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Building a Parking Sail

by Gary Swangler

Last update: January 3, 1997 (Copied from old J/30 website)


Anyone who has ever cruised a J/30 and anchored in their favorite secluded harbor knows that they will be subject to a constantly changing view. A fin keel boat, as opposed to a full keel boat, will not sit in any kind of breeze when anchored. This swinging back and forth causes many problems, the worst of which include wrapping the anchor line around the keel (always carry an empty Clorox bottle), and dragging your anchor (to set your alarm off at 3:00 a.m., of course!).

And by now, all J/30 owners have at least one mainsail collecting dust in the basement, never to be seen or used again. The “Parking Sail” offers a simple and cheap solution to two problems: sailing at anchor and using an old mainsail. Total cost of the sail is about $30.

Needed materials and tools:

  • 1 Old Mainsail (we all have plenty of these!)
  • 6 1/2-in. grommets
  • 6 Dog clips
  • 6 Shackels
  • 1 1/2-in. grommet tool
  • 1 Soldering iron (to seal foot of sail)

The sail is attached to the backstay with dog clips (see photo). The main halyard is used to hoist, back stay adjuster gives tension, and a reefing line is tied to the clew. Hoist the sail backwards, that is bolt rope along the back stay.

Please be aware that the “Parking Sail” cannot be on board while racing – J/30 class rules set a limit of five sails on board.

This sail works wonderfully well, as tested this past Memorial Day Weekend. While Big Kahuna continually checked out all scenery in the anchorage, Twilight Zone stayed put nicely!

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