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Sail Plan:

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.  


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Drying Sails

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 headsail rig

Original intent was to have only white sails on Arkyla; for downwind sailing we opted for a permanently rigged twin genoa arrangement, the sails hoisted in the two grooves of the furler luff extrusion on the front stay. The genoas are cut from a light (but very strong) Vectran cloth to reduce weight.  We stabilise the windward sail with the spinnaker pole, and the leeward genoa is held out via a snatch bloch mounted mid-way along the boom (held out with a preventer line).  Although some effort is initially required at the bow to set the pole, once deployed the rig is simple and safe to reef down by just one person.   We can happily achieve angles of 140 degrees either side of downwind.  This sail plan is kind to the helm ; all the effort is 'pulling' with no twisting moment about the mast if the mainsail were set to goosewing with a genoa - this also reduces the power draw on the autopilot.


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'.  


Twin headsails downwind
Spinnaker - Parasailor

With an Atlantic crossing beckoning in 2024, I reevaluated Arkyla's downwind setup.  The twin genoas have proven to be very effective... except in light airs.  With a true wind of less than 10 knots, there really isn't enough puff to fill the sails and drive the boat downwind.  Light airs are especially problematic if there is any amount of sea running; crossing Biscay we had a quartering sea knocking the stern and this had the effect of rolling the boat and collapsing the head of the genoas.  Apart from the annoyance of flapping sails, occasionally hitting the radar, it also induced more roll into the motion of the boat further compounding the problem.

In looking for a light air solution, my key consideration was ease of handling by a short-handed crew, especially in terms of recovery should the wind unexpectedly pipe up.  I have decided on 'investing' (I'm not sure the word 'invest' is ever appropriate in connection with a boat!) in a Parasailor.  With it's bespoke 'easy snuffer', this sail is (supposedly) relatively easy to launch and, when required, douse.  The advantage it has over all other coloured sails however is its innovative wing.  This performs three key roles; first, it provides lift to the sail helping to prevent the bow being pulled low into the water, second it acts as an 'inflatable batten' to maintain stability in the sail prventing collapse if the wind lulls, and thirdly it provides a vent to release pressure on the sail in the event of heavy gusts.  

The sail is not cheap, but I'm confident that it will prove to be money well spent.  Included in the price is own-boat training with your Parasailor dealer.  I take delivery of the sail in June 2024 when transiting through Gibraltar... drop by this page later to read my updates on how we get on with it!

Regina 43 (not Arkyla) flying a Parasailor
Parasailor technology
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