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Old 23-12-2015, 08:23   #16
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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Hi Monte - I am still waiting for someone to help me understand the advantage of a Parasailor over a conventional sym spi on a cat without the need for a pole. What is the advantage considering the extra cost? I cannot imagine how a more complicated Parasailor can be an advantage over a conventional sym spi when the extra cost of the Parasailor is factored in? I will someday be in the market for a replacement sym spi and I'd like to consider all options, but I as yet do not see any advantage of a more complicated Para$ailor vs a traditional sym spi. Please help me understand. Is there anybody out there who has used both? For now I see the Para$ailor as just a gimmick.



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Sure Dave, although I'm no expert I have raced monos with conventional chutes, but never used conventional chutes on a cat. I understand for a cat they would be quite a bit easier to fly with the wide sheeting options. I'll try state what I see as positives (also applies for the wingaker although I haven't used one)
The beam/air ram/hole - this works well, the beam will stay inflated in very light air (around 6 TWS) which gives the ps horizontal rigidity. There's no folding or curling (just enough on the luff to assist with trimming). The hole will vent gusts and cushion the effect of strong changes in wind strength on the boat and rig. Obviously surfing isn't the best for the rig with boat speeds ranging from 6-15kn, but in those conditions we have found the ps dependable with no twitchiness, folding, flapping or other strange behaviour. We fly the ps in a wind range from 6-30 TWS normally without hesitation. Over 30kn we start to think about dropping the ps, but only to prepare for possibly stronger winds (35-40) where we would toddle along under jib only. We haven't ever used the main with the ps together.
I doubt there's any conventional chute that can effectively handle such a wide wind range, and the wind always ranges. So a couple of standard chutes and the necessary crew to handle the changes as needed is an alternate option.
Raising and lowering the ps is easy enough. Jen usually handles the foredeck alone while I drive, but it could be done quite easily under AP as well. Dropping the ps in up to 30kn is surprisingly easy. Just releasing the sheet enough the ps usually folds in half very gently and the sock comes down easily to the ram. At the ram we slow down to let the air expel and the ram close into the sock. We always have the AP set to around 150 degrees to give us a good angle to work on the foredeck and keep clear of the forestay. Sitting in the bow seat works well for launch and recovery as well.
The ps handles wind changes easily and floats around from one tack to the next without much crew input, as will a normal chute I would guess. Often we sail in wind vane mode, which is probably the laziest way to go, in that the ps will require no adjusting, but not the fastest as our track mightn't be on the rhumb line. If the crew are feeling energetic we will sail the rhumb line and trim to suit. Speed will increase when trimming for a soft luff as you would a normal chute. The ps will fly quite happily DDW and AWA changes of 10-15 degrees either way don't require any trimming.
I think the main benefit is the wind range. The parasailor literature will state that performance is improved by lifting the bows with the magic wing and drastically reducing the AP work, but I don't think a normal chute would be any different in that regard. I think trying to oversell a product can be detrimental, especially to experienced sailors who can read between the lines of advertising bs.
So you have to question the price. Why so expensive? Ok sure it's quality material, the same as quality paragliders, and sure there's probably more labour in building something that technical, but it is still twice the price at least of a conventional chute. The wingaker is priced more competitively so it might be a good alternative. But on the other hand, try find a used ps for even half the cost of new. Most that become available are asking (and getting ) over 75% of the new price, and they rarely become available. So the running cost of a ps might be more economical in the long run. And bulletproof....maybe not, I did manage to put a spreader through ours on its second flight. I had the angle wrong, Jen was sleeping and I was trying to launch it alone with too little AWS and wasn't familiar enough with the correct techniques. Since then no damage, including it flogging like a cut snake as we retrieved it in a cold 38kn night squall. Again we retrieved too late, didn't handle the sheets correctly to let it fold and had to fight it. It was cracking like a whip as we retrieved it and I was sure it would turn to shreds, but no damage at all. So we were lucky in that case, but I also gained a lot of confidence in the build quality of the ps.
Speed performance wise, I can't say if it's better or worse than a standard chute. I would guess no better. We went with a 125m2 for our L400, some friends have the 140m2 on the same boat. I didn't notice much difference in performance between the two but we were also lighter. We probably do about half TWS up to 10kn TWS, tapering off to 1/3 TWS at 30kn TWS at 170 degrees, slowing a bit if DDW.
As mentioned above, I think the twin furling headsails is also a good option for long downwind passages. Easy to handle short handed and decent performance. Some sailors even use non furling and just ease the sheets enough to spill the wind in squalls.
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Old 23-12-2015, 08:49   #17
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

