Down­wind sails

Yachting World - - Cruising -

Last year we sailed about 70 per cent of the time with a poled-out head­sail and 30 per cent of the time with a spin­naker. Hav­ing a coloured sail makes life more en­joy­able when the wind drops and pre­vents you wal­low­ing around, but un­less rac­ing you will prob­a­bly be want­ing to drop the kite once the wind gets much above 20 knots true and be­fore that if the sea state is rolly.

We bought a new sail for our cross­ing – prob­a­bly not one that would im­me­di­ately spring to mind: a fairly high-clew 110 per cent jib. The smaller sail with a high clew sets much bet­ter when poled-out and gives great vis­i­bil­ity un­der­neath it. Deck-sweep­ing genoas may be faster up­wind, but do tend to give a large blind spot which is par­tic­u­larly wor­ry­ing at night when short-handed.

A max­i­mum sized sail you could fit will spend most of its life partly furled and will quickly lose its shape. Once in the Caribbean and reach­ing from is­land to is­land a smaller sail is much more use and does not scoop up wa­ter when waves cross the deck.

I would be very reluctant to make a cross­ing with­out a spin­naker pole so as to have the abil­ity to pole out the jib as it is an easy and quick sail com­bi­na­tion once the wind

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