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Current Replies for What is the best headsail size for cruising?
  What is the best headsail size for cruising? (BatGuano)
Posted: 6:49:21 pm on 11/27/2014 Modified: Never
I have a MKIII that I primarily use for cruising. I know some of you might think that is a waste of such a fine racer, but I think I got most of my racing out of my system years ago. I will race from time to time, but just for a bit of fun, nothing serious.

My question is what would be the best size for a cruising headsail? I am in the market for a new (or gently used) set of sails as my main is a bit ratty. My headsail is fine, but it is only a 100. All I have is the 100, a 70, and a storm jib. I know she is a jib driven boat so the 100 ain't cutting for lazy cruising. For a comfortable cruising experience, would a 120 be the best option?

I am on the east coast of Newfoundland and generally go on extended cruises of Trinity Bay and Bonavista Bay, whereas I am based in Conception Bay. Both Conception Bay and Bonvista Bay are fairly sheltered and don't experience a lot of swell. Trinity Bay on the other had has had many a curse thrown at it from sailors here. It is a deep, long bay, and angled the same as our prevailing wind, so it can develop some huge swells along her length.

I should also mention that my main is partially battened and that my headsail is hank-on, not a roller furling. I have no desire for roller furling (out 50ish boats at my club, I am one of two that don't have roller furling, seems to be the minority view).

Alan Richards
Runaway, Mk III hull 804
Holyrood, NL

  Re: What is the best headsail size for cruising? (davidww1)
Posted: 10:46:51 am on 11/28/2014 Modified: 11:35:18 am on 11/29/2014
We use our number 2, which is approximately 130%, with the clew cut to about 18" off the deck when tacked right down to the bow. As you're a cruiser who sails in an area of higher winds than the Lakes, you might want to look at 125% and 24" off the deck. The length is also set so we can use it as a furling sail, if we're going to use it for a weekend or more (I realize this is irrelevant to you but I might as well tell the whole story).

At 130%, it's large enough to pull well in medium air, and since it's dacron, we get some flexibility by adjusting the draught with the halliard.

The sail was made by Bay Sails in Hamilton, ON, which is a Haarstick affiliate. I chose them because they test the quality of their cloth before using it. Consequently, the sails I've had from them have stood up well.

David Weatherston
Towser, Toronto
C&C 27 Mk IV

  Re: What is the best headsail size for cruising? (bosco)
Posted: 9:43:02 pm on 11/30/2014 Modified: Never
Hi Alan,
  I second Dave's advice. Dacron for sure--- for durability and economy. You don't need a " deck-sweeper" so avoid hassles between the clew and the lifelines by keeping the clew well above the lifelines. These boats move on the power of their headsails so despite your greater expected wind speeds, the larger option might be best for you when you consider how easy it is to slip a reef ( or two ) into the mainsail when the wind pipes up a bit.

Clare Jordan.   Aragorn
  Re: What is the best headsail size for cruising? (BatGuano)
Posted: 10:14:03 pm on 11/30/2014 Modified: Never
Thank you both so much for your suggestions. I think I will go for the 125 and as you say, not a deck sweeper (i don't really feel like asking my fiancÚ repeatedly to go forward and skirt the jib). I had already decided on Dacron mainly due to economy, as we also need a dodger and bimini, the bamboo one I made last season was only a temporary job.

Thanks to both of you again.

Alan Richards
Runaway, Mk III hull 804
Holyrood, NL

  Re: What is the best headsail size for cruising? (wrapper)
Posted: 4:40:42 pm on 12/14/2014 Modified: Never
Yea probably more windy out in Newfoundland.  

My working sail is usually 135 also.

C&C 27 Hull 518