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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Clyde
    Posts
    965

    Default Best downwind sail?

    Hi, I have a jeanneau SO 439, performance version with larger overlapping Genoa. Had the boat for 2 seasons now. Only sails are main and Genoa.

    Am thinking of a downwind sail for lighter conditions. My last boat had a spinnaker, but I often sail lightly crewed and found I rarely used the spinnaker, put off by all the ropes and faff with the pole etc. I need something simpler!

    Aware there are many simpler options available but bit confused should I be looking for a Code 0 type sail? Advice pls!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,550

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    Code 0s are really a rules-restricted racing sail although many use he term more freely these days and one can certainly buy non-race versions. In any event they are at heart a close winded sail, so not really suitable.

    What you probably want is a cruising assy that can go reasonably well down to say 150 degrees in winds up to F3/4 (?). You can set it traditionally, using a top down furler (pricey), or with a snuffer (many hate them, not me!). This sail will transform your light weather sailing performance and turn boring evenings listening to a whirring donk into beautiful sunset sails

    As for cut, personally Id ask a sailmaker you trust with knowledge of your boat.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Devon
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    Get another genoa a No2 and roll them together. You still need a pole (or it helps) but you have a quickly adjustable sail and no need for the main.

    Ultimately the Spinnaker should be the best option though and used in light winds it's not that much in terms of strings. You can run single guy/sheets and run them through tweekers if you are planning or want to gybe. Then it's just a pole up and down.
    quicKutter rope cutter, shaft and rudder bearings
    www.h4marine.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    10,523

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_Y View Post

    Ultimately the Spinnaker should be the best option though and used in light winds it's not that much in terms of strings.
    Completely agree. Whilst a cruising chute might be a bit easier, the big issue with them is being able to run deep, which is really when most cruisers look into the locker for a sail to help out....

    You can run single guy/sheets and run them through tweekers if you are planning or want to gybe. Then it's just a pole up and down.
    You certainly cannot if you are dip pole gybing, which you surely must be on a 43 foot boat...

    All that said... If the OP is really against spinnakers, then a furling A-sail (or cruising chute, depending on what sort of cut you want) set off a short extendable bowsprit is the next best solution.
    You never know, I might be right!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    25,016

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    The simplier solution is a asymmetric / cruising chute or a big gennaker (all really different versions of the same sail) along with either a furler or a snuffer. That would operate almost like an oversized genoa.

    Will still struggle a bit dead down wind but should be able to sail pretty deep with that sort of set up.

    If you have a spinnaker pole you can always set an asymmetric from that if you really need to be on a dead run.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Caribbean
    Posts
    2,427

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    We sail a 44ft yacht with just me and the wife. We have an asymmetric spinnaker. We only ever set it on the pole. We use a snuffer. We never attempt to gybe with it, we just snuff it and then rig on the opposite side but rarely even do this. We only use a two line system. Its very simple and gives a huge speed advantage ddw. We have friends with an identical boat. They use a Parasail. We ‘blow’ them away with the asymmetric when cruising in company. They have recently taken to setting the parasail on a pole with the main up goose-winged for ddw. At all the additional cost you have to wonder why they have a Parasail.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    2,339

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    I'd agree with Flaming 100%. I have a fractional North cruising chute, short removable carbon pole and a snuffer, and I use it at every opportunity, even single handed. I know there are many haters of the snuffer, but any disadvantages IMHO are very easily offset by the ability to pull a piece of string and very very quickly "kill" the sail. Even once the top 30% is snuffed it's now no longer a sail and develops no power. Once snuffed, you don't even have to drop it on deck if you have a big windshift/emergency/gybe/squall situation.

    However I would say that it is much more limited in useability/angles compared to symmetrical kite, and I'd really like to find one of them too at some point. I'd still have a snuffer regardless.

    I would however disagree with those that say you can't run with them...you can of course goosewing, although you need to be "on it" with your steering and swept spreaders/fractional rigs don't help. Or, you can sail the angles and gybe downwind. But...it depends on your views on the effort/fun/speed ratio. I once needed to sail from Cowes to Gilkicker...it was a dead run. A mate was in a Sigma 33, with just his genoa up, running DDW. I was in a Bavaria 32, full main and cruising chute, and somewhat predictably every time I crossed him it was just behind his transom after about 5 gybes. OK, so we were probably sailing a bit higher than needed and having more fun, and the S33 is faster than a B32, but we were putting in a lot more effort and distance sailed to basically do exactly the same thing!
    Bavaria 32 GBR4755L "Adastra"
    49er GBR340 "20KSB"/Fireball GBR14474 "Eleven Parsecs"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    West Sussex / Hants
    Posts
    28,806

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    In a perfect world you could have a light asymmetric chute on a furler ahead of the normal forestay on a short retractable sprit ( so slightly slack the rest of the time, requiring judgement re foil length ), this would be really handy - still needs poling out if dead downwind - otherwise I'd just keep it simple and have a cruising asymmetic handy - a tri radial cut should make it able to go closer to the wind when required, say up to a close reach.
    Anderson 22 Owners Association - For info please ask here or PM me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Winter in Falmouth, summer on board Rampage.
    Posts
    5,211

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    We’ve got a simple cruising chute and snuffer. I’ve looked at a furler but the cost was excessive (like five or six time the cost of the snuffer). If we’re nit likely to need to gybe, we only rig a single sheet; for longer trips likely to need a gybe, we rig both sheets and gybe by letting the chute fly right forward. It takes practice but is very satisfying when it works....
    Never bothered to pole out, the chute is enough of a drama queen in terms of wind angles, so we take the distance penalty rather than working hard hand steering to maintain a full chute ddw.
    I’ve sailed with a Code 0 on a sprit and furler: it was easier to manage than the chute and would point upwind whereas the chute won’t. But from our point of view as cruisers with nowhere to go in a hurry, the expense of fitting a bowsprit, buying a Code 0 and furler isn’t worth it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    Having spent four days over the long recent bank holiday weekend off the East Coast in glorious weather but light winds our asymmetric cruising chute became the sail of choice on our Contessa 32. We sailed it from 50 degrees all the way down to 180, even goosewinged with the main. I've used it plenty before but this was the first more extended period where we had reason to use it through so many angles. It made a huge difference to our progress and significantly improved our boat speed over others on the water who did not have one. We use a snuffer on ours and an ATN tacker.

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