On May 25, we posted a story about Steve Gordon’s Alden 50 ELENA and how a new all-purpose headsail from UK Sailmakers had exceeded Steve’s expectations during the 2019 Edlu Race. Steve and his sailing partner, Ron Weiss, took ELENA out for last weekend’s Around Block Island Race and found that this jib exceeded expectations...again. It’s rare in sailing that one size fits all; but Steve, Ron and the crew of ELENA are two-for-two. After winning first in class, first in fleet and best overall performance, here are Ron’s comments on the race and the sail:
“ELENA is basically a one-jib boat so we had asked UK Sailmakers to build us a genoa that would both sail upwind and reach. Our only other headsail is a heavy weather staysail, so we needed a genoa that could cover the range of wind conditions from 0 to 25+ and act as a jib and a quasi-Code 0. This year's Block Island Race gave us exactly that: 0-25+ and we had the sail up the entire time with the exception of a period of light air DDW running in Block Island Sound.
“The light X-Drive construction and structural rigidity of the cloth gave it shape in the lighter air, and since it was designed with more camber in order to be a close reaching genoa (as opposed to being optimized for upwind/close hauled work), we found it was very effective at the lower end of the range. That said, in the higher wind ranges, that thing is a beast. We were sailing in high 20's AWS with a reefed main for the entire leg from the Gut to the finish in Stamford. These were the exact Bermuda-like conditions we expect in the Marion Bermuda Race, and the results of this race were very encouraging: First in class, First in Fleet (PHRF) and Best Overall Performance!
“We also found that the double headsail rig with the staysail (we just found out the staysail is an original 1986 sail from when the boat was built, but a new UK one is on order!) and the UK #2 were a fantastic combination when slightly cracked off. We could really power up the boat while maintaining a balanced helm, and by playing the in-mast roller reefing main we could fine-tune things when we were going through sustained periods of high breeze, or lulls - if you can call 18-20 knots lulls! We are very much looking forward to doing the Marion Bermuda Race, and we certainly hope that this year's conditions match what this sail was built for. If the weather is right for it, we think we can expect another tremendous performance.”
One size may not always fit all situations when sailing; but ask UK Sailmakers to help you sort out your sail inventory to optimize your performance.