Some cold weather sailing

Between Christmas and New Year Dave took the second SageCat prototype, sail #002, to Port Townsend, Washington, for more testing and demonstration sailing.  Yes, in the Puget Sound winter you don’t know what conditions to expect … some years it is warmer and sunny, other it is chilly with rain, and others it is cold with snow.  Dave experienced the chilly to cold with some rain that at one point a slushy rain.


Winter sunrise at Point Hudson Marina, Port Townsend, WA.

Overall sailing was good with winds 8-10kts with some 15kts and a bit with wind under 5kts.  The one VERY windy day it was blowing 20-25kts with higher gusts with intermittent rain.  Dave gave sailing a pass on this poor day because of the wet, cold and windy conditions AND he was suffering from a cold.

The SageCat sailed great!  The standing rigging had been modified based on prior testing and the boat featured the latest iteration of the mast rotation system and a new gooseneck fitting.  Both items work flawlessly.  The only item missing was telltales along the sail’s luff.


Photo by Debra Colvin.

A bit more about telltales.  These are really helpful to assist in setting the main’s sheeting angle and draft.  It is very important that when going to weather on a catboat that the main has clean air flowing along its length and both the windward and leeward sides.  If any part of the sail has stalled air the windward performance is reduced.  The rotating mast means SageCat has 10-15% better windward performance over a fixed masted boat … so stalling the sail means the captain isn’t taking full advantage of the boat’s abilities!

The production SageCats will have telltales along both the luff and leech of the sail.  Keeping these airflow indicators flowing smoothly gives immediate feedback on the set of the sail to the wind.  This is in addition to the increased boat speed, up and down wind, and when going hard to weather increased pointing ability and less leeway.

Like all catboats SageCat will not go as well to weather as a sloop; but SageCat goes to weather much better than a traditional catboat rig.  The catboat sailors that had a demo sail on the boat immediately noticed the improved performance of SageCat going to weather.  Off the wind the boat really kicks up her heals and MOVES FAST through the water.  The difference between the Sage 15 sloop and the SageCat are slight: sloop slightly higher pointing and a bit faster to weather; catboat picks up speed more quickly once on a reach or further off the wind.

After spending four days in Port Townsend Dave ended the year with a very nice sail along the waterfront to move the boat from Point Hudson Marina to Boat Haven Marina.


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