Often it is difficult to determine the time to reef as modern catamarans, with their high stability, do not heel or even feel over powered until the breeze becomes quite high. This imposes very high loads on the sails, requiring strong materials and constructions.
Most manufacturers supply recommendations for various wind speeds to reef the mains and roll in reefs in the furling genoas. Of course, these will be on the conservative side for liability reasons. Also, for liability reasons, most production cats will come with rigs and sails on the conservative side.
This will leave the owners wishing for more power in less than moderate winds or when sailing on low angles.
We at Calvert Sails have worked closely with boat owners for many years building quality, custom, after market sails. Our objective has been to improve performance and durability over the stock sails sold with most production multihulls.
Much research has been done to determine the optimum sail designs, sail cuts, and materials to obtain improved performance in all conditions as well as extended life. Here are our thoughts on these design and construction parameters, as well as sail selection, for short handed cruisers.
From over four decades of designing multihull sails that have won scores of US and Caribbean regattas, we, at Calvert Sails, have been trend setters, pioneering materials and sail designs that out perform the competition. With this vast knowledge, gained on the race courses, we are able to apply this thinking to performance cruising multihulls sails.
KNOWLEDGE AND CRUISING
For over 40 years, Dave Calvert has worked closely with owners of cruising multihulls, listening to their comments and what they want in sails to go the distance. He has personally owned a long line of boats, the latest being performance cruising catamarans during the last 19 years. He has logged over 80,000 miles cruising, racing, and setting world records offshore.
Dave and wife Trish, currently sail their Leopard 46 catamaran between Florida and the Caribbean averaging 4,000 to 5,000 miles annually.
His boats have always been test beds using the latest sail designs and constructions, to accurately discuss these design and construction improvements with first hand experience. Mainsail construction, roach profiles, reefing systems, furling/reefing genoa features, and various off wind sail options, are all part of this ongoing testing.
44 FT CAT MAIN
BEFORE - AFTER
The dacron 44 ft cat main photo on the left shows a very full, stretched out shape, not good for sailing upwind. This photo is in light winds and will look much worse when the winds are close to the reefing point.
The new Triradial cut Hydra Net 43 ft cat main photo on the right shows the shape needed for good upwind sailing and, with this material and cut, will retain this nice designed shape in a wide range of conditions.