's your concept & beliefs. What I am arguing against is your insistence that your way is the 'true' way, and any other set up is wrong. Without allowing for the wide selection of designs sailing around in all kinds of different conditions you're just another preacher on a soap box in the town square.

     I can go down to the harbor & watch 30 -60 boats out sailing today & not see a single high clew sail in the fleet (high meaning at about 45-50% of luff). Most will have clews at 30-40% up. So are all those sailors & sail lofts wrong?

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Never said it was the “true way.” Just the practical facts of the matter that Jud asked about. You don’t see many high clews because the buyers want to look like the race boats that they see. San Diego Is the exemplary place to observe poorly trimmed genoas reaching. The part that is my opinion is where I said it is “magical”.  Which it arguably is compared with the popular alternatives.

Nice try changing “low cut genoa” to a 40% clew height. 50% is topper-like,  not a genoa, which I never suggested. So you and all such boats are with me now?

Not how I would cross the Pacific. Nothing proper about this sailor’s choices. No matter how popular:

 

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On 4/2/2021 at 11:10 PM, Zonker said:

Cheap type car 

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/NAUTOS-91417-SLIDING-SPINNAKER-CAR-CONTROL-WITH-EARS-FOR-T-TRACK-32MM/111481953599?hash=item19f4d79d3f:g:fLEAAOSwofxUeNKo

Fancy dancy articulating car

https://www.marineoutfitters.ca/index.cfm?category=11545|11158|10385&product=61701978&code=028026127938

Forespar says don't use ring cars for vertical stowage but I have used one. It may be that typical spinnaker jaws bind on the ring and then you have a 14' lever bending them. Anybody with more experience about types of cars?

Don't get one of those horrible line control Forespar poles. Super heavy, super expensive. Just a nice big chunky fixed length pole.

Zonk, 

Interesting what you say about the Forespar line control Whisker pole. Forespar agrees with you for offshore!

They told me to use a J length fixed pole for WOW. Its stronger, and lighter than a whisker pole. I have always wondered why John Kretschmer is such an advocate of adjustable length whisker poles.

My only question is when you reef the jib on a fixed length pole its clew moves away from the pole end so you cannot keep it flat, right?

 Also, to wing out larger genoas and keep them flat (to reduce roll down wind?) you would want an adjustable, right? Not a problem for us with just a 110% jib.

 

 

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Also, Evans Starzinger had an article about how he used a bridle on the end of his pole consisting of two predetermined fixed length foreguy and afterguy legs on a ring. 

When deploying the pole he would just clip the guy ends to the toe rail and the ring to the bottom of the pole end, hoist the pole lift up, and bingo, pole locked into place. No messy fore and after guy lines on deck.

Haven’t tried it yet but will in a couple weeks. 

Anybody try this? Any downsides to it?

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34 minutes ago, ChuteFirst said:

 

My only question is when you reef the jib on a fixed length pole its clew moves away from the pole end so you cannot keep it flat, right?

 

 

 

When you roll in headsail, you ease the pole forward, and keep the clew at or near the end of the pole. This effectively keeps most of the sail projected properly. A fixed length pole should be longer than J-length on virtually any boat with an overlapping headsail. You can reef the headsail quite a bit and this rig will still be  effective.

The sail is never really dead flat.

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9 minutes ago, ChuteFirst said:

Also, Evans Starzinger had an article about how he used a bridle on the end of his pole consisting of two predetermined fixed length foreguy and afterguy legs on a ring. 

When deploying the pole he would just clip the guy ends to the toe rail and the ring to the bottom of the pole end, hoist the pole lift up, and bingo, pole locked into place. No messy fore and after guy lines on deck.

Haven’t tried it yet but will in a couple weeks. 

Anybody try this? Any downsides to it?

Yes. I did that until I implemented Jon Eisberg's system.  It's simple to put together and use when on long legs. 

@El Borracho Why isn't that fixable with a simple sheet to that nice bulkwark/rail? 

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3 minutes ago, Elegua said:

Why isn't that fixable with a simple sheet to that nice bulkwark/rail? 

 Not far enough abeam except for a barely cracked off reach. Perhaps on a catamaran, to a point. (If they had bulwarks and rails...) 

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1 hour ago, ChuteFirst said:

Interesting what you say about the Forespar line control Whisker pole. Forespar agrees with you for offshore!

Interesting indeed. Years ago they did say they were fine for use offshore. 

Re pole length - if it is a bit too short for the J dimension of a genoa that's OK. The genoa is extended which is the main goal and yes it can flap a bit in very light winds. In any breeze the sail is filled and has a curve but that doesn't matter

When you use it with a smaller sail it of course doesn't matter.

On our catamaran we also used fixed length fore and aft guys for the reaching strut. The guys clipped to the bases of two lifeline stanchions. The pole was very short - only 4' long, and it clipped to U-bolt on top of the daggerboard, which was raised when going downwind. Because the daggerboards were about 12' from center of the boat the effective pole length was 16'. This was much less than the J dimension of the genoa but it still did fine at poling it out. Let me see if I have a picture of it...

