Jun 21, 2000
Speaking of sails, I have not used the Stoboom mainsail after the Azores, even after repairing the lower sail track which exploded on a jibe in the early July storm. The Stoboom proved a disaster offshore, as strong winds twist the reefed rolls in the boom, twist the full battens permanently, and prevent further orderly furling. You also have to rehoist the whole sail before taking additional rolls, something eminently unseaworthy in heavy winds. Stoboom has folded, as Profurl has come out with a new roll-in-boom (which I prefer to roll in mast, I'd hate to slash my main to stow it, many have had to do it!), but I'd wait for more experience.
Oct 9, 2000
I hope all have had a wonderful summer with their boats. We have completed our first offshore passage to Maine this summer. The trip was wonderful and the boat performed great. Our jump from Cape May to Edgartown Martha's Vineyard was a fantastic short passage. However, now that we are back the plans and improvements for next year are just starting. I plan on having a new mainsail built for my Allied Seawind II. I wanted to get the opinion of you concerning the number of reefs. I am debating between having two or three reefs built into the sail. I am unsure if the relatively small main only needs two or if the third reef is cheap insurance. My wife and I are planning a trip to Bermuda next summer to give an idea of the
intended use of the sail. I have gotten in contact with Mack sails out of Ft. Lauderdale. Any information on about his company or the number of reefs would be greatly appreciated.
Nov 2, 2000
I have a Seawind II ketch and would not bother about a third reef, but would definitely add it to the mizzen. If you have a sloop, then a third reef is, as you say, cheap insurance. Winds and swells offshore are relentless once they come.
For those who have a ketch, in my year offshore across the Atlantic and back, I have not used the mainsail at all after I lost half of the track in a gale on the first leg to the Azores, although I repaired the track and made it stronger in Horta. Jib and jigger, with 7 to 10 turns in the genoa
and a reef in the mizzen, were the heavy weather clothing. No reef, no turns, and a mizzen staysail, did the job in lighter winds, and a drifter went up once. As you know from my last letter, I am looking for a bigger staysail for really light off the wind work.
I have a 7oz genoa and a 10 oz mizzen, although the old 7 oz mizzen without reef is good enough in the LI Sound. I never had to hoist the hanked on yankee on the flying forestay, except as a twinsail for down wind work, and you need a second pole for that. The only time I sent up the 80sqft 10 0z storm jib on the flying forestay was at the end of a 65 kts/12m waves/30 hours gale, once I got the courage to go forward (had to, to gather the main after the track broke away in a jibe, this is a lousy stoboom system, another British piece of crap, as is the Windhunter windvane/auto-pilot system: genius idea but incredibly poor execution).
To resume, if a sloop going offshore, I'd go for the 3rd reef; if a ketch, put definitely that reef in the mizzen, it will also help in the heave-to mode.
Nov 4, 2000
Very interesting info about the sails! I've only had my SWII ketch for 2 yrs, but have sailed to Bermuda twice, all over the Caribbean, and the Bahamas since then. Interestingly, except for a few squalls, I've yet to hit any heavy weather. On previous boats, though, have been in some
horrendous stuff (especially on a couple of high latitude transatlantics) so want to be very prepared for a blow.
I did replace the main with a new 10oz sail with two reefs. That seems about right. I often sail with a single reef in the mizzen. Bert - I'm wondering if you mean have only a single reef in the mizzen or more than one???
You mention a 80 sq ft storm jib only used once. Is 80 about right? I was thinking something more like 100 to 120 sq feet for use in 35-45 knot winds. Above that range, on other 30ish foot boats, I generally run downwind under bare poles. Does anyone know how many sq feet the working jib is?
I got a used mizzen staysail at Bacons in Annapolis for $75. The thing is a ton of fun to set and I've used it various ways. The best seems to be with just it and the spinnaker set. I do want a bigger mizzen staysail, but am holding off till rerigging the mizzen. (I did rerig the main last year and found cracks in several swages!).
The mizzen is rigged with 5/32 wire, and pumps alarmingly when there's lots of wind. I'm also afraid of using the mizzen staysail in any sort of decent wind in case it yanks the stick out! So this winter I plan to rerig with 1/4 wire, replace the chainplates with bigger/heavier ones more appropriate to 1/4 wire, and add running backstays. Any thoughts or comments on this?
Nov 4, 2000
I'm Don Bundy, live in New Port Richey, Fl. own #129 ketch and had new sails made a few years ago.
We chose to have the mainsail made without the usual roach, ie, cut the sail straight and eliminated the battens altogether. This had been a blessing.
Over the past 10 years that we have sailed the SW II in winter gales here in the southeast, we found that when reefing we would loose and tear a batten in the strong winds .
That is why, when we had the new mainsail made, we chose to eliminate the battens and roach. No chaffing, no tears, no lost battens, no expense. This has proven to be the correct choice.
Also, we found through experience that when the winds pipe up it's smart to simply drop the main entirely and reef the jib to 130% . This with the mizzen is fine for anything up to the mid thirties and it's quick and simple. It always seems that by the time you tie in a reef the winds have increased again, and it's time to reduce the main again, and again, so you can see where I'm coming from.
Enjoy Bermuda, we loved it and came back through a 71 knot blow that lasted a day and a half in the stream. I'd go back in a heartbeat. I had a great time using my celestial navigation skills which made the voyage all the more fun!
Suggest going into the northeast cut to St Georges and after customs tie up at Sommers landing which is a bit SE of Customs. Sommers landing is free, water is nearby and you're located right off the town square. We spent two weeks there.
Nov 6, 2000
First, you just saw Don Bundy's suggestion of a mainsail without roach or batten. If a ketch, just a first reef may be, since I agree with Bundy you should douse the main entirely and use only jib and jigger, with a reef in the jigger-mizzen (only one suffice, sorry if I was unclear on that).
