Tri-sail

  • September 18, 2012 10:41 AM
    Message # 1075723
    I would like to ask what the benefits of this sail are over a main with a very deep 3rd reef. After raising it at the dock the other day I realized that it has about the same area as my main with the 3rd reef tied in (I only have 2 reefs but my second is equivalent to most 3rds).
    If I'm sailing downwind, in heavy air, I'm thinking that I would probably only have foresails up, and the tri-sail would make the boat want to broach.
    I guess that it could be useful on a reach or beat.... could someone with experience using this sail care to comment?
    Thanks for your input

  • September 18, 2012 11:35 AM
    Reply # 1075774 on 1075723
    Deleted user
    It's my understanding that a tri-sail is made of much heavier material that a main, so it would be considerably stronger that a deeply-reefed main. 
    Last modified: September 18, 2012 11:36 AM | Deleted user
  • September 18, 2012 1:25 PM
    Reply # 1075870 on 1075723
    That is a good point, it could save my main from being damaged. Thanks Terry.

    Has anyone else used this sail in storm conditions?
  • September 18, 2012 3:12 PM
    Reply # 1075928 on 1075723
    Anonymous
    The tri has a few other advantages as I see it.  Though I've never used one these are some reasons that I've heard. 

    1)  It is a completely separate sail.  Even if the main blows out, it is available as a backup. 

    2)  Usually on its own track, once again, a backup. 

    3)  Considerably tougher material, a "purpose built" tool for heavy weather. 

    4)  If the reefing setup goes wrong, you can still use this.  For instance, if the reefing lines pop. 

    5)  Usually can be sheeted without the boom at all.  Meaning even if the boom is bent you can use it.  


  • September 18, 2012 10:04 PM
    Reply # 1076209 on 1075723

    Ahoy Gary,

    Heavy weather can come from any direction.  If it is forward of the beam, you may have to throw away nearly your whole course if only using foresails.  The storm tri-sail, even if used alone, could allow you to boogy on forward, even if a bit off course.  (fore-reaching).  It may prove invaluable in balancing a foresail to keep you on course, or close to it.  Yes, it's size is practically the same as a deeply reefed main but it is much stronger and flatter.  If deeply reefed, you are using the most worn, weakest, most vulnerable part of your mainsail at the worst time.

    I have used the tri-sail about a dozen times over the years.  The most memorable was a time about 500 miles NE of New Zealand.  The head winds, and large cross seas had me quite frustrated and disappointed.  The tri-sail allowed me to continue only about 40 degrees off course.  I fore-reached at about 4 -5 k for nearly 2 days that way.    I will check my log tomorrow to see if there are any more details I could add about that passage.

    Good luck,    Dave

  • September 19, 2012 7:19 AM
    Reply # 1076513 on 1075723
    Thanks Tate and Dave. All good points, I will be making up a pendant and sheets today
  • September 19, 2012 10:08 AM
    Reply # 1076678 on 1075723

    Gary, 

    To repeat much of what has already been said here.  I have always carried a Trisail on my boats when making ocean passages. A third reef in a mainsail sounds good, but if you blow out your main while your in the third reef your going to have issues.  A Trisail is normally a very heavily built sail and will take lots of abuse and wind and is normally on its own seperate track.   

    I've only felt the need to use a Trisail one time, when I was forereaching into sustained winds of 50 to 60 knots with higher gusts and large seas.  The Trisail kept us moving forward at 2.0 to 3 knots.  We sheeted our Trisail clew to a mooring cleat on the aft windward quarter rather than the boom.  The boom was lashed down into the boom gallows.  This eliminated any danger of damage to our boom or gooseneck and lowered the center of balance a bit. 

     So in more than 25,000 miles of sailing the Trisail was only used once, but for that one time it was priceless.  When I had a new Mainsail made I debated a third reef vs the trisail, and came to the conclusion that the cost of the trisail while more than the cost of a third reef, was worth the expense to me.  I guess a trisail is like a liferaft you hope you don't need it but if you do it's good to have.

    Just my 2 cents...

    Kevin

  • September 19, 2012 1:17 PM
    Reply # 1076844 on 1075723
    Thanks for the response Kevin. Holy cow, was that in your W28 that you saw those conditions? I hope I never have to try going to weather in those kinds of winds!
  • September 20, 2012 9:07 AM
    Reply # 1077740 on 1075723
    Gary,

    As Tate pointed out, the trysail (trYsail) is "usually on its own track". 

    Personally, I think this is critical. If you have the sail bagged, mounted, and ready on a separate track, then you're more likely to use it when you need it. If you have to go and fetch it first, it's likely that you either won't use it, or that the conditions will have degraded to a point that it will be much more difficult, or even impossible to change out. While it's important to have deep reefs in your main, should you need them, it really does not provide nearly the strength and/or efficiency of the trysail.

    I recall that Lin and Larry Pardey are big proponents of this practice and I'm sure there is a section in one of more of their books dedicated to this theory... most likely in "Storm Tactics Handbook".

    Jack


  • September 20, 2012 10:59 AM
    Reply # 1077859 on 1075723

    Gary,

    No, not in our W28, but in a similar size full keel of boat on a 31 day passage from Rarotonga in the Southern Cook Islands to Hawaii.  A rough passage that included that Force 10 gale, followed by a broken rudder and capped off with a broken boomkin.  But my point is we made the passage safetly and the Trisail was a invaluable tool.

    Kevin