Just curious

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by oharag, Dec 6, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. oharag


    Joined Dec 6, 2018
    5 posts, 1 likes
    NA NA
    Un PA
    Hello. I'm a noob regarding sailing. I'm interested in purchasing a sailboat one of these days. I wanted to join this website to pick your brains if possible.

    I have a perplexing question regarding sailboat sails.

    I know what the main sail does (mid boat).
    I know what a jib or genoa sail does (front of bow).
    I know what a Spinnaker sail does (usually attached during sailing downwind).

    I'm looking at sailboats, and I have seen some with another sail between the Main and jib/genoa that is on a furler. I'm going to try to attach some pics of what I'm asking about.

    What is this third sail? Is it a Spinnaker sail ready to go??? I know Cutters Sailboats usually have three sails. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    Attached Files:

  2. rgranger


    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    6,123 posts, 1,604 likes
    Hunter 26
    US Smith Mountain Lake
    There can be several reasons for this second sail but the most common is the inner of the two headsails is your heavy wind sail. You put a reef in your main, roll up the big genoa and let out the smaller headsail.

  3. oharag


    Joined Dec 6, 2018
    5 posts, 1 likes
    NA NA
    Un PA
    Cool. Seems logical. Thanks for quick response.

  4. dlochner


    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,617 posts, 1,672 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Usually it is called a staysail. It is useful in heavier wind or sometimes when on a broad reach along with the jib.

    Becarefull, sailing can be addictive but it is a healthy addiction. :biggrin:

  5. DArcy - Islay Mist

    DArcy - Islay Mist

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    342 posts, 282 likes
    C&C 27 MkII
    Ca Ottawa
    Welcome aboard Jerry, and welcome to sailing!
    What they said above about the staysail. Generally on any boat under about 40 feet the staysail is mostly useful for heavy weather sailing. Sometimes they are self tacking and people use them even in lighter air for upwind sailing so you don't have to haul a huge genoa (big jib) across.

  6. dlochner


    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,617 posts, 1,672 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    An important point about permanently attached staysail stays. In order to tack the genoa it needs to be rolled up and then tacked and unrolled. Trying to get a big sail through the slot between the forestay and staysail stay will beat the crap out of an expensive sail.

  7. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    4,606 posts, 2,560 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    Welcome to the best sailing forum on the internet. You have made the best first step in becoming a great sailor. These guys know stuff and soon you will too.
    In the case of a cutter rig, the headsail ahead of the staysail is called a yankee. Cutters generally have their masts stepped farther aft then a typical sloop and the yankees are therefore bigger than a sloop's headsail of the same percentage. Cutters were once a preferred design for offshore racing because of the range of weather conditions they sailed well in. As dlochner said. Ocean sailing doesn't usually require the number of tacks inshore sailing does.

    -Will (Dragonfly)

  8. Meriachee


    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    3,249 posts, 1,101 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Wabamun - on the orange ball
    Or you have a hidden desire to stop your neighbour from running away from you all the time. :beer::dancing:

  9. oharag


    Joined Dec 6, 2018
    5 posts, 1 likes
    NA NA
    Un PA
    Thanks for all the comments/best wishes.
    I'm 50 at the moment. Have always loved the sea. At one time wanted to be an Oceanographer since I loved Killer Whales. Loved watching Jacques Cousteau growing up.
    I realize the Ocean is unforgiving at times, but since watching all of the Youtube Sailors out there traveling around the world I'm starting to catch the Sailing bug. I think I started searching about living the Sailor life when I read that story about the Family (Husband/Wife and 4 kids) sailing around the world for 9 years. I figured if they can do it so could I.
    My goal is to purchase a sea worthy sailing boat that I can retire on in 10ish years. I realize sailing is just not get in and go so I'll be doing some research (here and online) to learn the ins/outs.

