Ha! Ha! I say as I watch the trees around me losing leaves and bending near double....ha Ha very funny!
Despite the irony of the situation which I know will be lost on them all – there has been, as always, some really interesting dialogue and thinking. I don’t want to repeat it all or the subtle variations and nuances in ideas. People should join the forum if they want that level of detail. But here are some main points.
It started when Thomas asked if there were any thoughts for light air sails for his pathfinder. Big overlapping lightweight jibs and a top sail were some suggestions which then raised questions about the need for a roller furler; the need for a forestay and a bowsprit extension. How much might the overlap on the jib be? Perhaps more roach in the main with full sized battens could be an alternative?
Some advice was proffered...set the jib flying on an extra halyard with a double halyard on a block at the head of the sail to tension up the luff; in this way the normal jib could be furled and stowed and the extra large jib could be dropped when the wind rose.
Another line of thought was about the skills needed to sail in very light winds....forget altering the boat....learn these skills and any boat will do better in light winds. Would the book by Tom Cunliffe, "Hand Reef and Steer" have any worthwhile advice and tips in it for arranging rigs and light airs sailing?
John had this to say about sailing in light winds.........
The trick? Ease the sails out until the leach tell tales fly and then gradually pull in the sail until they stall and then ease the sail out a fraction. No sudden movements so the boat doesn’t rock and slow......and then the boat should start moving albeit slowly.
Once moving, steer for optimum pointing angle AND DON’T PINCH or sail close to wind as speed will fall off. Watch you don’t sheet in too much which will stall the wind flow across the sails. Keep feeling for the stall point and use the leach tell tales.
With regard to sail setting John advised they should be set full, easing the outhaul and the halyard, moving the jib sheet fairlead forward and inward a little. Trim the boat – bow down and heeled slightly to leeward and the stresses ‘sit still’!
Minute tiller movements and if sailing downwind, go at 150 deg off the wind direction so there is some flow past the boat.
As John put it.........
Others noted that good sailors know where to find the light airs and most wind and that some suggest the use of a GPS to judge speed and to help make these small adjustments. Avoid excessive turns on the rudder as it acts as a big brake. Hold the tiller in one direction; allow the boat to find its own way. Try using a logger too!
My thanks to Steve, JW, Robin, Anders, Thomas, George, Hajo, Osbert and others for some illuminating discourse.
Of course you could always switch on the outboard.................................I can’t believe I just said that. I go now to wash out my mouth with coal tar soap and water!