Making a sonata a better 'single handed sailer'

gunman

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Hi all, I haven't been on here for a while but thoughts have now come around to getting my sonata ready for the season. Bit of history on it, I bought it at the end of last season to replace my L17. Also now we have had our 3rd child who is now 6 months old. Having 3 young kids means the sonata has to be handier to sail single handed.

The yacht came with a brand new roller reefing kit, on inspection it is a Plastimo T series with the twin grooves in the foil. this presents my first problem as the sail slides with it are 7mm and don't fit. I have searched and cannot find anyone selling 5mm slides\slugs. Even on off the shelf genoa comes with a 7mm luff rope and my finances this year will not stetch to a new custom genoa (due to the new son and my wife having to be on unpaid leave now). Has anyone any ideas?

Also, the sheet winches are on the coach roof ( standard racing setup I beleive) making it near impossible to sail single handed with main and headsail as I physically cannot reach the winches while keeping a hand on the tiller. Has anyone moved the winches to the sides of the cockpit or can anyone see any issue with this?

I wont be taking part in any racing this year, just family cruising (inland water).

Thanks for any advice.
 

Lakesailor

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I have no specific information on Sonatas but moved my winches on my Foxcub18 aft along the cockpit coaming to make single-handing easier. I also like to be able to cross sheet across the cockpit so the working headsail sheet is cleated on the windward side, where I am sitting.
In my Seahawk 17 I have cam cleats on the cockpit seating benching which I can easily reach even though they are on the lee side. I have also run the sheets back from their original cabin top cleating position using bullseye fairleads and cheek blocks on the coaming to turn them. You would need winches there, but my little headsail is not that stressful.

cockpit.jpg


Cross-sheeting on the Foxcub. Holts alloy jamming cleats are excellent.

Slippycrosssheeting.jpg


The bridge-deck mainsheet traveller wasn't too handy so I moved it aft

newmainsheettrack.jpg
 
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gunman

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Thanks for the info and pics, Ideally what I'd like to do is fit aditional winches so I would have the option of letting a crew (if I ever have one onboard) handle the genoa form the coachroof but then there's this budget thing:(.

I have a diagram of the rigging on the sonata and I'm a bit confused, it shows the winches and jammes on the coachroof where I have them but then shows 'genoa sheet - Cheekblock and Jammer' at the sides of the cockpit. I'm not sure how exactly you're meant to use them.
 

dylanwinter

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two part purchase

on the slug I have a blocks on the genoa

then take the sheets from the fairlead to the sail - back to the fairleed and then inboard to a cleat you can reach

you would be amazed how tight you can get the genoa in - but there is a lot of rope in the cockit


take a look at the arrangement here as the boat tacks - there are other films on the youtube site where you cans ee it better



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reE25cjP5yQ
 

gunman

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Thanks, it took me a while to work out what you were suggesting there. Would this mean you wouldn't need to use a winch as the genoa sheeting would be geared by the blocks? That would be a handier and cheaper option if it would. Only downside I could imagine would be a 'mass' at the clew on the foresail which may have a nasty meeting with one of the kids.

Need to work out something for the reefing now, would make life so much handier.
 

dylanwinter

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got to have roller reefing

Thanks, it took me a while to work out what you were suggesting there. Would this mean you wouldn't need to use a winch as the genoa sheeting would be geared by the blocks? That would be a handier and cheaper option if it would. Only downside I could imagine would be a 'mass' at the clew on the foresail which may have a nasty meeting with one of the kids.

Need to work out something for the reefing now, would make life so much handier.

In my experience roller reefing is pretty much essential

tiller pilot? - the single haders friend

used to race sonatas at west mersea

D
 

Lakesailor

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Thanks for the info and pics, Ideally what I'd like to do is fit aditional winches so I would have the option of letting a crew (if I ever have one onboard) handle the genoa form the coachroof but then there's this budget thing:(.
I left the old ones on the coachroof. Very handy for all sorts of lines that need securing at odd times.
 

gunman

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I left the old ones on the coachroof. Very handy for all sorts of lines that need securing at odd times.

The Sonata has 4 winches on the coach roof, one for the main halyard, one for the foresail halyard and 2 for the genoa sheets. I had thought of the possibility of installing some rope clutches which could free up the halyard winches once the sails are hauled, meaning you could get away with 2 on the coachroof for everything. Not sure how great an idea this would be. Anyway, if I can get away without winches for the genoa sheets I won't have to move any of them.

Need to work out something for my reefing now, Has anyone seen 5mm sail slugs anywhere? I would imagine it wouldn't be worth getting a 5mm rope sewn in to my existing sail.
 

Twister_Ken

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I would imagine it wouldn't be worth getting a 5mm rope sewn in to my existing sail.

Worth asking what it would cost to strip out the existing bolt rope and sew in a skinnier one. A Sonata genoa is not that big and it might be cheaper than you think, especially if you approach a local sailmaker and not one of the bigger names.
 

rob2

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It seems a bit strange that you can't find an off the shelf genoa to suit a Plastimo reefing system. They are so commonplace, after all. Probably the cheapest effective option would be to get a sailmaker to fit a suitable luff tape to your existing sail. Slides really aren't a good idea in a reefing gear groove - they'll dig into the rolled sail and cause chafe.

Rob.
 

