Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Down wind sail configuration

Ian Shepherd

Hello Miles,

I use the poles whenever I can and find the downwind performance to be very good. You will leave most boats behind if you pole out the genoa once the apparent wind angle is 120 degrees or more. A word of caution. Amel now recommend that if you use a poled out genoa in strong winds you should also rig the pole on the opposite side to minimize the bending load on the side of the mainmast. If you do this, you will wish for the genoa sheets to be 2M longer per side, else it will be a stretch to secure them to the upwind winch.

In light winds you will be able to continue sailing downwind whilst others can't, unless they deploy a cruising chute or spinnaker. When those sails collapse due to lack of wind, you genoa will remain proudly erect ready to catch any puff that comes along. And you don't have to watch it every second as you would a free flying sail.

The ballooner is a great sail and can be rigged single handed with a little ingenuity. There is a trap you can fall into though. When the wind picks up and you need to furl both sails bit by bit and you face a course change that no longer supports the twin head sail configuration, you have to completely unfurl again in order to get the ballooner down. When I made my single handed voyage from Shannon to Greenland I have a marvellous 24 hour run under ballooner and genoa. Then the wind picked up and changed direction and I was forced unfurl to get the wind down in winds of now 22kts. It was somewhat of a struggle. The lesson learnt was that it is wise to get the ballooner down early if you think that you will no be able to continue to use it.

That said, please make use of all of your sails. You will enjoy the results of your efforts. Do it often and rigging the poles,ballooner and mizzen staysail become second nature. If you know that you are going to encounter some downwind sailing, it is much easier to rig the poles and adjust the guys at anchor before you set off. The beauty of the Amel is that the poles can be folded back and hook on the rails when not in use. I leave mine permanently rigged so they can be deployed very quickly when required and also for added security. They do give some protection when moving back to the cockpit in rolly conditions. Going over the side single handed in not an option!

Sadly I know of several Amel owners who have never used their poles, yet alone the ballooner. They are really missing out, but that is their choice.


Ian Shepherd SM2K 414 (2003) Crusader Kastelorizo Island Greece.

On 09/08/2017 20:38, smiles bernard smilesbernard@... [amelyachtowners] wrote:
I'd be really interested to hear amel owners thoughts and experience in down wind sail configuration
What works best for you?
All the best

On 30 Jul 2017, at 21:11, smiles bernard smilesbernard@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:



I'm new to amel and and just going through with a maramu purchase

We are planning to take her fro Europe on a North Atlantic trip. Perhaps the Pacific too

I've also never sailed a ketch before and would love to hear any advise about setting the maramu up for down wind sailing

On sloops I've owned before I've run with double headsails on separate stays in the Trade winds. One sail on a roller furler. Another hanked on to a removable stay and then polled out to windward. With the main sail lashed down for days on end.

The worked brilliantly but I wonder if there is a option others could recommend that has worked well on these lovely ketches.

Any advice most welcome

Fair winds


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