Westsail Owners Alliance - Post: "Sail Combinstion And Balance"
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Post: "Sail Combinstion And Balance"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Meaghan Bruce

Norm Rhines wrote:
Meaghan Bruce wrote:

We have found that reefing the main balances the boat much better under a wide variety of condition. We have a 335 SqFt Jib and 140 Staysail (we removed the boom) and a 300 full batten main. We also have a 470 drifter. We often find we have a hard time balancing the boat to windward with the whole main up even in fairly light conditions (15knots). Has anyone else had this problem? We'll have to try the drifter with the staysail... new idea! Without the boom on the staysail we get much better shape, and have space on our foredeck! If it makes any difference, we are sailing in B.C. (Canada).

Meaghan & Fagin

Meaghan & Fagin:

One direction you may want to look is, the balance of the boat. This alone changes the handling allot, are you bow down? (is the tang under water or completely out of the water).
Should be completely out.

A second, if the angle of the mast fore / aft is not correct you will have problems (is the mast head pulled aft?) it should be vert at the slip.

a third, is the main a baggy sail (lot of belly = lot of load at the center of the sail) ?

Lastly if neither of these are the issue (in my case they were not) you may want to think about reduceing the foot of the main (Mine has been cut down form 15'-3" to 14'-0" ) with good success with regard to the balance. But as Dave King says, you are reducing your total max sail area.

A note: my biggest jib is only about 300ft. Although the drifter balances fine it also comes back 6 feet + past the mast (rigged to the boom gallows) so I don't really count it on balance.

My suggestion is to check and fix the first three items before jumping to recut the sail.

335 jib (that can't fly past 18kts can it?)

ops I did not ask, do you have a 42/43. All my comments on sail size is for the 32. the rest is the same for all boats+/-.



Our boat is a 32'. We have just recently lowered the front berth and re-configured the cabinets which seems to have taken some weight out of the bow (despite adding more chain to the anchor locker). The tang is definitely out of the water now, and the mast seems to be vertical (just looking at it by eye). Our mainsail is only a year old, full-battened, and loose footed. We haven't tested the balance much since we lowered the berth (downwind only, which was never a problem). We've used the jib up to at least 30knots, we tend to just reef, then double reef the main... the boat seems to balance quite well then.
I have heard of some Westsails shortening their booms, but that sounded a bit drastic. We used to have a much bigger genoa but the mainsail was bagged, and both had many 'at anchor' repairs... at the time we often sailed under genoa alone. The new jib seems to small for that, but seems to balance best with at least one reef (depending on wind conditions). Often that ends up cutting out a fair amount of sail area to balance though. I guess that's probably why you shortened the foot.

Meaghan & Fagin

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