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Old 11-04-2006, 09:31   #1
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Spinnaker as Gennaker?

I got a spinnaker with a 55' luff (34' foot) along with spinnaker pole and rigging when I bought my 43' cutter. With just my wife and I on board, it's just too much hassle to work the spinnaker with the pole. I had hoped to sell the spinnaker, which is in very good shape, along with the snuffer and get a gennaker rigged with an ATC Tacker to the furling genoa but was offered on $335 from Atlantic Sails. A new gennaker ~$2600. There was a brief mention in an article I read that said you can use a spinnaker rigged as a gennaker. Anyone know if this is feasible and what the trade offs are?

Will Burton
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Old 11-04-2006, 12:54   #2
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Spinnaker

You can connect one corner of the spinnaker to the same tack point as the headsails. With a halyard a few feet short of the top of the mast ( mast head rig ) you can hoist the spinnaker inside the forestay and tack / jibe it inside the forestay. I usually only do this with my heavy spinnaker that has narrower shoulders. The pole would normally be about five feet six off the deck, so this is about the amount lower that the extra halyard should be.
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Old 11-04-2006, 13:55   #3
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North sells a "tack strap" that is similar to the ATN Tacker but is a bit cheaper. I use one of these with the light-air symmetrical spinnaker on my 34' C&C when I am single or short handing. I'm not sure the tack strap or tacker is absolutely necessary though and you could certainly try it without, as Mike suggests.

I don't use a pole in this configuration and have always jibed the sail in front of the forestay since the spin halyard on my boat is outside of the forestay. If I bring the sail through the foretriangle the halyard would get a wrap around the forestay. This requires very long sheets and it might be worth a try to use a jib halyard and tack through the foretriangle, like Mike does.

In any case, save the money and try using the symmetrical spinnaker you already have. It's a lot of fun either way and a great way to go downwind in light air.
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Old 11-04-2006, 16:31   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWms
North sells a "tack strap" that is similar to the ATN Tacker but is a bit cheaper. I use one of these with the light-air symmetrical spinnaker on my 34' C&C when I am single or short handing. I'm not sure the tack strap or tacker is absolutely necessary though and you could certainly try it without, as Mike suggests.

I don't use a pole in this configuration and have always jibed the sail in front of the forestay since the spin halyard on my boat is outside of the forestay. If I bring the sail through the foretriangle the halyard would get a wrap around the forestay. This requires very long sheets and it might be worth a try to use a jib halyard and tack through the foretriangle, like Mike does.

In any case, save the money and try using the symmetrical spinnaker you already have. It's a lot of fun either way and a great way to go downwind in light air.

But will it work other than almost dead downwind? Seems the shape will be all wrong for a broad reach, the "clew" will be way too long. And on a run, you're not able to get much of the windward leech out from behind the main since no pole. The shoulders are shaped for use with a pole, not tacked down to the stem.
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Old 11-04-2006, 16:45   #5
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No, it doesn't work as well as a traditional spinnaker setup. It is also not a likely to get you in trouble shorthanded in big wind as a traditional setup. It is also not $2,600 like a new gennaker/asymmetrical spinnaker.
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Old 11-04-2006, 17:34   #6
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I would not be so quick to be selling off your spinnaker gear. It is, of course, possible to use almost any spinnaker as a jennaker, albeit not a particularly efficient one (a spinnaker is really too "full" to work as a jennaker, being designed for optimal running rather than reaching). However, you will often see yachts with their spinnakers up, with the pole right forward, within a couple of inches of the forestay, trying to take advantage of the apparent wind generated when reaching rather than running.

However, that is not the main reason for retaining the spinnaker gear.

In running or running-reaching conditions, in my opinion, the most comfortable method of travel is with a poled-out (a.k.a. "goose-winged") headsail.
a) This is a much easier set-up than hoisting a kite
b) the boat will be more settled and stable than with a kite
c) it requires very little "tweaking" and trimming
d) it stops the headsail from flogging as it tends to want to do when running with a "free" clew.

Seriously, unless I am racing, fully crewed, I will always pole-out the headsail when running, long before I would even consider getting a spinnaker out.

