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Old 12-12-2006, 05:55   #1

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Stupid Spinnaker/Gennaker/KiteSpinnaker Question

Ok, I've been jonesing for a downwind sail. Our sailplan consists of a main and genoa and I'm sick of sailing downwind in "wing on wing" fashion. It takes a lot of effort and is pretty slow unless the wind is really strong.

For this reason, I am trying to figure out a way to get and/or rig a good downwind sail setup.

First thought is that all sails will need a halyard. I only have a main halyard and the genoa halyard, which holds up the Harken roller furler. On my old boat, the roller furler stayed up by locking in place. There was a release where the forestay meets the deck to take it back down. Why the really expensive Harken system doesn't have this is beyond me!

1) Given that setup (2 halyards both being used), how would one go about hoisting a downwind sail without taking the genoa off its furler each time I wanted to fly it?

2) Those kite spinnakers seem very attractive in that they seem to pull the boat upward, rather than straight ahead to some degree. Makes me think a pitch-pole would be less likely. Thoughts?

3) Who am I kidding? I can't afford to buy a spinnaker/gennaker or whatever. I need to make one and use what I currently have for rigging. Anyone know what material to make one out of, and/or where I can find sailmaking patterns that aren't overpriced? Is it reasonable to buy or be given an old, worn out sail that would fit my boat, that I could use for a pattern?

A lot of questions, I know. It's hard to wrap your head around the need for good speed and handling going downwind on a limited budget.

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Old 12-12-2006, 06:37   #2
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1. You can find good used chutes at Bacons in Annapolis Ideally you will find a used cruising chute.

2. Sorry bud you need run a new halyard. Needs to come out the mast, go to a block on a crane that can rotate, the halyard needs to be able to go over the forestay so it will work on either tack.

3. Don't know anything about kite spinnakers... but don't sound easy to use/fly etc.

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Old 12-12-2006, 07:34   #3
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All Johns responses above are the same ones I'd make (except I dont know actually where to source secondhand spinnakers in USA but do know secondhand is usually a lot cheaper than buying new fabric).
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Old 12-12-2006, 07:35   #4
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And like Jon said you'll need a block on the crane.
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:02   #5

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Checked out Minney's. GOOD DEALS! Even I could possibly scrape together some cash for those. Follow up question regarding sizing a spinnaker and if I should lookat a gennaker or something else?

1) Leech and luff have a bit of a different connotation on large, semi-circular sails. How would I properly measure up for one?

2) I want to go the cheap/easy route. A full fledged spinnaker with pole seems like it will get prices in rigging. Are the gennakers or MPSes a better idea? What's your favorite and why?
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Old 12-12-2006, 09:00   #6
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You def need a halyard... your mast should have provision for a spinnaker halyard .. if it doesn't you can add even an external cheek block at the mast head (they can be noisy when the wind pipes up at the mooring).

We have a cruising MPS chute from Hood which comes with a sock for deployment and take down... but the sail seems to need 8-10 knots to stay full which is a bummer, but in 15 knots it's super. Go for it!

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Old 12-12-2006, 10:10   #7
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No pole means you should be looking for an asymmetrical spinnaker (cruising chute, gennaker, etc...) which you will tack down to the bow of your boat. So, in addition to a spinnaker halyard, you will also need a strong point on the bow, forward of the headstay, to which you can shackle a block through which you can run the tack line for your spinnaker.

I don't think any of these are absolutely necessary, but you might also want to get an ATN Tacker or Neil Pryde's Parrel Beads for helping to control the tack of your spinnaker. The ATN Spinnaker Sleeve is supposed to be the best of the bunch.

In terms of figuring out what size spinnaker you need for your boat, most of the used-sail brokers on the web have web pages offering measurement advice, such as Atlantic Sail Traders or Bacon's

(disclaimer: I have no direct experience with any of these vendors)
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Old 12-12-2006, 10:40   #8
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another approach

Obviously you need another halyard. Then you might conside this slick rig.

good luck
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Old 12-12-2006, 11:45   #9
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My feeling is that an asymetrical spinnaker with a sock is the way to go. Definitely you will have to have a dedicated halyard. For your boat, and assuming you won't be sailing with a crew of more than one or two most of the time, a symetrical chute, which requires a pole and lots more hardware, would only make sense if you are planning some serious voyaging, and even then it would not be a high priority if I were making the decision.