 

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If this thread was read by sailors from 200 years, they would be laughing at the notion that the choice of downwind sails was difficult.  For them, the problems came with upwind sailing.

The bermudan rig has a lot to answer for.

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3 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

If this thread was read by sailors from 200 years, they would be laughing at the notion that the choice of downwind sails was difficult.  For them, the problems came with upwind sailing.

The bermudan rig has a lot to answer for.

I want my money back. I have had a Bermudan rig for 30+ years now on several boats and not one of the fuckers has taken me to Bermuda.

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10 hours ago, Ishmael said:

I want my money back. I have had a Bermudan rig for 30+ years now on several boats and not one of the fuckers has taken me to Bermuda.

That sounds a bit sketchy.  Yawl claim to have endured decades of misery, but you may just be a square who barques like a cat.

If you did get a refund, would you lug all the junk back to your gaff?  Or will you hide behind your daughters Lateen and Tanja, even if they have gunter school?  I say cutter some slack.

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35 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

That sounds a bit sketchy.  Yawl claim to have endured decades of misery, but you may just be a square who barques like a cat.

If you did get a refund, would you lug all the junk back to your gaff?  Or will you hide behind your daughters Lateen and Tanja, even if they have gunter school?  I say cutter some slack.

Amd in the spirit of the sacrificial Easter lamb, the leg o’mutton sail :-)

https://www.duckworksmagazine.com/04/s/articles/sprit/index.htm

Coming soon to a race course or downwind trade route near you :-)

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73DC51EC-2ABB-470D-9B2C-73879623E825.jpeg

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Hoyt jib boom? 

Anyway....

FWIW, my grand dad, who skippered obsolete square riggers in the Guano trade, used to sit in his yard on APS in Santa Barbara and, through his WW2 surplus huge spotter yell (at no one in particular), at boats going DDW ish, ‘to set a goddamn square sail’.  
 

A square sail could be cheap?  Easy to gybe too....


 

 

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24 minutes ago, Amati said:

Hoyt jib boom? 

Anyway....

FWIW, my grand dad, who skippered obsolete square riggers in the Guano trade, used to sit in his yard on APS in Santa Barbara and, through his WW2 surplus huge spotter yell (at no one in particular), at boats going DDW ish, ‘to set a goddamn square sail’.  
 

A square sail could be cheap?  Easy to gybe too....


 

 

 

Great story!  “Set the goddamn square sail!”


Isn’t that what those Parasailor abominations pushed by “cruising guru” Jimmy Cornell basically are?  Ok, they’re not square, but they might as well be. :-)

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1 minute ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Isn’t that what those Parasailot abominations pushed by “cruising guru” Jimmy Cornell basically are?  Ok, they’re not square, but they might as well be. :-)

thinking more along the lines of Modernizing this

 

A2023913-A3CC-4529-8641-621A921DB391.jpeg

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4 minutes ago, Amati said:

thinking more along the lines of Modernizing this

 

A2023913-A3CC-4529-8641-621A921DB391.jpeg

My wife will love it.  Honey, strike the over-hoven-gallant-mizzen-spanker-jib-tops’l right away!  A big squall is a-coming!

[rolls eyes and goes back to reading]

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18 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

My wife will love it.  Honey, strike the over-hoven-gallant-mizzen-spanker-jib-tops’l right away!  A big squall is a-coming!

[rolls eyes and goes back to reading]

Literate Mutiny?  (Never experienced it :rolleyes:  “Honey, would you bring in the jib a couple of inches?”)  
 

Clean up that traditional rig to: a main, a jib, and add a square sail.  Strike all the fore and aft sails DDW, and leave the ^2 sail up.  Imagine the graphics!  Use extendable poles for easy storage! 

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15 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

My wife will love it.  Honey, strike the over-hoven-gallant-mizzen-spanker-jib-tops’l right away!  A big squall is a-coming!

[rolls eyes and goes back to reading]

Jud, you are half way to a maritime rewrite of this classic

 

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16 minutes ago, Amati said:

Literate Mutiny?  Clean up the rig to a main, a jib, and and a square sail.  

I can’t deny that I’ve looked at traditional boats before and thought, “one day, it would be frickin cool to have a boat like that...a proper live aboard ship”.

But then I come to my senses...maybe adding a square sail for downwind is just as far as I need to go :-)

Duen, in Victoria, BC.  She has an interesting history - from working vessel in pre-WW2 Norway, to ocean cruiser in the 1970s, to tourist boat/kids classroom type educational project sailing boat.

http://www.thenaturalcoast.com/history.html

126BD83B-8000-42BB-BE68-8FF223BD8C68.jpeg

4E0AD34E-C320-497F-A269-BD3061188C5A.jpeg

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4 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I can’t deny that I’ve looked at traditional boats before and thought, “one day, it would be frickin cool to have a boat like that...a proper live aboard ship”.

