This year I have been putting my mind to the problem of reducing the sail area when it gets too windy – again with the help of my old Swedish friend, Dr Loof Lirpa.
The obvious solution is to reduce the sail area at the top of the mainsail, but to still have a full height sail so that the mast bends to help depower. This is the disadvantage of a standard reefed sail.
I was looking at a photo of the Hyde mainsail and the solution struck me. That is to take the panel with the K1 insignia, and replace it with a dyneema mesh. This will maintain the integrity of the sail but significantly reduce the healing effect in a blow.
That was the Mk1 version. We are currently working on the Mk2 version and we think this could be the perfect solution. This still needs further development on the weight factor, but we have incorporated the principle of the venetian blind along with the Mk1 mesh. This has the advantage that we can now reef the “K1” panel whenever we need to. So upwind, reduced sail, and downwind, full sail. It does add a couple of extra control lines, but the range of adjustment required is small, and anyway, we know that the K1 fleet like extra things to play with.
We decided to use the “K1” panel, partly because of its position in the sail, and partly in case our designer doesn’t approve (since he didn’t think of the idea), as the K1 insignia becomes invisible when reefed.
I hope that this novel idea will help all those sailors who are struggling with the K1 in a blow. Currently the idea is not patented, so anybody who wants to try this can have a go.
I was interested to see this photo in Sailing Anarchy last year, so we must be on the right lines for experimentation.