Short-handed sailing: techniques for using different headsails, easily.
One of the great conundrums for short-handed sailors is what to do when the wind speed and your apparent wind angle are not right for the roller furling headsail you have on the furler. The average boat’s general-use 130% size roller furling reefing headsail typically has a wind range, where it is properly effective, of about 10 knots true to about 18 knots true sailing close hauled. Some roller headsails are capable of being used partially rolled around the furler, but this has a limited application, especially if one is planning on being in the ocean for a while.
So the question for anyone who wants to get the most out of their boat in a wide range of conditions is, just like it has always been, a range of headsails for different wind speeds and directions.
With the expanding interest in Short-Handed racing, generally races where there are only two crew members aboard, the ability to have the “right “sail for the conditions becomes a bit more important. This kind of racing is growing particularly because it is how most boats on the water are set up today. It is a short trip from a cruising boat to a boat that can race short-handed since they share much of the same equipment. One of the most high value (cash coast to install versus the utility it provides) additions any cruising boat can make is the Solent Stay.
This a second head stay that runs roughly parallel with the forestay, attaches at the masthead sufficiently below the jib stay attachment point to avoid anything fouling the Genoa halyard swivel and it attached at the foredeck, as close as possible to the back of the roller furler drum. On a Solent stay one can deploy sails for use in lighter air and a smaller jib in conditions when the RF headsail is too big. It should be emphasized that the Solent IS NOT an inner forestay, such as is seen on cutter rigged boat. The Solent is its own stay running to the top of the spar.
I will address the particulars of the Solent stay in the following post.Google+