Stus-List [EXTERNAL] Re: Headsail only in strong winds astern

Don Kern don-kern at
Mon Mar 18 16:57:45 EDT 2019

Morgan, I have heard this also, but I believe it depends on the unique 
characteristics of the boat/mast.  Fireball a C&C 35 Mk 2 has taken some 
pretty powerful unintentional jibes and spinnaker unloading and loading 
while racing.  The 35 Mk2 really has a telephone pole for a mast and in 
these cases do not think the mainsail helps but also adds to the 
problem. In a jibe it is also unloading as it passes centerline, then 
loads with all the pressure being offset to a side but fwd on the mast.  
A very jarring/shuddering experience. Never have I turned around to see 
what the psi on the backstay reads, too concerned to steering the boat 
under the sails.

For newer boats with fractional, lightweight/bendable mast this axiom 
may very well could be true.

My $0.02.

Don Kern
Fireball C&C35 Mk2
Bristol, RI

On 3/18/2019 4:18 PM, Morgan Ellis via CnC-List wrote:
> I would love to hear Mr. Ball chime in on this thread, if possible, 
> from a mast design point of view. I have been told by a very 
> experienced offshore sailor and the instructor of Offshore Sea 
> Survival courses, that the masts are designed to have a mainsail 
> hoisted and are not stable or properly supported without it. The 
> instructor stated that if you were to drop the main because of high 
> winds that you should be hoisting a storm sail in its place, if for no 
> other reason than to support the mast. Since then the only time I will 
> run on jib alone is in light air drifting around the harbour for an 
> evening pleasure cruise.
> Regards,
> Morgan Ellis
> s/v Meandher
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