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Old 27-11-2006, 13:57   #1
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Downwind Sails

I'd appreciate some advice on downwind sails. The advice I've read so far seems to be contradictory. Some people say they are too much hassle and others say they wouldn't leave port without them.

We are expecting to take delivery of a Lagoon 420 next summer, sail from the Canaries to Caribbean in November, cruise the Caribbean until May and then sail back across the pond. Plenty of downwind sailing, but is it worth the cost and the hassle of a dedicated downwind sail? Or can we make do with the standard Main & Genny (plus emergency spare sails off a Prout). If it is worth it, then do we go for the factory fitted Gennaker and or tri-radial spinnaker or get them elsewhere and perhaps get one of these fancy new designs?

Our sailing will be cautious. With six kids on-board we can do without the excitement of an out-of-control spinnaker, but if the boat will be more sea-kindly and handle better under a dedicated downwind sail then it may be worth the additional expense.

How much downwind sailing will we do in our proposed circuit (apart from the obvious transatlantic tradewind stuff)? At times, we'll be short-handed (just the two of us plus kids), at other times we wont be?

Finally, when we come to sell or charter our boat after our sailing sabbatical will a dedicated downwind sail have recouped its cost.

Thanks

Chris
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Old 27-11-2006, 14:10   #2
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A MPS ("multi-purpose spinnaker" a.k.a. "asymmetrical spinnaker" or even "jennaker") with a snuffer (sock that pulls down over the MPS to douse) is pretty easy to use and very useful.
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Old 27-11-2006, 14:40   #3
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I second the recommendation for an asymmetric spinnaker. With a sock, these are much easier to use than anything roller furling. Depending on the size of the kite you probably won't use it much in actual trade wind conditions, but you will find it very handy in light air. A spinnaker will allow you to sail in conditions where you'd otherwise be motoring and it will be very pleasant sailing indeed. I don't have any experience in the area you planning on sailing, but I doubt that it is windier than Hawaii, and we used the spinnaker quite frequently in Hawaii.

A nylon spinnaker is probably the cheapest sail you can buy, negligable compared to the cost of the boat.

-Scott
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Old 27-11-2006, 16:27   #4
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twizzle rig

http://www.simetric.co.uk/twizzle_rig/index.htm

this rig may be of interest. Basically you want your effort forward. The main's a pain down wind. The use of this rig will self steer (mono hull anyway) without any other input down wind for days.

randy
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Old 27-11-2006, 17:18   #5
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Hi Chris, Agreeing with all that you definetly want a kite with a squeezer sock.

When cruising we quite often left the expensive main in it's Boom Bag and just used the kite.

We could leave our shade up and the auto-pilot handled it fine while we sat close at hand in deck chairs with sheets over our leg ready to fire if it got hairy.

One memorable run was almost the entire 1000nm run up the QLD coast without using the main once although hitting 19 knots of boatspeed coming into Cairns got a bit wild, but we hung on to it.

Squeezer socks make it all so easy, if you get a well designed one.
We were lucky enough to get a second hand kite of a 38 ft racing tri for $900 in as new condition and coupled with a new sock made this a much cheaper sail to use compared to main/headsail combo.

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Old 30-11-2006, 08:51   #6
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Screecher

Does anybody have experience with unrolling a screecher and doing long tacks downwind on a multihull?

Why do I hear so often that spinnakers just don't get used often on cruising boat? Seems most cruisers just wing out the jib.

On the Lagoon 420 you just unroll the gennaker and go or use a screecher.

I think the Lagoon 420 would benefit from a screecher (flater gennaker) to sail upwind in light airs and you can tack downwind with it. That is the combination I will try with my L420.

This is the setup used effectively by the F41 Catamarans.
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Old 30-11-2006, 11:11   #7
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People sail their boats in familiar and comfortable ways. We raced for years and could not imagine going anywhere without kites aboard, for us this is familiar and comfortable. I think you are in a different spot, maybe a used kite with an ATN would be a good buy for you? You can check on Minneys web site, they have lots of stuff.

What might work for you? In light air, 12 knots and under, an assy kite will allow you to sail an angle that will keep the boat moving and comfortable. I would think you will have enough boat speed with the Lagoon that you could pull the breeze by 30 or 40 degrees. Your VMG should be pretty decent unless the boat is overloaded. Over 12 you can dive by pulling it to the weather hull. Over 25 you’ll probably want to pull it down.

Bottom line, in the light stuff you’ll have much better motion and be more comfortable with the kite up. If you sail the correct board your VMG won't suffer. Pick the wrong board and the trip gets longer

Sails are fuel, don’t plan on getting your money back when you re-sell.

Hope this helps and enjoy the cruise.

B&P
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Old 03-12-2006, 22:20   #8
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screecher

I am coming around to this being a good compromise. Maybe not quite as useful as a gennaker downwind but they should make upwinding in light air a lot better.

And sadly, isn't pointing upwind in light air just all too common. I can't help but hate running engines for speed in these conditions.
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Old 03-12-2006, 22:34   #9
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Different boats have a strong effect on how usable the downwind sails are. I have flown spinnakers on a number of monos, and hated them. Wouldn't even own one for my own boat. Really like the assy though. Recently, I had the opportunity to sail a tri with a spinnaker. Complete change of opinion. I couldn't believe how easy it was to tend a spinnaker on the tri. Even when we blew the sail out, it was not a huge problem. I will be adding one to my sail inventory on the trimaran. I really can not speak to the ease of use on a cat, but I would imagine it would be similar to the tri. A sock, is a must in my opinion. Regardless of what boat you sail.
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Old 03-12-2006, 23:00   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monaco
I am coming around to this being a good compromise. Maybe not quite as useful as a gennaker downwind but they should make upwinding in light air a lot better.

