Posted on March 10, 2016
Here are some things you’ll never hear on our boat:
"Time to peel to the half-ounce."
"I don't think there's enough room at the committee boat."
Here is something you will hear, hopefully often:
"Let's bust out the code zero!"
Cuz we’ve got a brand new sail, people!!
Here’s how it went down. Michu was cyberloafing on eBay, “researching” fishing reels, as one does in February in Wisconsin, when his fingers casually sauntered over to the Used Sail section of the internet. What he found was a lovely new sail billed as an asymmetrical cruising spinnaker. Now, as we’ve established: we’re big fans of the actual “sailing” part of our trip. Our boat is on the lighter side for a cruiser, which means–among other things–she’ll be happily pushed along in a zephyr, as long as we have a good sail for the conditions, which will often mean a spinnaker of some kind–the pretty, poofy, colorful sails that stand out from the front of a sailboat. This sail was in brand-new condition, made for a boat similar to ours, and cheaper than we’d expected to pay. Should we bid?
Photos by Somerset Sails. Looks good, right?
Instead, my forward-thinking husband phoned the sailmaker to get more details. Martin, of Somerset Sails in upstate New York, gingerly explained that the sail was not actually what most people would consider a traditional asymmetric spinnaker–it was more of what’s called a “code zero.”
On the other end of the line, Michu and I broke out into silent disco.
A code zero is a great all-purpose spinnaker for us. Designed to be almost a cross between a genoa and a traditional spinnaker (a little less poofy, y’all), it’s easier to control and can be sailed at a higher angle–closer to the wind. It’s a very versatile sail; it should do a great job when winds are light and aft, AND increase the fun factor for us by a lot.
Martin the sailmaker arbitrarily knocked a couple of hundred dollars off the price and threw in a fully-rigged Chutescoop at cost. This huge fabric tube can be raised and lowered over our sail to keep it under control, making it even easier to use. Why was he throwing us this amazing deal? A client had ordered a whole new suit of sails, but on unpacking the code zero, decided he didn’t like the color.
The color. I’ll just let you absorb that for a moment.
Fortunately, Martin had already made his money on the rest of the sails that the guy bought. His aesthetic rejection, our gain; we’ll learn to live with the bright yellow.