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Old 21-04-2010, 12:15   #1
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Twistle Rigs

I've been reading about twistle rigs for downwind sailing. Can you get the same effect on a cutter with the jib poled out to one side and the staysail poled out on the other? Do the benefits of this rig (e.g. less rolling) require both sails to be on the same stay?
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Old 21-04-2010, 12:16   #2
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Give it a try and tell us!
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Old 21-04-2010, 12:29   #3
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I can't because I do not have a twistle rig as a basis for comparison.
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Old 21-04-2010, 13:06   #4
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I think one of the benefits of the twistle rig is that the sails are so close to being equal in size and drive. This makes sheet to tiller steering practicable. I imagine that with a cutter this could be achieved by tying the sheets to the tiller with different moment-arms, since the staysail and jib will have totally different amounts of drive.
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Old 21-04-2010, 13:07   #5
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The proper Twistle (or Twizzle) Rig, uses two poles coupled in front of (not to) the mast. I've only tried a twin headsails with poles-to-mast arrangement, but can comment on that.

And, I can only compare this to the wing-and-wing configuration, with a poled-out genoa to port (for example) and the main out on to starboard. I've not tried poling out my staysail. My staysail is probably too small to provide the power, or the effective balance I would want.

I spent a couple days running twin headsails in 2008, halfway home from Hawaii and coming over the top of the Pacific High. I have a twin-groove furling foil on the headstay, so using a spare halyard I hoisted my spare genoa. If I had wanted to furl the genoa I would have had to first drop the second headsail. I had a telescoping whisker pole to port, and used a snatch block at the end of the boom to hold out the starboard genoa sheet (my spin pole was broken):

(more photos of the rig here: VALIS)

I found the twin-headsail configuration to be very forgiving and comfortable. With a strong breeze and seas on the quarter, the wing and wing genoa/main arrangement gave us a lot of rolling and yawing. The center of effort for the main is well aft and to starboard, while the center of effort of the genoa is forward and to port. This gives a strong turning force. Combined with the swells it was a very uncomfortable ride. Switching to twin headsails gave us a much more balanced rig, and the forces are naturally working to keep us pointed downwind. There was much less rolling and we sailed a straighter course.

I am considering having a twin headsail made, so I can run it up the furler (after dropping the regular headsail). This way I could reef/furl both sails if the wind picks up.

I'm not sure what effect the pole arrangement of the genuine twizzle would give, but it should be similar in most conditions.
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Old 21-04-2010, 15:46   #6
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One thought was that I could order a larger, light weight sail for the inner forestay and sheet it through a block at the end of the boom. Like my staysail, it would be hank on. I could roll up the Genoa to approximate its size and use a whisker pole there.

I think it would be too much of a pita to remove the Genoa and replace it with a twin headsail under my current cruising conditions (NE coastal). If I were making a 20 day trade wind run, it would be a different story, but my longest downhill run would be from New London CT to the Cape Cod Canal.

I can use my asymetrical in light air. But what if it is blowing 20-30, as it often does on Rhode Island sound?
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Old 21-04-2010, 17:44   #7
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Yeah, the configuration I used hardly lends itself to quick rigging and unrigging. We practiced with it on San Francisco bay, but unless I anticipate keeping it flying a long time, or for some reason am highly motivated, I'm probably not going to bother with it.

A spinnaker gives more downwind drive, but is inherently unstable and requires a lot of the helmsman or autopilot to avoid crashing in heavy air. The twin-genoa is much more forgiving.

A headsail/staysail combo would probably be more stable than the wing-and-wing genoa/main combo, but on my boat I don't think it would be worth it -- my staysail stay is pretty short. For brief runs unless I'm racing with a crew I'm going to go wing and wing.
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Old 21-04-2010, 20:00   #8
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As far as twin headsails, you can have two identical built with a single luff rope. You can join the clues to gether and use it as a normal headsail or use a seperate sheet for each sail and pole them out on either side. Probably not a super effiecient fore and aft sail but you get to use the sail on more than just a downwind run. We only ran poled out jibs for four days in close to a 100 days of passage sailing. Having a single purpose downwind sail built isn't the best economics.

I didn't like running DDW with two jibs poled out. The boat tended to roll a lot when their was a cross wave system running. The twizzle rig is supposed to alleviate this a bit because of the freestanding nature of the poles. It takes either a very long extendable pole or two poles lashed together. When two poles are used, chafe is an issue on the lashings and poles where they join
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Old 29-04-2010, 15:01   #9
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We used a twizzle rig for several thousand miles and some info is here.which may help. It doesn't stop all rolling as funny waves will always knock you about but it does stop the dreaded metronome rolling day in day out.

It took about an hour to rig and strike in the open ocean where you spend a lot of time holding on! haha.
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Old 29-04-2010, 15:47   #10
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G'Day all,

Another approach:
In the old (pre roller furling) days on Insatiable I we often would hoist two headsails, usually the #1 and #3 genoas. Only having one pole, we'd pole out the windward sail and free-fly the other. Then we'd put two reefs into the main (to make it really flat) and sheet it amidships where it acted as a roll-damper. Worked well for many miles in the trades.

Now on I-two, which is fractional rigged with a solent stay, in light to moderate airs we sail wing and wing with the genoa poled to windward and the stays'l (really a #4 jib) free flying to leeward. The swept back spreaders keep us from getting the main very far out, so again it serves as a roll damper to some degree. Gets a lot of sail area up without the work required for our kinda big masthead kite.

Cheers

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Coasters Retreat, NSW, Oz
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