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Old 08-12-2012, 16:28   #1
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Baffled by spinnaker.

I'm about the third year into my first sailboat. I sailed a bit in sabots and mascots in my teens but aside from a couple of daysails with someone I hadn't sailed for years. Having lots of fun learning both about sailing and maintenance or more aptly repairing all the previous owners bad decisions. One thing I haven't experienced is flying a spinnaker. The boat came with one but the PO hadn't used it so could not offer any advice.

The boat is not set up for a spinnaker in that there is no pole nor attachments for one. It's a masthead sloop with a roller-furled jib. I thought the sail was symmetrical until I actually measured it and one side is about 2 feet longer. What I can't figure out is that it has snap shackles on the long side, one at the head and one at the tack. I'm guessing that before the roller furling was installed they hanked it on to the forestay. It seems odd to me that being asymmetrical there is a definite inside and outside to the sail and that the tack and clew are marked red and green which would indicate to me that it should be flown as a symmetrical. Hopefully the picture below shows what I'm describing. Any ideas on how to use this sail would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Bruce
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Old 08-12-2012, 16:50   #2
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

I think you have a gennaker.
The red is the tack, the green is the clew and red/green is the head.

The snap shackle at the tack was meant to be hacked onto the forestay. I would remove both hanks and get a tack strap such as the ATN tacker which goes around the furled genoa. BTW - there is no consensus on this, some argue that gennaker should fly free at the tack.

Do you have a sock / dousing bag for the sail? (I suspect not.) That will influence how you rig and fly it.

I have flown sockless gennakers, so I can provide some advice.
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Old 09-12-2012, 00:32   #3
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I think you have a gennaker.
The red is the tack, the green is the clew and red/green is the head.

The snap shackle at the tack was meant to be hacked onto the forestay. I would remove both hanks and get a tack strap such as the ATN tacker which goes around the furled genoa. BTW - there is no consensus on this, some argue that gennaker should fly free at the tack.

Do you have a sock / dousing bag for the sail? (I suspect not.) That will influence how you rig and fly it.

I have flown sockless gennakers, so I can provide some advice.
Thanks jackdale, that's making sense, the PO said something about the genniker but I thought he was referring to the genoa so I wrote him off.

If you were to fly with a free tack would you basically set it up the same as the ATN without the benefit of the strap around the furled jib? In other words as an asymmetrical without a sprit.

No, I don't have a sock, how do you douse without one?
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:40   #4
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

You can drop the sail on deck like any other sail. Could be a big problem if the head of the sail blows off into the water. If your forehatch and forepeak allow, pull the sail in through there as it comes down. You could release the tack while the sail is blanketed by the main and haul it in clew first into the companionway. The last two require coordination between the halyard person and whoever pulls in the tack. The last method is probably the safest as the main will make dousing the sail easier.

I'd start haunting Ebay for a sock. It's so easy to launch and retrieve these sails with a sock. Believe ATN's sock is the best but there are others that work, just not as well.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:51   #5
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

Get a sock. Trying to douse without one is a pain and requires someone who is both strong and experienced on deck. Socks don't cost much.

I you really don't like a sock, you can buy a furler. For gennakers these are smaller and lighter than what you on the genoa. Once furled, you can lower the gennaker and drop it into the bag or through the hatch.

I've had gennakers on my last three boats. All with socks. Wotks great.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:58   #6
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

Comments above are accurate. Get rid of the snap shackles. Those are silly. I'm of the opinion that the 'Tacker' or whatever that holds the tack to a furled genoa is just plain useless and slow. If the sail is the proper luff length it gets tacked on a short strop to the furthest point forward. Perhaps the anchor roller or stem. Not to the forestay. It wants to fly free ... to windward. It's fun.

Socks are handy, but not at all necessary. I have mixed feelings. Sure is nice to have a sock rigged if the wind suddenly comes up. Otherwise it's just expense and some hassle. I can launch and retrieve my >1000sqft spinnakers singlehanded with good reliability. And some spectacular failures. Heh. The trick on any size boat is to not be a sissy with easing the halyard. Sheet tight. Let the halyard fly. Gather the sail in with superhuman speed. If the halyard jams on a kink you are screwed... For hoisting the chute needs to be packed tidy with no tangles.

Don't fly a chute in more that 7 or 10 knots apparent wind without a crew.

