Maryland crew decides to lighten up sail package Chessie Update

December 10, 1997|By Bruce Stannard | Bruce Stannard,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Although the Whitbread Round the World Race rules permit each boat to carry two mainsails, the strategists for Chessie Racing, the Maryland entry in the race, have decided to go with just one on Leg 3, which begins Saturday in Fremantle, Australia.

Dave Scott, a watch captain aboard Chessie and a sailmaker from North Sails, said the trend will be to use lighter sails on the Fremantle-to-Sydney leg than were used in the Southern Ocean on Leg 2.

"The weight of these [mainsails], anywhere from 75 to 105 kilos [165 to 231 pounds], means it's just not worth dragging them around," he said.

"On the Fremantle-Sydney leg, we will be wearing our North 3DL [three-dimensional laminate] main, which has no seams and continuous fibers from corner to corner. It's light, but exceptionally strong.

"We can carry eight headsails, with the maximum size 83 square meters," Scott said. "Two are allowed to be larger than that, provided there are no battens in them. Those two are basically our reaching headsails for sailing tight angles, halfway between the jibs and the spinnakers.

"We can also carry seven spinnakers," he said. "The lightest will be half-ounce and the heaviest will be a 3]-ounce Spectra/Mylar laminate. The staysails come under the jib category. One is a spinnaker-staysail in which the maximum hoist allowed is as high as the jib halyard. Ours goes all the way up, and that's a two-ply polyester sail. Then we have a 3DL jib-staysail as well, and that goes two thirds up the mast to the headstay.

"As an example of how important the staysails are," Scott said, "in the Cape Town-Fremantle leg we did 170 hours with the jib-staysail, which is 39 percent of the entire time we spent out there. That was the second-most-used sail behind the mainsail."

Pub Date: 12/10/97

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