Singlehanded sail handling

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Manie B, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Manie B Senior Member


    I would like to know from your personal experience how large a sail can be handled with relative ease - single handed cruising - probably daylight hours only

    The main and roller jib /genoa usually is ok handled from the safety of the cockpit but could one hoist a gennaker or worse still a screecher on your own? going forward alone!

    I know that super man at 30 years old with a 14 inch ***** can design and fly pencil hulls through the water at 60 knots and nobody including the president will never get sea sick ever again, i am 55 please.

    I am refering to fast cruising conditions on a 30ft cat
    Beaufort 4 maybe 5 = 20 to 30 km/h winds

    my focus is on fast boat speeds of up to 9 /10 knots in 20knots of wind or less

    A main (luff = 10m and base = 5m) is already 36 sq m
    Jib (10m x 3m) is 24 sq m
    Gennaker 53 sq m which is frikken huge

    i am hoping to get better speeds in the cat, in conditions when the L36 mono hull type of boat that i am familiar with crawls along at 2 knots.

    I am just very weary of all the heroic tales i read and am told, mostly they sound like fishermen stories to me:D
    and if you pay a fee you can see more hey hey

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  2. Butch .H
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Butch .H Senior Member

    Hi Manie .Other than the good advice you will recive from the pro's in this forum try the monthly publications . I had the same questions and contacted the editors the put me in touch with various people in the UK and US who have helped with my cockpit layout. I have obtained several drawings but I dont think they can be applied to a cat although the prinsipal is probebly the same
  3. Nordic Cat
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    Nordic Cat Senior Member

    I would suggest that you make some kind of bowsprit for a gennaker/drifter type sail, to get you moving at lower wind speeds.
    I have a >70 m2 gennaker on my 35 ft cat, I have no problem handling it alone using a snuffer.

    I of course use the autopilot when going forward, and set a course to blanket the gennaker with the main when taking it down.

    Even with a gennaker, don't expect to sail away from some of the good monos in lighter wind conditions (<4 m/s)we have a disadvantage in our larger wetted area.

    If you do alot of sailing in light winds, then a nice big genoa is great. Make sure that you have some well placed pad-eyes to mount a barber-hauler on each side, to get a good sail shape for the gennaker or genoa when sailing off the wind. On my boat I can easily get 1 knot more by doing this.


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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    NO PROBLEM , except with your sailmaker.

    Its EZ to hoist free standing roller sails IF there rolled up.

    Unfortunatly the riggers and sailmakers will want to outfit you with an aluminum roller reefing that has a slot so sail changing is almost impossible when single handed.

    A sail sewn to a wire is lousey to roll as it easily twists on the wire , so the solid forestay roller is their choice of convienance.
    A sail rolled with a wire luff coils up in a 5 or 6 ft diameter coil , so is a HORROR aboard.


    To be able to single hand you need a variety of sails suited to the task , which is why dragging a sail bag forward and hanking on the correct sail is far better for performance than a lousey part rolled misshapen sail.

    A simple solution exists (and has for over 150 years) simply have the sailmaker sew a CHAIN in the luff.

    Under tension the chain becomes a BAR , so rolling the sail up is precise.

    Titanium today is cheap and can be factory welded into chain that would be far lighter than a SS wire in the luff .

    Huge advantage is when lowered the roller sail bends, folds and is as easy to handle and stow as a hank on sail.

    The only hassle is when I looked 30 years ago there was no machine that could easily sew the chain into the luff , so it would have to be an expensive hand job.

    Too pricey for a US mfg , but perhaps with 3rd world labor , or a more computerized sewing machine it could cost little more than a wire luff.

    Good roller furling sails are as near as a sailmaker with vision.

  5. DanishBagger
    Joined: Feb 2006
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    Location: Denmark

    DanishBagger Never Again

    How do you (and most importantly, Manie) feel about this:

    Think spectra and all out modern simplicity by going old-school.


    Sigh, the site is frames-based, but anyway, take a look at their "projects" page:

    Some inspiration, perhaps?

    EDIT 2: I just had to mention, I'm not affiliated with them. I just have their deadeyes and so on (the micro, haha), on my Molly and I really like the simplicity of most their products.

  6. Nordic Cat
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    Location: South of Copenhagen, Denmark

    Nordic Cat Senior Member

    The Precourt stuff is great! I just re-rigged my boat with Spectra, using their deadeyes and boom attachments etc.

    You can get a genoa made with a double spectra line in the luff that will roll up withiut the use of a foil. The resulting "sausage" on deck is easy to handle, fold it down to a manageable length and store through a hatch to the forepeak area.


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