Jib Weight and Performance

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Clark

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Jun 30, 2004
880
Hunter 280 Lake Guntersville, AL
In the vein of the previous post; what advantages are there in having an ultra-light #1 genoa over a 'normal' one? Something like a 1.5 - 2.2 oz nylon vs a 4-4.5 oz dacron? The idea is to improve light wind sailing (3 - 5 knots true).
 
Jun 6, 2006
6,991
currently boatless wishing Harrington Harbor North, MD
light wind sailing

Just like heavy drapes the 4.5 oz Dacron will just hang there in less than 4 knots and act pretty much like a drape too. The light weight sail will fill with air and act like a sail should. You then pick up a knot or two and you are making your own wind and the apparent wind is ALWAYS well forward and you beat no matter which direction you go. The sail should be cut for beating of course
 

RichH

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Feb 14, 2005
4,773
Tayana 37 cutter; I20/M20 SCOWS Worton Creek, MD
The 'target' wind speed for your 280s characteristics and sail area in 12-15kts needs a 4.5oz woven dacron ... essentially a light weight fabric. If you want a more 'reactive' sail for light weight and light winds, I suggest a 2.75 or 3oz. Aramid or Pentex.

There are other considerations for 'performance' ... and most importantly do not lose or lessen 'long term stability or life of such a sail and without having to choose one of the very unstable / stretchy nylons, etc.:
Choose a RACING CUT sail - a sail with a very precise 'flat entry' luff shape that doesnt sooooo easily promote the separation stalls as does an 'all purpose' or 'recrreational cut' sail. The standard stock plain vanilla headsails are targeted to beginning sailors who dont have the expertise nor 'concentration' to keep a flat entry shape from constantly luffing or separation stalling ... a 'forgiving' sail; racing or flat cut luff entry sails require a bit more helm expertise to keep them from luff/separating will have a 'strategic advantage' especially in light winds. For light wind sailing its not the sail fabric 'weight' that is the most important factor but the 'shape' of the sails, especially the 'flatness' of the luff shape.

Caution here ... if youre not a 'well developed' helmsman who can instinctively sail a boat to keep the all important full set of tell tales constantly flying to perfection .... stick to 'recreational sails'. Racing cut sails are cut primarily exactly to the experience level of the helmsman, the typical wind/waves present at the wind target speed encountered/design and total weight of the crew normally on board .... pretty 'tight' parameters. A racing cut sail requires nearly 100% attention of the helmsman to keep such a sail 'in the groove'. A racing cut sail that is within a few % of optimum trim/shape isnt going to have the 'separation stall' problems which is the 'bane' of light wind sailing.

Or another possibility as a broad based 'compromise' all in one sail ... if you have roller furling/roller reefing you can consider to have a 'radial cut' sail made with a lighter weight fabric at the luff side and the standard 4.5 oz. fabric near the leech. When the winds are 'up' the lighter weight material is mostly 'rolled up' and therefore less vulnerable to 'permanent stretch and distortion'. When the winds are 'light' the lighter weight and more 'reactive' sections are fully exposed. Nutherwords, a sail that is more applicable for both ends of your expected wind range venue ... all in a single sail. And you can compromise on the shape of the luff sections 'between' a full race cut and a forgiving 'recreational' cut.

All these 'alternatives' wont be available from a 'mail order' one-size-fits-all sail loft.

Id go with a high tech light weight race-cut laminate (pentex or aramid,etc. ) before Id choose a stretchy failure-prone light weight nylon or ultra-light woven dacron. .... or choose the less costly "dual weight" radial option above for the best versatility. Of course a race-cut sail in exact accordance with how good a helmsman I am, or not.
 
Jun 4, 2004
844
Hunter 28.5 Tolchester, MD
Lots of great points from Rich H; however, the Hunter 280 is fractional rigged and the size of the Jib / Genoa may be limited by the Genoa trac location. I'd have a local sailmaker look at the rig,particularly if you want to max things out for racing.

I have a 1986 28.5, which is the older mast head rig, and use a bi-radial mylar 3.2 oz 155% Genoa for lighter air (HeadFoil with no roller furler). Newer fabrics are lighter and stronger and tri-radial or tape drive holds the shape..check with a sailmaker if you are going to roller furl it.
 

Clark

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Jun 30, 2004
880
Hunter 280 Lake Guntersville, AL
I appreciate the input guys. I should have been more (or less) specific. I was asking in general - not so much related to our H280 - and was thinking in terms of our Capri 22 Tall. It is somewhat of a masthead rig and is equipped to carry anything from a blade to a 200%. It is frustrating where we sail in that a good third of the time, we race in 3-5 knot winds and my lightest sail is a 4.x oz 150% dacron. Just wondering if a nylon sail would be beneficial. Right now, I plan to have a new 135 built and if a 1.5 - 2 oz nylon sail isn't worth the effort, I'll probably just select a premium (light weight) #2.
 

RichH

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Feb 14, 2005
4,773
Tayana 37 cutter; I20/M20 SCOWS Worton Creek, MD
A stretchy nylon sail (drifter, Code 0, etc.) will only have advantage from a low close reach .... down to DDW. It will have difficulty holding its shape anywhere near a beat in 'increasing winds'. If the winds increase during the race a 'nylon' sail will 'power up' (above a beam reach) which will result in SLOW boat in comparison to a laminate or dacron sail ..... which is OK if you can 'peel'/dowse and quickly change sails if you want optimum performance for beating or high close reaching. A 'nylon drifter' type head sail with a spectra etc. luff bolt rope, set 'free' (not attached to the forestay, etc.) would be 'satisfactory' but the advantage would only be realized in reaches/runs where the apparent wind is 'lower'.