And sadly, isn't pointing upwind in light air just all too common. I can't help but hate running engines for speed in these conditions.
I can't see how you can point with a loose luffed screecher.
At best you can sail across the breeze, maybe up a bit on a real good boat.

Dave
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Old 04-12-2006, 16:12   #11
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downwind sails

On Makai we carried a screatcher on a bow sprit that used from about 170 apparent to about 45-50 apparent. Yep we sailed with it often and upwind. It was one of the more used sails in the inventory.

We also carried a Genekar made by CDI. It was very inexpensive and we would use it from dead downwind up to about a beam reach if we were already flying it. It was a great sail for the price and would recommend it. It comes with sock and the lines in the same price and was ready to go.

Both sails were worth the money and we used them often.

We also setup a block and tackle across the bows of our cat and it allowed one person to adjust and even tack. Very safe and easy to fly.
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Old 18-01-2007, 18:03   #12
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Downwinds sailing

When we started our circumnavigation on our Privilege 39 Catamaran, Exit Only, we tried using our main and genoa for downwind sailing in the Pacific. We quickly found out that the wing and wing arrangement didn't work too well unless we stood there and constantly monitored the sails.

I also had a cruising spinnaker that I tried using downwind, and I gave up using it because I didn't want to have someone on deck continually monitoring it in the sometimes boisterous trade winds.

Finally, I got two eighteen foot spinnaker poles and I used two genoas for running downwind in the trades. Suddenly, my life radically improved. I could run downwind without standing at the helm around the clock. If the wind came up, I just rolled up one of the genoas. Check out these photos on my web site, and you can see the double headsail rig.

TRADE WIND DREAMS*** For the past thirty years

GETTING CONNECTED

When we sail downwind, we don't raise the main. We let the double headsails do the job and the autopilot is supremely happy since the autopilot doesn't have to fight with the mainsail.

My supreme criteria for downwind sailing is that I must be able to carry sail without having to monitor it minute by minute.

It took us sixteen days to sail across the Atlantic last year. Our first five days were motoring, and then we had eleven days of sailing downwind with our double headsail rig. We carry the double headsails in winds up to twenty knots apparent. After that, we start rolling in one of the genoas. Using this approach, we cross oceans safely and relatively effortlessly. We don't continually monitor the sails, but we do check around the horizon every ten minutes to make sure there are no ships in the vicinity.

The two eighteen foot spinnaker poles probably are important in this system. They keep the twin genoas poled out and extremely quiet as they pull strongly in the tradewinds. I suspect that without the spinnaker poles, the system wouldn't work as well.

Exit Only has more than 33,000 miles under her keels, and most of them are downwind. Our twin headsails worked extremely well for us, and maybe they would work for you.

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Old 18-01-2007, 18:11   #13
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Downwinds sailing

When we started our circumnavigation on our Privilege 39 Catamaran, Exit Only, we tried using our main and genoa for downwind sailing in the Pacific. We quickly found out that the wing and wing arrangement didn't work too well unless we stood there and constantly monitored the sails.

I also had a cruising spinnaker that I tried using downwind, and I gave up using it because I didn't want to have someone on deck continually monitoring it in the sometimes boisterous trade winds.

Finally, I got two eighteen foot spinnaker poles and I used two genoas for running downwind in the trades. Suddenly, my life radically improved. I could run downwind without standing at the helm around the clock. If the wind came up, I just rolled up one of the genoas. Check out these photos on my web site, and you can see the double headsail rig.

TRADE WIND DREAMS*** For the past thirty years
GETTING CONNECTED

When we sail downwind, we don't raise the main. We let the double headsails do the job and the autopilot is supremely happy since the autopilot doesn't have to fight with the mainsail.

My supreme criteria for downwind sailing is that I must be able to carry sail without having to monitor it minute by minute.

It took us sixteen days to sail across the Atlantic last year. Our first five days were motoring, and then we had eleven days of sailing downwind with our double headsail rig. We carry the double headsails in winds up to twenty knots apparent. After that, we start rolling in one of the genoas. Using this approach, we cross oceans safely and relatively effortlessly. We don't continually monitor the sails, but we do check around the horizon every ten minutes to make sure there are no ships in the vicinity.

The two eighteen foot spinnaker poles probably are important in this system. They keep the twin genoas poled out and extremely quiet as they pull strongly in the tradewinds. I suspect that without the spinnaker poles, the system wouldn't work as well.

Exit Only has more than 33,000 miles under her keels, and most of them are downwind. Our twin headsails worked extremely well for us, and maybe they would work for you.

Regards,

Dave Abbott
Exit Only

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Old 21-01-2007, 20:52   #14
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What about unfurling your genoa on one side and unfurling your gennaker or screatcher on the other side and poling them both out.

Fair Sailing _(\_
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Old 21-01-2007, 21:50   #15
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Good story Maxingout.

Great way to relax on the boom !!
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