Sails

Easy Reefing

by Ian Nicholson, Posted August 21, 2008
Windage and drag are two of a racing sailboat’s worst enemies, especially around a sail’s leech. Many racers eschew in situ reefing lines until it’s absolutely necessary to reef. (Some cruisers also don’t use reefing lines, as they can chafe sailcloth.) The risk is that you can get caught out if you’re not careful. A smarter, faster way to reef without leaving reefing lines in

Busted!

by David Schmidt, Posted August 27, 2008
Sailors have been tying knots for millennia, and no doubt innovators have been trying just as long to invent both stronger rope and better knots. Yet the basic problem still remains: Every rope is weakened when its fibers are bent. Loading a knot with a large amount of weight creates a sheer force on the fibers; given enough force, the fibers break and the rope fails. Today’s

Downwind Sails for Cruising

by Chip Lawson, Posted August 28, 2008
I’m a real fan of downwind sails because they add a lot of speed and fun. On my 40-footer I carry a 1.5-ounce symmetric spinnaker in a sock, a 75-ounce asymmetric, also in a sock, that I set on a collar around the headstay, and a 2.2-ounce Code 0 that I have mounted on a Harken furler. I use the symmetric when I have a good crew but leave it ashore when I’m sailing shorthanded. The Code 0 is

Higher and Faster

by Kevin Montague, Posted August 28, 2008
Recently, a sailmaker called to inquire about upgrading the backstay system on his client’s mid-1980s 34-foot masthead-rigged sloop. The client was buying a slightly larger headsail that could cover a broader spectrum of wind ranges and thought that the standard backstay and turnbuckle just weren’t up to the task. The working range of the turnbuckle was 2 to 3 inches of length, and the time

Alternative Rigs

by David Schmidt, Posted December 8, 2008
Sailors are a conservative lot. The sea takes no prisoners, and most people don’t care to experiment when the cost of failure is potentially great. That’s why both futuristic and some older traditional sailing rigs struggle for acceptance and often receive little more than patronizing smiles from so-called modern mariners.Ironically, the conventional marconi rig that now dominates sailing

8-Strand splice

by Peter Nielsen, Posted April 30, 2009
When I replaced the ground tackle on our project boat I did not hesitate to relegate the 15 feet of half-inch three-strand nylon rode to the bottom of the cockpit locker. During the years I spent sailing around Europe, I became a firm fan of plaited nylon anchor rode. It piles up tightly in the anchor locker and pays out neatly, without kinking or twisting, and I believe its shock-absorption

Looking after sails

by Peter Nielsen, Posted April 30, 2009
Dacron is a tough, long-lasting cloth that has only two real enemies—sunlight and chafe. There is not a lot you can do to ward off the effects of ultraviolet light except to make sure the mainsail cover is always in place when you’re not using the boat and to check that the sacrificial strip on the leech and foot of a roller genoa is in good condition.Chafe is another matter. It likes to

Rig check

by Charles Mason, Posted August 4, 2009
Your mast is back in the boat—or it may have been there all winter—the shrouds are tuned, the engine is checked, and all the battens are in the sails. You are ready for your first sail of the season. Without doubt, many boatowners follow this path, but if you’re one of them, be ready to act quickly if a piece of gear holding the mast suddenly fails and the rig begins to

Sails and Sailhandling Systems

by Sail Staff, Posted January 11, 2013
Six experts weigh in on the best ways to improve a boat’s sails and sailhandling systems.
Most boats today have a single permanently hoisted headsail with a roller-reefing unit on the headstay. This arrangement works well, but becomes problematic when there is more wind than the sail on the furler can handle.
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