Sean, I bought a big asymetrical chute on ebay for my KP44 that might be just right for you, and if I decide to sell it I'll let you know.
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Old 12-12-2006, 12:03   #10
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Ditto what Catamount said. The Asymmetrical is easier to fly, especially shorthanded, and needs less special rigging. FWIW, I use the ATN snuffer, and like it.

It isn't a dead-downwind sail, though. While you can usually keep it filled DDW, it (and you) won't be happy. It is best to bear up, perhaps 20 deg, to get the asy out of the main's shadow. The good news is that the extra speed will usually make up for the course. Here is a link to some symmetrical and asymmetrical spinnaker polar diagrams that will show what I'm talking about: North Gradient Series Spinnaker Coding

Rigging the tackline can also be a challenge. You need want the asy as far forward as possible, but you don't want to snag on the bow pulpit or snag any pulpit-mounted running lights (as I know only too well). Look at the ATN "Tacker" for one solution. I rigged a stainless fairlead assembly on the pulpit, and run the tackline down through that to a snatchblock at the anchor roller. The line then runs aft to a cleat on the foredeck. Being able to easily adjust the tackline would be nice, but I just set it and forget it. There is a lot of side-force on the tackline, so make sure sure the attachment is secure. Also, the tackline doesn't just pull straight ahead, but will swing at least +/- 90 deg, so remember the snagging and chafe issues. For that matter, the halyard and sheets will also be heavily loaded, so make sure all the rigging is heavy-duty.

Some cruisers rig a small sprit off of the anchor roller. This helps with the tack rigging, puts the sail in cleaner air, and gives you the option of doing an inside gybe. For my configuration, an outside gybe works best.

You also need to pick a cloth weight. For heavy air, wing-and-wing is fine, and easier to control, so you probably want a mid-weight spinnaker fabric. A second spinnaker for light air is nice to have. I've got some video of my (symmetrical) lightweight spinnaker just barely flying during this years Pacific Cup race to Hawaii. The heavier fabric would have been completely useless (rather than mostly useless). Click on "Video: Light Air" - VALIS

I really like the asymmetrical for VALIS, and have flown it for days at a time. It can make a difference, and is a lot of fun.
Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
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Old 12-12-2006, 14:23   #11
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Aloha Sean,

Here's a couple of websites. I also recommend eBay because I've had good luck there, however they don't have too many big boat sails.

Good luck.

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Old 12-12-2006, 15:51   #12
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hi sean ! i have an asymetrical i got with our boat G.S. 37 it is a 1.5 oz. and really good for light winds, 1-2 up to 20-25knots so i'm told by sail lofts. anyway we got our boat 2 yrs ago last month,(3 owners) prior the chute had only been flown maybe a dozen times before i was told. note we knew two of the owners, they said it was a pain to fly because of control to get it up and down. the same for us 1st yr, then last winter got atn spin sock/ snuffer for it. now i fly it my self alone. if you get an asym. spin. get parrel beads they clip around forsail when furled obviously, so your tack line has more of a verticle pull. mine gors thru a s.s. pendant attached to head stay deck fitting with a small block for the tack line. the tack line goes to one of my fwd cleats. the tack line about 12' long so you can adjust rise of tack for conditions. my halyard comes from the fwd crane on top the mast from a block up there. i keep the halyard tighed off the bow rail when not in use, but i have a pulpit so it says away from forsail(rollerfurling). it can get wound up in the sail when furling if the sail is bellowed out in front and rubbing on the halyard. this the only prob. i have with it. hope this helps
check with sail lofts as said above as to size for your boat. most are a wealth of info i nthis regard especially if your shopping so to speak.
regards mike
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Old 13-12-2006, 04:32   #13
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Our asymmetrical spinnaker w/sock is currently on consignment at Bacon's. Check it out.
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Old 13-12-2006, 05:37   #14

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Originally Posted by Harriet
Our asymmetrical spinnaker w/sock is currently on consignment at Bacon's. Check it out.
Hi Harriet, which one is it there?

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Old 13-12-2006, 10:19   #15
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The stock # is 167-ESR-101 and the list price is $795. Dimensions are
Luff: 43'8" Leach: 41'3" Foot 28'3"

Hope this helps.


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gennaker, spinnaker

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