Wanted to pass on some information about our experience sailing with light crew PHRF racing.
My awesome crew is composed of my better half Carrie and our two daughters, Lilly 6yo and Alice 3yo.
When we started last season I wondered how successful we would be sailing with the jib instead of the genoa.
The decision made sense for us for two reasons. Having young kids doing all the work the genoa is above their physical limits and our genoa is so old it's basically plastic dust held together by dacron strings. Additionally the light crew weight made the jib more realistic.
We have done a ton of tootling around on the bay daysailing and cruising with just the jib but never raced with it in genoa conditions. Sailing in mixed PHRF fleets we've discovered we do pretty well. We seem to suffer in only the really light stuff, less than 5kts or so and in those conditions our speed isn't the issue as much as pointing ability is reduced. As the breeze increases we just do better. I have found that using no backstay tension at all and using just the mainsheet to provide headstay tension works well. Backstay tension is needed in about 12kts or so true wind speed to begin to de-power the sail plan.(no rail meat) We have the boat set up to the North tuning guide specs for rake and shroud tension is kept on the loose end. If we feel like we have a case of the slows backstay comes off completely and an inch or two of mainsheet ease puts power back in the rig. We sail with a ton of headstay sag and it works great. Might be because of the ridiculously old and misshapen jib. Did I mention it's ugly!
Boat handling is of course way easier with the jib. Tacking is a breeze and we found it is easy to over sheet because the loads are so much smaller. Visibility for starts is great with the jib. No one needs to be on the bow calling traffic. Our only deficit is making sure were on the line when the gun goes off.
If the breeze is up around 12 or so we don't even take the jib down for the W/L racing were doing.
Our sails are old! Main is from 91 and spin from 86! We were in Eugene several years ago and someone commented our spin was their old one they sold to someone back in 1987 or so! Funny. Our jib is possibly original and was cut down from 110 to fit inside tracks. I am seriously considering buying new sails soon and just getting a main, jib and spin as there is not one design up here in the Salish Sea. We have dreams of doing some traveling with the boat in the future again and I wonder how we would do one design using only the jib.
Sailing with the kiddos is awesome too but sometimes mark roundings get flubbed up cause there are barbies fouling the halyards! Cutting arm holes and knocking the bottoms out of beer coozies makes perfect lifejackets to keep the barbies safe!
Thoughts and input??
Thanks for reading my long post. This forum isn't very active! Hoping to spark some chatter to help us all get through winter! I know not everyone is trailer bound right now. (lucky sunny land dwellers!)