The problem in light wind racing is low apparent wind ... and those who successfully race in light venues are the one who 'foot off' going upwind or 'head up' going downwind to keep the apparent wind at a maximum (vs. VMG).

hope this clears up my first post.
 

Clark

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Jun 30, 2004
880
Hunter 280 Lake Guntersville, AL
It did Rich and thank you for your help. I think I'll put the $ I'd have spent on a small drifter into a hi-tech 135 that is light weight for shape in drifting conditions and will hold its shape into a 'normal' wind range.
 
Jul 1, 1998
3,054
Hunter Legend 35 Poulsbo/Semiahmoo WA
That was a good post from RichH #6

Also, he wrote about the style of sailing which was good:
The problem in light wind racing is low apparent wind ... and those who successfully race in light venues are the one who 'foot off' going upwind or 'head up' going downwind to keep the apparent wind at a maximum (vs. VMG).
Tactics, in my opinion, is the one area that can really help and it doesn't cost anything. A lot of races are won or lost in only seconds for the entire race. I had one that was around six hours long and came in fourth place which was 32 seconds out of first place on corrected time and I'll never forget it. 32 seconds - I can tell you about all the "what ifs" "could haves", etc., but that's what the end result was.

The next most beneficial item is telltails. Good ones. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Learn how to read them and then trim accordingly.

If you're really into a lot of light air racing, one thing to consider is a going with a masthead rig. This would cost some seconds per mile but might be worth it. Look at Alan's H35.5 and see what he did with his rig and he's been winning some races.

Alan installed a jumper stay or jackstay on his rig in order to fly a masthead chute or masthead drifter and you could do the same thing. One has to be careful about the loading that gets put on the rig but Alan, I believe, is a Mechanical Engineer and would understand these things. It isn't rocket science but it does take a feel for the loads, like the amount and direction, that would be applied.

Light air racing is a challenge.

Another thought: does the boat have a feathering/folding prop? If not, a low-drag prop would be the absolutely Number 1 thing to get, hands down, before anything else.
 

RichH

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Feb 14, 2005
4,773
Tayana 37 cutter; I20/M20 SCOWS Worton Creek, MD
Another thought: does the boat have a feathering/folding prop? If not, a low-drag prop would be the absolutely Number 1 thing to get, hands down, before anything else.
Boy O Boy, that is the absolute best #1 way to improve 'light air performance'. Followed by an an absolute clean and baby's butt smooth and burnished 'bottom paint job'.
 
Jul 1, 1998
3,054
Hunter Legend 35 Poulsbo/Semiahmoo WA
Rich - "Amen!"

Followed by an an absolute clean and baby's butt smooth and burnished 'bottom paint job'.
That's for darn sure!

Don't even cast off the dock lines without a squeaky clean bottom!

'nuf said.
 

Clark

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Jun 30, 2004
880
Hunter 280 Lake Guntersville, AL
My questions applied mainly to our Capri so no prop under water and I hear you loud & clear about a clean bottom! :)
 

RichH

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Feb 14, 2005
4,773
Tayana 37 cutter; I20/M20 SCOWS Worton Creek, MD
.... clean and SMOOTH bottom, a bottom paint that isnt applied with just a 'roller' that leaves 'stipple marks' and other 'roughness' in the bottom paint.

On my sport boat I apply the bottom paint in widely spaced 'stripes' with a foam (WEST) roller, allow the paint to 'almost' cure, then draw a yellow WEST plastic scraper/trowel across the semi hard 'peaks' of the stipple marks to knock them flat ... let fully cure/harden and then 'roll on' more paint and immediately follow up with the yellow trowell which 'pushes' the paint into the 'valleys' of the first coat ... and repeat until the surface is as flat and smooth as a babies ass. Yes, it take a bit of time to do this for the first time but in succeeding seasons one can easily just 'fill' the roughness in the same manner. .... and slime etc. doesnt adhere as well and easily 'releases' when the boat is 'at speed'.

An unexpected plus, Ive found that once you get FLAT bottom paint the paint doesnt abrade quite as fast as with a roller only application so less paint has to be reapplied and the successive 'fills' with the trowel is much much less - time and $$$ savings.

Of course if you're in fresh water, nothing beats a VC17 job that is 'burnished' smooth and bright with wads of stiff 'balled-up' newspaper ... will last and stay dead-FLAT for 'years'.
 
May 12, 2008
24
Santana 525 Bristol, PA Delaware River
Thanks to everyone that responded. I do subscribe to the speed first point 2nd philosophy. Most importantly I need to work on my driving skills and eliminating mistakes on the race course. I'll be installing a windward sheeting harken traveler that will allow us to more easily adjust the angle of attack as the current setup is brutal to adjust. We have 1 race left in our season. Looking forward too closing out on a positive note!
 
Jul 1, 1998
3,054
Hunter Legend 35 Poulsbo/Semiahmoo WA
Then there is keel fairing and....

.... rudder gap closure, take all the "junk" off the boat, like heavy batteries (is that a pull-start outboard?), go to a lighter anchor, you don't need food to race a boat so take all that off too, ....

.... are we having fun yet?

.... oh, and what would it take to get an elliptical rudder?

"We're here to help!" :)
 
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