The standard Regina 43 is equipped with a 19/20 fractional Bermudan sloop rig with Selden in-mast furling for a full vertical-battened mainsail, and a furling 140% genoa. Arkyla is also fitted with the optional inner stay with self-tacking jib. This is a 'Solent rig' configuration and is differentiated from a traditional cutter rig in that the inner stay is positioned relatively close to the main forestay; you do not set both the jib and genoa together in a Solent rig, rather choosing one or the other.
We have found the Solent rig ideal for short-handed sailing. The self-tacking jib makes for short work when beating against the wind in busy waters and provides a well shaped alternative to a reefed genoa when the wind blows. The mast is keel-stepped and has two pairs of swept-back spreaders; for times of heavy weather and/or seas, running backstays provide some additional stability and security to the rig.
Arkyla was 10 years old when we took ownership of her, and she came with the original set of sails. We soon realised that a decade of wear on any mainsail was going to impact sail shape which, for an in-mast reefing system could - and did - spell trouble.
Whilst full vertical battens do a great job in allowing a sail to be cut with additional roach, there is an increased potential risk of sails jamming if the battens do not enter the mast slot absolutely parallel; this issue is, of course, most likely to happen when trying to reef down in heavy wind - a time when you least want excessive cloth for the conditions that can neither be furled in, out, or even dropped by the halyard to the deck. We experienced several such jams and, although none resulted in the need to climb the mast with a knife, one event did necessitate trying to remove the 15 metre battens from the sail during a sporty Force 6!
Recutting the main made some improvement to the situation, but we decided the time was right to commission a new sail; we opted to sacrifice some roach in exchange for peace-of-mind, and had Peter Saunders (Saunders Sails of Lymington) cut us a new sail with a set of four short vertical battens. We have not noticed any significant drop in boat speed and we are very pleased with our choice.
Genoa - twin 'SIMBO' rig
We don't have any coloured sails for Arkyla; instead we have opted for a double headsail setup replacing our standard genoa with a variant of the twin-sail 'Simple Bow' (SIMBO) rig. We have two lighter weight vectran 140% genoas permanently rigged in the two grooves of the forestay; the sails differ only in the sacrificial UV strips to protect the sails when furled. The beauty of this setup is that it can be handled very easily by a short-handed crew.
When reaching, we pull both sails to either port or starboard with one genoa lying atop the other. To simplify sail handling and reduce lines in the cockpit, we have attached a short strop to each genoa clew; these are then clipped together, to a single genoa sheet for each tack, via a snap shackle.
We have a second set of sheets for running; also equipped with snap shackles, this allows us to quickly set the sails for downwind under pole/boom without having to derig the 'reaching' sheets from the genoa cars - we simply 'swap out and clip on'. When downwind, we will set one genoa out on the carbon pole, and stabilise the other with the boom (anchored with a preventer) using a snatch block to lead the sheet aft. We have found that we can easily achieve 20 degrees either side of downwind with this set up which is easily handled by the autopilot set to steering by angle of wind. We will not set a mainsail; the advantage being that all effort is effectively pulling the boat along rather than inducing a counter push/pull moment if the mainsail were also set - this should reduce strain on both helmsman and autopilot.
The video below, by Dolphin sails, shows a similar set-up to that of Arkyla's being deployed...