www.kp44.org — The official website of the Peterson Cutter Owner's Group
While we have put about 15,000 miles under the
keel over the past several years, we have found that to enjoy long-term
cruising, the best heavy weather sailing strategy is to AVOID heavy weather.
This is usually relatively easy to do when well armed with pilots,
weather fax, an SSB, and a flexible schedule. The heaviest weather we
have ever experienced was 3-4 hours of 40 to 50 knot winds in the entrance to
the Red Sea. We did get into trouble there as we had the main up
(through 3X reefed) got close to some shoals, tried to steer too low to avoid
them, did an accidental prevented jybe busting some battens and battcars, and
then had to tack around into breaking seas which resulted in a knockdown.
All this could have been avoided if we had only had a bit of genoa up or our
storm staysail - we would have had a lot more flexibility with respect of
maneuverability. Now, whenever the wind is more than 25 knots and the
wind is aft of the beam, we usually use only the genoa as a) speed is about
the same as with the main (can still do 7-8 knots) b) we are lazy c) its easer
to further reduce sail quickly and also do a quick jybe if necessary.
Tradewind sailing (downwind) we go with a full
main (assuming wind is 25 knots or less) prevented out and 150% genoa
poled out to the other side. We have found it fastest to sail with the
wind angling about 5 degrees over the corner of the transom on the same side
as the genoa. This prevents the main from blocking it as much and
reduces snapping of the foot of the genoa as it collapses and fills.
This seems to work pretty well and we find we are much faster than most of our
peers at this point of sail. However, "Next Time" I would like
to try a cruising chute to go alongside the genoa and perhaps 3X reef the main
and keep it sheeted in the middle of the boat to reduce roll. I think
this would be an ever faster, possibly more comfortable, yet still manageable
We have been increasingly reefing more often and
earlier cause again, it seems that speed does not suffer that much while
nervous glances up at the rig are diminished. We sailed around with a 2X
reef in the main for about two months in the Caribbean as we had 15-30 knots
day after day on the beam. We just keep the reef in and rolled the genoa
in and out as our throttle control. With the 2X reef in, its easy to get
the 3X in when a squall is spotted.
Upwind, we use the staysail, 130% genoa furled in
and out, and start reefing at 15 knots true (about 20 apparent). One
trick that seems to help pointing ability is to barber haul the staysail even
further inboard. We just use the other sheet (sheet on and then crank on
the other sheet a bit getting the clue in another 2-3 inches). This is
the ultimate motorsailing rig. You can sheet the main into the center of
the boat and basically get a self tacking rig set up. We keep the main
pretty flat most of the time with a lot of halyard tension and the leach
fairly tight cranking on the rigid vang to keep it that way. As we have
not raced the boat for three years we focus more on making sure we do not get
overpowered and stay comfortable rather than maximizing speed, though we still
like to keep the speed through the water at over seven knots. We have an
adjustable backstay and keep it fairly cranked on all the time (more when we
raced). I guess the top of the mast is raked back about six inches.
We use the runners whenever we have the staysail
up and usually put them up as extra insurance whenever we have winds above 20
knots at whatever point of sail.