A Different View—Hank-On sails

Chapter 8 of 21 in the Online Book Sail Handling Made Easy

It's rare these days to see a cruising boat with hank-on headsails. But are such sails only for he traditionalists stuck in the stone age of offshore sailing? Maybe not. Here is a convincing case for hank-on sails, at least on smaller boats.

Making Life Easier–Roller Reefing/Furling

Chapter 9 of 21 in the Online Book Sail Handling Made Easy

The old saying that ‘if a job is easy, you’ll do it’, is a good one that we have tried to bring to bear at all times when improving our Ovni 435 Pelerin. If the job’s difficult, you’ll delay it until it’s beyond inevitable and then it can become a hardship. And nowhere is that [...]

Making Life Easier—Storm Jib

Chapter 10 of 21 in the Online Book Sail Handling Made Easy

Once a year we like to entertain our neighbours by hoisting our storm jib whilst we’re alongside. Not much new to be learned from it, but it does force us to get it out of the bag and give it a thorough check over for any signs of chafe or other damage. We have a [...]

Reefing At The Mast

Chapter 3 of 21 in the Online Book Sail Handling Made Easy

In this chapter we will cover in detail, complete with a slideshow illustrating each step, how we reef on Morgan’s Cloud and more specifically, how we reef when sailing downwind.

Light Weather Sails–Choosing What Is Right For You

Chapter 11 of 21 in the Online Book Sail Handling Made Easy

One of the things we like most about the OVNI 435 is the well-stayed cutter rig. In light of experience aboard our previous boat we opted for a yankee (jib-topsail) rather than the standard roller genoa knowing that the yankee maintains its shape and drive far better when well rolled, and is stable and easy [...]

Reefing On All Points of Sail

Morgan’s Cloud is the only boat I have ever sailed on (I only started sailing after meeting John) and so I generally assume that the way we do things on our boat is the way it is done. Which suits John just fine—he’s been able to brainwash, I mean, teach me how he likes to [...]

Gennaker Furlers Come Of Age

Chapter 12 of 21 in the Online Book Sail Handling Made Easy

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 [...]

How We Buy Sails

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 [...]

Don’t Forget About The Sails

Chapter 1 of 21 in the Online Book Sail Handling Made Easy

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.

Swept-Back Spreaders—We Just Don’t Get It!

Chapter 13 of 21 in the Online Book Sail Handling Made Easy

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 [...]

Keeping The Boom Under Control

Chapter 14 of 21 in the Online Book Sail Handling Made Easy

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 [...]

Spinnakers—Not Getting In A Twist

Chapter 15 of 21 in the Online Book Sail Handling Made Easy

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 [...]

Un-Stayed Masts

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 [...]

Carbon Boom

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 [...]

Mainsail Reefing Blues

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.