Sails and Rigging

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The Fateful Mishap: In 1999, my dad was sailing a 46’ Gran Soleil sloop from Annapolis to Tortola, one week out and 300 miles from anywhere. Late one evening over the single side band radio, the three-man crew first heard the news of a wrong-way, late-season hurricane the forecasters dubbed “Lenny.” Hearing the news, they took a vote, and my dad was the only one who wanted to turn around and high tail it to Bermuda. After a lifetime of sailing his own boats off the U.S. coast and to the Bahamas, this was his first proper ocean passage, and h...

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Hoisting the Spinnaker “The spinnaker is the best sail of all,” many maintain. It is their secret weapon for light weather and downwind, but one which is increasingly used closer to the wind (especially the asymmetric). Whether it is an asymmetric or a tri-radial, it will be easier to use aboard a multihull than a monohull and, especially in moderate breezes, will allow you to go faster than would be possible with standard sails. The width of a multihull’s platform means that it is not necessary to use a spinnaker boom, other than the bowspr...

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How often do you need to check the rig?Shag Morton, FKG: If your boat is new or 3 years old, there should not be much to worry about other than a monthly check of the whole rig. After this age, the mast and rigging should be checked more thoroughly.You should remove your mast at least every other year. This is around $300 in and out which is not much in comparison to a new mast if things go wrong.Good advice is to check your mast and rigging every time you do a passage, and again after you get there. It's like checking a car - oil and tyre pressures...

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When you buy a sailboat you need to make sail decisions. The first decision comes down to where you sail. If you stay in your local area then any sailcloth can be selected, with the size of your wallet being the only restriction. If you are going to cruise the world, select Dacron sail material. Dacron can be repaired in Cape Town, just as easily as it can be in Newport or New Zealand.Decide what tools and repair material that your boat will carry for sail repairs, including at least one roll of pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tape (often called Ripsto...

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