Features August 2008 Issue

A Tale of Two Trysails

A buyer’s guide to the storm sail you hope you’ll never have to use.

Storm trysails rarely get the close look they deserve. Designed to replace the mainsail in a severe storm, it spends most of its life in the sail locker. Trysails should be cut flat, and the center of effort located to optimize stability and helm balance. Generally, the trysail’s clew should be just above the boom, its tack just above the furled mainsail’s head and its head near the mid-point of the mast. It is best to work closely with a sailmaker or a boat’s designer to get the right size and shape trysail. When inspecting or commissioning a trysail, pay close attention to detail at the head, clew, tack, leech, and luff.

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