Copyright 2016 Minney's Yacht Surplus Inc.
Looking at that photo of my big ketch "Vadura" with the try sail set reminds me of a great sail I carried aboard
"Shearwater" on our world cruise. It's called a PASSAGE MAINSAIL and saved my butt on dozens of occasions. The sail was aboard the schooner when I purchased her and I never used it (in fact almost left it on the dock) the 18 months we sailed around So. California before departing for Tahiti. The PASSAGE MAINSAIL in reality is just a big try sail about the size of your mainsail when it's double reefed. It attaches to the mast after you detach your regular main. It's loose footed and you run sheets aft to either side of the boat. The beauty of this sail is that I had novice sailors crewing for me and quite often they would jibe the boat while running in heavy trade winds. Not to worry, the 22 foot 200 pound boom was secure in the gallows and no damage would take place when they jibed the PASSAGE MAINSAIL. Another good feature was that in many parts of the world the trade winds blow a constant force five and six. You would be reefed and nervous if your regular main was up, no sweat with the PASSAGE MAIN. Also, a well designed PASSAGE MAINSAIL will have reef points so you can easily shorten it or use it as a try sail if necessary. Another good feature is that you can get an old, strong main on the cheap and have it re-cut as a PASSAGE MAINSAIL. Since there is a lot of chafe going on when running in the trade winds, you will be chafing your PASSAGE MAINSAIL and saving your expensive mainsail for lighter airs near land or going to weather. Also, the PASSAGE MAINSAIL has no battens which are also a source of damage to the sail. You might also consider making the PASSAGE MAINSAIL a little bigger, perhaps the size of your regular mainsail with one reef in it? You almost never hear anything about a PASSAGE MAINSAIL. Any good sail maker can recut a regular mainsail into a PASSAGE MAINSAIL. Make sure it's ten to twelve ounce with good stitching (watch out for sun rotted stitching) and excellent material because it's going to take a LOT OF ABUSE.