Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Sail Locker

Journeyman has the following sails: Storm jib, working jib, genoa, reacher, spinnaker, and main. They live in the port cockpit locker. Many of the sails are visible in the attached sail plan. You can see that the Vega has a short rig compared with most US boats, so we really depend on our light sails.

The main and working jib get the most use. The main has full battens and can take two reefs. It is made by Cressy in Marblehead and it is an excellent sail.
The working jib is miter cut, a bit old fashioned. But it is very well made, with leathered tack and head, very strong detailing. I set it on an 8 inch tack pennant made up from ¼ inch 7 by 19 stainless halyard shackled to the stem fitting.

The genoa is a little tired and could use replacement. I don’t use it much, preferring, often, to go from the working jib to a reacher, which means I rarely use the genoa close reaching or close hauled. The genoa is of course terrible for visibility to leeward and maybe that’s why I don’t set it much. But genoas are powerful sails for a light breeze, enabling one to sail instead of motoring, and I really should become more familiar with that sail.

The spinnaker is also a little old fashioned, being cross cut – the latest thing, in 1975. I wouldn’t mind a tri-radial spinnaker, which in my experience is far more stable and forgiving of trim than a cross cut sail.

The storm jib is a recent acquisition. I have set it once in no real wind, just to see. I followed Bacon and Associates’ guidelines: “Maximum storm jib luff = 2/3 of the working jib luff, maximum storm jib leach = 2/3 of the working jib leach, and maximum storm jib foot = 2/3 of the working jib foot. For off-shore work, limit the storm jib edge dimensions to a maximum of one-half of the corresponding working jib edge dimensions.”

My storm jib seems too small but I guess it will be right if it were to blow 50 or thereabouts. I plan to set it on a 24 inch wire tack pennant I use for the reacher, so the sail will be (a) in clearer air and (b) less likely to scoop up a wave.

There is no way I will go on the wind with my working jib in 30 knots or more, but I don’t think the storm jib will be effective in less than around 40 knots. So I have a plan for an intermediate sail, as follows: I will take the working jib and cut it down so it is about 2/3 its present size. The upper part of the sail will stay the same: I’ll move the tack and clew up. I’ll move the tack up say 40 inches but I’ll move the clew a good deal higher, so in effect I will have a yankee, see the illustration.

To save cost, I’ll ask the sailmaker simply to use the existing tack and clew, but to transplant them to their new positions, as was common practice in more frugal times.

And I’ll buy a nice new working jib . . .

Then I’ll have a yankee useful for upwind work in say about 30 to 45 knots, and off the wind in combination with a working jib in a strong breeze.

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