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Old 21-09-2019, 13:27   #1
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Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

For the light winds next summer on the Chesapeake Bay I am looking to purchase a code 0 with furling gear. Talking with an experienced Bay sailor, he advised that a sock would be better and said it was a toss up between an asymmetric spinnaker and a code 0. (OK, I understand the terms are not set in concrete.)


A consideration is that I will mostly be single handling the boat. Given that, which type of sail and raising/dousing might do me best?
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Old 21-09-2019, 14:16   #2
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

Terminology: a code zero is a type of asymmetrical spinnaker. So all code zeros are asymms, but not all asymms are code zeros.

You don't want a zero as your first asymm. Get a regular general purpose asymm with a sock. Socks are simpler to deal with and handle, they also store more easily when not in use.
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Old 21-09-2019, 14:18   #3
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

Not sure I agree. I don't like flying a big asymmetric single-handed from a sock. With a top-down furler, piece of cake. It's all about being able to control, furl, and drop it from the cockpit. And I sure don't agree they're easier to store either -- my asymmetric just drops straight down into the sail locker, and once head and clew are hooked up inside the locker I just drop the tack in on top ready for next time. The tight curls of the furled spinnaker mean that it coils up tidily in the locker.
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Old 21-09-2019, 14:26   #4
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

What sort of wind speeds are you flying this big asymmetric? ours is for less than 15 knots and perhaps 3/4 the size of a spinnaker. Whilst it does take a trip up to the bow to deploy and later drop in light winds it isn't a problem single handed, but the autopilot and lots of space are essential.

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Old 21-09-2019, 14:29   #5
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

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Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
Not sure I agree. I don't like flying a big asymmetric single-handed from a sock. With a top-down furler, piece of cake. It's all about being able to control, furl, and drop it from the cockpit. And I sure don't agree they're easier to store either -- my asymmetric just drops straight down into the sail locker, and once head and clew are hooked up inside the locker I just drop the tack in on top ready for next time. The tight curls of the furled spinnaker mean that it coils up tidily in the locker.
Fair enough, both systems are good. The furler that i used had a very stiff torsion line that was hard to wrestle into the sail locker and then hard to get back out again. Once it was up, it worked very easily.

I fly a good size asymm on a 54 foot boat using a sock when sailing locally. I might prefer a furler for longer distances when the sail will see more use between hoistings.
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Old 22-09-2019, 09:10   #6
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

I leave my asym on a furler up all time, it is mounted in front of my genoa and my staysail. I pull out which ever sail I need, when not using the asym I have a cover that pulls up over it to keep sun off it. works great no stowage problems and gets used more because it is always rigged.
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Old 22-09-2019, 09:29   #7
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

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Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
Not sure I agree. I don't like flying a big asymmetric single-handed from a sock. With a top-down furler, piece of cake. It's all about being able to control, furl, and drop it from the cockpit. And I sure don't agree they're easier to store either -- my asymmetric just drops straight down into the sail locker, and once head and clew are hooked up inside the locker I just drop the tack in on top ready for next time. The tight curls of the furled spinnaker mean that it coils up tidily in the locker.
Exactly!
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Old 22-09-2019, 09:33   #8
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

Do you really want to go up on the foredeck to pull down a sock in a freshening breeze, sailing singlehanded?
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Old 22-09-2019, 09:42   #9
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

In today's sailmaking, a Code 0 is now a triangular sail with an anti torque luff rope in the luff to allow furling. Asymmetrical spinnakers are actual spinnakers with wider mid girths and no torque line in the luff. These are best used with a sleeve or top down furler.
I the situation you describe, singlehanding, I think the Code 0 on a furler would be the easiest to use and actually be used much more often than a spinnaker with top down furler or sleeve.
If built using a "Code 0" cloth, (offered by most sailcloth manufacturers) in a heavy enough weight, a light weight UV strip can be sewn on to allow this sail to remain furled for lengths of time. The furling line could be lead aft, making it a simple procedure to roll up the jib or genoa and unroll the Code 0 when needed.
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Old 22-09-2019, 09:49   #10
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

This is one of my favorite topics...
I have an asymmetric spinnaker on a sock and a furling Code 0, I fly both from the bowsprit. This season in particular we have done a lot of practice with both of them, shorthanded, single-handed, and with full crew).