But if the mainsail is really a fair weather sail, then the logical question is: do you need a 10 oz cloth for it? and may be a first reef, after which you just lower it until the next spate of light weather. What do you think, Don, in retrospect?
I need to get rid of my predecessor's Stoboom, and will price a Profurl boom if it can use my existing main. Alternatively, I shall re-activate the old boom I recovered, and recut the existing main on a straigth cut with one reef line. The alternate is to get rid of the boom entirely, and rely on drifter and a sizeable mizzen staysail (back to my query on dimensions). After all, my stoboom has been tied for a year on amizzen stay, and it is a pain to change it across when I tack the small mizzen staysail.
Any comment on these strategy?
I also reiterate my request for measurements of a full size mizzen staysail? I estimate 20' luff (a bit more than for the original mizzen mast, which I raised by 14") x 20' lee x 16' intead of my current 20x16x10, but the last two dimensions are rough estimates
Tue Nov 7, 2000
Regards the mainsail, we went for the 10 oz. because we want the strength and reliability. If you were only going to use the sail in light conditions, then the 7.5 oz would be sufficient.
1948 Jun 24, 2002
Judging from the lack of discussion in the knowledge base on mainsails, I guess few have had to be replaced. Sailing in the Gulf last weekend, the stitching unraveled on the head end during a moderate broad reach. I guess UV did in the thread. Fortunately the Dacron is still sound and a local sailmaker is doing the repair. I tried to hand stitch this and was disappointed at my lack of self reliance at sea! Thanks to the Jib and Jigger I made it back in without firing up the Iron Horse; I need a spare main onboard.
These are my mainsail dimensions:
Foot 11í-8" Luff 33í-3" ,Three Reef points
Are there any advantages with a full battened mainsail on a pure cruising boat or is this money better spent elsewhere?
Thanks for your opinions, experiences in advance.
1949 Jun 24, 2002
I had a full batten sail with my Stoboom, which I unshipped after my Atlantic sabbaticruise as unfit for offshore. I keep the excellent sail for spare, after having recovered the old boom and sail (still in good shape) from the previous owner.
But when the old main starts showing age, Iíll scuttle the long battens and probably recut the luff to be battenless, Swedish style, with one or at most two reefs. You might as well go jib and jigger (better spend the money on a reef in the mizzen) when more than one or two reefs is needed.
I am not sure I would spend the money on a spare main until the old one looks long in the tooth. I sailed a whole year on jib and jigger around the Atlantic to Africa and back, except for the first 9 days, once the Stoboom tore its track and froze its roll-up in half of the Perfect Storm. I repaired the track in Horta, but never felt like undergoing the same pain of reefing or stowing in a blow.
1951 Jun 24, 2002
Dale I found a neat trick for repairing sails at sea is to use contact cement on the open seems. Most of the time it will get you to the next port, without a lot of sewing.
As for full battens, after 15k miles with them. I donít think they are worth it. They make the sail hard to reef, and cause a lot of chafe. I replaced mine.
1952 Jun 25, 2002
Dear Ed Hooligan: I have had mixed results in doing the cement thing, which brand(s) have you found effective?
Bert dF, Pianissimo 80K
1953 Jun 25, 2002
Dale - we replaced all of Silver Sprayís sails with Lidgard Sails withing the last 5 years. We elected not to go to a battened main - not much use given the purpose is to gain more sail area in the roach - and with the back stay that is not possible. We went with a conventional for batten main with cummingham, leach/luff tensioners, and three reef points. I have seen the conversation about two vs three. The only reason for three is to get a real small main and bring the center of effort into the middle of the boat. Under heavy upwind conditions we have found that the reefed main and small jib provide the best drive. On a reach jib and mizzen are best. As for the mizzen we did put full battens in the mizzen and one set of reef points. We are pleased with the improved performance and ease of handling. Only drawback has been in really light air the battens donít spring to the correct shape without a slap to the sail. I highly recommend Lidgard (now Halsey Lidgard Sails - they are major improvement over previous Hood sails (which remain as spares).
Silver Spray 101K
1955 Jun 25, 2002
Who has the plans for your sails? Is there anything that you would change if you had to redo them?
Jun 25, 2002
Bert, I donít know what brand cement I used but it worked well, got me to Hawaii with some very old sails.
1963 Jun 26, 2002
Halsey/Lidgard Sails in Anacortes Washington has the plans. The man we worked with is an Aussie (home waters of Lidgard is Austrailia)is Gray Hawkins. He is a cruising sailor like us I think he has a Baba. I also know that Hood ( now in Portsmouth RI has plans. I believe that most major (other than the hot shot race guys) have access to all plans either via computer or information from a sailmakers association. Over the years in addition to the initial set of sails produced by Hood, we have ordered sails from two other makes, none ever measured the boat, and in both cases we went to the loft, they called up the specs, we decided on the bells and whistles and the sales were delivered and fit perfectly. I cannot recall the name of the company that we used for the light air sails (drifter and mizzen staysail) they were in Marblehead Ma as well. I do know that that loft was sold or consolidated with a national loft.
I have line drawings from CFG and Tom Gilmore, but they only contain mastheight and while done on Ĺ inch scale, the drawing is a reduced photocopy so it is of little use in determining the sail dimenisions. Sorry I donít have a better answer, I am sure you can find Lidgardís phone number on the net or Hood.
1964 Jun 26, 2002
Forgot about the second part of your question. No I wouldnít change them, I like the ability to play with sail shape, I like the construction of these sails, and their performance is great. They have not been test in winds beyond 40K, but I have confidence in them. We just have been doing local cruising for the last 5 years and only ventured on the West Side of Vancouver Island the the Straits of Juan Defugo once or twice - then in moderate conditions.