Steve Gordon’s Alden 50 ELENA needed a new headsail but he was asking for a lot — He asked for a good light-weight reaching genoa that would power the boat in this summer’s Marion to Bermuda Race; but this sail couldn’t be a “One Trick Pony.” After the race he wanted the sail to be used as the genoa on his furler that would be used all summer for daysailing and cruising. Plus the cost of this lightweight, racing-winning durable cruising sail couldn’t break the bank since there were many other boat details that required his financial attention. That’s a lot to ask from one genoa, so he asked UK Sailmakers for a solution...a magic bullet, as it were.
UK created a custom designed, high-clewed X-Drive® genoa for ELENA with more camber than a traditional Light No. 1 for power and better reaching. The high-clew sail sheets better when reaching and X-Drive gave Steve a fast, durable, and light sail that left something in the bank. After ELENA returns from the Marion-to-Bermuda Race, UK will add UV protective covers on the leech and foot for roller furling.
So, you may ask, how did this new sail turn out? Well, Steve used it for the first time in Larchmont Yacht Club Edlu Race – a 32-miler on Long Island Sound. The leg out and back were close reaches and ELENA’s performance excelled using the sail. Here’s what Steve had to say, “I love the new sail. I’m able to point higher than expected and it works great off the wind, too. But I thought it came with a guarantee of wind for the entire race...forty-five more minutes and we’d have won the whole thing!”
Ron Weiss, who is Steve’s co-skipper said, “I just wanted to send you a personal note of thanks for the fantastic job you and the loft did with our new "secret weapon." The Edlu provided perfect test conditions with AWS of 15 knots or more and at a 60-70 Apparent wind angle. We found the sail provided a tremendous amount of drive, minimal heel, and the perfect amount of twist in almost all settings. We often sheeted it to the rail, and I'm very impressed with both the sweet spot of the sail, and its sailing ability close to the wind. While ELENA will never be an upwind machine, the sail performed upwind better than the old Dacron sail did, so I think it will be Steve's go-to, daily-use sail; which is exactly the brief we gave you and you delivered on it in spades. We can't wait to see the new staysail and how she performs in a double headsail configuration.”
Photos courtesy of Howard McMichael