First of all, thank you all for the input. Work has been a bear the last couple of weeks, so while I've been reading the replies, I haven't been able to respond. I'll try to hit the high points of questions and comments, so if I omit you, I apologize.
I have to admit my ignorance. I understand foiling catamarans, but I suspect that's not what you're talking about. Can you educate me?
This is exactly why I posted the question. I'm gathering that a larger sail is simply not a practical solution for a variety of reasons. Like Nofear, I also have oversized shrouds on our boat, thanks to the prior owner. It's a practice I will likely continue on any future boat.
I certainly accept this. The long pole in that tent is how to get that skill. I've been toying with starting a thread on that subject, but it may be divisive, so I haven't yet. I'll say this: There are little to zero places for adults looking to enter to sport to learn how to sail and how to sail a catamaran specifically. If you want to learn to sail a monohull as a adult, there is limited ability to do that. If you want to learn how to sail a catamaran, you have zero options, IMHO. That's one of the reasons why our sport is dying, if not already dead.
This is very helpful. While I already feel very far forward compared to sailing a Hobie 16 many years ago, I'm usually at the shroud and one of my daughters just behind the front beam. I'm thinking I may need to put her on the beam with me right next to her. Doing so will require practicing transitions, but may provide some benefit.
On tuning, I'm sure our boat could use that and there are lots of folks on the beach willing to offer opinions. However, those opinions are of limited utility when you don't know the individual's experience level or if you don't know if they have experience with your model boat.
First, are they one and the same? In the link flightlead provided, it appears that a screecher is a GIANT jib.
I like the idea of a spinnaker, but I don't know how to sail with one. My eldest daughter does have some experience though. Several cats on our beach have spinnaker setups, so I may explore that option further.
Once again, thank you for the suggestions and please keep them coming. I'm particularly interested in any tuning suggestions. For example, I don't ever adjust my batten tension, simply because I don't know what adjustment to make depending on what conditions.
I'm also fairly certain that my sail is worn out. While a new one may be in the cards in the future, I'm working on picking up another one to try to improve that situation in the short term.
Dana, Holly, Emma & Hannah
LJ/Stu's Dart 18
This is a little off topic but related so please bear with me.
I'm racing my Dart 18 solo at the Everglades Challenge this spring. Historically, there have been long downwind runs which I consider a weak point for my boat without downwind sails. I had decided to just suck it up until I saw a new asymmetrical spinnaker on a buy and sell site cheap. The ad doesn't specify what boat it's made for other than to say it's for 14' to 16' dinghys. The ad did specify dimensions and I've superimposed this over an approximate scale drawing of the boat.
I am aware that an F18 style spinnaker is a great way to dismast the boat. This is a much smaller kite intended only for light winds that would use the jib halyard. The jib is on a furler and doesn't use the halyard. My thought is instead of a bowsprit, running a spectra bridle off the bows. I would have make a tube snuffer either slung between the forestay and forward beam, or use a turtle bag on the tramp.
The main problem I see is that I'll need to assemble the 'spinnaker kit' here in Ontario, then rig it in Florida two days before the race. A turtle bag might be easier to sort out at this stage. Also, I don't care about class legal, that went out the window a long time ago.
Bow foil (bar that is attached to each bow). this fights the inward pull your bridal puts on the bows. increasing sail area increases the forces on your rigging. your fiberglass bows are much easier to destroy than the steel cable so adding a bow foil basically eliminates this issue (think front beam on a gcat)
Robbie D. - private coaching is where. but TOW is just as important. (time on water)
when i started i took a lesson from "a guy in a van down by the
riverwater". it was not very valuable
a screecher is a term for a spinnaker style fore-sail (the tack is on a pole infront of your bows). a spinnaker is typically a down wind (only) sail, a screecher has a different shape and can usually sail much higher (not just down wind) - but it really can't sail close hauled so it has limits (reaching). They can usually (if not always) furl too so you can keep it on your front deck (if you have one) and hoist it when your gonna use it. then unfurl it and sail away. You don't have to lower it when not in use but it does add a bunch of windage so racers often would prefer to drop it
I am fairly certain too.
I would suggest you talk with Chip from Whirlwind before you purchase anything used. my jib was $500 new so your will be significantly less i would think (much smaller, no zipper) - also your main may not be too much to replace -
new sails will definatly help you sail a little better and slightly faster (until worn/blownout) - i used to say it's like adding a turbo... (but you still gotta sail correct)
Edited by MN3 on Feb 07, 2020 - 12:19 PM.
