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enlarging Cavalier 32 sail plan

sail new sail cavalier 32

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#1 prince rupert

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 05:48 PM

Hi there,


new to this forum and very eager to get into it. I own a cavalier 32 and although I love it, like everyone who loves their boat, I am trying to make it better.


She is a little sluggish in the light winds right?


My genoa N1 does not have much more life in it so, a part from changing that one ($3500 which I don't want to buy right now) I was thinking to extend the boom and put a bigger main sail. Being of a much smaller area It should not cost as much right?


Now, the real question. Would it make it reasonably better or is it a pointless exercise? 


I would appreciate any comment in regards.



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#2 Island Time

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 06:12 PM

Sorry PR, mains are more complex than headsails, and usually cost more. Best for light wind performance is to keep the hull spotlessly clean and smooth. Even slime will cost you much more speed than you think, especially to windward. I clean my boat every month, although sometimes im a bit slack in winter!

Good sails help very much as well, but we all understand budgets!

As the sails get older, the draft moves aft - use more cunningham to help move them back forward. Remember, if you dont have a cunning ham, you have a stupid pig!

Rig tensions are also very important (and free!!), as is mast rake, prebend etc.

Ask if you need help with any of it, and welcome aboard Crew.org!

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#3 southernman


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Posted 16 May 2018 - 06:23 PM

Welcome aboard PR.  


If I was you i'd pay for a couple of hours labour from a good rigger or sail maker and get them to work with you on how to setup the rig you have.  A new headsail will likely make a lot of difference also.  It's amazing what another set of eyes looking over your boat does for sail trim and speed.  


Agree on the hull cleanliness issue - makes a huge difference up to 1.5 knot on my yacht. 

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#4 Fish


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Posted 16 May 2018 - 08:58 PM

Welcome Prince Rupert,

So the Cav 32 is a mast head rig with a massive headsail and a small main. Your objective is to improve performance in the light?

From a financial point of view, I would think extending the boom (which effectively requires a new boom) and getting a new, bigger main - this is likely to cost easily twice as much as a new headsail. As IT says, mains are a substantially more complex sail than a headsail.


Not a lot of modern boats have the big headsails and small mains. We've got a Birdsall 37, and while the ratio's aren't as extreme as the Cav 32, she enjoys a big #1 and modest main. This type of boat are driven by the headsail. The main is more like a trim tab, it can be used to control the slot (between the sails) which dictates a lot of the performance, and the main can be used for adjusting balance and trim of the boat.


In short, if you want to improve performance, spend the money on a new headsail.

You've commented it doesn't have much life in it. Being new to the board  I don't have a handle on how much experience you've got, but there is a massive difference between physical life and shape life. If it is a dacron sail, the physical life will be good, but the shape will be like trying to fly a sack of potatoes. The difference between an existing sail with poor shape and a new sail will be like night and day, you wont recognise the performance of your own boat. We did this on our boat a few season after buying it. The sails were old but "structurally fine". We had no power, but when the wind came up a little bit we would just heal over, so we'd reef, so we had less power, so we'd just get pissed off. We put on a new main, which, until you've felt the difference in performance looks like a cost you can't justify, but man, all of a sudden the boat would accelerate forward and not heal over. We could carry the full main 5 or 8 knots further up the wind range before reefing, the boat would be balanced, and much, much faster.


Also, Southernman's comment on getting some advice on rig tuning and sail performance. Correct rig set up will make a good difference to performance. But also understanding all the rig and trim settings for different wind conditions, windy with flat water, windy with lumpy water, light with flat water, light with lumpy water, they all reuire different sail shapes, and understanding and getting those right will make a massive difference to performance.


Oh, and putting on a longer boom may shift the balance of the boat and screw up the trim and balance. It is likely to shift the centre of effort back, which may lead to the boat trying to round up. I understand Cav 32's are renowned for their balance and light helm, wouldn't want to risk messing that up.


Black Panther who lurks around here used to do some sailing on a Cav 32, around the Pacific NW, or the world or something, I get mixed up. He may be along soon to comment. I think his Cav had the taller mast to keep it going in the light. 

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#5 Sudden5869



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Posted 16 May 2018 - 09:02 PM

Yeah a Cav 32 isn't going to be exciting or quick in light winds. Our family had Sunbird and raced against PR.
A good Genoa, especially if full hoist, not a reduced furler.
Clean bottom.
Spinnaker or Gennaker are great for reaching and downhill if you can....

Edited by Sudden5869, 16 May 2018 - 09:04 PM.

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Oliver Sudden - Young 1034

#6 Willow


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Posted 16 May 2018 - 09:32 PM

I put a longer boom on our Cav36 when we had it. Turned out to be quite effective.

Make sure you ease the backstay off in the light, powers up the main and headsail.

If the sails are old new ones will make a big difference upwind but easy to spend a lot of money.

Or you could just enjoy your boat and appreciate it for what it is,

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#7 Black Panther

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 10:29 PM

All of the above fish. Yes I added 1m to the mast. With 1 reef and no2 headsail I had the standard rig. I was as fast as the
Farr 33 moonshine downwind and passed her upwind on our first outing.
The boat was powered up In 12-14kn where the standard rig about 18kn.
Interestingly the boat was originally designed with the rig I had. It was cut down to make it rate 1/2 ton.
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#8 Fish


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Posted 17 May 2018 - 09:08 AM

An in-between option if you want a larger main, but don't want the expense of a new boom, is getting a new main sail with plenty of roach. We did this by getting a normal pin-head main, getting it fully battened, and pushing the roach out as far as it would fit under the back stay. Adds a bit of extra area, especially if your current main only has short battens at the leach, and has a flat leech from the head to the clew.


This is all of course going down the path of spending $$$ whatever you do. There is a bit to be said in enjoying the boat as is for a while and learning the finer points of trim with the current set up.

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#9 chariot


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Posted 17 May 2018 - 02:20 PM

Owoned the Cav 32 Goldilocks for a number of years. Had a main with a roach that clipped the backstay instead of the straight leach on the standard mains I think this helped. We took line in  every race in the 2001 transtasman series when we helmed for NZ. The biggest secret to get a Cav going in light airs is to ease the main well down the traveller. No matter what the wind strenght, always have the main just starting to backwind. I know it may sound wrong when the main is so small but just try it. We weren't too far off the pace uphill against the Stewart 34's in that series and the only fresh beat we had was about 18 to 20 knots and the only S34 that beat us to the top mark was Roy Dicksons boat with Roy on the helm. Coming from the PYBC, we didn't know the upper harbour like all the S34 guys.

I don't agree with fish regarding Cav 32 being light on the helm. Reaching in fresh to strong breezes can lead to your arm lenghts be stretched considerably. In saying that, we really enjoyed the Cav for all the years we had her.

Just accept that it will never be a light airs flyer.

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#10 Myjane


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Posted 20 May 2018 - 02:47 PM

With there keel config and mast head rig is a hard one , maby the first thing to do is up the boom length and cut down the jibs to just over lap the mast a foot or two , the main is the thing to work on with these boats Generating power , it’s a head sail power boat , main stable , , a fully battened , tension batton , roach main would help with a wide headboard , my boat was same large over lap headsails, on a fractional rig , I started with a new main and generated speed and all the jibs just lap the mast , totally different boat very quick in a blow and in 5 kts just heal it and off it goes ,I can do 7s in 18 knots hard on But down wind is a sacrifice depending how well you set the gear, but the big main comes into play , the cav has a full body so maby hard to crank up
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