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Old 11-10-2010, 08:14 AM   #1
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Hi,

we are shopping for a new mainsail and we want to try an extra large roach that would extend over the backstay to beef up our sail area and also to get all those interesting perks that seem to come with the extra roach. Our main source of information about these sails comes from the Cruising Encyclopedia by Dashews.

Do you have such a sail and if so what are your experiences, good or bad? Can you offer any tips before we have it made?

Our boat is 31', 4.2 tonnes displacement, original mainsail little over 20m2.

The basic idea is:

- Dacron 8oz

- Full battens and loose foot (sic)

- Three reefs

- 1st reef allows tacking without hitting the backstay

UK Hasley in Hong Kong seems like the right choice in SE Asia.

Many thanks for any comments

Petr
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:46 AM   #2
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Hello Petr,

You haven't really told us why you want to do this? How will you stop the main fouling the backstay when you come about?

Have you spoken to Neil Pryde or Lee Sails? I have a large fully battened main on a catamaran - it cost an arm and 2 legs just for the hardware.

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Old 11-10-2010, 12:27 PM   #3
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Richard,

main reason is to get more sail area (sorry I'm not a native English speaker, I thought that "beef up our sail area" means exactly that).

Also lacking any personal experience with such a sail, I can only repeat what I've read (and heard from an owner of such a sail on a monohull):

- backstay can be covered by something like the spiral eletrical wrap or something similar

- the spots on the battens that overlap the backstay are reinforced

- S. Dashew specifically mentions that the sail actually clears the backstay in breeze, softer battens help this

- in light air, one swings the boom faster to achieve the same effect

- naturally all the above mentioned only helps a bit, the sail will frequently hit the backstay

- 1st reef will effectively be 100% (or near that) of the original sail area so when frequent tacking is expected, we reef down

The rough quote that we got from UK seems reasonable, after all we have a small boat and if the sails pushes us faster and we heel less, it should be worth it.

Is Neal Pride or Lee Sails better than UK? Basically we are thinking about UK mostly because we already have a sail from them.

Many thanks
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by klubko View Post

- naturally all the above mentioned only helps a bit, the sail will frequently hit the backstay

- 1st reef will effectively be 100% (or near that) of the original sail area so when frequent tacking is expected, we reef down

The rough quote that we got from UK seems reasonable, after all we have a small boat and if the sails pushes us faster and we heel less, it should be worth it.

Is Neal Pride or Lee Sails better than UK? Basically we are thinking about UK mostly because we already have a sail from them.

Many thanks
Hi Petr,

The Hallberg-Rassy 31 is recognised as a very good sail boat, with a hull speed of around 7 knots. Does yours have a backstay that is adjusted with a 4 or 5 part tackle?

The idea of replacing the existing sail with a fully battened sail with an extra large roach that would foul the backstay frequently, needs very careful consideration. Nothing wrong with a fully battened sail that is designed to fit within the triangle formed by the backstay/mast/boom - Except that in addition to the battens, the sail itself requires additional reinforcement, Roller Bearing Slides, it also may be necessary to replace the Mast-track. If the new main has a significant increase in size compared to the original then the forestay, shrouds and spreaders may also need "beefing-up" (if the rigging is already 20 years old - it should be surveyed by a rigger).

If Quote "the 1st reef will effectively be 100% (or near that) of the original sail area" then surely this first reef will do nothing to de-power the main's effect on heeling?

Sanders Sails have made fully battened mains for the Hallberg-Rassy 31 - here is their website C L I C K It might be worthwhile contacting them.

I mentioned Neil Pryde 1) because he is based in Hong Kong and 2) because he has vast experience in designing and making fully battened mains for his own boat "Hi-Fidelity"
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:36 AM   #5
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Many thanks for your commetns.

Ours is 1974 Monsun, not the new 31. The backstay naturally has an adjuster. The rigging has been surveyed by us. It showed signs of aging, cracked and bent swages, rot in the swadges, being probably 15 year old (no clear info, the first owner passed away, and the intermediate owner having no clue at all) so we replaced it last year with 7mm (instead of the old 6mm).

The sail certainly needs reinforcement and extra protection, viz the list I've mentioned.

There will be batten slides for sure. The question of roller bearing cars came up, but other sources suggest that for sail of our size, it probably won't be necessary. I will leave this to the sailmaker and decide accordingly.

As for the heeling: this might sound rather unintuitive, but the experts say that the big roach, i.e. more sail are in the upper portion of the sail in fact reduced heeling. The reasoning seems correct and particularly the experience of users seems like a good evidence that this is indeed a case. Again, I have no personal experience with this.

