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Old 11-09-2011, 21:15   #1
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Back to Decision-Making Mode (Dual Headsails)

a few weeks ago, after some excellent advice here, i decided to return my sloop to her previous cutter rigging. i will be doing a lot of long range and single handing and will never fly a spinnaker.

today i unfurled the jib (which the PO was nice enough to leave on the furler for 10 years) and found a 2nd head sail. it looks / feels like a spinnaker and is a bit smaller than the jib. i didnt completely unfurl the sails so idk how they attach.

while taking a closer look at the rigging, it will be more work that i thought / hoped to get back to a yankee and stay.

before today, i had never even heard of dual head sails.

i am guessing the 2nd is only flown down wind and with a spinnaker pole?

is there a compelling argument to stick with dual head sails or should i stick to the current plan of returning to a cutter.

any thoughts and opinions will be greatly appreciated.

thx.

-steve
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:03   #2
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Re: back to decision making mode (dual headsails)

You can have both when the cutter stay is fairly close to the jib stay. First of all, Google "twin head sails and setups and designs" to see how old timers did this; before the advent of cruising spins, this was the preferred downwind option in the trades.

It's fallen from favour due to the fiddliness, cost and effort involved in having twin poles out, but once set, you can go literally for days in some areas without touching a line.

Back to having "both": It's possible to have a) twin head stays with two hanks, b) twin foils with matching sails and poles, or c) poled out port on jib stay and poled out starboard on staysail stay, or vice-versa.

Obviously, you'd want a reduced head sail the same area as the staysail for balance. That might involve a separately hoisted sail on the jib, or a partially furled sail. Depends on the boat and the sail, but other cutter owners and your sailmaker can advise.

A cutter is versatile and safer in some respect for the short-handed cruiser as you can bail on the powerful jib when the wind rises and stay farther inboard in sail handling and sail effort. A cutter-rigged ketch might be the best option, but we aren't talking about that here.

A lot of cruisers until the 1990s used this technique and many still swear by it. For me, I will have the ability to do this, because it'll allow me to have a lot of power when it's too blowy to run an assymetrical cruising chute (above, say, 15 knots). The cruising chute is easier to handle, but won't stand up to higher winds or partial, cycling collapses as the wind is blanketed by following waves higher than the stern, leaving you with the option to bag it and fly twins up to the mid-20s in true wind speed.

With a 41 footer (same as me), you want all the options you can afford in sail handling over distances, I feel. Stuff rips, stuff breaks. Doesn't mean you can't keep going!
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:19   #3
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Re: back to decision making mode (dual headsails)

I sail a cutter and find it very versatile especially in heavy weather and advocate it on cruising boats.

Every time I set a downwind rig I ask myself,

"How will I de-rig it and sail back to windward if a crew member goes
overboard and the engine fails to start?"

When I rig main with a boom brake and jib or staysail with a properly rigged pole I know, we practice, that we can be de-rigged and be sailing back to windward in 2 mins even short handed.

With two jibs and two poles on one roller and no main that is just not going to happen.

I prefer convenience in emergencies over convenience!
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:06   #4
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Re: back to decision making mode (dual headsails)

Dual head sails are a fine idea but at times poorly implemented. If you have two extra long poles (longer than those for the spinnaker) then two poled out jibs are a way to sail downwind.

Remember that you will need ample SA sailing downwind so judge your options against this factor too.

Depending on the boat, sailing with the main out on preventer and the genoa poled out is an option too. Again, an extra long pole works best.

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Old 12-09-2011, 08:15   #5
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Re: back to decision making mode (dual headsails)

it's called a Twizzle rig.

shouldn't be too hard to find via google.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:35   #6
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Re: back to decision making mode (dual headsails)

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
it's called a Twizzle rig.

shouldn't be too hard to find via google.
I think it is called twizzle when the poles are free floating and joined before the mast, right?

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Old 12-09-2011, 09:53   #7
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Re: Back to Decision-Making Mode (Dual Headsails)

after reading up, i understand the function but am still 50-50 on the value

if i understand correctly, it is an spinnaker alternative requiring the same (approx) amount of effort to fly the sail? albeit smaller and easier to fly as it is already connected to the furler.

If that is a correct understanding the cutter rig plan is certainly the way i want to go.

thx.

-steve
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:51   #8
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Re: Back to Decision-Making Mode (Dual Headsails)

It's a spinnaker alternative for higher winds, as even a modest cruising spi likely is larger in area than a poled-out yankee jib and staysail put together.

I personally would not like to leave a spinnaker up for days unless the wind was exceedingly predictable and did not go over a certain apparent speed.

However, it's interesting to note that "twin headsails" could include combos like a poled out genoa, a spinnaker sheeted to a preventered boom end, and a triple-reefed main to let the air keep the genny filled, as described here.

The Pacific Crossing



Others use two genoas on a twin-luff foil, like S/V Valis:



The sort of thing I was mentioning as a cutter-specific method is like this:



and is described as "not good for light air, fine for heavier (20+ knots). (see TELL-TALES | Rod Heikell's very informal site on sailing around bits of the world and an eclectic collection of things nautical or nearly so.)

So there's merit in the twins idea, but a good half-dozen ways to implement it.
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:06   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
I think it is called twizzle when the poles are free floating and joined before the mast, right?
That's often the case, where a sort of universal joint holds the base of the poles together. However, the term is also used whenever twin jibs share a common luff tape, even when only one of them ends up being poled out. A variation is "Twistle." I think there have been arguments before on this forum about which name is proper.

I have a double-track foil, so it's possible to twizzle with two jibs and a whisker pole, should I ever have to go DDW for a long stretch. Personally, however, I prefer a deep broad reach with the gennaker.
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:33   #10
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Re: Back to Decision-Making Mode (Dual Headsails)

other than the cost of an additional sail, is there any down side?

i could, in theory, revert to the cutter rig with a yankee and 'whatever this 2nd sail is called' on the front and conventional staysail which would give me the best of both worlds (high wind and ddw)... right?

would this be a yankee, yankee and 2nd sail or yankee and stay configuration only or is there a case when i might fly all 3?

-steve
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:54   #11
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Re: Back to Decision-Making Mode (Dual Headsails)

I don't see where flying all three would work. I do see where twin tape-luff sails on a twin foil would work. Look on the net and you'll see that some people have even got twin furlers.

An alternative to this of course is the Solent rig. Solent Rig | Cruising World
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Old 12-09-2011, 13:05   #12
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Re: Back to Decision-Making Mode (Dual Headsails)

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other than the cost of an additional sail, is there any down side?
They can tend to roll a bit more than you would role with a conventional downwind setup. The other downside is that they're not as powerful as a spinnaker. You sacrifice performance for safety and ease of use.
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Old 12-09-2011, 14:51   #13
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Re: Back to Decision-Making Mode (Dual Headsails)

i think i will just look into the cost of a new sail / furler and decide if it is a viable option.

i cant really go wrong with rigging the stay. this seems like a reason option for getting the added DDW benefit.

thanks for the info.

-s
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