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Old 28-10-2007, 15:37   #1
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Salutory experience

So, Lisa & I were away on the good ship Insatiable for the weekend. After motoring the first 20 minutes or so, to charge the batteries, we decided, since we had a light breeze from behind, to hoist a spinnaker. It was great; we put up the 1/2oz and killed the motor and were running quite nicely at 4.5 knots, comfortable as could be.

The breeze freshened a little, so we accelerated to 5.5 - 6 knots. great stuff. It freshened a little more... 8 knots, then 8.5 knots - whee! We carried that breeze all the way to our destination. One of the faster trips we have had, and very comfortable.

The problem, as we discovered, was getting the damn thing down! Usually, of course, you drop the kite in the lee of the main, and usually, you have more than 2 people on board to facillitate the drop. 2-up and no mainsail... let me tell you it is quite a handful in a fresh breeze!

We did get it down, but it was extremely difficult. I'm 6'1" and weigh 250 lbs and it took all my strength to pull it down (Lisa was steering and easing the halyard and brace). And really, there was probably only 12 or 13 knots of breeze blowing, but it is a big kite.

The moral is that we will be thinking twice before we set a kite without the main up, 2-up, or we will have a definite plan of a sheltered spot into which we can sail (under spinnaker) and drop it in a lee. We were lucky - if the breeze had freshened much more, we would probably have had to "prawn trawl" to get the dam thing down, and that is a good way to break a spinnaker (they make damn fine sea anchors!).

A lesson learned (but damn; it sure was a fun ride).
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Old 28-10-2007, 17:35   #2
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We have had ours up and down two handed. One technique we found useful was to bear up on a training run and release more halyard. This way the spin is floating above the water but almost all the wind is out of it. Then haul the leeward (guy side) from teh cockpit. Trying to haul it in with pressure in it is a non-starter.

With a little practice you'll figure out how far you can lower the halyard and not have it dip in.
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Old 28-10-2007, 17:54   #3
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What you really needed was a sock.



http://www.spinnakershop.com/Spinnaker%20Sock.htm

They are a bit spendy but well worth it once your set up. Doing single handing it'll be a necessity for me once I head out.

One of the few reasons I don't run the spinnaker are the winds are radical here. One minute a light breeze, 15 minites later it'll be gusting at 25 kt................_/)
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Old 28-10-2007, 18:58   #4
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I agree with the sock. I've done it both ways shorthanded and with the sock it is so much easier.
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Old 28-10-2007, 20:44   #5
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I wish I could afford a sock, but what with all the other refit expenses (and they are myriad), that is low on the priority list. Frankly, it was slightly foolish to fly the kite in the first place, we would have been safer and almost as fast with our big #1 headsail poled out, and then dousing wouldn't have been any issue at all...
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Old 31-10-2007, 07:53   #6
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Make your own

It is not a big deal to make a sock. Any sailmaker/boat canvas type can whip one up for you in a few hours if you have the dimensions handy.
The difference it makes in ease of handling easily makes up for the cost.

seer
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Old 31-10-2007, 14:30   #7
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FWIW, the local "greybeard jury" at my yacht club reckons that the best way to go in my situation would have been to ease the pole forward (which I did) and then spike the brace (i.e. release the clew fat the end of the pole), then pull the kite in on the lazy brace...
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