Don't mean to be a nay sayer but i can only assume you are posting this to hear other people's input:
1. how do you raise your jib without a halyard? Is it simply stored on your forestay and ready for use once the mast is stepped and the forestay is attached to the furler?
2. if a spin and jib share the same space i would guess you are gonna have a spin wrapped around your forestay/furled jib... a lot as the tack of the spin/luff are several feet away typically. so only the leach and lines need to cross over the jib/forestay
EDIT - actually i think if the spin luff and furled jib are in the same location you are not going to be able to get the spin to the correct side in a gybe. there needs to be a space for the sail to "cross over"
I can't see this working. not only does the sprit move the tack away from the forestay it also secures it in place.
without a sprit what will stop the tack from moving fore and aft with apparent wind?
tramp bags work but are a pita. if you have crew ... they can manage it but doing it solo is not fun
also there isn't a lot of room on a dart. adding all the lines, blocks, and a tramp bag is gonna suck
I can only assume you can't "test" this system out in canada during winter... i would really hope you could test the snot out of adding a new major system prior to the race
Edited by MN3 on Feb 07, 2020 - 12:46 PM.
Spectra bridle off the bows won't work and you'll need to add a forward beam at the bridle tangs because the dart doesn't have bulkheads past the forward beam...there are just two - one at the forward beam mentioned and one at the rear beam. The rest of the hull shape is dictated by the EPS foam they glue into place, running the length of the boat. All that added stuff just ads weight and the opportunity to foul.
Wanna go downwind? Get your weight forward and sit by the mast on the leward side then hope for the best. It'll be a dog unless it's howling out regardless.
dear MN3 and others- How do we get it off the hook if there are no nearby islands and a sudden squall hits us from out of nowhere ? If halyards on cleats you can drop both sails ans survive or intentionally turn cat over But you cant hold on to a "painter"(line) connected to cat because a lightening strike that hits cat or close by will fry you!(this genius already did that and fortunately lightening strike all around did not hit craft) the line will conduct electricity to cat
Yes, I'm looking for the problems and trying to solve for them before it's a tangled mess at the start line.
1. This is actually the easiest one. The jib is on a wire roller furler. It goes up when the mast goes up. There is a UV protective strip on the leach to protect from sun damage.
2. Yes, they are close but not parallel. They will run closest near the head but there's a ~2' gap between the tacks. Hoisting on a broad reach should keep the two from meeting. Gybing would involve bearing off, hauling on the windward sheet to bring the clew into the gap, gybe, and haul to pull the sail through. All kinds of ways that can go wrong in strong winds, in which case the sail shouldn't be up anyway. It should be manageable in ghosting conditions though.
Plan B. Make the bridle adjustable with the ability to bring the tack to the leeward bow for hoisting and dousing. That would keep it well away from the forestay.
3. If the tack moves forward with the drive of the sail: good! It can't go far and it opens that gap between sails. The only way I see the tack moving aft is from too much sheet tension or trying to point upwind with the sail. That's easily corrected.
4. True. I have a friend with a spinnaker boat that I'm going to consult. The only reason I'm considering the turtle bag is that I feel that a snuffer tube will have to be carefully sized and positioned to work, while the turtle bag can be clipped on in different places. Again, this is for winds where I'd be considering fishing or paddling.
5. Testing. I will be camping at Fort Desoto 3 days before the race. Not great. Unacceptable in moderate to strong wind testing, but if I'm trying to drift along with a shore breeze, testing on the fly can't hurt.
@headhunter yup, it's going to be a dog in light downwind runs. 79 square feet is better than a 34 square foot jib though. I think I can work out the mechanical part of it.
drop your anchor is how
but also: squalls don't "pop up" out of the blue. they almost always come with weather reports, or conditions are favorable for strong thunderstorms. they don't happen on clear days with High pressure all around. so know your weather risks prior to saiiing. be prepared for weather - look to the skys, watch your radar app, and stay home on days that look out of your comfort zone
Beach cats are overpowered and under-built compared to monohulls that can get away with all sorts of behavior that would crush our beachcat. as mentioned above, cleating halyards at the base double's the compression. your mast isn't built for that load so you are risking hardware. if you prefer to accept that risk ... so be it.