Where have you found that the Sanders made such a sail for HR 31 (still you probably mean the new model, right?). I couldn't find anything on the website.

Thanks for pointing out Neil Pryde. I will ask them for a quote and consult. I haven't realized (well, forgot) they are in HK (as well as in Taiwan, actually).
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:30 AM   #6
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Petr,

You boat (http://www.hallberg-rassy.com/monsun/monsun.shtml) is a lovely design.

Assume you are doing this for light air performance? If so, have you just considered having a nylon light air mainsail designed and sewn up for your boat instead? The concept being that you drop the main onto the boom and run up your light air main (loose footed) when needed. When the winds come up, easily stow away the light sail and bring back up your main.

When I look at the design, there appears to be room for a longer boom (more sail in the foot, which is more powerful, btw) but any roach up high will certainly give a bit o interference. You also don't have a gallows with that boat, thus, how will you deal with the topping lift?

Finally, if you're really interested in a lot of roach, than you should be properly set up for it (IMHO) with running backstays on each side of the boat and nix the fixed backstay. That is just my opinion but it seems the right thing to do. If you cannot manage runners then perhaps other options besides excessive roach would be better.

Good luck!
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:47 AM   #7
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As for the heeling: but the experts say that the big roach, i.e. more sail are in the upper portion of the sail in fact reduced heeling.
Puzzled by the contention that the 'experts, claim for reducing heel by having a "large roach"

The standard method of reducing excessive heel on a monohull is by easing the mainsheet combined with adjusting the vang (kicker) or moving the mainsheet traveller.

Having a large roach in the upper section of a size that fouls the backstay - without increasing ballast or weight of the counter balancing keel - will allow the boat to actually heel more than is safe.

One can be sure that the original sail plan of the Hallberg-Rassy 31 Monson was designed so as to take in the size/shape/weight of the counter balancing keel and other ballast. The 2 forces must be complementary
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:15 AM   #8
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Richard,

I can be only citing "the experts" I don't want to toss big names around here to support my argument (in fact, it's not my argument at all, it's theirs, I am only looking for fist hand experience with such a sail on monohulls), but this is what I've learned from Cruising Encyclopedia by S. Dashew (who backs his own experiments done together with D. Neri by John Letcher) and in similar words by a cruiser we've met in Malaysia who has such a sail and claims to be aeronautical engineer:

Quote:

In six cases I’ve been directly involved with, hollow-leech mainsails have been replaced with full-batten conventionally roached sails. The 10-percent increase in sail area has been, as expected, beneficial.

But more surprising have been the other results: significantly less heel while going faster, with reduced weather helm. Counterintuitive as the preceding statement may seem, there is sound basis in theory.

When I asked John Letcher, a highly experienced aero/hydrodynamicist about our observed results, he wasn’t at all surprised. “Induced drag is inversely proportional to span (luff length) squared, divided by sail area. The closer you can get to an elliptical tip shape, the better off you’re going to be.”

And of course, what we’d observed with the added roach area was an effective step toward an elliptical tip shape. I asked John just how much better the drag might be. “The difference between a sail built to IOR maximum dimensions and a hollow-leech sail could be as much as 40 percent,” he told me. This is even more important on a cruising boat, with its relatively inefficient (compared to a racing boat) hull and fins. Peter Schwenn at Design Systems added that “the extra area, up high, works better because the wind is stronger aloft. And even though the center of effort in the sail is higher and there’s more area, the reduction in induced drag could result in less heel.” (Dashew, 1998, pp. 95-96)
This has been written in 90s. I am sure there's more thorough understanding now. After all the big racing machines have exactly that, i.e. a lot of sail higher up.

I don't want to go extreme with this by no means, but at the same time, if the I get more speed together with less heel, I am willing to put up with little more maintenance and perhaps more tricky sail handling.

And as for the design of Monsun. Naturally you are right. But considering that it was designed in the 70s and that in the 90s the effect of the big roach seemed surprising, I think the sail plan might be redrawn. The counter-argument for the increase of ballast and draft is the "reduced heel".

To redbopeep:

We haven't really thought about nylon mainsail. I have to admit, I haven't seen anyone use it, but I haven't seen all that much On the other hand I've see a person with big roach sail and he was very pleased with it. Surely, we want to get more air light performace (not that it would be too bad now, the boat being quite slim, sails truly well) .

