Redwings Round the World

Sails and Rigging


Sailing Characteristics


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When we bought Redwings, the canvas was in tatters. Which is a good thing because we effectively did not pay for it and there was really no need to put any time into thinking about the issue of weather or not we needed new sails. We did. UK Sails of Hong Kong did all of our primary working sails for us. I had been racing with one of their main sail makers Tim Keogh for several years aboard Vixen, an X-372 based out of Hebe Haven in Hong Kong, and I knew that we would get good sails and good service. 

Sail Inventory

Our inventory breaks down as follows: Fully battened "Cruising Mylar" mainsail & 150% Cruising Mylar genoa (in photo above), 130% heavy dacron high cut genoa with foam luff, 3/4 oz running spinnaker and 1 1/2 oz reaching chute. The staysail is the only working sail we kept, but we had it completely reconditioned by the UK loft.

Our storm trysail and storm jib (which hanks on the staysail stay) were made by Neil Pryde Sails in Hong Kong.  Both are day-glo orange and are 12 oz dacron. 

Standing Rigging

The spars are original "Allspar" from Australia.  During the refit in Hong Kong, we took the rig out and stripped off all of the hardware and paint, sanded, filled and holes and corroded areas under winches etc., cut off the bottom six inches which were pitted and corroded, primed and re-painted it, and put all of the gear back on plus new toys for the spinaker and running back stay running rigging.  We also replaced all of the shrouds and stays with 10 mm high-strength (forget what you call it - not the round stuff but the sort of octogonal strand stuff) wire - slightly larger than the over-spec stuff that was already on there and had lasted for at least 10 years.  We added an adjustable element to the backstay that we bought second hand from a racing boat.  We don't use it much - only when racing ourselves in fact (though if we were doing extended upwind cruising I'd probably crank it on a bit).

We replaced the bottom spreaders with new stronger ones that have larger bolts to attach them to the mast.  This is a good thing as we sheared a bolt on one of the old top spreaders on the Atlantic crossing.  I wish I had replaced those as well.  I think they are a little under-spec for the boat.  We also made a proper mast step out of heavy aluminum (about one inch thick).  This will not only provide a better base for the mast, but will also make it easier to remove in the future.

We used Spartite for the partner seal and it worked great for four years, but then started to break down quickly and was leaking like crazy when we started bashing around the Caribbean.  We still have it in there (as of March 2001), but now have lots of 5200 and self-amal tape around it as well as a rubber boot secured by massive hose clamps - no leaks now.

More details of this rigging re-fit can be found on The Plan page where we talk about the pain of the re-fit.

One very strange thing we discovered is that the bottom 20% of the rig is actually twisted to starboard by about 10 to 15 degrees.  This seems to have been a permanent feature.  Must have just been a bad extrusion that Formosa got at a discount or something (I hope for their sake!).  The builders just put the mast in at an angle such that it is a bit twisted as it begins life in the cabin, but by the time it sprouts through the partner on the coach house, it is straight.  Not much we can do about this now but live with it.

Running Rigging

Redwings came with good running rigging for the most part. John had installed Harken roller furling for the headstay, and a Harken Batcar and traveler system for the mainsail with single line reefing. Redwings also came equipped with Harken adjustable genoa and staysail fairleads.  These systems have worked very well in general. 

With the battcars, the main travels up and down the mast on little cars with 20 or 28 ball bearings in each so its easy to hoist and easy to drop: essential for short-handed sailing. This, combined with the single line reefing, make it very easy for one person to shorten sail underway under cover of the dodger. One minor problem with the system has been that under extreme loads, the plastic ends on the cars sometimes smash off resulting in the sail pulling away from the mast in places and ball bearings going everywhere. Hopefully we rectified this problem by purchasing aluminum ends for all of the cars. We fitted them in Israel. The ends were ridiculously expensive at US$40 per pair (and we needed 12 pairs), but the Delron ball bearings are 90 cents a piece and its obviously a real pain when there is a breakdown so I think its money well spent.

In Hong Kong, we added a rigid Forespar boom vang, as well as rigged the boat for the spinnakers.  We installed a Harken Big Boat adjustable mast track system that can handle the two 17 foot (x four inch) Forespar spinnaker poles.  We mounted permanent large standing guy blocks to the toe rails.  We bought all new sheets, guys, halyards, everything from Syd Rigging at the time of the Hong Kong refit.  We moved from steel to nylon halyards for the main and genoa to spectra halyards.

All of the running rigging leads to the cockpit.  We have Lewmar 40's on both sides of the companion way and Staylock jammer cleats as follows:

Port side: Geona furler, main uphaul, #1 reef, #2 reef, main halyard, boom vang, port spinnaker halyard, cunningham, and outhaul.  From this station alone, one person can throw a reef in pretty easily.

Starbord side: Geona halyard, staysail halyard, spin pole uphaul, spin pole downhaul, and starboard spin halyard.

Our main genoa winches are Lewmar 48s.  The smaller chrome winches which were the main winches when the previous owner bought the boat are now the staysail winches - they look to be about 40 to 44s or so.

Sailing Characteristics

To be continued......

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Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved by Aaron Henderson and Colleen Duggan