Pip Hare takes us through her 'sail wardrobe' ahead of the Mini Transat

Mini Diary: 2 days to go

The solent – 15.2 m2

The solent is made from Dimension/Polyant scrim style
laminate containing Pentex (a refined Polyester) yarn that is arranged within
the laminate specifically for building sails with a cross-cut panel layout.

Some of you may remember from a previous blog that this
headsail decision has caused me a bit of grief over the last few months.

The current fashion within the fleet is to go for an
‘inter’. This is a sail, between the size of an overlapping genoa and an
inboard sheeting solent, which has a foot length long enough to require a sheet
lead outside of the shrouds yet the leech is profiled with enough concavity to
bring the leech of the sail ahead of the lower spreader.

I have sailed with both the solent and the inter, but found
my windward performance in upwards of 15 knots of breeze to be poor and the
balance between the main and the headsail in these conditions difficult to get

I am much more comfortable with a solent, the boat feels
right and I have a natural instinct of how to depower it in wind and
waves. This could be because I
have sailed many more miles with a solent than an inter, or it could be that
the inboard sheeting lead for the solent allows the boat better balance in
these conditions.

A further advantage of the solent configuration is that if
the sail designer correctly positions the clew it is possible to use an ‘in
hauler’ to reduce the sheeting angle and gain better pointing in winds around
8-12 knots True. And not surprisingly this is the case with my sail.

However, what ever the reason, I have decided that it is
more important to be comfortable with the sail that I have than to go with a
sail that someone else suggests is the best sail for the race.

So I have made the seemingly gutsy call to go with a smaller
headsail but one that I am very happy sailing with.

In reality we have measured both my new headsail and my old
inter and the difference between the two is around a metre squared, but I feel
I have gained significant performance to windward particularly in breeze and
waves, such as I could meet on my exit from the bay of Biscay.

But most significantly I have gained piece of mind and my
solent is a sail with which I am instantly at one, I understand it and I can
feel the boat well when I am using it.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Mini Diary: 2 days to go
  3. 3. Mini Diary: 2 days to go
  4. 4. Mini Diary: 2 days to go
  5. 5. Mini Diary: 2 days to go
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