Stus-List physics of sailing with one sail

Barry Lenoble lenoble at
Tue Mar 19 14:40:51 EDT 2019


Can someone please explain how sailing with a single sail, either head sail
or main sail, could INCREASE the load on the mast as compared to sailing
with two sails? It seems to me that the more sail area, the higher the load.
If you are sailing downwind with a headsail up I don't understand how adding
a mainsail could DECREASE the load on the mast. 

The way I look at it, when you are sailing downwind the load on the mast is
from behind the boat, pushing the mast forward. If you have a headsail up
the load will be at the mast head. If you have a mainsail some of the load
will be spread along the length of the mast, but always in a forward
direction, in addition to the load from the head sail.

How would REDUCING sail area (taking the mast down) INCREASE the force on
the main?


Barry Lenoble
lenoble at
Deep Blue C, C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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