Here is my experience (I understand the Code 0 is technically an asymmetric, but here I call "Asymmetric" the asymmetric spinnaker only).

Asymmetric spinnaker with sock. Initially, we did not like it too much because the sock had a tendency of getting stuck on the forestay in the jibes (this may be specific to my boat, since there is very little room between the spin halyard and the top of the forestay). However, this problem is solvable by improving the timing of the jibe and a few other tricks.

Overall, we now see the advantage of the sock when shorthanded or single-handed. With full crew, it is really a wash, because an asymmetric is not that difficult to handle the "conventional" way either, even in high wind (i.e., no sock, directly in/out of the bag).

Furling Code 0. My experience with the furling Code 0 is very different. Since it flies from the bowsprit, it has to be rigged on the dock and is kept aloft throughout the outing.

The big problem with the furling Code 0 is that the top of the sail tends to unfurl on its own the moment the wind increases. The leech of the Code 0 is rather full and does not furl tightly, so it potentially catches wind and unfurls no matter how careful you are. This problem is exacerbated in the Code 0 I have, which is cut rather poorly (I'll have it recut this winter), but is intrinsic to some extent to the shape of the sail, which has a full leech by definition). Once the sail is partially unfurled, you have no other option but to unfurl it completely and then furl it back, which may be annoying to do if you are going upwind in high winds (that's when the unfurling happens). In high wind and single-handed or short handed, the situation can easily degenerate into a battle with the Code 0 (the furling drums for Code 0, even the best ones, are relatively primitive and have a tendency to malfunction if there is stress on the furling line or the torsion line). In one occasion, we ended up having to take the sail down the "conventional" way rather than furling it. In that situation, the sail is much more difficult to handle on deck than a conventional jib, because the rigid luff does not allow to flake it as you would with a jib.

Overall, I have to say, unless you are an ultra-competitive racing sailor, I question the usefulness of the Code 0 if you have an asymmetric with a sock. The Code 0 covers some angles that the asymmetric does not, but also has a narrower wind range and does not do as well in the angles were you can fly the asymmetric. In general you'll fly the asymmetric much more. You are much better off having a larger genoa or having two asymmetrics (for example, one for low wind and one for high wind). If you have to choose only one flying sail, the Asymmetric with the sock wins hands down.

I'll have my Code 0 recut and give it one more try, but overall I would not recommend a cruising furling Code 0 (one of the high tech, extremely expensive racing Code 0, especially the new ones without a rigid torsion line, is another story, but the cost is not justifiable unless you are an ultra-competitive racing program).
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Old 22-09-2019, 10:07   #11
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

Especially for single handing I think a top down furling AS is best. The easiest to manage will be a bit flatter than you would like for racing and a bit undersize. This means shorter foot and slightly reduced hoist. Not super light but heavier than you might plan for racing. This will all help you with stability and make the thing easier to manage.

We have a zero and AS both in socks. Getting the sock down is increasingly difficult as wind picks up. This keeps us from even trying to hoist if wind is near the top end of the sail’s range.
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Old 22-09-2019, 10:23   #12
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

This is one of those "tastes great - less filling" debates (assuming your of an age to remember Miller Lite advertisements). I have two asymmetricals on furlers and have had experience with socks.

Socks are simple and generally reliable, but as many pointed out, you need to go forward to raise and lower them. If you're lowering because the wind is getting strong, that might be a problem. That said, I don't see any reason you couldn't make the infinite control loop longer and run it back to the cockpit with a few redirecting blocks.

Depending on the size and set up of your asymmetrical, furling can work nicely. We have a 1,350 sq ft A1.5 on a Seldén CX. The anti-torsion cable is separate from the sail in this situation, which makes it a little complex to set up. And it's not the tight, neat package you'd want to leave up all the time. But you can deploy and furl from the cockpit, which is a great advantage. Furling that beast is a workout. It seems it will never furl, then all of a sudden it accelerates. If you go with Seldén, I would suggest the CX (it's mostly for Code 0s but works fine for most asymmetricals). We started with a GX system. In that system, everything remains permanently attached (chute, anti-torsion cable, furling drum, line and double block). That is very heavy. We can't store it at the bow so wresting that thing forward from the cockpit locker was too challenging. I sent it back and exchanged it for a CX. With the CX, the main parts can be separated making for more, but lighter parts to carry forward. The disadvantage is it doesn't have an adjustable tack swivel option but you can control sail shape with the halyard or rig up something variable at the tack.

