[MHml] a new downwind sail
ceilydh at 3web.net
Thu Nov 30 19:15:20 EST 2006
We have a Richard Woods "Meander", a 40' open bridgedeck catamaran. To it we have added a big bridgedeck cabin. The rig is a masthead cutter, with twin backstays, inner forestay, babystay, and inboard shrouds.
The sails are currently:
1) Kevlar laminate masthead genoa on furler.
2) Dacron inner staysail on furler.
3) Dacron pin head mainsail with 2 reefs, short battens.
4) Yankee a high clewed smaller jib (can be used on outer forestay)
5) wee 1.5 oz tiny spinnaker. Will make a good chicken chute in 20+ knots of wind. So tiny that foot is about 12' off the deck when hoisted. So tiny that we slowed down when using it compared to the genoa when sailing downwind....
Our future goals are offshore sailing in 2008. We've done offshore cruising before and have a good feel for conditions that are beyond local coastal cruising. Plan to do classic coconut milk run, either from Mexico to Marquesas, S. Pacific, NZ or Ecuador - Galapagos, S.Pacific, NZ. And beyond on a westabout circumnavigation.
So I'm trying to decide on a downwind sail. I'm leaning toward an old used 1.5 oz symmetric triradial spinnaker in a snuffer. Spinnaker size around 1000 - 1250 ft2 [93 - 116 sq. m]. Something either of us can douse easily on their own. Fly it until about 15 knots true, from true wind angles of 90 to 150 or so. Fly it deeper wind angles when it's really light. Basically a sail optimized for running, not reaching performance. Easy to gybe, with guy led to each bow, sheets to stern quarters of the boat.
I can't think why an assymetric spinnaker would be better for me - given how easy it is to gybe a symmetric one, and how I'd have to arrange a foot tackle to position the tack of an assymetric one properly after gybing. But I can be convinced otherwise!
But I have read about some offshore sailors using screechers and code 0's effectively offshore as their main downwind sails, because they can furl easier than they can douse a chute. I see these as better reaching sails, say from 60 true (when winds are light) to 150 true at best.
I'm happy with the boat's performance reaching with the genoa in lighter winds (though maybe not when fully loaded for cruising) that I think the screacher type sail choice is not required.
So ... what do you think I should get?
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