Cruising Code 0: For All the Angles In Between

The cruising Code 0 is designed to be a forgiving sail, for light air on close angles, at broad angles in heavier breeze, and all the angles in between.

February 10, 2016
code 0
The Code 0 is a versatile sail that isn’t just for the racers anymore. Quantum Sails

The Code 0 for cruising monohull sailboats is a full sail, shaped like an asymmetrical spinnaker, and furls easily on a top-down furling system. While the midgirth of the racing Code 0 is restricted to at least 75% of the foot length, the cruising version of the sail has no restrictions, giving the sailmaker a lot of leeway in design.

“You can make the midgirth anywhere from 55% to 75% of the foot length, allowing you to make them very deep and very flat,” says Quantum’s VP of Product Integration and sail designer Doug Stewart.

Many cruisers are intimidated by downwind sails, especially when sailing shorthanded or with inexperienced guests. The Code 0 is perfect for cruising boats because it is easily deployed on its furler and has a UV strip to protect it during a whole weekend or several days of use so that it doesn’t have to be taken down. “We find people will use this headsail more than any other on their boat,” says Stewart.


How and when to use the Code 0

The sail can be used at relatively tight angles in light air, and at very broad angles in heavier air. “It will take you through more wind angles than any other sail on the boat. Your kite is for downwind, your genoa is for upwind; the Code 0 is for all the angles in between,” Stewart says.

Rob Greven of the Netherlands-based Spirit Yachting first added a Code 0 to his sail inventory in 2009. “I was looking for a sail within my budget, easy in handling, good performance and reliable, and covering most of the wind angles.”


Now he says, he uses the sail on his Beneteau Oceanis 46 Spirit with clients and with his crew, on everything from short day trips to long-distance singlehanded racing—even the Rolex Fastnet race.

“We don’t carry a big genoa, so we use the Code 0 in light winds upwind—depending on the wind, up to around 40 degrees AWA. In the wind range of seven to eight knots, it’s possible to make seven to eight knots of boat speed. Even with our cruiser, it offers excellent performance.”

Greven says the versatility of the sail even extends to downwind running in stronger breeze between 18 to 24 knots at an angle of 160 to 170 degrees. “I’m able to sail light on the helm and with good control.”


He also carries a Quantum Vision Code 3 for downwind sailing with a full crew, but says the Code 0 is easier to use when sailing short- or singlehanded. “Since the sail is a little smaller and flatter than the V3, it’s a perfect sail for shorthanded sailing, even in stronger winds. It is better on the helm and easier to furl away,” says Greven.

Taking care of the sail

While the cruising Code 0 is designed with a protective UV cover, that cover is still very light. It will easily survive several days of use, but if you won’t be on the boat for a week or more, take the sail down, put it in its bag, and store it down below. Also, as with any sail furled on a torsional rope, if a storm blows through, there’s nothing to stop the sail from opening up. So if inclement weather is approaching, get the sail off the deck.


Greven would be the first to recommend the Code 0 to other cruisers, but says the sail sells itself.

“Last autumn, I sailed a singlehanded regatta, several days from one place to another. I almost only used the Code 0 in light winds and got a lot of positive response from other sailors.”

So while choosing a new sail for your inventory depends largely on what kind of sailing you want to optimize for, be sure to check out the Code 0. The versatility of the sail, combined with ease of use may very well prove to be the next best sail on your list.

This cruising tip has been brought to you by Quantum Sails.


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