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Old 22-12-2015, 09:03   #1
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What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

I have a 44' cruising cat. I sail offshore with a view to circumnavigating within the next couple of years. I don't race and am happy to sacrifice speed for safety/ease of use.

As well as a main and large genoa I have a new screecher which is similar to a very large genoa, is made of light material and is good for lighter winds in angles between, say 40 and 100 degrees. My last sail will be for angles that the screecher doesn't hit, around 90 to 160 degrees; basically a downwind sail for winds under 20knots.

If anyone can share their experience and advice I would appreciate it. I'm leaning towards an asym spinnaker as I have a continuous line furler and the necessary hardware all in place. Trouble is, different sail makers have given me different advice, from a tri-radial cut with a small foot to a star cut with a huge foot, so I thought that I'd come here for some independent advice.
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Old 22-12-2015, 09:12   #2
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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As well as a main and large genoa I have a new screecher which is similar to a very large genoa, is made of light material and is good for lighter winds in angles between, say 40 and 100 degrees. My last sail will be for angles that the screecher doesn't hit, around 90 to 160 degrees; basically a downwind sail for winds under 20knots.
Since you already have a screecher, I'd recommend a sym spi that will cover everything aft of where your screecher leaves off - from ~100* all the way around to the other side 100* without the gybe you'd need with an asym spi.

For a sym spi you'll need a guy on each bow as extra hardware, if you don't already have this.

Dave
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Old 22-12-2015, 11:55   #3
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

Thanks Dave. I do have guys but having never used a symmetrical I have the fear of the unknown! I assume that the best way to raise them is using a sock? Are they easier to use than an asymm?
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Old 22-12-2015, 12:15   #4
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

I have less experience using an asym than a sym spi (forgetting for a moment that Code 0's are technically asyms) but in my opinion neither is more difficult than the other, except when it comes to gybing. Here the sym is WAY more versatile in that it gybes itself. It just floats out in front of the boat and to call it a gybing is really a technicality. You just trim it up from one side to the other. Child's play. To gybe an asym you either have to douse/furl it or let it fly around the front of the boat to the other side.

Most sym spis are handled with socks which are easy to set, but can be a beast to douse. Large sym spis should be considered light air sails. We don't raise ours if we know the TWS will get over about 15 kts. I am just not fat enough to sock it in winds above that. With crew we are comfortable flying it up to the high teens and have had it up well into the 20s (unintentionally). And no need for a pole on a wide beam cat, although some folks use a pole. I don't.

We almost always fly our sym spi without the main (or with a deep reefed main) as the main blankets the spi on the deep angles. With a deep reefed main we can raise it up to intentionally blanket the spi to help sock it when it's time to take it down.

I suggest you get a ride on boats with both a sym and asym to see what suits you.

edit: I should add that some people quite successfully rig an asym spi as a sym spi when they want to go really deep. It looks a little odd and probably doesn't work quite as well, but it does work. Just tack the two corners to your sym spi guys and add a sheet on each side.

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Old 22-12-2015, 13:34   #5
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

Assy in a sock And a Symm, realistically if you are going round the world the choice of two is very sensible and not an extra cost as the wear can be balanced. And I always carried a "chicken chute" on my cat, that was any cheap second hand trailer sailer sized spinnaker I could buy (and I mean cheap) they were small enough that 25-30 knots wasn't a problem flying them and cheap enough that if they blew up it wasn't an big deal. ANd small enough to stow anywhere. Funnily enough I kept buying them in the expectation they would blow up and they stubbornly refused to. The assy usually offers better vmg.

Obviously called chicken chute cause you used it it when you were, well, chicken.
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Old 22-12-2015, 13:48   #6
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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The assy usually offers better vmg.
Maybe on your rocket, but not on a typical cruising cat. Best VMG is DDW with a symmy.