    Will Gilmore likes this.
  10. ifmdalvey


    Joined Feb 2, 2010
    312 posts, 22 likes
    Island Packet 37 Hull #2
    US Harpswell Me
    Thats not actually true. I fly my staysail all the time on my IP37 and do not wind it in to perform a tack. In fact, because of friction of a wound up sail compared to the smoothness of the extrusion it is the opposite. i do however go all the way through the wind before releasing the sheet.

  11. dlochner


    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,617 posts, 1,672 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    You don't have roll the staysail to tack. I was referring to the genoa. The gap between the forestay and the baby stay is small and dragging a sail through the gap is not great for the sail.

  12. markwesti


    Joined Jun 24, 2014
    80 posts, 33 likes
    Westsail 28
    72 Us Long Beach , California
    Those 2 pictures that Jerry posted , isn't that inside sail called called a solent sail ? Or solent rig ?
    Hey Jerry , cutters are pretty cool huh ?
    I't s kind of hard to see the staysail in this shot but it's there .
    [​IMG]photo 6 by mark westi, on Flickr

    Here is another shot and you can see the staysail boom (club footed staysail) better .

    [​IMG]photo 3 by mark westi, on Flickr

    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
    Will Gilmore likes this.
  13. Cowpokee


    Joined Jan 8, 2015
    311 posts, 171 likes
    MacGregor 26S, Goman Express 30
    US Kerr Reservoir
    My understanding is a solent rig has both stays meeting at the top of the mast. The pictures originally posted (especially the second) they do not.

    markwesti likes this.
  14. dlochner


    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,617 posts, 1,672 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY

  15. Roadking Larry

    Roadking Larry

    Joined Mar 30, 2013
    646 posts, 145 likes
    Allied Seawind MK II 32'
    US Oologah Lake, Oklahoma
    For a good, fun start find your local ASA (American Sailing Association) school and take the basic Keel boat class.

  16. DAVA390


    Joined Jul 13, 2010
    953 posts, 149 likes
    Precision 23
    US Perry Hall,Baltimore County
    At the age of 57 I signed up the wife and myself for sailing lessons through the local community college on a bucket list whim. Wish I had done it 20 years sooner. Good luck , but prepare for your plans to make zig zags as you learn and gain experience ( and bumps and bruises).

  17. garymalmgren


    Joined May 29, 2018
    66 posts, 48 likes
    Canel 25 foot
    Jonathan jp Shoigama, japan
    A Solent is usually an inner forestay that can be removed and stowed.
    In my view, any boat with two permanently rigged forestays is a cutter.
    That's an Australian's opinion, which is usually not worth much.


  18. JetLaggedChef


    Joined Jul 9, 2018
    65 posts, 23 likes
    Catalina 25
    US Lake Monroe

    The guys on this forum are full of experience and great advice. I enjoying learning from them immensely. I would also second @Roadking Larry 's comment about finding an ASA school to take ASA101 and ASA103 (ASA102 is now part of ASA103).

    In *theory*, you just hoist the sails and go. You could figure out a lot of the basics from the internet and spend a long time fumbling through it, but there is so much to learn. Most importantly, learning the basics with an instructor of how to go through the movements so that they become second nature to you will allow you to focus on tuning all the other details.

    Another suggestion is to find your local marina with a sailing club and regular races. They're always looking for people to help crew their boat in small races and it's invaluable experience. I always look for the oldest most weathered sailor in the group and try to crew with them. There's a wealth of knowledge with the guys that have been doing it forever and I try to soak it up like a sponge. Also, be prepared for snappy commands because when you're in a race, they don't have time to sugar coat anything, it's part of the excitement.

  19. ifmdalvey


    Joined Feb 2, 2010
    312 posts, 22 likes
    Island Packet 37 Hull #2
    US Harpswell Me
    With a cutter rig, as opposed to a Solent rig, tacking my 135 genoa is not a problem at all. With a Solent rig, you would only ever fly one of the headsails at a time. With the cutter i fly both sails all the time unless running down wind. It does take a bit of practice though.

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