Until the current crisis, we have taken sailing for granted where we had the ability to jump on board our boat, choose a destination, maybe stay overnight somewhere or head back to the marina.
That all changed in March when going for a sail, here in the UK at least was no longer an option. There is no hiding away from that fact that the world is now different but sailing is one thing that is coming back. We may not be able to get a full crew together to go racing at our local regattas, but we can at least get out on the water for short-handed racing or cruising with the family.
On the Solent, home of Ultimate Sails, there are plenty of bays to take shelter in, drop the anchor and have some lunch and even a dip in the sea. Depending on the tides a trip to the Western Solent and out to Totland Bay comes highly recommended, or alternatively a trip to Seaview or Bembridge can be just as stunning. Centrally, Osbourne Bay is a favourite for many.
You have chosen your destination, perhaps you prefer to be away from the crowds or even stay on the move, but what sails will you be using to make life onboard stress free?
A lot of boats that had racing campaigns planned will now be cruising this summer and will be wondering how their racing sails will fare. Can the same sails make for ease of handling and performance when racing or cruising short-handed? The answer these days is yes, a ¾ or full batten mainsail with luff slides is very easy to use with a small crew. Add in a stack pack with lazy jacks (more details) and hoisting/lowering keeps the deck clear and makes very light work for the crew.
The stackpack can be rolled up alongside the boom and the lazy jacks tied off at the gooseneck whilst sailing, a feature that is popular with sailors from a racing background. Some racing boats have headsails on furlers and they are perfect for fast cruising! They usually have vertical battens in the leech (for better performance) but rarely have UV guards so a cover sock is necessary if you want to leave the sail on the furler (more details). Many short-handed racers now use headsails that are hanked onto the forestay (full circle?) with rope or webbing hanks. These sails usually have a reefing point as well so can be used over a very wide wind range. They are supplied with long zip bags so can be stored hanked to the forestay and in the bag when not in use.
For extra downwind speed and ease of handling we recommend a cruising chute with a snuffer (more details). Once hoisted it is sheeted like a genoa and is easy for safe handling should you need to get it down in a hurry. A snuffer can be added to any racing asymmetric to make it usable safely for cruising. Most racing boats carry another sail that is ideal for cruising, the “Code 0”. Code 0’s are often used with furlers making them really easy to use for cruising and giving any boat a real turbo boost in performance.
Perhaps our Lightwave Endurance membranes are the best example of a dual-purpose material that is suitable for both racing and cruising. They are a popular choice with offshore and short-handed racers but perfect for performance cruising as well. They were developed for those who wanted the fastest and lightest sails, but with hard-wearing capabilities. The yarns provide incredible strength and shape retention whilst the taffeta skins offer the highest level of protection against chafe, creasing, mildew and UV damage. They even come in dark grey or black if you really want the racing “look”.
If you find yourself changing tack this summer and cruising a bit more, or if your sails are in need of some TLC we are here to help and we are bringing forward our end of season deal by offering VAT FREE SAILS from 8th July through to 31st August 2020.
You can get an instant no-obligation online sail quote here. The ex-vat price quoted will be the inc vat price you pay for the duration of the offer.
Will the pandemic of 2020, change our perceptions of cruising? Let us know where your favourite cruising spots are using #UltimateSails and we will share on your social media pages.