Lakesailor

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if I can get away without winches for the genoa sheets I won't have to move any of them.
You'll probably find you can sheet in when going about and haven't powered the sail up, but once you're hard on the wind getting that extra bit of tension will defeat you.
I have a technique using my boot that helps me get a bit more on my headsail sheet and that's only a small sail.
 

gunman

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Looking at a diagram here the sonata has a luff of nearly 7.5m, then theres the UV strips I suppose I really should have too. Seateach have an off the shelf one for £429 but it's a 7mm luff rope. It seems the previous owner bought the wrong reefing kit. Why would you need 2 slots for a headsail anyway. The S series would be better suited really.
 

gunman

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You'll probably find you can sheet in when going about and haven't powered the sail up, but once you're hard on the wind getting that extra bit of tension will defeat you.
I have a technique using my boot that helps me get a bit more on my headsail sheet and that's only a small sail.

Is that using a block on your sheet or a single line?
 

Lakesailor

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Single line. I've noticed Dylan's sheet arrangement and was quite tempted but as he says, there's a lot of line lying about and I try to shorten all my sheets as much as possible.
 

PeterR

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I had a Sonata for 20 years, wonderful little boats. When not racing it I nearly always sailed single handed. Use a non-overlapping headsail and you do not need to use the winches, just the cam cleats. Neither do you need roller reefing because you just progressively reef the main until you take that down and sail under headsail alone. She will do that quite happily in 30K. The one thing you do need is an autopilot. You can get sheet to tiller steering to work on a passage but it takes too long to set up in confined waters.
 

dylanwinter

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agree with all that - although

I had a Sonata for 20 years, wonderful little boats. When not racing it I nearly always sailed single handed. Use a non-overlapping headsail and you do not need to use the winches, just the cam cleats. Neither do you need roller reefing because you just progressively reef the main until you take that down and sail under headsail alone. She will do that quite happily in 30K. The one thing you do need is an autopilot. You can get sheet to tiller steering to work on a passage but it takes too long to set up in confined waters.

a tiller pilot will be your best investment - and you can sail with the smaller headsail

but being able to dowse the genoa is a wonderful thing

the two headsail grooves are for putting one sail up inside another so that you can change sails without losing drive

as for too much rope.... don't worry - all it takes is personal discipline - you will soon learn

you can also see my bungee tiller tamer in my films - the simplest and cheapest tiller tamer yet designed by man



Dylan
 

William_H

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Sonata

Yes a lovely boat also built here in Oz. I thought a twin foil was more common for racing and just a foil not a roller system. I don't know if you received any hank on jibs with the boat. I am a fan of hank on and I suspect the Sonata would be similar to mine in having a big main and small jibs.
So if going single handed it is better to have jib too small then not have to worry if wind comes up. You need to know what the wind is going to do.
Winches my kind of boat is till in production. I saw a nearly new one recently and noted that they have not fitted sheet winches on the gunwhale just 2 halyard winches on the cabin top. I think this is to save money. I find that a cheap winch is cheaper than a rope clutch so I have 4 halyard winches.
I much prefer 2 decent sheet winches on the side decks with a cam cleat mounted just so under and inside the winch. When racing I face the winch knees braced against the seat and pull hand over hand and reckon I can get that sheet in so fast. Anyway the winches there are also handy to single handed sailing.
I have the main sheet traveller mounted on the bridge deck. I think I like that best. it is not too much of a reach to ease or pull in main sheet.
One trick I do for single handing is to lash the tiller extension to the tip of the tiller so making it rigid in line with the tiller. I can steer from well forward in the cockpit. Of course a tiller pilot is best if you can afford it.
Any way best thing is to go single handed and see how you go. My biggest difficulty is sailing back onto a swing mooring and picking up the mooring. Actual sailing and departure is easy just be careful and don't fall off. good luck olewill
 

gunman

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I just had an e-mail from seateach, I had asked if they can modify the 'off the shelf sail'. I am both happy and surprised to say that they can change the lufftape on that sail for an additional £30. Now that seems a bargain! £459 then for a new genoa. I may have to speak with SWMBO:D. I suppose I could sel my existing genoa and spare spinniker to help fund it.
 

Quandary

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I think you are making a mistake.
The genny from Seateach will not do the job if you ever start to race seriously against other Sonatas, and with a boat like that you will surely want to, in sailmaking like other things you tend to get what you pay for.
The sails you have are now useless unless the luff tapes match your headfoil, pick the best non overlapping one and take it to Tedfords in Belfast or Mc William in Newtownards and get the tape changed. For a small job like this you want to avoid the cost of carriage. Use it while you learn to handle the boat. Then if you start to race get McWilliam, Goacher, or similar loft to cut you a proper genny. Goacher in Cumbria is the acknowledged Sonata king these days and I would talk to him before spending money unless you are sure you will never ever race her. Changing luff tapes is not that unusual, they do get damaged.
McWilliam will be dearer than Tedford for the mod but if you tell them you will be coming back later for some racing sails they might do a deal. Do not move the winches, you will regret it later, particularly if you ever sell the boat. As advised above you will be fine with turning blocks and jammers for tacking, with a decent autohelm or tiller extension, you can use the winches to harden up fully once you are on the wind. If you decide not to take my advice and to dump your existing headsails you could take them to Carrickfergus Boat Jumble Sun. 10th. April where you should be able to sell them for a few quid. Talk to everyone you meet about your boat when you are there, you can glean a lot of information.
The other option worth considering is to store your new headfoil for a year and continue using the old set-up while you get to know the boat and decide what sails and gear you will need.
(By the way the twin grooves are intended to allow you to do fast sail changes and any racing boat has this facility.)
 
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