You can run a poled out headsail using your genoa sheets. Many people do this. I prefer to use dedicated sheets (usually called "braces"), with a snap-shackle at the end that attaches onto the clew (no need to remove your genoa sheets). The only advantage of using a brace is that it will have a plastic bauble behind the snap-shackle and splice or knot (the plastic bauble is called a "tie ball" or "donut handle that prevents the knot or splice becoming jammed in the beak of the spnnaker pole.

Generally, when poled out, you only need to use the spinnaker pole topping life, but not the kicker (a.k.a. down-haul), unless the breeze is very variable and/or the sea is very choppy.

Anyway, I just cannot emphasise enough how comfortable & relaxing it is to be running with a poled out headsail!
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Old 11-04-2006, 19:49   #7
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If you are 'spinnaker savvy' you can fly the symmetrical spinnaker tacked to the centerline via ATN tacker, etc. using the pole to the spinn clew .... and flying the main on the lee. It all depends on how much sea is running but is OK for 'flat water' when DDW. If you have a bowsprit on your cutter, all the better to keep the spinn ventilated and stable.

$2600 for an asymmetric is about 'normal'. However, if you have a 'moderately decent' sewing machine (no need for a zig zag for a spinnaker - just use straight stitches and PECO double sided adhesive seam tape on the seams), a Sailrite spinnaker in 'kit' form for approx 1600-1700 sq. ft. would be ~$1800.00 (in 2002 prices). The sailrite folks will be able to easily customize the shape for the intended sailing angles. A spinnaker is an easy sail to make from a 'kit' even for a 'beginner'. An example:http://www.sailrite.com/PhotoGallery/photos11.htm
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Old 11-04-2006, 20:03   #8
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I agree Richhh.

Me & Kai Nui were just talking about this topic just recently. And a "decent" sewing machine would go for over $100 US dollars.

And if you could sew or repair your own sails. The costs in savings could be tremendous!!

Imagine putting the money from the savings towards other equipment upgrades?
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Old 11-04-2006, 21:34   #9
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Spinnaker

A cruising chute is designed to be flown outside the forestay as stated above. The luff is longer than a regular spinnaker. That is the best way to fly it ( outside ) and tack it in front of the forestay. But that was not the question. You can fly a regular chute inside as I have explained. It works. If the chute is a bit short on wind you can reef the main. A poled out headsail is faster than a non poled out headsail. A chute is faster than a headsail provided you are far enough off the wind. What to do depends on what sails are on board and how much money the owner wants to spend and how much pointy end work a person wants to do on the given amount of wind. Flying the chute as I have suggested can be a good option if the conditions are appropriate. Simply it is an easy way to go faster down wind, or broard reach than a headsail and a lot less work for cruising when shorthanded than using a pole. Try it yourself. I own all the sails and have tried all the above mentioned stuff. My T8.5 has a big 3/4 ounce chute and a 1 1/2 ounce chute. My T22 has a regular chute and a cruising chute. Both boats have a 170 headsail plus all the smaller sizes.
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Old 11-04-2006, 22:00   #10
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Yup, start with a cheapy but reasonable machine, next thing you're into serious $$$ savings. Even with kit sails one can save more than half the cost and produce very decent sails ... thanks to the modern cutting programs.

Ive been making my own sails for about 30+ years, including 'hand lofting' them. The strategic advantage of DIY sails is that the adage of a 'stitch in time' is very correct; so too, is the constant adjustment and alteration insight that one gains in upkeep and maintenance .... so you dont NEED new sails so damn often. The classic example is the 'shrunken boltrope in the mainsail syndrome' ... when the main gets baggy and draft aft. If you have the prior knowledge all you have to do is slip/ease the boltrope back to original dimensions and the sail will 90% be restored back to serviceable shape. If you dont have this expertise, what costs about 90 in sail twine will cost you a brand new mainsail. Pretty good choice, huh?
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Old 11-04-2006, 22:13   #11
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It certainly sure does Richhh.

I know that those "Sailrite" sewing machines can be more costly than your regular machines do.

Yeah, that is great that they have those kits. Do you have any companies that specializes with kit sails, other than "Sailrite"?

