Ask Sail: the Best of September - Sail Magazine

Ask Sail: the Best of September

Every month, SAIL gives its readers the opportunity to interact directly with sailing experts regarding sails, maintenance, electronics, systems and more. Check out our questions and answers from the August issue and feel free to send in some questions of your own.
Author:
Publish date:
Does a racing staysail make sense on an old C&C 30?

Does a racing staysail make sense on an old C&C 30?

Lawrie Yearsley, White Bear Lake, MN

Q: I own a 1973 C&C 30 sloop that came with a staysail setup. We race the boat frequently, and it’s surprisingly competitive for its age using just the jib, spinnaker and mainsail. I was wondering if it would help on any point of sail to use the staysail. I see quite a few large boats using them, like the Volvo Ocean 70s.

Win Fowler Replies

A: Whether a staysail can help you depends entirely on what the staysail is. A full hoist, high-clew sail with a vertical leech (70 percent or so LP, i.e., the length from the luff to the clew) can sometimes help under spinnaker on a beam or broad reach, and can be quite useful as a wind seeker when there is too little wind to fill the genoa. Bear in mind, though, that flying the staysail with a spinnaker should only be attempted on a relatively long leg. Otherwise, you may lose more distance setting and dousing it than you gain from flying it.

Fowler-head

Philip, Dublin, Ireland

Q: I was interested in the article by Nigel Calder in the February 2012 edition on the H2OUT dehumidifier and think it is something that I might install. I have been keeping my fuel tank topped up to minimize condensation. While there is a fuel gauge, it’s down below, so the only practical way to ensure a full tank is to pour fuel in until it comes up near the top of the fuel inlet. However, by then the fuel has risen up the air vent and eventually leaks out the side. What effect does diesel have on the blue beads in the H2OUT filter? Also, is there some change I should make to the air vent?

Nigel Calder Replies

A:Unfortunately, the diesel will coat the granules in the filter and render it more or less inoperable. It is possible to wash the crystals in detergent, dry them out, and then reuse them, but I don’t think you will want to do this every time you fill the tank! You could fit a diverter valve ahead of the filter with a line coming into a collection bottle and use this when taking on fuel to determine when the tank is full. Afterward you could switch back to the filter in the vent line. This would also help to ensure that you do not spill any diesel. Another approach would be to get fittings that shut off the air vent if the diesel rises to this level. Essentially, there is a ball in the fitting that floats up and blocks the outlet, at which point you will see the diesel rising up your fill fitting and can stop filling. However, using this approach it is also possible to trap air in the tank and then have this blow back through the fill fitting, spraying out diesel! It all depends on the internal layout of the tank and the position of the fill and vent fittings.

Calder-head300x325

Pete, via sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Q: I have a Cheoy Lee ketch, and the sail track on both wood masts has become misaligned. What is the best way to reattach the track? I plan on having the mast taken down when I have the boat hauled next month.

Don Casey Replies

A: The tracks are no doubt fastened to the masts with wood screws, and this is how you should reattach them. Once you remove the existing screws, do not reuse the holes, at least not with the same screws. You might be able to enlarge the holes in the track to a new shank size and those in the mast to the proper pilot size, and use larger screws in the same locations. Alternatively, you can shift the track up or down a bit to get sound wood for the new screws. Seal the existing holes with wood dowels glued in place.

Casey-head

If the track is the traditional “airplane” shape with the screws in the belly of the fuselage, use pan-head screws. If it is a flat track sitting on a separate spacer, the screws must be countersunk. In either case, a screw backing out will prevent you from hoisting sail—or worse, from lowering it—so take great care to make sure every screw is soundly installed. It is a very good idea to install an additional screw near the ends of track sections to keep the track from lifting at joints. Tandem screws on either side of track joints also help prevent future misalignments. Another way to maintain alignment is to file the ends of the track sections into a through tenon joint. This stabilizes each joint and, done well, virtually eliminates the risk of the sections getting out of alignment.

Tom Barnard, Santa Cruz, CA

Q: I just bought two marine handheld radios that also have land channels for GMRS. A few weeks ago on a hike to Mt. Whitney, the marine VHF channels gave us extraordinarily increased range over the GMRS channels. Didn’t I hear that land use of marine VHF frequencies will soon be legalized? Why the range difference?

Gordon West Replies

A: Your combo marine/GMRS radio operates on UHF short range for GMRS and VHF for the marine channels. The FCC is currently studying whether to allow marine radio use on land, but it is doubtful there will be a change. Can you imagine kids playing on VHF Channel 16, climbing a hill and then interrupting a Coast Guard mayday call out on the water? As for the GMRS channels, you may need an expensive license, too. While there is merit in hiking with a VHF handheld for calling the Coast Guard in a life or death emergency, you should only use the marine frequencies on land when all else has failed. The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 system offers extraordinary coverage, not only of navigable waters, but well inland as well.

West-head_0

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com 

Related

ElanGT5-a

Boat Review: Elan GT5

Aboard many modern yachts, it can be hard to remember exactly what boat you’re on until your eye happens to light upon a logo. However, this is most definitely not the case with the Elan GT5, a performance cruiser with a look all its own and style to burn.Design & ...read more

01-Lead-P1060210

Handheld VHF Radios

For many sailors, cell phones have become their primary means of both ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. Even the Coast Guard will often ask for a cell number after it receives a distress call. None of this, however, makes a VHF radio any less important—and this goes ...read more

Seascape24

Boat Review: Seascape 24

Since its inception in 2008, Slovenian builder Seascape, founded by a pair of Mini Transat sailors, has focused solely on creating boats that are both simple and loads of fun to sail. With their 18-footer and then a 27-footer they succeeded in putting out a pair of trailerable ...read more

01-Trash-Tiki_in-partnership-with-Subtch-Sports_starting

The Adventurers Aboard Trash-Tiki

If you were in Gotland, a popular island vacation destination off the coast of Sweden, on the morning of July 3, your holiday might have been interrupted by a startling sight: a tiny island of trash approaching shore with people aboard. It was, in fact, a sailboat made from ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

hardangerfjord

Cruising: Holland to Norway

In 2015, we cruised to Norway’s Lofoten Islands on our Nordic 40, Juanona, which we’d sailed transatlantic from Maine to England. Our 2016 plan was to cruise through the Netherlands to the Kiel Canal, sail into the Baltic as far as Stockholm, then cruise the western coast of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThe Watch-keeper’s Nightmare The commercial watchkeeper’s most awkward decisions come with a vessel converging from abaft the starboard beam showing a red light. If he’s more than 2 points, or around 22 ...read more

cosair760R

Boat Review: Corsair 760R

We’d only been out on Miami’s Biscayne Bay aboard the Corsair 760R a few minutes when Corsair Marine marketing manager Shane Grover and I began bemoaning the fact neither of us had a GPS with us to determine our boatspeed. Moments later, though, we both came to the same ...read more