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Old 01-15-2011, 08:27 PM   #1
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I've just heard about light air mainsails and am curious as to whether many cruisers use these. Interested to hear how they are set up also. I believe they can make life more pleasant by not slatting and banging which drives me crazy. I usually drop the main in these conditions but if a nylon sail kind of slows the motion without noise i'm interested.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:30 PM   #2
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I've just heard about light air mainsails and am curious as to whether many cruisers use these. Interested to hear how they are set up also. I believe they can make life more pleasant by not slatting and banging which drives me crazy. I usually drop the main in these conditions but if a nylon sail kind of slows the motion without noise i'm interested.
G'day Peter. I'm sure - our new 'forums' member - Bob Pattison, Senior Technical Director, Neil Pryde Sails, will 'come in' with very valuable well informed opinions on this subject. Am positive that his comments will be of significant importance for all of us to learn from. IMHO a set of 'top of the line' full-length' sail battens coupled with the choice of the correct material - properly constructed sail would - reduce/stop most of everyone's 'slatting & banging' problems & save much money & prolong the life & shape of the sail. That's all good. Enjoy your sailing & do stay out of the 'ships paths' Kind regards, james
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:31 PM   #3
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Danblu,

Hi, just read your post regarding light air mainsails. Generally, no one to my knowledge builds light air mains for cruising boats. There are 'downwind' mainsails that are used in racing in say for instance the Transpac, and the sail might be lighter and fuller as the boats will be running almost the entire way. But it's not common at all for cruising and I think the reason is that your mainsail is the real workhorse and has to work from 2 knots (albeit not great) to 40 knots. It has to be strong enough for the 40 which naturally makes it too heavy for 2. This isn't to say you couldn't do it...but the first time you were using it in 2 and a blast comes in at 12 or 20 knots...you'll certainly have problems.

Re: Nylon. This is NOT used for working sails. Nylon, though really strong is also very elastic. That's why it makes great spinnakers and climbing ropes. Not an ideal fabric for working sails and it is not made in any form that would be heavy enough or strong enough for mainsails.

James has a good point about full battens making the slatting less annoying I would think if you are just slatting around, that you are better off dropping the main all together as you currently do.

Racers use a 'windseeker' in this type of condition which is a very small (80% or so) and light (nylon or mylar) high clewed, free flying jib. Think of a spinnaker staysail and you can see it. It seems to be the only thing that really works in the lightest of light air. This used with a main seems to be one combination that gets the boat moving...but in any sea you will still have the slatting to deal with from time to time.

Sorry not to have a better solution...but as a friend of mine is fond of saying, 'times like this require we use the 'd'-sail.

bob
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:15 PM   #4
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Hi Bob,

The "D" sail it is. I thought that maybe a light main that was simply held at the three points may be easily set and dropped without touching the main except for using the halyard. Mine is a wee bit slow in light air and beemy so she can get fairly boisterous when not making way. I'd rather beat into a gale than sit about rockin and rolling and rattling and banging. I don't have a spinnaker onboard as yet so that may well cure a lot of my problems. Thanks Bob, Jerry.

Cheers

pete.
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:58 AM   #5
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Jerry,

You are right about a cruising asymmetric as it is a probably the best bet for increasing the horsepower in light air and overcoming the displacement/wetted surface issues and the only real way to over come the light air blahs. I've sailed a mid-90's Beneteau 411 at 52degrees in 6-7 knots of breeze with the luff pulled down tight...and was very close to hull speed. Of course we might not have been going in the desired direction..but it was fun and it took the heat off of a rather hot and sticky day...

Best,

Bob

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Hi Bob,

The "D" sail it is. I thought that maybe a light main that was simply held at the three points may be easily set and dropped without touching the main except for using the halyard. Mine is a wee bit slow in light air and beemy so she can get fairly boisterous when not making way. I'd rather beat into a gale than sit about rockin and rolling and rattling and banging. I don't have a spinnaker onboard as yet so that may well cure a lot of my problems. Thanks Bob, Jerry.

Cheers

pete.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:44 AM   #6
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Jerry,

You are right about a cruising asymmetric as it is a probably the best bet for increasing the horsepower in light air and overcoming the displacement/wetted surface issues and the only real way to over come the light air blahs. I've sailed a mid-90's Beneteau 411 at 52degrees in 6-7 knots of breeze with the luff pulled down tight...and was very close to hull speed. Of course we might not have been going in the desired direction..but it was fun and it took the heat off of a rather hot and sticky day..

Best,

Bob

G'day to y'all. I've missed something here. Who in Jerry? (ha ha - maybe Aussie slang, eh?

Now Bob, let's get into the 'pointy-end' of the learning curve here. As you expressed in YHO (your humble opinion) - - for cruising - value is measured in - 'more bang for your buck' ie. less sails, better wind-range coverage, smoother & more up-right through the ocean, less work all adds up to - more fun - IMHO. I've used several 'asymmetrical's (light-weight 'reachers' c/w hi-cut foot & asymmetrical light-weight kites (spinnakers) & (oh - even both at the same time - won our div in a 'S to H' in /76 'flying both at the same time, sailing up the Derwent - 'mowing down the fleet of much bigger yachts ahead - was not popular) & while doing 2, 3, & 400 k passages & they are surely the way to go IMHO & even stay on course - as a cruiser would do -'in a general fashion'. Your first sentence needs quoting many times over. 'increasing the h/p in light air & overcoming displacement/wetted surface issues and the only real way to over come the light air blahs' Big time!! I'm sure Peter will get the overall value achieved with this combination.