Thanks, Monte. I will try to get a ride with somebody who has one of these to see for myself. In the meantime, send Jen over to our boat to help me douse our chute when it's windy. If the wind gets above 15 I have a very hard time getting ours socked. It is bigger (160 m2) so that's part of it. The sock line has literally lifted me off the tramp a few times. I cannot imagine trying to sock it at 30 kts. Long before then we'd be on genny alone. I'd expect socking the PS vs a conventional chute to be similar. What do you think?

Also, what's the "ram"?

Dave
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Old 23-12-2015, 08:52   #18
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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Thanks to everyone for your input. It seems that if I am just going to purchase one additional sail for now, no one is recommending an asym. designed for running.
We are a multihull sails specialist working closely with boat owners asking these questions. In my humble opinion, the best third sail in a cruiser's inventory should be either a large Code 0 on a furler or an asymmetrical spinnaker with a sleeve. The screacherrs are great for upwind in light air and reaching in a breeze but, as these sheet inside the shrouds, are not large enough for good down wind performance. The Code 0 on a furler is the easiest sail to handle with a small crew. (Typically husband and wife teams) This would use the spinnaker points of attachment and trim around the shrouds to the aft ends of the hulls. It can be used close reaching in lighter winds and wing n wind with the genoa downwind.
The asymmetrical spinnaker for downwind should be large and fairly full. If used with tack lines through blocks on the bows, it can work well both on very broad reaches as well as close reaches. The angles from 90 to 160 are doable. The symmetrical spinnakers are great for downwind but, because of the draft in the center, are not nearly as good reaching.
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Old 23-12-2015, 09:02   #19
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

Used both asymm and symm, and DDW there is no question that the symm is much easier. Tack off each bow and personally I wouldn't use a sock. Instead attach a retrieving line to one or other tack and pull in from whichever side. As you have no pole or main up, then 'gybing' doesn't really come into it, and collapsing it by pulling in the tack and easing the halliard is easy, although usually a two-man job.
As it is on a single purchase, the position of the halliard can be changed slightly each day to allow for wear.
I use a secondhand sail as it will get a lot of UV, will be mis-treated most likely, and is cheap to replace. Sail shape matters little for this purpose.
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Old 23-12-2015, 09:19   #20
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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We are a multihull sails specialist working closely with boat owners asking these questions. In my humble opinion, the best third sail in a cruiser's inventory should be either a large Code 0 on a furler or an asymmetrical spinnaker with a sleeve. The screacherrs are great for upwind in light air and reaching in a breeze but, as these sheet inside the shrouds, are not large enough for good down wind performance. The Code 0 on a furler is the easiest sail to handle with a small crew. (Typically husband and wife teams) This would use the spinnaker points of attachment and trim around the shrouds to the aft ends of the hulls. It can be used close reaching in lighter winds and wing n wind with the genoa downwind.
The asymmetrical spinnaker for downwind should be large and fairly full. If used with tack lines through blocks on the bows, it can work well both on very broad reaches as well as close reaches. The angles from 90 to 160 are doable. The symmetrical spinnakers are great for downwind but, because of the draft in the center, are not nearly as good reaching.
I agree with the code 0 on a modern furler approach for an ancillary sail to the main and jib. With a torque rope in the luff furling is quiet easy. However to make it versatile for deeper angles, a way to get the tack to the windward bow (or leeward bow when trying to sail tighter angles), is needed.

On this design I incorporated to retractable carbon sprits one in each bow with a dyneema bridle between them that was adjustable just outside the cockpit. With this 2 oz dacron Code zero, and the ability to move the tack from bow to bow, the effective wind angle range was from 70-170 degrees apparent. With this arrangement the sail was full and drawing in under 10 knot with full main at 160 degrees apparent no problem. In breezy conditions we could move the tack of he sail to leeward for better blanketing by the main for easier furling.