It would certainly be easier on the sail with runners, but it seems to work rather fine even with fixed backstay.
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:53 AM   #9
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In the quote by Dashew "In six cases I’ve been directly involved with, hollow-leech mainsails have been replaced with full-batten conventionally roached sails. The 10-percent increase in sail area has been, as expected, beneficial."

True, the above would be correct - however, Dashew is not talking about replacing the Monson's mainsail with a main that has a roach, that is so large that 'the sail will frequently hit the backstay'

He specifically speaks of 'conventionally roached' - not the roached mains that are seen on latter day Multihulls and planing Monos.
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:59 AM   #10
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sorry, the quote is a little misleading, because the argument follows previous discussion about hollow leech sail. It ends, later in the chapter from which I quotes with discussion about nearly 700mm overlap of the backstay. I don't mean to be argumentative, but it's really about big roaches extending over the backstay.
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:45 AM   #11
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Petr,

I understand your desire to improve the handling of your boat - including getting to a destination a little faster.

Could you confirm what type of mainsail furling that your Monson has? Some that I have seen furl the main by rotating the boom by winding a handle at the mast - this arrangement does not allow for the most efficient main sail, its shape is designed so that it rolls flat on the boom as it rotates. The Monson's tiller and Mainsheet track and controls limit the options that one has, certainly the boom could be extended but retain the present position of where the mainsheet attaches to the boom. If you go for a fully battened main sail - may I suggest that it is designed to keep the roach's leech a few centimeters forward of the back stay.Consider Harken batcars. Consider additional ballast in the form of lead ingots. Consider a stacking system to take the sail when reefing or dropping the sail.
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:51 AM   #12
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OK...What is the goal? I really and truly don't think you'll achieve less heeling by employing more roach. But, is heeling less than you presently heel one of your goals? More heeling certainly brings about more leeway which we can all do without. Or, are you just doing the "in theory xxx" thought process for your own boat?

If you wish light air performance--considering a light air mainsail in nylon,

If you wish to reduce heel by taking advantage of the sail twist that you can induce in a fully battened sail with a lot of roach, then you really need the rigging to support your goals. Having the sail interfere with the fixed backstay totally is screwy in terms of meeting these goals. It would seem that you'd have to have full batten at the appropriate (high) height AND that you'd have to have a means of de-powering the sail high while allowing it to develop good lift low. That means enough TWIST that the center of effort of the sail is significantly lowered. So, rather than simply letting out the sheet a bit and depowering the entire sail you'd be sheeting in tight and using vang/preventer down low and then maximizing leech curve perhaps by tightening up the topping lift. Then you might have less heel because you've lowered the center of effort of the sail. Or, it just might be a totally screwed up inefficient way of managing the mainsail
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:53 AM   #13
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Richard,

actually we enjoy being at sea. So these considerations are really not about making faster passages

Some Monsuns indeed have a furling boom, but we have slab reefing.I forgot to reply to redbopeep about the boom length. This something we don't consider at all.

We are still gathering information about the big roach. In the end we might just get as big a roach as possible as long as it stays under the backstay. But there's some additional support for the extra roach in the discussions on setsail.com. So we are still pondering...
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:12 AM   #14
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redbopeep,

The above cited people say it indeed reduces heel. You don't think it does. I have hardly anything to add, perhaps another quote:

Quote:

The mainsail in the upper left drawing [big overlapping roach] has 17 percent more sail area than the non-overlapping main

in the drawing to the right. The induced drag of the left sail will be lower due to its more efficient tip shape. This means less weather helm and less heeling, even though there is more sail area up high and aft of the center of lift of your keel. While this may sound counterintuitive, we can tell you from a lot of real-world experience that things do indeed work this way. (page 101)
You ask me about the goal. We hope to be able to go cruising quite soon and hopefully do it for few years, so we want a versatile sail, as large as possible, while being able to use it as long as possible. There will be extra maintenance, I know. But again, the advantages the seem to come with such a sail, seem quite considerable.

Some people that have followed Dashew's example, seem to be happy with it as well, viz. setsail.com

But I take your worries to heart and consult in detail with a sailmaker. I am nevertheless still looking for more first hand experience. As you point out, I am of course doing thougt experiments, what else can I do?
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:05 PM   #15
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redbopeep,

The above cited people say it indeed reduces heel. You don't think it does. I have hardly anything to add, perhaps another quote:

You ask me about the goal. We hope to be able to go cruising quite soon and hopefully do it for few years, so we want a versatile sail, as large as possible, while being able to use it as long as possible. There will be extra maintenance, I know. But again, the advantages the seem to come with such a sail, seem quite considerable.