For smaller downwind sails, including, but not limited to Code 0s, the anti-torsion cable is sewn right in to the luff. This is a simpler set up and they furl more easily and quickly.

So to try to summarize all that:
  • Big chute and plenty of crew: sock
  • Big chute and short handed: furler with separate anti-torsion line
  • Small chute: furler with anti-torsion line sewn into luff (like a Code 0)
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Old 22-09-2019, 10:56   #13
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

I fly a gennacker as often as possible single handed. I have a snuffer sock but removed it because of jams. I now simply rig without the sock and hoist and douse when blanketed by the main, all done from the cockpit with great ease and control and the sail ends up in a companion way bag. If I had the room and a permanent bow sprit I would go for the Furling set up and agree with the supporters of this system, 'If its rigged I'll use it more" .

But one other system has caught my interest and is a simple install compared to the furling system. Deckchute...here is a link with all the info and nice comprehesive video.

DeckChute - MyBoatsGear.com
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Old 22-09-2019, 11:19   #14
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

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Especially for single handing I think a top down furling AS is best. The easiest to manage will be a bit flatter than you would like for racing and a bit undersize. This means shorter foot and slightly reduced hoist. Not super light but heavier than you might plan for racing. This will all help you with stability and make the thing easier to manage.

We have a zero and AS both in socks. Getting the sock down is increasingly difficult as wind picks up. This keeps us from even trying to hoist if wind is near the top end of the sail’s range.
Actually, getting the sock down in high wind is simply a question of practice. The way you ease the working sheet matters a lot. Also, ease the tack line somewhat to bring the spinnaker behind the main, then pull the sock down.
We have experimented a lot on how much tack line to ease, if you simply blow the tack line as many people do (same for the sheet), it is not as easy, the trick in high wind is to just deflate the spinnaker without having it go wild. Practice with the tack line a few times, and then mark how much to ease.

Also, what other postings are saying about having to send a crew forward to pull the sock is true but can be made easier and safer with practice. We have found that the best position for the crew is kneeling or sitting on deck two or three feet forward of the mast. They should not have to "fight" the sock to come down, it is the spinnaker that has to be deflated properly in the shadow of the main. Then they pull the sock down, temporarily cleat the control line (so the sock does not open by itself), grab the spinnaker and pull it towards the mast for the take down. If you are single-handed, have a clutch for the tack line at the mast, rather than all the way back in the cockpit.

It is truly a matter of practicing it. Initially, we were so uncomfortable with the sock that we were using the spinnaker without the sock (since we had a lot of practice with "conventional" asymmetric on other boats), but now that we have figured out the maneuver, the sock makes it easier and reliable when shorthanded.
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Old 22-09-2019, 11:38   #15
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Re: Sock or furling? Asymmetric or code 0?

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I fly a gennacker as often as possible single handed. I have a snuffer sock but removed it because of jams. I now simply rig without the sock and hoist and douse when blanketed by the main, all done from the cockpit with great ease and control and the sail ends up in a companion way bag. If I had the room and a permanent bow sprit I would go for the Furling set up and agree with the supporters of this system, 'If its rigged I'll use it more" .

But one other system has caught my interest and is a simple install compared to the furling system. Deckchute...here is a link with all the info and nice comprehesive video.

DeckChute - MyBoatsGear.com
Deckchute is an interesting idea, it is basically the adaptation to big boats of what is used in skiffs with large asymmetric (like the 49er). After watching the videos, though, I am skeptical, as there seems to be a lot of friction and power on the drop line that goes through the chute during the take down. Also, the sail goes into the chute at a weird angle. We sail a 49er as well in addition to a larger boat, and when the drop line gets at an angle and there is friction, it is a battle to get the sail into the chute. The 49er has a big asymmetric for the boat, but still much smaller than an asymmetric on a 40 footer, so I am skeptical of the forces in play in a larger boat.

I would be curious to try the system, though, it is interesting. Anybody has direct experience with it on a 40 footer or larger boat?
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