But then I come to my senses...maybe adding a square sail for downwind is just as far as I need to go :-)

Duen, in Victoria, BC.  She has an interesting history - from working vessel in pre-WW2 Norway, to ocean cruiser in the 1970s, to tourist boat/kids classroom type educational project sailing boat.

http://www.thenaturalcoast.com/history.html

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4E0AD34E-C320-497F-A269-BD3061188C5A.jpeg

Look at all those freaking lines! :blink:

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24 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

 

Great story!  “Set the goddamn square sail!”


Isn’t that what those Parasailor abominations pushed by “cruising guru” Jimmy Cornell basically are?  Ok, they’re not square, but they might as well be. :-)

Hmmm. Well I guess he's not the only world circumnavigator who likes those things. I have friends who went around the marble on a 57 ft sloop, bought one halfway, and reportedly enjoyed that abomination quite a bit!!

Here are the real first downwind experts. Square sail all the way man. Current helped for the other way.

fullsizeoutput_485.thumb.jpeg.3470da8cdcb7cf4ef0d2ea82db530fbf.jpeg

 

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Somewhere, I have seen a story about a guy who built and rigged a square sail for his (ketch?) but it has been too long to remember where.  Perhaps a thread on here?

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1 minute ago, fufkin said:

Hmmm. Well I guess he's not the only world circumnavigator who likes those things. I have friends who went around the marble on a 57 ft sloop, bought one halfway, and reportedly enjoyed that abomination quite a bit!!

Here are the real first downwind experts. Square sail all the way man. Current helped for the other way.

fullsizeoutput_485.thumb.jpeg.3470da8cdcb7cf4ef0d2ea82db530fbf.jpeg

 

And when you look at the amount of rigging on this baby, and it starts to make more sense, rigging wise.  Although it is a motorsailer....fast one though......

B432A554-E6FF-4F37-9B3F-14CF68E3E0F5.jpeg

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3 minutes ago, toddster said:

Somewhere, I have seen a story about a guy who built and rigged a square sail for his (ketch?) but it has been too long to remember where.  Perhaps a thread on here?

It would work on the gorge, going up river at least...... and you’d only need a small one.  Wasn’t there a guy who tried one on his windsurfer for the (can’t remember the name of it) up river races?

 

.

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3 minutes ago, Amati said:

It would work on the gorge, going up river at least...... and you’d only need a small one.  Wasn’t there a guy who tried one on his windsurfer for one of the (can’t remember the name of it) up river races?

 

.

Darby-esque  rig, IIRR. Tried hugging the Washington side, got tangled in the weeds....

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22 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I can’t deny that I’ve looked at traditional boats before and thought, “one day, it would be frickin cool to have a boat like that...a proper live aboard ship”.

But then I come to my senses...maybe adding a square sail for downwind is just as far as I need to go :-)

Duen, in Victoria, BC.  She has an interesting history - from working vessel in pre-WW2 Norway, to ocean cruiser in the 1970s, to tourist boat/kids classroom type educational project sailing boat.

http://www.thenaturalcoast.com/history.html

126BD83B-8000-42BB-BE68-8FF223BD8C68.jpeg

4E0AD34E-C320-497F-A269-BD3061188C5A.jpeg

It’s so cool close up.  You can somehow imagine idling away your slower days, splicing, installing baggy wrinkle, taking sights, etc while sailing (rolling?) slowly downwind around the world...a passage back in time...

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11 minutes ago, toddster said:

Somewhere, I have seen a story about a guy who built and rigged a square sail for his (ketch?) but it has been too long to remember where.  Perhaps a thread on here?

Seems to me I remember the Johnsons (?) had S&S do a boat for them along those lines.  It was in in National Geographic or something...

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2 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

It’s so cool close up.  You can somehow imagine idling away your slower days, splicing, installing baggy wrinkle, etc while sailing slowly downwind around the world...a passage back in time...

With all the lines, would you even need a sail downwind in the bigger stuff? She is pretty.  I’m a sucker for double ended boats.  Blindfolded, the old timers could walk around those boats, and just by feel tell you which lines were what.  They needed to at night in a rising wind and no moon...

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When you think about it, a square sail would work well with a swept spreader rig.  And then thinking again :P, old school rigs, although they didn’t have spreaders, had lots of runners.  Technology dictates design..... again...:lol:

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6 minutes ago, Amati said:

With all the lines, would you even need a sail downwind in the bigger stuff? She is pretty.  I’m a sucker for double ended boats.  Blindfolded, the old timers could walk around those boats, and just by feel tell you which lines were what.  They needed to at night in a rising wind and no moon...

Yeah, the windage must be huge.

Makes me wish I’d bought a book I came across several months ago, just for fun - can’t recall title, but it was apparently the classic guidebook/textbook for up and coming merchant sail seaman in the 19th c. to literally “learn the ropes” (and more).  Someone here will undoubtedly know the title. It’s a classic.  Saw it for $20, now I want to look through it, for fun!

Here I am currently working on my classic boat - drilling for fasteners in the new boom gooseneck end.  Sailmaker coming this week to measure.  Exciting.

 

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10 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

 Sailmaker coming this week to measure

Why not ask the sailmaker about adding a square sail to your sloop?  At the worst you'll get a good laugh out of her.

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