Some people that have followed Dashew's example, seem to be happy with it as well, viz. setsail.com

But I take your worries to heart and consult in detail with a sailmaker. I am nevertheless still looking for more first hand experience. As you point out, I am of course doing thougt experiments, what else can I do?
Steve Dashew favors large ketches with the aft mizzen mast (and sail) almost as big as the forward main mast (and sail). He also subscribes to a philosophy of "speed is safety" and will do everything within his power to go fast including motorsailing when most people would sail, using (movable) water ballast to reduce heel so that additional sail can be kept up safely in higher winds. He has advocated many innovations on his website. Not all innovations are appropriate for all cruisers. The Dashews ideas have evolved over the years--largely based on their personal situation and what they were learning about sailing and their personal interests and resources at the time. They started out in the early 70's racing small custom catamarans and then took off cruising in a very unsafe (but innovative) configuration of a speedy catamaran with--literally--a tent perched upon it to house them and their small children. Considering Dashew's focus on safety now, it is quite amazing to see photos of his early cruising days. But--it makes sense, the Dashews always loved speed and for whatever personal reason decided they wanted to cruise on a low budget at that time. Quickly, they evolved into what we could consider more mainstream cruisers but with larger boats ($$$) and more gizmos aboard than the average cruiser. They marketed these things in a very positive way which always made sense at the time. As they were aging, they began adding lots of electric winches, etc, and began to market big ketches with labor saving devices including full batten mainsails which can be dropped very quickly into the lazy jacks with little effort--yes those things cost more (full battens mean you'd better have a very nice car system and the sail won't last as long as one with no battens...but money has not been the issue for the ideas the Dashews market--rather speed and safety and as they grew older, ease of use. Now that they're even a bit older, the Dashews have decided to stop sailing altogether and run a power cruiser instead. Steve Dashew has even done the economic analysis to prove that it is more cost effective to cruise on his design of motor cruiser than it is to cruise on a similar sailing vessel. He finally in this motor vs sail analysis gets into the discussion of just how very expensive he expects his preferred sailing configurations to be. All and all, the Dashews have many fine ideas for cruising--all of them suitable for someone who has a healthy cruising kitty and can afford to keep up more costly gear.

Back to excessive roach, with the large ketch rigs that Dashew prefers, the staying is different than with a small sloop or cutter. Additional sail configurations are very possible and it is likely that dealing with excessive roach is possible. I have not sailed a boat with a modern (racing style) full-batten excessive roach configuration, however I do sail a gaff-rigged boat which is the "ultimate" in doing what you're proposing (but more complicated than you'd likely want) and it is easy for anyone who has sailed a gaff rigged boat to understand that when you place a lot of roach on the sail up high, as the winds come up, the highest full battens are going to induce a bit of twist in the sail and if the skipper knows what he is doing, he will be able to manage the twist to to get rid of a "bit" of heel. This same twist will work against you as you work to windward unless you can manage it properly.

If you just must change your rig for something different (for some reason that you don't seem to know what it is?) on your smaller vessel which has a lovely rig, and if you would like to add more roach which is fully battened, you might seriously consider a Chinese Junk rig (which doesn't require the sort of staying that a Bermuda/Marconi main sail does) as a rig modification. Many people have written about the benefits of using a Chinese junk rig. No, it is not "fashionable" as the racing high roach sails are, but it gives you what you're looking for.

When you ask "what else can I do?" I'd suggest you just sail your boat as it is designed to be sailed; read Lin and Larry Pardey's "Cost Conscious Cruiser" which talks about doing exactly as you wish--have a few sails in inventory as possible which are useful for as long as possible. Both the Pardey's and a recent (within the last year) issue of "Good Old Boat" magazine have good discussion of light air (nylon) cruising mainsails. Enjoy the Dashews writings for they have many excellent and innovative ideas which are useful to some people some of the time. And--get out there and sail your boat! If you sail it enough, you'll get a list of things you want to have tweaked just a bit and you'll be very happy about your own decisions.

Fair winds,
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Old 11-12-2010, 12:20 AM   #16
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redbopeep,

thanks for a thorough analysis of the evolution of Dashew's ideas. We don't subscribe to most of it, but the interesting features of the extra roach seemed intriguing. That's why I have asked for comments of someone who actually has such a sail (I mean no offense, I still value your contribution). Whatever the philosophy, if the sail does what they say it does, I am interested.

