Topic: A square sail for a Contessa (believe it or not)

I've had an old spinnaker cut down into a square sail to experiment with.  It's an old, light weight racing spinnaker with a fine stainless steel cable running around the perimeter to prevent stretch.  I had is squared off with reinforcements and grommets added to the top corners to try as a square sail but have decided I have way too many sails right now and will likely not use it, so it's up for grabs.  I'd like the $100 I have in it, or a trade for something else useful or fun (not necessarily boat stuff).  For those of you who don't know about square sails for modern boats, Hal Roth advocated for them in place of twins for running.  They take out the quick oscillation that often plagues boats on long down wind runs and can be used for sheet-to-tiller steering.  Other long distance voyagers have spoken highly of them too, though squares have given way to spinnakers.  Anyway, this one is for sale if anyone wants to carry on the experiment.

Re: A square sail for a Contessa (believe it or not)


I might be interested in buying your square sail. The price seems ok. Do you rig it on some kind of yard? Let me know if you still have it.


Re: A square sail for a Contessa (believe it or not)

Hi Peter,
Sorry for the slow reply - I was away from the computer for a while.  I still have the sail.  According to Lee Woas in "Self-Steering Without a Windvane", you rig a horizontal pole - any pole will do even a bamboo pole - and clip it to the forestay, then hoist it, with the sail attached, up the forestay to about the height of the spreaders.  I was planning on putting a loop of line around the mast and hoisting it up the mast to the spreaders with an extra halyard.  There was an article in Good Old Boat magazine a few issues ago written by an fellow who had a much larger boat than a Co., and a pile more money than me, who built a yard arm that is permanently mounted to the front of his mast and the square sail pulls down from in-yard furling!  Anyway, this one is here still for sale or trade.

Re: A square sail for a Contessa (believe it or not)

Hi Peter,
I'm still checking in now and then.  Sail is still hanging in my shed.

Re: A square sail for a Contessa (believe it or not)

Hi Deb,
It's been a long time since we met up in Tobermory but we're still hanging in there too.

I don't think I'll be allowed to buy another sail at the moment, but I am curious about how effective you found it.  Do you fly it within the fore-triangle or outside the forestay like a symmetrical spinnaker?  I would think that flying it inside would be cumbersome or blanketed by the main, and outside.. well... that's just a spinnaker, no?

Maybe an image is worth a thousand words.  I'm curious to see what it looks like flying.

Jordan (Vixen)