Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 2018 Millionaires Tape 728x90

What is the Optimal Off-Shore Cruising Configuration?

by Charles 'Butch' Ulmer 15 Aug 04:00 PDT
What is the Optimal Off-Shore Cruising Configuration? © IM_Photo / Shutterstock

The boat (see right) is a Grand Soleil 46 and the owner likes to cruise the New England coastal waters with his family, although he had plenty of crew at the time the photo was taken.

Since wind conditions in the New England Coast are light a large genoa (150%) on the headstay is used a lot.

However, the boat was always overpowered when the breeze comes up (blowing 20-25 when this photo was taken) and he asked me to help.

I made him a large forestaysail to hank on his inner forestay. It was made with a light but strong Kevlar laminate and no battens.

The sail could be folded and stowed in a small bag and was also easy to handle.

Now let's take it up a notch and consider the case of an ocean voyage:

The sail improved the boat's performance in a breeze (note the bow wave) and dramatically reduced heel, making life much more comfortable. Tacking was an easy manoeuvre, because the sail did not overlap the mast.

On the staysail I believe hanks should be used, as opposed to a furler; if the wind continues to build, the forestay can be lowered (the hanks keeping it under control), and the storm jib can be hanked-on over it and hoisted.

The forestay can be 1x19 wire or a high strength, low stretch, fibre cable, in which case, the two sails would have soft hanks.

It is important to have a good way of tensioning the forestay. On most rigs, the forestay is opposed by runners, which is prudent. For the sail on the furler, a smaller LP sail (say 110-120%) with a high clew, or a jib topsail cut to go to windward is recommended.

The high clew increases the sail's overlap, trims more evenly when eased for a reach, and keeps the sail from scooping water when the seas are up and you can wing it out using a spinnaker or a whisker pole in heavy running conditions.

In heavy-running conditions, the high clewed sail can be swung out with a spinnaker or whisker pole.

In light air or reaching, the skipper can use the jib-top and staysail together.

When the breeze comes up, first lower the staysail and if it increases, hoist the staysail and furl up the jib-top. Due to its small size, the jib-top furls away in just a few turns.

Finally, most long voyage sailors plan their routes to be down wind. Top-down furling with a Cruising Code 0 and Spinnaker is a must. This works best with a short prod or sprit at the bow.

Related Articles

Cutter Rig versus Solent Rig part 1
Bluewater Cruising analysis from upffront.com Here at Upffront, we are aware that many people are searching for the perfect bluewater cruising set up. Two popular options for off-shore cruising are the cutter rig and the solent rig, both sporting their own pros and cons. Posted on 14 Nov
Introduction to Core Fibres in Modern Ropes
The majority are polyester or Dyneema There are many core materials used in rope making (e.g. Vectran®, PBO, polypropylene, hemp, nylon etc) but the vast majority of modern ropes are based on a polyester, or increasingly, a Dyneema® core. Get a basic introduction here. Posted on 9 Nov
FSE Robline ropes now for sale on upffront.com
Full range of 800 world class yachting ropes available As active and enthusiastic professional sailors, FSE Robline pride themselves on creating world class yachting ropes. Designed with both cruising sailors and regatta sailors in mind, FSE are a global brand with a focus on innovative materials and designs. Posted on 5 Nov
Top-down furling systems for a 42ft cruising boat
Take a look at your main furling unit and cable choices Say you have a 42ft cruising boat and are looking for options for a top-down furling system (for free-flying downwind asymmetric sails). We take a quick look at your main furling unit and cable choices in this size range. Posted on 31 Oct
High Performance, Low Hassle Family Cruising
The radical - but not too radical - 39BEN How do you design a cruising boat that's fast enough to get your competitive juices flowing, but without scaring the family? That's been the challenge for Alex Vrolijk, who has drawn the lines for the radical - but not too radical - 39BEN. Posted on 26 Oct
Pontos Winches Get 'Karverized' part 2
What makes the design so unique? In our previous post, Upffront broke the news that Karver Systems had acquired Brittany based Pontos and their range of innovative winches. Now operating under the name 'Pontos by Karver' it's time to consider: what makes the design so unique? Posted on 22 Oct
Which top-down furler do I choose?
Comparing options from the Karver, Facnor and Ronstan ranges One of key our principles is to offer a good selection of hardware and rigging options with high quality technical information to give you the details you need to make informed product choices. Posted on 17 Oct
Nick Black discusses Internal Headsail Locks
Looking at the types of lock that have superior aerodynamics In our last post we talked about the pros and cons of External versus Internal lock systems. Here we'll look more closely at the internal systems available, which tend to be aimed at the performance-oriented programs that are prepared to pay more. Posted on 12 Oct
The Evolution of the Morf Block
One of the lightest and strongest blocks on the market Morf Block, who are enthusiastic about using recyclable and bio materials, have ceased the sales of their DIY kits. Instead, Morf Block have created an aluminium lash thimble that is perfectly optimised to work in conjunction with the cheeks and bearing. Posted on 8 Oct
Looking at a code zero? Try a Trogear Bowsprit
Adjustable and removable carbon aftermarket bowsprit Formed in 2014 by development engineer Henry Dokonal, Trogear are creating a buzz around their Trogear Adjustable Bowsprits. Tried and test for many years by Henry himself the bowsprit is popular with racers, cruisers and single-handed sailors. Posted on 5 Oct
YY.com app (top)