under sail

DreamKeeper is nicely set up for a single hander. All lines are led to the cockpit and she is very easy to reef. Her sails are currently all made by Ullman Sails out of California. They are all heavy cloth and have held up well over time even though we have done many small repairs and reinforcing when necessary.

Our mainsail is on Antal cars and has 2 reef points put in, the second tucked low almost like a 3rd reef on most sails. The reefing lines are both led to the cockpit, as well as the halyard, so we can do everything from the dry and safe location behind the dodger when in blustery conditions. Nice.

*After a last major stitching repair of our 10 year old mainsail in Israel, we decided it was time. We ordered a new one from Ullman Sails in California, had some minor adjustments made to it and a few details changed like more secure batten-pocket enclosures, and sent it to San Francisco. We picked it up there and brought it back to us in September 2010 to DK in Sardinia, Italy. Since then we have sailed or motor-sailed almost 1000 miles through the Med now and the sail has been great. Very happy to have a new main and won't have to stress about another panel blowing out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

For our headsail, we mostly use our 130% Genoa. It is big and strong and powerful. The down-side is that when beating to wind and needing to use our inner tracks to have it sheeted in tight, we have to furl it up a lot and it looses much of its shape. For this reason we have just had a new jib made in Thailand. Ket, of Local Sails in Phuket, put a nice 90% jib together for us of heavy cloth and this will be our preferred head sail now when we go to weather, like the upcoming Red Sea adventure. We'll let you know how it performs.

DK's staysail is also on a furler. When we bought the boat it was originally hanked-on, but we really like the control from the cockpit with the furler and this has been a good choice for us. In gales our sail set is often a double-reefed mainsail and our strong staysail out. Dk loves this set and she sails extremely balanced.

DK also has an asymetrical spinnaker which is a nice addition to the arsenal. We really like this sail but don't use it much because our Genoa is so big and almost performs as well as the asymetrical with almost no effort involved. Plus, the reality is that we are "cruisers" and not racers, and we are lazy when it comes to pulling it out and getting her all hooked up.

The last sail we carry is an emergency Tri-Sail. We have an additional track mounted on our mast for this sail. Although we have put up this sail many times to test it out, we still have never had to use it.

If we have at least 6-8 knots of wind we move right along at 4-6 knots. When we see at least 10 knots from the beam or behind, we are usually averaging 5-6 knots over a 24 hour period on passage. DK is pretty heavy and only has about a 32' water line, so we suffer a bit there, but overall we are still very pleased by the speed we see from her even with little wind.

The Pros:
Overall, DK sails very smooth and comfortably. She is easy to handle, easy to reef, and we both feel very safe with her even in 15'+ seas and 30+ knots of wind.

The Cons:
The only thing that is tough sometimes with DK is that she has a bit of weather helm. It's not too bad, but definitely noticable. We have talked to other Pacific Seacraft oweners who say the same thing. Not sure why. We have tried to change the rake of the mast, changed sail shape, etc...but nothing really seems to help that much. Like I said, it's not that bad, but we usually feel it.

We use a Monitor Windvane almost always when under sail. We love this piece of gear. It has proven to be very easy to use and very dependable. The only problems we have had with it are some line chafe (you need to adjust your lines every so often or replace them) and once we snapped the "safety" rudder pipe that is supposed to be the weak link in the system so you don't damage the rest of the configuration. This is exactly what happened to us. Not sure why it happened, maybe just got weaker over time, but when it did we were on passage from Fiji to Vanuatu in blustery 25+ knot conditions and 12-15' heavy seas. When I looked back the rudder assembly was getting drug behind our boat by the safety line that was attached. Make sure you have a safety line always attached for just this reason!! Turned out to be an easy fix and no damage done because we had a spare.