Which sail?

Moderator: GreenLake

Which sail?

Postby Dgarren » Tue Mar 14, 2023 1:03 pm

Looking for the budget sail to get my boat out on the water. Currently looking at Rolly Taskers that seem to be a basic, workable sail. Alternatively, D&R marine have a main/jib set with a reefing point and window on the jib (not specified as an option on the RT sails) for just a little more. Thinking that the reef point is important, but curious to know how often you DS sailors need to reef? And how valuable do you find the window to be? Any opinions on one of those sail options over the other? Any other sails should be looking at? Thanks!
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Re: Which sail?

Postby GreenLake » Tue Mar 14, 2023 7:48 pm

There are two types of windows:

  • A large one, which is intended to help you spot a boat on a collision course. That's a safety feature. If you are always the only boat on the lake, you might be able to get by without.
  • A small one, which is situated right at the tell tales. It will let you view the leeward telltale. If you truly don't care how your sails are trimmed, that one is a waste, otherwise it's nice. My last sail came without and I miss it. The sail cloth is slightly translucent, so I can see the shadow of the leeward telltale, most of the time, but not when the sun is on the wrong side.

For reef points: these can be retrofitted, manually with a kit, or by any sailmaker for about $150.00 (modulo inflation). One of the first things I modified in my rigging was to add a reef. I sail in an area of mostly moderate winds, but every once in a while it picks up. It's not rare for this to be short term, so you are out on the water, and then a blow comes through for an hour and is gone again. I like to be able to put in a reef, so I can deal with situations like that in a more relaxed fashion, instead of having to miss the entire afternoon just because the max forecast is just a bit beyond of what would be comfortable with a full sail.

I have sailed some multi-day events on a DS in areas of stronger winds and where you couldn't easily adjust your itinerary based on the forecast. In other words, the requirement changed to being able to handle what you'd find on the water (or break off the entire thing). Boats that entered usually had three reefs and some carried a storm jib as well.

There are a number of discussions here on reefing, putting in reef points, and so on. If you haven't, it's worthwhile to look around a bit (and not just in this section as some took place in other sections). There are also some mentions on techniques for putting in a reef, something we discussed quite recently in a post on rigging.

Anyway, I looked at what info I could find on the sails from DR and at the price they look like a good buy.

PS: I always assume that both cruisers and racers really want to get the best out of their sails. For cruisers it's not so much to get every last 1/10th of a knot of boat speed, but, for example, whether they can get around a headland or island without tacking, or how much progress can be made on a stretch where current and wind are against them. And finally, whether the sails can be trimmed flat enough when the wind picks up to be able to struggle less in gusts and delay a bit the need to put in a reef or even take down the sails.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Which sail?

Postby bilbo » Mon Mar 20, 2023 1:16 pm

I can't really remember using the window that's in my jib. I probably have, just never really noticed myself feeling fortunate to have it if you know what I mean. I have, however, used the reef points a lot. Back in ND, it was probably 3/4ths of my trips that I'd end up using them. It was probably due to my own lack of skill and confidence but it was really nice having them. Whether you have them added or get the set with them already installed I'd definitely recommend them.
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Re: Which sail?

Postby GreenLake » Mon Mar 20, 2023 3:51 pm

reef early and often.

Unless you are trying to win a race, there's nothing wrong with following that motto. After a while, you may better know where your limits are, and when you can shake out those reefs.
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Re: Which sail?

Postby SVFayaway » Tue Mar 21, 2023 10:32 pm

I don't know the DS well yet but I assume it's like any other boat, if you have a reefing point you can sail in a wider variety of conditions and enjoy them more thoroughly. Reefing rarely slows you down, sometimes makes the boat faster, and invariably allows you to be more relaxed and comfortable. As far as a window, I have sailed on boats that had them and did not find them essential.
-Avery

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Re: Which sail?

Postby GreenLake » Wed Mar 22, 2023 12:14 am

The utility of windows depends on the boat. And on where you sit when sailing. Some combinations give acceptable sight lines without windows, others are dangerous without (when traffic is present). At least that's the way it seems to me, but I tend to sail in relatively heavy traffic.

Whether the DS is "like any other boat" is a point where opinions might be divided, but yes, putting in a reef might well be faster than spilling wind from the main to keep her upright. However, if you have the crew to keep her upright and balanced, and sails trimmed in you will be faster without a reef. But that's not a reason to not put in a reef. I think we agree on that point.
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Re: Which sail?

Postby SVFayaway » Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:44 am

All boats benefit from reefing at a certain wind speed. Where that threshold is depends on the boat, the crew and the conditions but eventually you'll need to reef as the wind speed increases. That was my only point. Some people don't want to be sailing a dinghy in those conditions-that's fine, and probably more prudent than I tend to be. I will admit to being a bit biased towards reefing as I sail alone almost exclusively and sometimes I just want to enjoy being on the water and not be thinking constantly about sail trim and keeping the boat upright.

The point about traffic is relevant. I don't tend to encounter much traffic when I'm out on the water because I deliberately avoid weekends and evenings in the summer. But if you don't have that luxury then a window may be prudent.
-Avery

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Re: Which sail?

Postby GreenLake » Fri Mar 24, 2023 5:53 pm

I think we agree on much more than may seem apparent at first reading.

The original poster on this thread hasn't come back with a reply, let's hope that that means we were able to answer the question.
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