If your thoughts are using this in "fishing weather"... i think you will be more frustrated with snagged sails, and tangles than you will be moving... but i hope i am wrong. I know for me: using a spin in uber light air isn't worth the wear on the sail and the frustration
it's not the fore movement that is the issue . its the aft: the sail will be pushed back with your apparent wind,
damn skippy your gonna need the correct size and position for a snuffer to work. and the right cut of sail, and the right placement and number of dousing line attachments (rings). snuffers are very fickle beasts. 1 way the work reliably : dozens of ways they dont.
as per the bag: sure it can work. but i think you need to put spin sheets, halyard and retrieval lines on your boat with the spin bag. dry rig all this in your yard and see if you think there is gonna be room for this with all your other required/desired gear.
Story time: One day I was out with my then 13 year old daughter and one of her friends. It was a good 8 knot day, so fun was had. I'm a mile or so out from our launch beach and I see a storm to our south. I tell the girls that I'm going to turn around, get to the beach and we can drop the mast. I'm not too concerned because these storms often move up the coast and inland, so I thought we'd watch it rain on our house from the water.
I get about halfway back to the beach and the storm is nearly on top of us. I tell the girls that we're not going to make it and that I'm headed to a small island where we'll wait out the storm. I spin the boat around and head towards the island, into the storm. I depower the sail as much as I can (probably incorrectly) and we are still screaming towards the island. I've got both hulls largely in the water but the wind is gusting, so I don't trust that we'll stay there. I'm scared to death that we'll have a big gust, capsize and I'll have two kids in the water in a storm. Of course, I don't say anything to them other than hang on and hike out.
We get to the island and even with turning the boat into the wind, we come up onto the beach hard. (That probably accounts for the bottom repair I had to do later, but that was the least of my concerns.) I get the boat on land, quickly drop the main and move all of us under some trees. I can finally breathe.
The kids turn to me and say, "That was GREAT! Can we do that again!"
No, not unless you want me to have a heart attack.
Dana, Holly, Emma & Hannah
LJ/Stu's Dart 18
See, plenty of time to drop your sail and offer a human child sacrifice (or 2) to the weather gods
PS most of the local sailors have lived through a similar situation or 2.
I misjudged a storms speed and ended up hitting island 4 at speed. I was planing on turning into the wind at the last second but hit lots of seagrass and both rudders kicked up. i looked at my (large) crew and yelled "HOLD ON, WE ARE GONNA HIT IT".... I then jumped off the boat and watched it do a "DUKES of HAZARD" and completely airborn go about 10' into the island.
So, I just got back from the Everglades challenge, and I wanted to share the results of my experiments.
Square top main. Yes. Though I got more advantage out of the two sets of reefing points and jib furler than additional sail area. It's difficult to quantify the light air advantage of this sail in these varied conditions, but I feel it had a small effect. Not enough to ditch a good condition pin top sail and lay down cash, but if you need a new sail anyway, I would recommend it.
Slightly oversized jib. Yes. I feel like the jib made a difference on all points of sail and I can't think of a down side to it. Unfortunately, I can't reef the sail, and it creates terrible lee helm when the mainsail is double reefed. Still, that was the best combination when I had to drive the boat into a strong headwind with waves.
79 sq ft asymmetrical. Yes* I can see why the Dart class association wouldn't go with this, but for my purposes it was a good thing. Running it out of a turtle bag on the port shroud was a real pain in the neck. This made me nervous about flying it in anything but ideal conditions as I was concerned about getting it down and back into the bag myself.
It really shined in low winds where I was pointing too low to keep the jib pulling and tacking downwind was either impossible or would have added more miles than the increased speed could make up for. My very unscientific observations showed a speed of 3 to 3.5 knots under white sails increased to 5 to 6 knots with the spinnaker. I feel that with a proper tube snuffer bag and practice, this is going to be a really fun sail to have.
I wound up making a light weight sprit using aluminum boat canvas tubing. I suspect that this is way too light for the job, but I'll do some destructive testing this summer before I commit to the further cost, weight and windage of a heavier spar.
The salt and sand had taken a toll on the autofocus, so I don't have great pictures. I'll also add dimensions from the sailmaker.
Someone earlier posted a jib from a different boat that works well. In my case, since I was getting a new sail, we just made some modest increases to all dimensions
This list is based on users active over the last 60 minutes.