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170 Under Main Only

Clark

.
Jun 30, 2004
880
Hunter 280 Lake Guntersville, AL
Curious how this model behaves using just the main. Reduced performance makes sense but how is "helm" affected?
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,602
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Using only the mainsail will reduce your speed, but it should make your boat easier to handle, tack and jib, especially by yourself. It will also reduce healing, espeacially in strong winds, which will provide a more comfortable sail for some. Try it yourself and let us know.
 
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Clark

.
Jun 30, 2004
880
Hunter 280 Lake Guntersville, AL
Using only the mainsail will reduce your speed, but it should make your boat easier to handle, tack and jib, especially by yourself. It will also reduce healing, espeacially in strong winds, which will provide a more comfortable sail for some. Try it yourself and let us know.
Thanks! I anticipated all those factors and for me, are the pluses I'm looking for. With that said, IF doing that had a strong adverse affect on helm, it might very well be a show stopper.
How(?) you may ask. There is a good chance that I can buy a 170 for an excellent price and one factor in closing the deal will be how the boat behaves under main alone - for all the good reasons you mentioned. So . . I can't really try it yet!
Have you sailed yours w/o using the jib? What did you think?
Thanks Again.
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,602
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Rarely sail with the main alone because its a bit of effort to unfurl it from the mast but more often with the jib alone, sepeacially when I single handle the Hunter 46. Consider sailing it with the main only a sea trial as a condition of sale.

Hunter 170 sailing singlehanded and looks like fun, you are making me jealous if you get one!!

Mainsail only: HUNTER 170 SAILBOAT IN ACTION - Bing video
Mainsail and jib: HUNTER 170 SAILBOAT IN ACTION - Bing video
 
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Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,410
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Hate to be negative here, but if you really want a single sail boat.... why don't you buy a single sail boat? No sloop rigged, lightweight, non keel, boat is going to perform well under main alone. First of all, the mast on single sail boats (cat rig) is place forward of the boat's pivot point so the sail can help the boat tack, sail up wind and balance the helm. With two sails, and the mast placed at the boat's pivot point, the sailor will use them to balance the helm, help push the bow to leeward when turning, and improve air flow over the main going upwind.

In your scenario, heeling the boat will not be an issue. That's easily controlled with sail trim... headsail, mainsail or both. What will be affected is you ability to turn upwind efficiently. You will find yourself "in irons" more than you want... especially in light air and a boat with no heavy keel to provide momentum. You'll also have trouble when it's choppy because there will be no headsail to push the bow through the short, slapping waves.
Weather helm can be an issue, but with fresh sails and a little mast tuning you might be able to control it.

Finally, if you must, sail with jib only.... maybe invest in a larger headsail with roller furling. Or start looking for some cat rigged 17 footers... there are plenty out there and great fun to sail.
How cool is this 15 footer? (sorry, it's sold)
 
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Clark

.
Jun 30, 2004
880
Hunter 280 Lake Guntersville, AL
Hate to be negative here, but if you really want a single sail boat.... why don't you buy a single sail boat? No sloop rigged, lightweight, non keel, boat is going to perform well under main alone. First of all, the mast on single sail boats (cat rig) is place forward of the boat's pivot point so the sail can help the boat tack, sail up wind and balance the helm. With two sails, and the mast placed at the boat's pivot point, the sailor will use them to balance the helm, help push the bow to leeward when turning, and improve air flow over the main going upwind.

In your scenario, heeling the boat will not be an issue. That's easily controlled with sail trim... headsail, mainsail or both. What will be affected is you ability to turn upwind efficiently. You will find yourself "in irons" more than you want... especially in light air and a boat with no heavy keel to provide momentum. You'll also have trouble when it's choppy because there will be no headsail to push the bow through the short, slapping waves.
Weather helm can be an issue, but with fresh sails and a little mast tuning you might be able to control it.

Finally, if you must, sail with jib only.... maybe invest in a larger headsail with roller furling. Or start looking for some cat rigged 17 footers... there are plenty out there and great fun to sail.
How cool is this 15 footer? (sorry, it's sold)
Thanks Joe. I've been admiring catboats for a long time and would love to have a Sanderling. Alas, price and availability makes that a nogo, even for the ComPac versions.
I guess I've been overly concerned. I had an American 18 a number of years ago and found it to be plenty stable enough and easily controlled when the winds stiffened. The 170 I'm looking at has roller furling so that would help.
Thanks again.
 

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,410
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
The 170 I'm looking at has roller furling so that would help.
Thanks again.
It's a no brainer then... go for it. btw, you'll get used to handling both sails singlehanded quite easily. It's just part of sailing the boat. Remember when it gets windy, you can still cleat the headsail but, as in dinghy sailing, keep the mainsheet or traveler control in one hand, uncleated, and you'll be able to spill air quickly when the mainsail gets overpowered. have a blast!
 
Apr 11, 2020
141
Hunter 170 Grapevine
Clark,

You mentioned roller furling as a mitigating factor (if I read you right), so I wanted to dispel any assumptions (like the ones I had) about being able to use it in a partially-unfurled state. In short, it does not work that way, that is if yours lacks a stiffening foil as mine does.

I typically sail my 170 under full sail until the wind gets up around 13 MPH, at which time I reef the main. I also have a smaller jib that I can deploy on a removable solent stay in winds upwards of 17 MPH or so (with reefed main, of course).

I find the boat performs reasonably well under just the main, but it doesn't really shine until the jib is up. I think this is true of just about any sloop, and the 170 would be no exception.

+1 on ease of single-handing, just don't get complacent when cleating the mainsheet. The 170 is a stable boat for its size, but can be blown over, as I proved a month or so ago, and being ready to release the main is important.
 
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Clark

.
Jun 30, 2004
880
Hunter 280 Lake Guntersville, AL
Thanks guys, I appreciate your input. It made for some good discussion. As it turns out, I passed on the 170. It was neglected too long and there were too many issues to address. I'm still looking around for a similar size.