Sail combination for pointing

  • December 12, 2020 10:16 PM
    Message # 9425697

    I am interested in how to improve pointing in heavier weather on a Westsail 32. The reason I am asking this is because my last approach was not ideal.

    So the wind pipes up to well above 20 knots plus gusts and I am trying to point into the wind and against a steep chop. So I am trying to keep boat speed up and my sails not too flat so they generate power. However, I found that whilst the 3rd reef in the main with full staysail seemed like a very appropriate sail configuration and also sail area, she was a bit sluggish and took too long to recover when she was periodically stopped up by a set of waves.

    I have a Yankee (which I suspect is the super Yankee, but not sure) on a furler. So I unfurled about a third of the Yankee and really improved boat balance and performance. She certainly had a lot more power to get through the chop. But the sail shape of a partially unfurled Yankee was not ideal.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what to set in those conditions? Do you fly a hank on storm sail on a removable stay in lieu of the Yankee?

  • December 13, 2020 12:05 PM
    Reply # 9426755 on 9425697

    Hello Ben,  

    Welcome to our group.  First off, what I say is my opinion only.  The use of sails and their  configurations is often debatable.  I will not get into those debates with this post.    The following works for me though, and admittedly, I only follow my own advise bout 85% of the time.  What I do on a narrow river is not always what I do in the ocean.  The following regards going to weather:

    I suggest a much smaller headsail than a SuperYankee, which is about 350 sq ft.  I suggest something like the original "Working Jib", which is 177 sq ft and is 8 ft short on the hoist.  This is my most used headsail.    Even when furled a bit, the shape will be better than a furled Super Yankee.  I use a Staysail on a boom with a traveller.  It is reefable and would definitely be reefed in the conditions you describe.  In 25k I may be using my Storm jib hanked on  on the inner stay, above the furled Staysail.  This Storm jib is about the size of a Staysail that was double reefed.  I use this more often than most Westsailors would believe.  It will sheet to one of  the same locations as the Working jib.  Note:  The Working jib is still flying though it may be furled a bit.

    The Main is reefed, possibly double reefed.  With my sliding gooseneck, I would be positioning it in a lower position.  This is  about 1 ft lower than the normal position.  The Main is not sheeted in tight.

    So, in 25k I would probably have a slightly furled Working jib, a reefed Staysail, and a double reefed Main.  I would also be about 15 degrees further off the wind than on smooth water.  I would be enough off the wind to keep up a good speed.  I would not be dragging a rail though.

    I have asked Jay to post some pictures this evening.  Stay tuned.  The 1st picture was in about 20k.  Notice a full Working jib, full Staysail, and single reefed Main.  The boat is definitely standing up better because of the guys on the rail.  Boat speed is 6 1/2k    The 2nd sailing picture shows a single reefed Main, single reefed Staysail and about 40%  of a regular, 300 sq ft Yankee.   The wind is about 20k  but the boat is boogeying its way through. 

    Off topic but important is the bottom of the boat.  I suggest that you fair the hull to the rudder.  if you can swing the costs  ( about $700 in materials).  A complete fairing job in the stern and a feathering prop is worth more than 1k at the lower speeds and 1/2k average at cruising speeds.  More speed is more speed to weather.  There is some info on the forum about this.

    But MOST important of all is the New Years day sail.  I can not tell you what will happen if you don't sail because I don't know.  I always sail.    It is tradition.

    Good luck,  Keep us informed.     Dave

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    Last modified: December 13, 2020 2:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • December 13, 2020 3:00 PM
    Reply # 9427031 on 9425697

    Hi Dave

    Thank you so much for your prompt, informative and considered response.  I appreciate that it is rule of thumb and the sail plan and adjustments need tweaking to suit the circumstances. But your comments are giving me a good direction to follow. I am looking forward to photos.

    Please forget my mentioning a super Yankee, I have looked up the differences and I have a regular Yankee. It is full hoist and high aspect cut. It is actually a beautifully setting sail but obviously still suffers when partially furled. I am absolutely amazed how well she sails in lights winds. Even in 10 knots I am making unexpected good speeds.

    So what I conclude from your description is really that I am on the right path. You do not just take down your Jib or Yankee, but gradually reef down all three sails to keep the balance in the boat. That coincides with my experience of lacking power and responsiveness under stay sail alone and the noticeable improvement once I unfurled a bit of the Yankee. So it is time for me to learn how to reef the stay sail and also to test the storm jib that came with the boat and probably start using that more often. I guess once I am down to 3 reefs in the main and storm sail on the inner stay, I just set as much Yankee as the boat will handle. Once that is too much I will need to write to Santa and wish for a small Jib for the forward stay.

    I love the idea of the sliding gooseneck to lower the boom. I would have never thought of that and it makes a lot of sense.

    Fairing the hull and feathering prop are noted and it is good to have some feedback in terms of the actual difference to speed. It sounds well worth it. Those items are on my wish list and they might have just moved up a notch.

    Last but not least, I was not aware of paying homage to Poseidon with a New Year ’s Day sail. Looks like I found out just in time. I hope it is not blowing a gale on the first of January…



  • December 13, 2020 4:34 PM
    Reply # 9427148 on 9425697

    1+ on the "working jib" Yankee . Even in the Southern California "light air" wind , we have never felt the need Super Yankee  (I don't think they even made one for a W 28) . We do have a Drifter , we have managed a wing and wing set up . We pole the Yankee out to windward and fly the Drifter leeward . That's for down wind of course . 

    Dave I never get tired of looking at your fairing jobs . Ever do a W28 ?

    Mark .

    Last modified: December 13, 2020 6:02 PM | Anonymous member
  • December 13, 2020 6:53 PM
    Reply # 9427302 on 9425697

    Hi Mark

    I can see that Yankee poled out one side and drifter on the other would be decent amount of sail area in light air. Initially I thought that I might need a drifter or light wind sails but that does not seem to be the case. If anything I probably need a working jib.

  • December 13, 2020 6:54 PM
    Reply # 9427303 on 9425697
    Hello Mark,  I have not faired any of the W-28’s.  I am not aware of any that have been although I have often encouraged some owners to do so.  It is my opinion that the benefits would be greater on the W-28 due to the relative size of the gudgeons and the hull/rudder gap.  An often ignored benefit is motoring speed.  The fairing was worth .6k on a W-32 that had NO changes made to the propulsion system.         Keep thinking about it,        Dave
  • December 13, 2020 6:58 PM
    Reply # 9427304 on 9425697


    Great photos. She certainly looks well balanced and like you are moving along nicely. I must applaud your crews dedication to be rail meat in those conditions.

    The photos shows a fixed blade prop. Did you swap props?

  • December 13, 2020 7:27 PM
    Reply # 9427342 on 9425697
    Ben,  The boat in the photo is not mine.  I always encourage an owner to switch to a feathering prop but it is not always possible.  The Max-prop costs $2200 us and above when new.    I picked up one recently for $400 used.      Dave
  • December 13, 2020 9:20 PM
    Reply # 9427587 on 9425697

    $400 for a maxprop... nice. It is all a bit more expensive here, down under. We just do not have such a big market and good second hand stuff is sought after.