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Old 08-07-2012, 15:06   #16
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Re: Spinakers, single handed?

G'Day all,

Impossible? Well, not really! Fraught with Murphy opportunities? Too right, mate!

Back in the early 80's I did 4 years of single-hand racing out of SF Bay in my Yankee-30. We did the full OYRA schedule back then, starting last (just after the MORA fleet) so the we wouldn't kill any normal sailors. I had both a conventional kite and what was then called a Flasher... a sort of asymmetrical thing. Used a home designed and built snuffer on each of them and flew them at any time that I would have done so with a crew. I did snuff for gybing... didn't have remotes for autopilots in those days, and I couldn't figger out any way to be steering and on the foredeck manhandling the pole at the same time!

Most of the time it worked fine, but there were a few hiccups, many of them caused by the "Demon of the South Tower" (a big wind eddy that lurks around that bit of real estate near the south end of the Golden Gate bridge). Finished more than one race with the kite wrapped around the forestay, and once had a protracted knockdown just inside that tower when I couldn't get the preventer uncleated after an accidental gybe. That was when I learned that having a sharp knife in your pants pocket when wearing foulies caused some operational difficulties! Envision boat on its side, kite full of water, me standing on the cockpit coaming frantically unzipping jacket, struggling with suspenders, lowering trousers and finally reaching the knife, and then realizing that I had to get the trousers back up before I could get to the preventer. That was scary, even to a young and foolish sailor!

So, my message is that flying a kite on your own is certainly possible, can be fun, does require a snuffer and an autopilot that you trust to steer competently whilst you are on the foredeck, and can result in SNAFUS and FUBARS... just like when you have a crew on board.

Do start out in flat water and light winds, though!



Jim and Ann
s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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Old 08-07-2012, 15:29   #17
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Boat: Hedley Nicol Vagabond MK2, 37'
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Re: Spinakers, single handed?

I should also point out a cat or tri is a lot easier to fly a chute on, no death rolls, no pole, lots of room etc.....Smaller is easier, as are asymmetrics. On my mono we could get the deep downwind angles by going wing and wing with the mainboom opposite the chute in addition to the both on the same side deep reaches.

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