Next - working backwards - re- 'full length battens' 'JeanneP' & others.They DO NOT need to be - expensive in money (but do take some time to 'get-it-right' - - nor made of 'carbon', 'carbon/foam' or any other of the 'exotics' which are almost impossible to repair & keep the appropriate constant-curve they were designed with. If anyone wants the 'recipe' - let me know. The extra bonus of 'top-shelf' battens (shape wise) is a great shaped mail-sail most of the time & easy to keep the shape correct especially as you reef-down.

Next; Bob might care to explain - just how a 'high-cut foot works in 1/ allowing better exhaust (necessary especially in anything over 6 to 8 kts of wind-speed through the sail) & 2/ in the lowering of the 'center of effort ( thus tipping-moment) that such sails achieve. All this allows for a more kindly sea-motion - thus more up-right thus more enjoyment. Bob, It's a great solution & is very cost effective!!!! Thanks!

Next; re - Extra Large Main-sail roach discussion, which is all about the very same subject. Sailing more efficiently in a 'sea-kindly manner'. *Mast-head cranes* Bob - as I understand it - the use of a 'm-h crane' - of the right size & at 90% to the back-stay should reduce the necessity for 'twin back-stays' (both a weight saving & a tuning night-mare avoided - all good). A 'crane' allows for easier controlled back-stay tension (if boat is fitter with such - & if not - get one fitted) ; better controlled back-stay tensioning allows for the top of the leach of both the main & the fore-sail to be set up to ease-off in the gusts without having to re-tune the rig through each & every gust & lull. In a gust - when the top of the leach automatically falls away to leeward (which is much faster than anyone can react to the gust) the tipping of the boat is reduced & the 'center of effort' drops down towards the boom thus decreasing the healing moment & increasing the up-right stature of the hull-through-the-water resulting in a smoother sailing posture. If linked with tensioning of the rig - for the lower/center of the mast to move forward by adjusting the fore & aft lower shrouds the result is a flatter main with the drive moving slightly forward & down while the wind is trying to move it aft thus a mail which will drive the boat forward smoother, more up-right, more powerfully & easier & safer to control sailing motion especially when sailing under-handed. Thus again - more up-right, more sea-kindly, more fun & didn't spill my drink. The additional tension on the fore-stay allows for a tighter luff, flatter genoa or jib allowing the leach of the fore-sail to exhaust again standing the boat more up-right, & all those matters mentioned above. The compound of this is - to get closer to max hull speed quicker & for longer & 'more fun' & not spilling my drink. Sounds 'all-good' to me. Bob- please correct me where I'm wrong as I don't want to mislead anyone. And one could keep going with these improvements by using new synthetic fiber rigging (which is some 80% lighter than either wire or rod rigging). Seems to me that all of this happens for Brenda & David on SV Mahdee, their magnificent 54' schooner - as their gaff rig does the automatically - I think. We are not inventing the wheel just coping with very minor modifications what has been 'the bench mark of centuries'. I mention here I have neither the knowledge nor ability to sail a vessel the likes of 'SV Mahdee' but I'd surely like to learn. Everyone take some time to go into their 'profile' & see the pictures of this yacht - a real credit to them both & the most magnificent sailing vessel I have seen in my life. Maybe I can get some lessons when I come to Cal. to 'buy-cheap' a yacht at the 'gvnmnt-seized' auctions, that's if I can finally find the right 'site' to tap into. Gawd - that would be a 'blast'!

Next; Less heel - Bob's comment is worth exploring a step further I feel - 'roachy mains tend to de-power sooner' & the 2nd as significant gain is - that when the 1st reef is taken - that easing to the leach has an expanded value many times over due to the extra sail area low down. Bob? Giving more power, lower down & easier to control. Bob? I think this is what Bob said & meant ??

Sure hope I got some of the above somewhat correct. Thanks everyone for reading my ramblings. Ciao, 'JJ-geri-hat-trick' or james


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Old 05-28-2011, 11:33 AM   #7
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Just got a new second hand lightweight genoa that has improved matters heaps. Its a big sail, comes back to the end of the cabin minus a couple of feet. I'm now enjoying sailing in less than 5 knots of wind as long as I'm not running before it. What a difference. i bought a Jib online and when I went to pick it up the guy gave me this old genoa that looked pretty grubby. I put it into a bath we have in the yard and used oxywash type bleach for a couple of days but it still had rust stains pretty bad so I strung it out across the yard and attacked the stains with hydrochloric acid (dilute). I kept applying it most of one day just to the stains and wow, all clean. So I got a nice jib and a genoa for $70!!!
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Old 05-28-2011, 11:15 PM   #8
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Just got a new second hand lightweight genoa that has improved matters heaps. Its a big sail, comes back to the end of the cabin minus a couple of feet. I'm now enjoying sailing in less than 5 knots of wind as long as I'm not running before it. What a difference. i bought a Jib online and when I went to pick it up the guy gave me this old genoa that looked pretty grubby. I put it into a bath we have in the yard and used oxywash type bleach for a couple of days but it still had rust stains pretty bad so I strung it out across the yard and attacked the stains with hydrochloric acid (dilute). I kept applying it most of one day just to the stains and wow, all clean. So I got a nice jib and a genoa for $70!!!
Gooday cobber. Thanks for your e-mail, much appreciated. NOW - come forth - me-mate - with more info about these sails; luff, leach, foot - measurements; how far back-on-the-boat -expressed as a % of the total deck length, weight & # of panels & wind strength you feel they will work efficiently in ????? Then we can all learn without going through all the time-cost you've just gone through, Please. 7* here this am, how all you's live in cold climates is a wonder. Oh & you can keep it. To everyone that's involved (1st or 2nd hand) in & with these tornadoes in the mid-USA - - my heart goes out to you all. It's now 4 months since our little blow out here & we're digging out & repairing & that's 1/100 of the troubles in that area. Keep well all & great sailing &/or planning. Ciao, james
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