Over the past 12 months it’s fair to say we have had to adapt, whether at work or what we do in our leisure time. In sailing terms, 2020 was the year that short-handed and double handed racing really took off with owners adapting their boats and sail handling systems, often copying the methods cruising sailors have been using for years.
Over several years, we have noticed our customers are sailing with smaller crew numbers, some purposefully choosing the double-handed route, others taking out less experienced family and friends, or particularly during the last 12 months, sailing in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
When sailing with fewer or less experienced crew on board adaptions can be made to make life easier and less stressful. After all, sailing should be an enjoyable experience.
Here at Ultimate Sails, we have been looking at how we can use techniques from our racing sails and make them beneficial for our cruising sails or you could argue that cruising techniques are being adapted by racing sailors!
Mainsails take up an exceptionally large area when not hoisted. Therefore, the easier we can make the hoists, drops and storage the better. Ways we can do this:
Jib or genoa? A jib is a non-overlapping headsail, it provides greater visibility and is easier to handle. A Genoa is an overlapping headsail, whilst it can restrict visibility it does offer opportunities and a larger sail area especially if you are not using a spinnaker when sailing downwind.
There are options with these headsails to ultimately reduce sail area through the ability to furl or reef. Here are some examples of jibs.
There are two main options for downwind sails, this is primarily dictated by the type of boat you sail and whether it’s set up for a symmetric or asymmetric sail. Hoisting the sail is considered the more straightforward part, it’s usually the drop whether things don’t always go to plan. Here are a couple of sail handling systems that help to make life on board less stressful.
The snuffer works with both an asymmetric and a symmetric sail. It is a sock which encapsulates the sail for storage, hoists and drops. The sail is hoisted, and then when ready you pull a string and the suffer goes to the top of the sail, trim on the sail and you are off. On the drop you reverse the process. This takes the stress out of the manoeuvre and gets you quicker downwind and to your destination.
Furling sails. Asymmetric sails can be furled. This is an option for flatter downwind sails where the tack is secured to the bow. Again, they make handling easier and the whole process less stressful.
Our top tips for sail design thoughts for cruising
Talk with Ultimate Sails to help adapt your sails to make the most of 2021 on the water.