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Old 23-12-2015, 09:28   #21
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
Thanks, Monte. I will try to get a ride with somebody who has one of these to see for myself. In the meantime, send Jen over to our boat to help me douse our chute when it's windy. If the wind gets above 15 I have a very hard time getting ours socked. It is bigger (160 m2) so that's part of it. The sock line has literally lifted me off the tramp a few times. I cannot imagine trying to sock it at 30 kts. Long before then we'd be on genny alone. I'd expect socking the PS vs a conventional chute to be similar. What do you think?



Also, what's the "ram"?



Dave

Well the sock is kind of the same I guess. The ps has a 2:1 purchase system on it, but the trick is to let it gently fold first. I'm not sure if that's possible with a standard chute, I've only ever dropped a standard chute in race mode without a sock by blowing the sheets and retrieving it on deck or through the foreword hatch. Why I always got to pack it I'm not sure, probably because I'm the most prone to seasickness and always came green from below...
The sock line will lift you off the deck if you don't allow the ps to fold first, so it's more about getting the technicalities right than brute strength. It's easy enough up to 30kn TWS if you get it right, which takes some practice but no special skills once you realise which sheets and guys to ease and at what stage. Raising the sock, it's a good idea to belay the line around a cleat to avoid too fast a set. The ps can fill and send the sock and carbon ring flying up, which can result in friction burns to the sock.
The ram is the wing. I'm not sure if that's the correct term but I take it from air ram kites, which it is very similar to. It basically fills with air to create the wing and a solid I beam type structure. There may be some lift from this, but for me the main benefit is the horizontal stiffness it provides. Occasionally we will be caught heading under sheeted, after a wind shift, surf or dodgy steering in those cases the ps tends to gently fold for a few seconds until we sort it out, but never slaps or flaps or twists. Our last cat had a gennaker on an endless line furler. I found it to be much harder to handle than the ps, more difficult to furl and a much smaller comfortable wind range. Over 15kn TWS furling was difficult so we tended to fly it a lot less. If we had one again I'd want a more robust furling system than the facnor continuous line, which in my mind is more suited to racing dinghys and cats than cruising yachts, but since having the ps I have no desire for another DW sail. A while ago we were sailing under ps in 20kn TWS with the wind on the beam. SOG was around 7.5kn but the wind was a bit far foreword so we dropped the ps and sailed under main and jib. SOG increased to around 9kn which is pretty much perfect conditions for us. Double digits SOG is usually only short surfs.
Additional sails I would consider would be a code zero for 60-90 AWA, with a wind range of 5-15kn I guess, but as those conditions are rare as hens teeth for us, I would t bother for the extra knot or so we might make.
Also a 180m2 + drifter for 5-10kn TWS downwind, but again those conditions are rare for us, but maybe more common for different parts of the globe. The med is all over the shop for wind and the Atlantic and Caribbean is always 15-30kn E.
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Old 23-12-2015, 09:50   #22
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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I agree with the code 0 on a modern furler approach for an ancillary sail to the main and jib. With a torque rope in the luff furling is quiet easy. However to make it versatile for deeper angles, a way to get the tack to the windward bow (or leeward bow when trying to sail tighter angles), is needed.

On this design I incorporated to retractable carbon sprits one in each bow with a dyneema bridle between them that was adjustable just outside the cockpit. With this 2 oz dacron Code zero, and the ability to move the tack from bow to bow, the effective wind angle range was from 70-170 degrees apparent. With this arrangement the sail was full and drawing in under 10 knot with full main at 160 degrees apparent no problem. In breezy conditions we could move the tack of he sail to leeward for better blanketing by the main for easier furling.

I will also add that because of the free standing mast in this particular design there was no shroud limitation to easing the main all the way out when sailing downwind, overall adding to the performance.
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Old 23-12-2015, 10:22   #23
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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The ps has a 2:1 purchase system on it....
Whoa - now there's a difference! How is this set up? A 2:1 could make it a lot easier for me. The line to the collar on my socks (we have two identical chutes) is 1:1 - I have to pull down on the collar directly. The line is a continuous loop that runs over a block at the top. I don't readily see how a 2:1 would be set up.

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Old 23-12-2015, 12:51   #24
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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Originally Posted by Privilege View Post
, no one is recommending an asym.
I am, - with a bridle tack line so you can move the tack from the cockpit.

