Now where were we before being interrupted by an overblown rain storm…Oh yeah, living on a boat. Or more specifically, living on a sailboat. It stands to reason that a sailboat would have sails. Otherwise that whole mast/boom/halyards thing would be kinda of a waste.
If you do have a sailboat, you are going to be dealing with sails. In the case of sloops, like the Fritter, you’ll have two sails. The mainsail, which attaches to the mast and boom, and the jib, which is that big billowy sail you see up forward. Sails propel a boat forward by deflecting the wind at an angle and creating an airflow. They work just like an airplane wing only in a vertical rather than a horizontal plane. I won’t get into sailing lessons here, mainly because I could use a few myself, but if you are looking to learn to sail, check around your end of the galaxy for any sailing clubs or check out the American Sailing Association. They have schools just about anyplace there is enough water to float a boat. You’ll learn how to raise and lower sails, trim, tack, and how to use the wind to get the best possible speed and course. It’s actually pretty easy and a lot of fun, even if you don’t plan on living on a sailboat.
As for the sails themselves they come in different combinations of size, color, material, and use. There are mainsails, jibs, storm sails, racing sails, and more. Sails are not cheap and the better the material, the more expensive they become.
Taking care of sails is very important as you want them to last. Most of the time sails will be furled and stored on the mast or on a roller furling which is a reel like contraption that rolls and unrolls a sail without having to hoist the damn thing up and down. When the sails are furled it pays to cover them as the sun will do more damage than anything else. There are covers that go over the main sail on the boom and many jib sails that roll up on the roller furling will have a piece of protective cloth sewn on the outer edge. When the sail is rolled up, all that shows is that edge cover. Some of the newer and large more expensive sailboats also have a mast with a built in roller furling. With it, you can roll the sail up inside the mast itself. A very cool, but expensive idea.
What I Have: The Fritter came with three sails, a mainsail, a jib, and another sail folded up and stored in a hold. I am unsure what it is but I think it may be a storm sail. I haven’t raised or unfolded any of them yet simply because I haven’t had the time and am in no real hurry. I have too many other things to take care of before I worry if the sails are ok. The mainsail is on the boom and covered while the jib is in a storage locker under the v berth. When I get some time later this fall, I’ll pull them out and see how they look.
What I Want: Not a whole lot really. As long as the sails are usable I am good with it. A roller furling would be nice and re rigging everything for single handed sailing from the helm is the ultimate goal here.
Reality: Short of the sails being in tatters, I will have to stay with what I have. Everything looks usable and at some point I will finally get the Fritter in sailing condition. But it’s not a pressing issue right now. I can deal with it all later on.
Would be nice to be able to just untie the lines and putter out for a sail now and then. Not sure if the cats would enjoy it but I would.