We've thought about junk rig, but only as a very unreal thought experiment, assuming that the new mast and changes that would have to be made to the boat would cost a lot. But I am a fan. If I ever have another boat, I will be thinking about it seriously.

I have no experience with gaff (thought I am at least an aesthetic fan), but my guess would be that the behaviour of this sail and fully battened marconi, might be a bit different. We have more extensive experience only with our current full batten mainsail (and a rotten, but still functional short batten variant), which, btw. we've used well enough to know what it does. You tell me to get out there and sail the boat! Am I not doing so? How do you know I haven't sailed the boat enough? We are happy with the current sail, it pushes us well even in very light air, but since it's time to get a new one soon, we are researching if there is space for a bit better sail. You say that we should sail that boat as it was designed. Why should we? Why can't we inquire about more modern sail shape?

We are avid readers of Pardeys, I forgot their discussion of the nylon mainsails. Thanks for the reminder. I am sure you are not advocating that, but we are not following any philosophy, even though the way Pardeys, Hills and others do things has a strong influence on us, since we live simply on land too. We just want to have the best possible sailing vessel we can afford for the very limited budget we have, get her ready and cruise on her for a while.
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Old 11-12-2010, 03:14 AM   #17
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redbopeep,

thanks for a thorough analysis of the evolution of Dashew's ideas. We don't subscribe to most of it, but the interesting features of the extra roach seemed intriguing. That's why I have asked for comments of someone who actually has such a sail (I mean no offense, I still value your contribution). Whatever the philosophy, if the sail does what they say it does, I am interested.

We've thought about junk rig, but only as a very unreal thought experiment, assuming that the new mast and changes that would have to be made to the boat would cost a lot. But I am a fan. If I ever have another boat, I will be thinking about it seriously.

I have no experience with gaff (thought I am at least an aesthetic fan), but my guess would be that the behaviour of this sail and fully battened marconi, might be a bit different. We have more extensive experience only with our current full batten mainsail (and a rotten, but still functional short batten variant), which, btw. we've used well enough to know what it does. You tell me to get out there and sail the boat! Am I not doing so? How do you know I haven't sailed the boat enough? We are happy with the current sail, it pushes us well even in very light air, but since it's time to get a new one soon, we are researching if there is space for a bit better sail. You say that we should sail that boat as it was designed. Why should we? Why can't we inquire about more modern sail shape?

We are avid readers of Pardeys, I forgot their discussion of the nylon mainsails. Thanks for the reminder. I am sure you are not advocating that, but we are not following any philosophy, even though the way Pardeys, Hills and others do things has a strong influence on us, since we live simply on land too. We just want to have the best possible sailing vessel we can afford for the very limited budget we have, get her ready and cruise on her for a while.
The way the excessive roach sail may do what "they say" it does is with twist. I will hope that Richard, a very experienced fellow can chime in here. There is nothing magic about the roach--it, in theory allows for less drag per lift provided. In todays super high aspect sails, this is a big deal. However, the only way to also get less heel on a high aspect sail is going to be by somehow lowering the center of effort of the sail. If you think about it, you should understand that twist would be a key to that. No magic, no brilliant idea.

A sail with a lot of of roach isn't really a modern idea rather it is simply modern folks incorporating good aspects of the junk rig or one of the other rigs which includes an upper spar (like gaff, gunter, etc) to support additional sail up high. Many people who sail gaff rigged boats joke about the ultra-high roach or the new "square top" (spar on top) sails which are like a "handicapped" gaff sail. Very few ideas are truly new but rather simple modern interpretation of something old.

+++

It only seems that if folks have NOT sailed their own boats enough they become focused upon ideas that other folks (like the Dashews) have. You know the "grass is always greener" saying? Well, sometimes it seems "if only I had x, y, or z.." all would be good.

What are the conditions that you've sailed your boat in? How has it performed in those conditions? What is not adequate about the existing mainsail that you'd like to change and why? What performance element do you really want to be different? For example, if it is slow--when? If it heels too much--under what conditions? What other things are amiss with the existing sail(s)?

Regarding keeping your existing sail plan vs one more modern? I'm just someone who advocates for a system that is known to work to be kept in place and used rather than changed for no reason. If we're on a budget, change is costly. I'm also someone that likes to keep era- specific technologies "together" if they remain appropriate, useful, safe.

I look forward to hearing about your particular boat's sailing characteristics and how you hope to change them and in what way.

Fair winds,
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Old 11-12-2010, 03:45 AM   #18
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redbopeep, I agree with what you say above "+++". Have I suggested anything about brilliant ideas and magic?