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Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
If the wind gets above 15 I have a very hard time getting ours socked.
Thats one advantage of a assy, with some main up turn ddw, release the tack, it peels back on the back of the main, socks easily.

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We are a multihull sails specialist working closely with boat owners asking these questions. In my humble opinion, the best third sail in a cruiser's inventory should be either a large Code 0 on a furler or an asymmetrical spinnaker with a sleeve. The screacherrs are great for upwind in light air and reaching in a breeze but, as these sheet inside the shrouds, are not large enough for good down wind performance. The Code 0 on a furler is the easiest sail to handle with a small crew. (Typically husband and wife teams) This would use the spinnaker points of attachment and trim around the shrouds to the aft ends of the hulls. It can be used close reaching in lighter winds and wing n wind with the genoa downwind.
The asymmetrical spinnaker for downwind should be large and fairly full. If used with tack lines through blocks on the bows, it can work well both on very broad reaches as well as close reaches. The angles from 90 to 160 are doable. The symmetrical spinnakers are great for downwind but, because of the draft in the center, are not nearly as good reaching.
I think what this post illustrates is that one of the best assets that any boat owner can have is their sailmaker, someone who understands multis particularly, someone like Dave.
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Old 23-12-2015, 13:10   #25
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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Thats one advantage of a assy, with some main up turn ddw, release the tack, it peels back on the back of the main, socks easily.
I understand, but most of the time with the sym spi I want to go DDW and I have no main up so it doesn't interfere with the chute.

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Old 23-12-2015, 13:21   #26
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

a. Factor is right, get the chute in the lee of the main in a blow and it hangs limp. If the tack is on a bridle this is even easier (you can really get it behind the main). I ease the bridle to leeward (release one line), pull down the sock, and lower it straight into a hatch. The sock nearly falls under its own weight up to 20 knots. Above that, I don't understand why the chute is up. And instead of having to then hoist the main in a blow, it is already there. Just let out some genoa, W&W. One-man job.

b. If the chute is rotated to windward (bridle) the main does not interfere. In the video I posted I was at about 160 true, 120 apparent. Not meaningfully different from DDW.

c. You don't jibe if there is a preventer.
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Old 23-12-2015, 13:21   #27
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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Whoa - now there's a difference! How is this set up? A 2:1 could make it a lot easier for me. The line to the collar on my socks (we have two identical chutes) is 1:1 - I have to pull down on the collar directly. The line is a continuous loop that runs over a block at the top. I don't readily see how a 2:1 would be set up.



Dave

Actually, it doesn't the down haul is on a small bridle either side of the carbon collar. The up haul has some system with 2 lines and a pulley which I think gives 2:1 for raising it. I'll have to take a closer look, it has some fandangled system with the up hauls in a pocket on the sock. I think they exit together and the loop they form goes around a block on the end of the uphaul. It may just be a system to evenly distribute the pull to both sides but I had in mind it was somehow 2:1 for the first half of the raise. Either way, it's easy enough to raise and lower, so long as you rest as its coming down over the wing to let it fully collapse, and keep the bridle as inboard as possible to avoid snagging on the wing and associated lines.
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Old 23-12-2015, 13:29   #28
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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Actually, it doesn't the down haul is on a small bridle either side of the carbon collar.
OK, that sounds like the same thing I have. Not a 2:1. It's actually a continuous line with the collar at the "ends" and a block up near the head to route the line back down.

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Old 23-12-2015, 13:54   #29
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

I have foun my MPS in a sock a superb sail for very broad reaching and downwind tacking.
Need a good preventer on the main which is adjustable on a winch and with the Screecher on the deck it allows me to use the screecher sheets through blocks on either bow to pull the tack to windward.
My MPS is very stable in this configuration without the main, you must ensure that you have an effective snuffer without a main to hide it behind, a well shaped F/G toilet seat shaped snuffer and larger dia snuffing line are essential, small dia line will amputate fingers!
You do need two primary winches Pt & Stbd for this system to work well.
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Old 23-12-2015, 14:31   #30
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

I'd get a symmetrical kite. The function of an asymmetrical would overlap with the screecher, and neither would really suit DDW.


You're cruising, not racing, so why tack downwind?
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