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Old 22-12-2015, 14:37   #7
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

As an alternative to a pole, attach the tack to a bridle that allows you to pull it to the windward bow. Easy, and goes much deeper than any bowsprit.

Ditch the furler and use a sock. You are going to take it down when not in use anyway. We're talking distance sailing. My understanding is that top-down furlers are not going to work well with full, down wind chutes.

A nice thing about a sock is that it doubles as a sail bag.

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Old 22-12-2015, 18:53   #8
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

Well for sure a parasailor or similar (wingaker) are worth considering. Expensive but very versatile sails. I wouldn't want to be without one for a long downwind passage. No main up, flys from 7-35kn TWS and 90-180 degree TWA. Easy enough to douse in the sock, may take a little more effort (we managed in 38kn but not something I'd recommend..) a new one will set you back around $8000 for the parasailor and maybe $6000 for the wingaker. Make sure the halyard mast turning block is beefy though, they're not always designed for the kind of load a ps might put on them.
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Old 22-12-2015, 19:12   #9
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

There's an additional option for your to consider, it was done by Jeannius (forum member) on their circumnavigation on a Privilege 435EZC, same boat as you. He had a second Genoa he would hoist on his roller fuller(look carefully, there are two tracks) and fly one off each side. The beauty of this is you can ride it into the night without hesitation because you can simply reef it anytime using the roller fuller. It ends up being the same size as spinnaker. In addition, you have a back up Genoa if something happens to your primary.
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Old 22-12-2015, 19:37   #10
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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Well for sure a parasailor or similar (wingaker) are worth considering. Expensive but very versatile sails. I wouldn't want to be without one for a long downwind passage. No main up, flys from 7-35kn TWS and 90-180 degree TWA. Easy enough to douse in the sock, may take a little more effort (we anaged in 38kn but not something I'd recommend..) a new one will set you back around $8000 for the parasailor and maybe $6000 for the wingaker. Make sure the halyard mast turning block is beefy though, they're not always designed for the kind of load a ps might put on them.
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Hi Monte - I am still waiting for someone to help me understand the advantage of a Parasailor over a conventional sym spi on a cat without the need for a pole. What is the advantage considering the extra cost? I cannot imagine how a more complicated Parasailor can be an advantage over a conventional sym spi when the extra cost of the Parasailor is factored in? I will someday be in the market for a replacement sym spi and I'd like to consider all options, but I as yet do not see any advantage of a more complicated Para$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.

Dave
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Old 22-12-2015, 19:59   #11
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

For ease of handling I would go with the double genny on the roller furler. You can also set it with both gennys on one side,of course it will be double thickness ( weight) but it makes for an incredibly versatile sail.
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Old 22-12-2015, 20:39   #12
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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Originally Posted by Four Coconuts View Post
There's an additional option for your to consider, it was done by Jeannius (forum member) on their circumnavigation on a Privilege 435EZC, same boat as you. He had a second Genoa he would hoist on his roller fuller(look carefully, there are two tracks) and fly one off each side. The beauty of this is you can ride it into the night without hesitation because you can simply reef it anytime using the roller fuller. It ends up being the same size as spinnaker. In addition, you have a back up Genoa if something happens to your primary.
Did they fly these on poles?
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Old 23-12-2015, 03:58   #13
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What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

Wingaker.. Stable, 5-30kts, easy to set , does not snap open, 140-180 deg. Price ~6,000
http://youtu.be/zcRreJQ8IZY
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Old 23-12-2015, 06:40   #14
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

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.
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Old 23-12-2015, 07:42   #15
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Re: What downwind sail for a cruising cat?

I know quite a few very experienced full time cruisers that have whisker poles and find there vmg is very close to flying just a spinnaker, with a lot more stable and balanced arrangement, that requires much less attention.

The para spinnakers tend to be more stable less collapsing and filling.

Asymmetricals can work down wind but you need to get the tack to the windward bow or have an articulating sprit to sail them in deeper angles.
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