I stay corrected regarding the modernity of ideas: What I meant is, that when our boat was designed before 1974, these "old" ideas were not very commonly seen to be put to use. As far as I know, that is. You can correct me.

Thanks for pointing out, again without knowing anything about me, that I have NOT sailed my boat enough. I have no doubts that you have a lot of knowledge about sails and what not, but all I am asking, is (allow me to follow your example to emphasize emotions with the upper case): Have YOU ever used such a sail on a monohull with fixed backstay? What is YOUR experience with such configuration?

I am not asking about these sails, because I want to radically improve our boat. It sails well as it is. It does not heel excessively and sails well in light air. In this respect, All is good with our boat. Does that mean it can't be even better? Your advise to use the boat as it was designed is duly noted.

I will repeat again my expectations from this sail as I haven't probably said it clearly enough (perhaps because I am being so confused): The large area will improve light air performance and is supposed to be reducing heeling, which will allow you to reef later than usual.

Allow me to emphasize again: This is what I've read (and heard), I am simply asking if it really works for more people than just the two cases, I've so far encountered. (+ two or three respondents at sailnet.com and cca 3 people on forums I have posted to).
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:22 AM   #19
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Sorry that we're not communicating. I though that you didn't understand what I was saying about twist. And, I though that it (twist) was worthy of conversation. Clearly now, I see, that you are not interested in discussing the mechanics of the way that the additional roach will help a boat in terms of speed or heel reduction but rather you just want others with such sails to confirm that indeed it it the case on their boats no matter the physics of it all. Sorry to have gone down the path of discussion regarding the sail design itself. When I thought of the practicality of implementing such a sail on your boat, I really began the process of analyzing the matter and wanted more information about what could be "wrong" with the boat based upon your experience.

You have yet to share your experience with us, btw. It would be wonderful to know about your boat and how it sails in a variety of conditions.

My caps were only to emphasis the word "not" and it was folks, not YOU that I was talking about. And when "folks" don't have enough experience with something but they have great interest or concern--they ask lots of questions (as they should and as you should IMHO) AND they sometimes quote other people rather than voicing their own opinions. That was "they" the "other folks" not YOU that I am talking about. Now, it would be quite nice to know how your...let me say YOUR boat sails. I was really interested in that..

We could have a decent conversation regarding the merits of a high roach sail. However, I'll repeat in closing, it does seem that unfortunately you're not interested in a conversation about sail characteristic but rather simply a "I have that sail, and yes it is great. or not" from somebody. That somebody isn't me, so good luck in finding your answers.

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Old 11-12-2010, 05:03 AM   #20
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Fair enough. Sorry for being unclear that I understand the theory. But no, I am not interested only in "yes I have it, it is great". But to be honest, and I am sure there are plenty of very knowledgeable people around here, I'd rather be discussing the details with sailmaker that will actually make my new mainsail (big roach or not) and will have all the number and equations to crunch them. Here I was merely looking for someone who had/has such sail and can tell me anything beyond theory.

I am grateful for your comments so far (and especially for the time you have invested in writing them). I can certainly share my experience: I am considerably inexperienced, had the boat only for 3 years (dinghies before) and spend total of cca 8 months sailing (meaning full time) + some weekends (as I am still landlocked), all in SE Asia, where we bought the boat. Mostly coastal (twice Mallaca Strait, coast of Borneo, eastern coast of Palawan and western coast of Luzon) with three shorter offshore passages (Singapore-Santubong, Bolinao-Hong Kong, Hong Kong-Kaohsiung). Some of it was naturally with an aid of engine as this part of the world is not endowed with lots of wind (in spring).

As for the boat, I don't have much quantifiable information. She can point cca 40deg (just an estimation) and she moves even in light air (i.e. gives some steerage, enough that we are not only drifting). I am not sure when we usually reef, because we have only a handheld knotmeter. We simply reef when we start to heel too much (rail gets close to water or we are cooking, for which we usually heave to anyway), I'd say somewhere between moderate and fresh breeze. In moderate breeze we can be making 5-6kn, we've seen 7kn few times when waves were small and even 8 in squalls when the tiller becomes heavy, but the boat is still maneuverable with confidence.

The original owner added a 3' bowsprit, which gives a little lee helm in light air to light breeze when we use our genoa, which seems a bit heavier that we would love to, but then we are flying in gentle to moderate breeze. We simply hoist gennaker, trim main, reduce the genoa (roller) or calculate the added leeway in.

Thus I to think, that a bit more mainsail should not hurt.
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