The Voyage of the Swan
Swan’s Sails and Sail Handling — Pictures Below
The artisans at PT Sails built the sails for the Swan using a mix of traditional methods and modern materials to render the best possible sails for ocean voyaging. This kind of sailmaking is nearly a lost art, but with some effort, lofts committed to this wonderful craft can still be found.
Swan Sails Specifications ~
  1.  Main: 233 sq.ft., 7.77 oz. dacron, loose-footed, no battens, two reefs (70% and 40%).
  2.  Jib: 270 sq.ft., 7.77 oz. dacron, pendant to clear pulpit, hanked on.
  3.  Stays’l: 75 sq.ft., 8.77 oz. dacron, one reef, pendant to clear life lines, hanked on.
  4.  Drifter: 380.2 sq.ft., 2.2 oz. nylon (140%), cross cut, hanked on, graphic inlay.
  5.  Storm Stays’l: 61.6 sq.ft., 8.77 oz. dacron with visibility patch, pendant, hanked on.
  6.  Storm Trys’l: 66.5 sq.ft., 8.77 oz. dacron with visibility patch.
  7.  We use Strong® track. It will make hoisting, dousing and reefing your main a breeze.
Battenless Main ~
I have always cruised with a battenless main. Hollowing the leach doesn’t cost much in usable sail area. It has very little effect on upwind performance. And, it will even help reduce that pulsing weather helm when broad reaching. The real advantages are easier hoisting, reefing, dousing and furling on ANY point of sail. No more chafed or torn batten pockets. No more battens caught on spreaders or shrouds. No more broken battens. And, you can forget about flaking your main. Just roll it up in a bunt and secure it with one tie in no time. Finally, you can get rid of those pesky lazy jacks!
  1.  Sails rolled in to reduce sail don't set right (poor shape).
  2.  When reefed, the tack and head of the sail fall on unreinforced areas.
  3.  When reefed, the weight of the cloth rarely matches the weight of the wind.
  4.  Sails eventually distort through repeated stress in unreinforced areas.
  5.  The rolled up part of the sail causes heavy turbulence on the leeward side on one tack.
  6.  There is a lot of windage in a rolled up sail (affects heaving to and lying ahull).
  7.  More places for possible serious failure (moving parts, pins, shackles, foils, screws, etc.)
  8.  If the system fails, the sail can unroll without you wanting it to.
  9.  If the system fails, you can’t roll the sail up when you do want to, a disaster in a big wind.
  10.  A sail can stick in the foil, making it impossible to raise or lower from the stuck position.
  11.  The stay and some other critical parts are not visible to inspect for damage/corrosion.
  12.  Roller furling systems are hard on jibstays, particularly parts aloft.
  13.  It's a bitch to replace the stay, usually resulting in postponing the necessary.
  14.  Head and tack rings tend to twist out.
  15.  Critical parts of the sail suffer from exposure to the sun (clew, head and tack).
  16.  The sheets are always in the sun.
  17.  If the system fails, there is no backup.
  18.  Changing sails in any kind of wind is a fire drill.
  19.  Adjusting stay tension, rake and prebend can be very difficult (depending on model).
  20.  Roller furling systems are much more expensive.
I have heard it argued that roller furling is safer because it keeps one off the foredeck. But safety on the foredeck can be managed. It’s been done for hundreds of years. The first time a roller furling system fails, however, that safety argument will switch strongly towards hanks. Once in Tonga, it took six of us from other boats over an hour to bring a big genoa under control when a furler jammed aloft in 25 knots of wind (gusting to 35). The boat had just been anchored, somehow, with the sail unfurled and was heeling wildly as the boat yawed back and forth out of control on it’s anchor. The noise was incredible. We raced over in our dinghys and it took six of us and the skipper to finally get the sail under control. We were able to use a bow roller and the windlass to contain the clew and use a spare halyard to wrap the sail into a manageable bunt, but by then the sail had been reduced to a ragged mess. If the jamb had occurred at sea, the situation would have been very dangerous for that skipper and crew and the outcome could have been very different.
Setting and Reducing Sail (what works for us) ~
Downwind (aft of beam reach), full sail for us is typically drifter and full main (no staysail). To weather, it is usually jib, staysail and full main. Downwind, generally, we reduce sail in this order:
  1. Strike drifter, set jib.                  
  2. Reef main.
  3. Second reef main.                
  4. Furl jib, set staysail
  5. Furl main.
  6. Strike staysail, set storm staysail.
  7. Bare poles (off the wind).
To weather:
  1. Furl staysail.
  2. Reef main.
  3. Furl jib, reset staysail.
  4. Second reef main.
  5. Furl main (if wind is much forward of the beam, progress under staysail alone is usually not possible at this point except in sheltered waters without a typical sea running).
  6. Heave to (helm to leeward) under main only (it works on the 34!) or bare poles.
Depending on how quickly the wind is increasing, we may skip steps. For example, we have never set the storm staysail, but we have run under bare poles. Also, we sometimes vary the order we reduce sail depending on the exact point of sail, sea conditions, etc. We have a trysail but we’ve never had it out of the bag.
At sea, downwind, we usually have the jib/drifter poled out to weather. With adjustments, we can sail with it up to about 65º off the wind. We set the pole with topping lift, foreguy and afterguy. This gives us a lot of control. It also allows us to tack the jib to leeward if necessary without taking the pole down.
Start Outfitting Contact Voyages Why a Pacific Seacraft 34? Sails Back to First Sails Page “The canvas can do miracles”

 — Christopher Cross
One of the many reasons we prefer 
hanked on sails. Click to enlarge.
Picture by Craig McPheeters (s/v Luckness)
Hanked On Sails ~
The use of hanks instead of roller furling/reefing is a personal decision. A good roller furling/reefing system is certainly workable and easier to use, when the gear is working right. But it must be remembered that a roller furler/reefer is primarily a labor saving device found almost exclusively on cruising boats (rarely on pure racing boats) but there is a significant price to pay for that labor savings, namely: