The Code 0 is really a crossover sail, filling the gap between today’s small racing jibs and your true downwind sail inventory, and is sure to take your program to the next level. Read on to discover what type of racing Code 0 is right for you.
Over the past 20 years, racing boats have by and large gone from using genoas to jibs, making them underpowered in light air and just cracked off the breeze. To fill this gap in the racing sail inventory, the Code 0 was born.
The Code 0 has characteristics of an upwind sail—indeed, you’ll still see Volvo Ocean Race boats sailing upwind with huge gennaker-like sails—however the racing Code 0 is classified as a downwind sail. The downwind sail classification restricts sail design, requiring a midgirth of at least 75% of the foot length and a leech that is no more than 95% of the luff length.
Ideally, every racing boat would carry two Code 0s: A flatter, lower-clewed Code 0 for sailing on a closer reach in light wind conditions, and a deeper, higher-clewed sail for broad reaching in slightly higher breeze. Both of these sails can be tacked onto the bow or onto a prod. Most boats will of course only carry one, so it’s important to discuss how you’d like to use the sail with your designer.
How and When to Use the Code 0
The Code 0 is generally not ideal for buoy racing; long distance races are where this sail shines. Use the Code 0 any time you’re in light air between your jib and your first point of sail with your spinnaker. In four to eight knots sailing just off the breeze, you’re into Code 0 territory.
Your Code 0 should live on a top-down furler so that as soon as you crack off it’s ready to go. You may give up a few degrees to keep the sail full, but you’ll be much faster at that angle than with any other sail on the boat.
“It’s all about VMG to the mark. You may be willing to go 20 degrees down from where you were; put the Code 0 up and you’ll be going way faster than you were 15 degrees off with your jib,” says Quantum’s VP of Product Integration and sail designer Doug Stewart.
If your Code 0 is designed for a closer reach, it should be sheeted into the boat while sails designed for broad reaching will be sheeted outboard to the back of the boat similar to a spinnaker and require the use of a twing to keep the luff from flapping.
Mistakes to Learn From
The most common mistake made with a Code 0 is trying to carry it in too heavy a breeze at too close of an angle. The Code 0 is a large, deep sail compared to a jib or genoa, and when it’s overpowered, the boat just leans over. Not only do you risk blowing up the sail, but it also makes it very difficult to take down safely, even with the furler.
That’s why it’s important to know your crossovers and to stick with them: Go out on an average day with your regular crew, and practice switching between the jib, the Code 0, and the spinnaker, and be diligent about recording the wind speed and angles.
“If you look at the top racing programs, they live by their crossovers,” says Stewart.
Between the sheet, twing, and luff tension there’s a lot to play with to get the most performance out of the Code 0 and the boat.
“When you’re going downwind, there are huge gains to be had not only in where the boat is pointing but in how the sail is trimmed,” says Stewart. “You see a lot of people actually relax when they’re going down wind; that’s maybe the biggest mistake that you can make.”
But Don't Take It From Us...
Doug Evans’ J/109 Time Out finished first in section and third overall in the 2015 Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac—a race dominated by light, patchy, and shifting wind conditions. He credits his success to a new Quantum Code 0 he’d acquired shortly before the race, which they used from just after the start until well into Saturday night.
“The Code 0 that TJ Craig and Kerry Klingler recommended was invaluable, and it helped us build a huge lead,” he says.
So if you’re looking to take your racing program to the next level, it might be time to consider adding a Code 0 to your sail quiver. Give us a call to discuss what kind of sail is right for you.
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