Sailing a boat is always fun, a contemplative and relaxing sensation. It´s even more fun when your boat sails quick. In light wind conditions having a cruising yacht, which is comparatively heavy due to her big displacement that can be a strenuous task if you haven´t got a light wind sail at hand. Fortunately, the owners of APRÈS, an Oceanis 30.1 currently under commissioning, followed our recommendations and had ordered the Code 0 light wind sail. As part of my job to have the boat “sailing ready” when handing over, I prepared this sail and want to share my impressions.

This is how the Code 0 sail is delivered

The Code 0 on this very boat is an OEM sail by French manufacturer Technique Voile that will be delivered by the yard upon order of this boat like the normal cruising Dacron sails which are also provided by Technique Voile. These are sails ranging at the lower quality level – pretty okay for sure, but owners seeking a better sailing performance or wanting to have an upgraded sensation are recommended to switch to Quantum Sails which I consider best. Nevertheless, let´s have the Code 0 or APRÈS readied and fitted.

Unboxing and setting up your new Code 0 sail

Fresh from the yard the sail comes packed (folded) which of course is not “ready to go”. So we tool the garment to a clean (watch for dog poo!) lawn and unfolded the sail to its full size. Now, the fish-lenses of my camera cannot grasp the dimensions, but even for a small boat like the Oceanis 30.1 the Code 0 has a remarkable size. That´s 35 square metres, some 13 square metres more sails area than the Genoa, 17 square metres more than the standard self-tacking jib.

Checking the garment

The sail is made of a lightweight laminate, very thin but as strong as possible. One can clearly see the carbon-fibres baked into the laminate. We check for possible glitches and production fails but lucky we didn´t detect one. Now, with the package you will receive two more parts: The swivel for the sail´s head and the furler including an endless reefing line (loop).

Attaching the Facnor furler

Swivel and furler are fitted as easy as ABC. In our case these parts are made by Facnor and are of exceptional quality. Both are equipped with push-button-shackles which cannot possibly open by mistake or error, there is also a fail-safe mechanism to prevent false mounting. I like these because I have witnessed multiple times shackles failing, be it the ordinary screw-shakles, snap-shackles or even Dyneema-made soft-shackles.

Makeshift first furling of the sail

After mounting the parts we fitted the swivel to a nearby structure, in this case a fence of a construction site. I pulled the furler to bring some tension to the cable (which is in fact the forestay of the Code 0 sail) and my partner pulled the reefing line so that the sail furled in upon itself. The whole procedure took no more than 5 minutes and after this we packed the thick “noodle”, bringing it back on board.

Installing a Code 0 light wind sail

If you buy a Code 0 sail I would recommend to have the first installation done on a relatively calm day with your boat still moored in your berth. Installation of a Code 0 sail isn´t that tricky or hard but especially the first time I find it good not to have any distractions from the job like sailing your boat, watching for traffic and so forth. Now, let´s have the new sail mounted to your boat!

Ready for hoisting out of the sails bag

At first the packed the “noodle” into the sails bag provided by Technique Voile. The furler pointing to the bow, the head with the swivel pointing abaft: Both ends on top of the packed sail. At first you are going to have a block shackled to the padeye on the end of the bowsprit of your boat. Through which you will be inserting the tackline. The tackline enables you to have the sail – later when sailing – “going up” or down in fine trimming the boat. I fixed the end of the tackline to the midship clamp. The other end got attached to the furler.

Tackline and furler attached to the bowsprit

The flying reefing line through wich later the Code 0 will be furled in when taken down can be brought back to the midship part of the deck. This line needs to be running freely with no obstacles hindering the loop. In case of our Facnor-made furler, an eye with a flexible line was attached so that this may be fitted to a reeling, a handle or a clamp. I decided to put it onto the coachroof thus preventing the reefing line running on the side walk creating a tripping hazard.

Reefing line held under tension

Now, taking the Spinnaker halyard and fixing the top of the swivel to it will have the sail ready to be hoisted. When out at sea, this will be the way to have the sail ready to set: Take out the sails bag, attach the furler to the tackline, secure the reefing line of the furler and attach the head/swivel to the Spinnaker halyard. Now, the sheets. This is a bit of a conviction. I know of sailors who leave the sheets fitted to the sail inside the bag. This is very practical and fast – just take out the sheets, put them back to the Genoa winches (around the forestay!) and be ready. This is not a problem as long as you do not want to switch to Gennaker (where you need these very sheets) – the solution is to either have 4 lightwind sails sheets or to detach the lines and fit them according to the sail.

Hoisting the Code 0 sail

Either way, the sheets need to be attached of course. We did accordingly and no that everything was set up so fine we were eager to go out to test the new Code 0 sail. Weather forecast for that day was a bit mixed: Upon casting off we still had some 15 to 20 knots, in gusts up to 25 which of course is far too much wind for a sail like the Code 0. The Oceanis 30.1 needs to be reefed at 15-18 knots true so fitting a light wind sail was a no-go.

Too much wind for sure that day!

Now that we were out we used the chance to exercise all sails-related functions like furl-reefing the Genoa and one-line-reefing the main sail which is a no brainer. As usual I was impressed by the sailing performance of the Oceanis 30.1 in “heavy” winds – 6 to 7.5 knots SOG even fully reefed, still very good pointing capability and full control on the helm. She is honestly one of the best hull-rigging-combinations I have ever sailed from Beneteau. I truly love this boat and I can fully understand why the yard´s sales figures of this type are so good.

Checking weather …

Well, it turned out that forecast wasn´t that accurate on this day and the promised ease of the wind didn´t take place. After 4 hours out the sun was already setting and so we decided to return to harbour. That gave me the opportunity to re-think the concept of light wind sails: I often get the question from prospects or clients whether they should go for such a sail or not. My answer, always, is: Yes! Definitely! Sailing a Code 0 or a Gennaker is such great fun – and besides, you will encounter a lot circumstances sailing in summer when there´s just a puff. Standard sail cloth won´t help much, sailing with 3 knots SOG isn´t sailing, that´s drifting.

Code 0 or Gennaker?

Now, will you go for a Gennaker or a Code 0? Most people ask me that. The answer is pretty simple: These sails are not the same! The Gennaker is meant to perform from beam to broad reach, some can do a close reaching course and some can do near-running courses, but a Gennaker in general is a downwind sail. The Code 0 in contrary is an upwind sail. Unfortunately the strong breeze kept on blasting for the whole weekend so we had to postpone our Code 0 sea trial, but I will come up with a side-by-side comparison of Gennaker and Code 0 lightwind sail very soon!

Back in the marina: What a great day out!

So we returned the boat late in the afternoon after a perfect day out at sea. Instead of testing the Code 0 we ad trained putting in and out reefs in the main and also had a nice little match race with a 37 feet classy Beneteau – a sailing school – which came near looking for our brand new shiny white Oceanis. It was a great day out and that is the most important, I would say.


You may as well like to read these articles:

Calculated Sails Area according to CE-certification

Deceptive feet: Only trust the metric numbers!

Skipper´s essentials: Displacement/Length-Ratio