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Global Solo Challenge: What are the advantages of the innovative Gale Sail by ATN?

by Global Solo Challenge 6 Sep 07:03 PDT
Global Solo Challenge © Global Solo Challenge

Having written a number of articles for the Global Solo Challenge (GSC), I am fast becoming aware of the number of things that there are to learn to partake in this challenge.

I am also in complete awe of the innovations and inventions that are happening, with new solutions to long-standing problems coming in virtually every day. Some of these inventions seem simple, but then you look further and you realise that these innovations are the result of painstaking work and testing.

One firm, which is incidentally one of the sponsors of the GSC, are at the forefront of the provision of sails, solutions and auxiliary equipment is American-based ATN led up by retired offshore yacht racer, Etienne Giroire.

Apart from specialising in producing a high-end range of spinnaker chutes (of which over 30,000 have been sold), this firm has in its portfolio the innovative 'Gale Sail'.

The Gale Sail is part of the Cover Sail patent, from Europe's well-known inventor Axel Lage and incredibly it has been available in Europe for years (so it is definitely not an untested product). This sail is designated a storm jib (and so as to satisfy the American authorities is available in Day-Glo orange). Now the real advantage to this sail is that it can be hoisted without having to remove the existing furling reefed foresail and does away with the need for a removable headstay.

This development eliminates the somewhat precarious and ultimately dangerous job of unfurling, dropping, and stowing away the furled working sail to free up the roller furler and its halyard ready for the storm sail to be attached.

If you have ever tried to do this procedure in windy conditions in a heavy sea, you will understand what I mean by precarious conditions.

The Gale sail is literally wrapped around the tightly furled foresail and hanked into place, it is then hoisted using a spare jib or spinnaker halyard and, given that it needs less halyard tension, it can be pulled up without much pressure as the luff (pouch) is supported by the wide forward part of the roller furled sail.

This system provides the sail with great shape with fantastic aerodynamics, indeed it is even much better than a conventional storm jib hanked onto a removable headstay,

It is also better than a partially furled sail, which in the majority of cases have not been designed or built for that purpose and many sails that are used in this fashion would fail any aerodynamic efficiency tests.

A point worth mentioning is that once the Gale Sail is flying, it prevents the accidental unfurling of the furled foresail as there is no load on its furling line anymore and the furled sail is enveloped within the luff pocket of the gale sail.

If you want to learn more and even see a Gale Sail being attached onto a yacht and hoisted in fairly rough conditions then follow this link and head over to

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