I just wanted to know if there are other out there besides them.
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Old 11-04-2006, 23:09   #12
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ebay is a good source for Pfaff and other good commercial zig zag machines. If you are so inclined to do heavy sail or canvas work I'd definitely recommend a 'walking foot' zigzag ... and Sailrite is probably the best source at this time.
As I stated in my post I can calculate and hand loft; but, the efficacy of kit sails nowadays is sooooo good that I simply use Sailrite and even that their material costs are higher. There are other kit sellers; but, I have such a good working relationship with Sailrite for the past 15 years ... that I guess that Ive developed some loyalty.

Interestingly if you buy materials often from local or commercial sources, If you look and act like a 'tradesman', pay 'cash on the barrelhead', you usually get 'trade/wholesale' prices. Act 'dumb', use a credit card ... yup, you get 'retail' prices. Anyone with a graphic program can make his/her own 'business card'. <g>
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:59   #13
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Poled Out Headsail?

Thanks to everyone for your thoughful responses. Lot's to think over. Weyalan, your suggestion of using a poled out headsail is interesting. My boat has a 150% genoa (J=20 ft). The spinnaker pole is a monster that is a "challenge" to rig with just my wife and I on board. Would a whisker pole work and, if so, what size would be appropriate?
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Old 12-04-2006, 16:19   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Burton
Thanks to everyone for your thoughful responses. Lot's to think over. Weyalan, your suggestion of using a poled out headsail is interesting. My boat has a 150% genoa (J=20 ft). The spinnaker pole is a monster that is a "challenge" to rig with just my wife and I on board. Would a whisker pole work and, if so, what size would be appropriate?
I have never used a whisker pole, but if my understanding is correct, then a whisker pole is designed specifically for the purpose of "poling-out" (or "goose-winging" the headsail. So, sure, a whisker pole is what you need. Having said that, it sounds like a pretty big whisker pole would be required to pole out a 150% genoa to full efficiency...so, sorry, but I cannot offer any recommendations...maybe someone else here can, or perhaps a chandlery would offer advice?

I have never sailed on a boat that had a whisker pole, only spinnaker poles and, occasionally a jockey pole. Personally, even with a largish spinnaker pole, if you take your time and set up right, it shouldn't be a hard job for 2-up sailing. Basically:

Assuming you are running with headsail on same side as main to start with - it is easiest to set up if you are running-reaching, rather than dead running.

1. if you are using braces (or "guys"), attach guys to headsail clew), and run back to cockpit (usually, the braces are run through a turning block on the gunwale reasonably well aft, so that the brace passes under the safety lines....using headsail sheets which pass over the safety lines will load up the safety lines)

2. Attach the inner end of the spinnaker pole to the mast

3. Attach the (spinnaker pole) topping lift

4. Attach kicker (down haul) if you are using one

5. Put relevant brace into spinnaker pole beak (i.e. if you are running with mainsail to starboard, put port brace in beak)

6. Manually lift pole (on port side of forestay) and rest it on the pulpit, take up slack in topping lift.

7. Return to cockpit and winch topping lift to bring pole to approximately horizontal.

8. Release headsail sheet and, simultaneously, pull in on opposite brace (i.e. release starboard headsail sheet, pull in on port brace)...voila!
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Old 12-04-2006, 18:41   #15
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Whisker pole

From someone that has used one, a lot, often enough to win the white sails class at least twice in the last few years. But usually I sail in the spinnaker class. The whisker pole can be shorter than J and lighter than the spinnaker pole. My J is 11 feet 6 on the T 8.5, the pole is a bit under 9 feet. They can be adjustable if you want. I just averaged the distance our for all the headsails. It is too short for the 170 and too long for the 110. Who cares. Make it adjustable if you have to. Tree trimming units at home hardware might do. You can use a pin at the sail end to poke in the clew ring. It can also poke a hole in the sail. I like a spinnaker type clasp. With a light pole you should be able to latch on to the loop in the bowline where the sheet is tied to the sail. Then connect the other end to the mast or something on deck. I also like to use a topping lift and downhaul on the whisker pole. The sail will go up and down without these, and that is waisted power. A heavy chute connected as I said earlier is still faster, but try all the different options.
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