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Old 20-07-2014, 08:25   #1
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Is there a Good Downwind Sail that's Easy to Manage for 2 People?

Hello all,

We are doing the ARC atlantic rally this Nov.
Our experience is growing daily but we both know our limits and try to stay well within them.

I've read a lot about Parasails, etc, and while they do sound great, and I'm sure work very well, I've also read that they are extremely powerful and can be hard work for crews to take down if the wind picks up.

I was wondering what people think to this? And if there's a sail out there that can aid us for downwind sailing, but is safe for two people to handle.

Our boat is a Hanse 385 so she's quite lightweight.

Regards,
Simon
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Old 20-07-2014, 10:45   #2
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

A socked drifter with a pole would be a good bet. Lightweight and possibly used wing and wing with your 'usual' headsail.


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Old 20-07-2014, 10:55   #3
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

If you apply sensible limits for wind speed, a spinnaker is easily managed by two, especially if you use a sock/snuffer. The hard bit is rigging the pole etc, but once thats done, the rest is easy.
I've managed the spinnaker single handed, but not something I would like to do too often, but with two, no problem, just watch the weather, and if you start to feel concerned, thats the time to douse it.
Sorry, I dont know if you already have a spin.pole.
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Old 20-07-2014, 11:03   #4
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

If you really don't want to deal with a spinnaker then a larger drifter flown with a genoa for light air and a double headsail rig like the twizzle rig for heavier air.
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Old 20-07-2014, 11:20   #5
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

I haven't tried this sail personally but I have done a lot of research on it and every report I read gives the sail a really good reference. I will go down this road for my new boat, which will be short handed when we sail. I am even thinking of having one for the mizen for night sailing.

It is expensive but I think worth it.

Parasailor - ISTEC - The Downwind Company

Enjoy the ARC.
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Old 20-07-2014, 11:42   #6
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

Maybe one of these. They are smaller and easier to handle than a spinnaker and are meant to be furled rather than kept in a sock. Even so, you could use a sock.

Utility Power Sail | UPS | Cruising Spinnaker by Doyle Sailmakers

Doyle are not the only company making this type of sail.
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Old 20-07-2014, 13:44   #7
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

or a Parasail Wingaker
we went with a parasailor but these seem pretty similar and a fair bit less expensive
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Old 20-07-2014, 13:59   #8
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

The go to for this is a asymetric spinnaker on a top down furler ideally with a fixed prod, or a nice bow overhang. Much easier than asymetrical, everything can be run to the cockpit, and while I wouldn't leave it furled and up in a storm, it can be left on the prod and hoisted while the weather is nice.
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Old 20-07-2014, 18:26   #9
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

I have had great results with a removable solent stay and a hank on drifter. Pole out the Genoa to windward and sheet the drifter of the main boom to leeward. If money is no object put the drifter on a removable continuous line furler. I prefer some sort of light drifter to a asymetric because it can be used to windward, is less likely to wrap a Genoa and doesnt get shaken about so badly in sloppy conditions with light winds. I love a symetrical kite for smooth inshore waters, but find the two headsails wing and wing is much better in light sloppy conditions. And not much (if any) slower with my overlength pole.
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Old 20-07-2014, 19:32   #10
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

Try not to lose control of a spinnaker's sheets. This sailor suspended his race to drop into a marina to straighten out his mess (should have been able fix this without a marina).



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Old 20-07-2014, 19:41   #11
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

An asym. with sock is really simple to handle single handed. Would beeves easier with two people. Use a spinnaker pole with lift and fore and aft guys for way off the wind work. They are easier to jibe if set on a bowsprit. Without s sprit or being tacked in front of the headstay, you have to pull the sock down and switch the tack to the other side. Not a big deal to do but a sprit makes it way easier.

The biggest issue with a spinnaker, Asym etc. is getting it down before disaster happens in freshening winds. Socking, furling, handing the sail well before the winds get so high that the boat goes out of control solves most of the issues with these sails.
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Old 20-07-2014, 22:58   #12
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

We are also looking to purchase an alternative downwind sail when $$ allow and are steering towards a Cruisers Code 0. There is a great article on the different options suitable to cruisers vs racing posted by SV Totem who have been out there cruising since 2008.

The best sails for downwind cruising | Sailing Totem

For budget reasons and a bit of fun we have an ex-army parachute! Great in light winds but yes, can get "interesting" to bring her in when the wind picks up and optimally involves dropping the mainsail. We have a video on youtube of our first attempt to fly it if anyone is interested.
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Old 20-07-2014, 23:51   #13
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

This guy soloed the Atlantic on a 12m IOR yacht with a parasailor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=VPL35Ul0Ses

The trick with the parasailor and any other big colourful sail is to get it in earlier i you are shorthanded than if you are fully crewed.

I solo with a Code 1 on a roller. Whilst it is designed for more up wind angles I have used it down wind poled out like a big genoa. Not ideal, but better in a light breeze than a genoa.
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Old 21-07-2014, 00:21   #14
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

This here from Beth and Evans is my idea of perfect, and matches well with my experience. Notice they don't use the Asymmetric in this example, and this also matches with totems experience.

Asymmetrics are lots of fun, fast, easy and look good, but the useful wind range and angle is too narrow for the average heavy shorthanded cruising boat. I personally have found a symmetrical spinnaker to be more useful for this kind of fun on a heavy boat, being so much easier to sail dead down wind and gybe in the light airs that we use them in. Both can get dangerous at sea in a big swell, with light airs. In this case they can very easily wrap the rolled up headsail if you aren't careful, then very bad things happen.

For long distance offshore when shorthanded I would go for some type of code zero, drifter, blast reacher or drifter thingy(depending on whose terminology you want to use!) on a removable continuous line furler, or just hanked onto a removable solent stay just inside the rolled up headsail. This is normally used with the poled out headsail, either with or without the main depending on wind angle and chafe. Halyard chafe can be an issue with the removable furlers, it's not so bad with a solent stay, and the solent stay can also be used for a storm jib or working jib.

A good pole setup is the key to making this work, as the key driver is still the poled out headsail. Stowing the pole base up the mast works a treat if it's set up right, with a fixed length bridle (see here) to hold the pole in the right position. Just clip in the headsail sheet, pull down the pole base and the pole is deployed (the topper is preset to the right height), then roll out the headsail. I like to make the pole longer than the J, to hold the headsail out flat and well forward. This helps to stop her rounding up. I used a huge telescopic pole on snowpetrel to spread the 130% genoa effectively.

Snowpetrel on the way to Antarctica, TWA about 165 deg.


Blizzard with the big light genoa to leeward and the poled out yankee to windward. This combo was used an awful lot on the trip from Hobart to Chile. I dont even know if we had any kites aboard. certainly never broke it out.




An oversize whisker pole doing a good job here.




Not Really related but this shows you how the racing boys manage two handed. some pretty slick sail handling two up around the 4:30 mark. Asymetrics work much better on boat that can surf and plane, and in light stuff generate enough apparent wind to be able to bear away without blanketing it behind the main. My brother is the big one, BooBoo.

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Old 22-07-2014, 11:39   #15
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Re: Is there a good downwind sail that's easy to manage for 2 people?

If you get a spinnaker and practice flying it you can do it doublehanded pretty easily, especially if you set up the running rigging for doublehanding.
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