Mainsail & genoa

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Sails are, as one might expect, the main means of long-term propulsion on a sailboat. The engine is used to get into and out of harbours and crowded anchorage (but, in a pinch, can be dispensed with) but for long-distance voyaging the two sails on a sloop such as Zanshin provide the motive force to move the 30 ton vessel as speeds of 10 or more knots for days on end. The modern sloop rig (also called Bermuda or Marconi is a deceptively simple form of rigging that is superior (for cruising purposes) to the other common types of rigging systems (Lateen, Junk, Square and Gaffe, to name just a few) and can be sailed quite close to wind. The sails are not merely large areas of cloth, but are cut in such a way as to make both the forward sail, called the jib or genoa depending upon size, and the mainsail act as air foils and to complement each other to create additional forward vectors.
Both the mainsail and genoa on Zanshin are furling sails. Most sailboats these days have a furling genoa, where the sail is furled up into a compact roll and where the sail can be “shortened” by partial furling to exactly the desired surface area for the sailing conditions - when the wind pipes up the forces on sails increase exponentially and thus sails need to be made smaller in strong winds. The same method of furling is used for the mainsail, but the inside of the mast is used to store the furled sail. This makes single-handing a lot easier, since just two lines control the amount of mainsail, one outhaul to pull it out and a furling line to pull it back in. On a classic mainsail there would also be reefing lines present and the sail needs to be raised and lowered, which considering the size of the sails on a 57 foot sailboat is a pretty big task.

Broad reaching off Antigua On passage from Antigua to Nevis I'm leaving the coasts of Antigua on a broad reach.
(2011-05-11 10:50:44 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/4.5, 1/1000s] ISO 100 Focus 5.96m)
Broad reaching off Antigua
Genoa fully extended The Genoa is let out completely and loose with the wind coming from directly aft on this passage from Antigua to Nevis (still below the horizon)
(2011-05-11 14:04:46 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/9.0, 1/80s] ISO 100 Focus 1.33m)
Genoa fully extended
Mainsail let out With the wind from directly behind, the mainsail is let out and loosened to catch as much wind as possible.
(2011-05-11 14:05:31 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/9.0, 1/100s] ISO 100 Focus 3.76m)
Mainsail let out
Sailing Wing-on-Wing With the wind from directly aft, Zanshin is sailing wing-on-wing on passage between Antigua and Nevis
(2011-05-11 14:06:10 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/9.0, 1/125s] ISO 100 Focus 2.00m)
Sailing Wing-on-Wing
Goodbye Antigua On passage to Nevis, Antigua is left on the horizon.
(2011-05-11 14:07:00 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/9.0, 1/200s] ISO 100 Focus 2.24m)
Goodbye Antigua
Zanshin Sails On passage from Antigua to Nevis, the wind is from aft and Zanshin is sailing with the genoa on one side and the main on the other, wing-on-wing.
(2011-05-11 14:13:48 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/6.3, 1/320s] ISO 100 Focus 1.33m)
Zanshin Sails
Mainsail furling closeup of chafe The mainsail furling line had almsot chafed through and separated. The repair wasn't complicated, removing the line, cutting off the bad end, whipping a new end onto it and re-installing.
[15°34'52.41"N 61°27'49.47"W ]
Mainsail furling closeup of chafe
 
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