There was an interesting piece in a recent edition of French sailing magazine Voiles et Voiliers on gennaker furlers. These gears are very popular in France, and through their extensive use aboard racing multihulls and Vendee Globe boats have undergone real battlefield testing over the last ten years, to the extent that they must now [...]
Why do we give so much thought to our sails? Well, first, as we talked about in this post, good sails equal good speed and good speed equals more fun. Speed also contributes to safety because you are vulnerable to bad weather for less time. Finally, if your sails are slow in normal weather, they [...]
These days, with all the focus on the latest whiz-bang gadgets, many sailors are forgetting to think about and spend money on their boat's primary means of locomotion. In this post we look at why spending time and money on good sails is vital. Not only is a boat that sails well more fun, it's also a lot safer.
We are all for many of the advances in sail handling systems that have appeared in recent years: roller furling, low stretch exotic fiber rope halyards, solid vangs, and clutches. All these and more have made sail handling on cruising boats easier and, in many cases, safer. However, every so often we see a trend [...]
Many years ago I sailed on a French boat equipped with a boom brake. Perhaps due to one of those curious national idiosyncracies, such devices were (and remain) very scarce in the UK, although they were popular elsewhere in Europe, and I was intrigued to see how it performed. Very well it seemed, as far [...]
Whilst the rest of Northern Europe has been enduring yet another ghastly summer with high winds and inundations, the Western Isles of Scotland have had a memorably warm and sunny season, with long spells of light winds. And as a result we’ve used our new asymmetric spinnaker on a regular basis. You either love or [...]
Question: I am curious if you are keel stepped or deck stepped. If keel stepped, could you get away without stays since the aluminum deck could be reinforced enough to hold the mast upright? You could keep running backstays in place for heavier winds. Answer: Our mast is keel-stepped. I guess that theoretically we could [...]
Question: Did you change your boom to carbon fiber or just your mast? Answer: No, we stayed with our old aluminum boom since it works fine and is in good shape. (Keep in mind that we only replaced the mast because the old aluminum one was worn out.) Also, the performance benefits from a carbon [...]
Colin takes a balanced look at mainsail handling systems including single line reefing from the cockpit and permanently mounted integrated sail covers. These systems would seem to save trouble, but how well do they really work in practice? Read on to find out.
Let’s start with the myths: If a carbon fibre mast gets struck by lightning it is toast, end of story. If a carbon fibre mast gets struck by lightning, there is no way to tell if it has been damaged or not, so it must be junked. These two statements are right up there with [...]
All the above is great, but this post gets to the real meat: How much did carbon fibre cost? And what did we get for that money? The new mast, excluding some new rigging, cost about US$55,000, as against an aluminum replacement mast, which would have cost about $30,000; a lot of money to us, [...]
We had an interesting to-and-fro with a reader who thinks that the benefits of carbon fibre for cruising yacht masts are trivial and that the same benefits could be realized in easier and cheaper ways. To understand why this is not so, and why carbon fibre as a mast material delivers such astounding increases in [...]
Pictures of Americas Cup-class boat hulls breaking in half and their masts, supported by a plethora of rigging and spreaders, collapsing in relatively benign conditions, have given structures built of carbon fibre an undeserved reputation for fragility. But it should be remembered that Americas Cup boats are designed on the ragged edge of structural engineering [...]
Without doubt the biggest, most expensive and most stressful part of our recent refit to Morgan’s Cloud was the replacement of her mast. First off, why were we replacing the mast at all? Simply put, to buy peace of mind. We had seen several signs that all was not well aloft including, most ominously, cracks [...]
Here in Europe the standard rig for most yachts sold as “cruisers” is still the sloop, usually with a large overlapping genoa of 130% or more. That might be fine in sunny sheltered waters with an army of gorillas to help out, but is less than ideal for shorthanded crews sailing in windy and exposed [...]