There's no inside or outside to a spinnaker-type sail ... unless there's some numbers or a logo. The colored tapes are just for sanity when rigging or re-packing.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:34   #7
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daddle View Post

Don't fly a chute in more that 7 or 10 knots apparent wind without a crew.
++1, I found out the hard way, and that was from a pole. wind was about 8kts when I started to rig the spinnaker, by the time it was hoisted I had been so engrossed with the rigging, not really noticed the wind had increased, found that out when I hoisted and sheeted in, still, was a thrill ride for 10 minutes until I bottled out.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:37   #8
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Definitely get rid of the shackle and make sure you have a really long tack line. If you have the ability to blow the tack line enough that the gennaker can fully depower you will be able to douse and stay safe in a wider range of conditions. There is nothing worse than being in a situation where you either can't depower the sail or can depower but not in a way that allows you to get the sail in safely.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:12   #9
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by knots2u View Post

No, I don't have a sock, how do you douse without one?
I learned to use gennakers without a dousing bag.

In light air, blanket the gennaker with the main so that it collapses, then as you lower the halyard, stuff it it into the bag.

In heavier air, release the tack after getting the gennaker behind the main. I like a snap shackle on the tack for this purpose. Then either lower the sail into the bag or use a sheet to pull the sail under the main into the companion way. In both scenarios you will need to repack the sail.

NB - It is essential to have the main hoisted when flying a gennaker.

I am a fan of tack straps. Here a shot using one to reach.

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Old 09-12-2012, 09:33   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale
I like a snap shackle on the tack for this purpose.
+1

...with a long release line.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:56   #11
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

So is the snap shackle with the release line at the end of the tack strap at the sail or at the strap attachment point on the bow? That would seem the best option then it could be rigged to release from the cockpit when single handing. If it were tied off at the cockpit then it could be pulled anywhere along its length like a stop request on a bus.

I do like the idea of a sock as well, having both would be good. The boat is small, two is company three's a crowd. My wife isn't much into sailing, occasionally running the tiller's about it so essentially I single hand all the time. I have most things setup to run from the cockpit. I know I'll have to be on the foredeck to raise and lower the gennaker but being able to blow the tack from aft will be an advantage in a pinch.

If a furler was to be used does the luff need to be modified?
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:19   #12
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

With just you and your wife (on the tiller) you can fly the gennaker with just thetwo of you. But the dousing bag makes everything much easier. With her on the helm, put the boat on a broad reach and you go forward to rig everything. As you raise the dousing bag, she can harden the sheet. Then you can go aft to trim everything. A tack line back to cockpit makes life much easier.

To do a take down; broadreach and blanket the gennaker, douse it, and lower it.

I take the sheets and clip them to the pulpit so that I do have to re-rig them each time. They come off after the trip is done.

North Sails has a good video.

NorthSails - Gennaker and Snuffer instructions video - YouTube
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:39   #13
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

There are several considerations.

Where to attach a block for the tackline and whether this will be inside the bow pulpit or outside? Some folks fly from the end of the anchor roller, which would place this outside the bow pulpit and forward of the headstay. Can your anchor roller support the upward and forward force? You might have a secure point to attach the block - I didn't. You can also attach inside the headstay. It all depends on where you can attach the block. I ended up using a climbing strap through the lower tang of headstay, to which I could attach a block. The block runs forward, inside the bow pulpit. A further refinement, I ended up using an antal low friction ring instead of a block.

Another consideration is how you might gybe the asyo. If it is forward of the headstay, you can gybe around the front of the boat and over. This requires about 2 times the line on the lazy sheet. If inside, you'll need to drop the asyo, switch over and rehoist. This is important consideration - you might have to gybe quickly to avoid a crossing situation.

You need to be able to adjust the height of the tack. For close reaching the tack is closer to the deck, running, raise the tack. I find that our asyo flies best in 90-110 degrees apparent, with the tack about 4 feet off the deck. I've been running the tack line through a snatch block to a bow cleat. Eventually, I'll rig the line to the cockpit.

I'm undecided on the tacker. Since we have the tackline inside the bow pulpit, I don't want the tackline to bear against the bow pulpit. I usually use the tacker to keep the line close the headstay. I don't like using it and i find it tedious to adjust the height of the tackline. One thing no-one points out is that your jib sheets are wrapped around the furler. When raising/lowering the tacker, you have to deal with the jib sheets. Also, there's usually a lot of pressure on the tackline, making it difficult to raise/lower.

Agree on everyone's comments on sock. Makes it very easy to hoist and douse, especially when just the 2 of us onboard.

Aft blocks - I've tried different locations. It doesn't seem to make much difference. Lately, I've been leading through track, just forward of the winches. I've tried the aft padeye, but found that the block banged up the teak toerail. Just make sure there's a clean lead from the block to the winch.

Be sure to clip the bag to the lifelines.

I've also found that when the wind gets to be over 15 knots, we drop the sail. It is fun, but again, with 2 of us onboard, it is a bit of a handful.

Our asyo had never been flown before we purchased the boat. I've found that the asyo doubles our speed (over genoa) and is a lot of fun to fly.

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Old 09-12-2012, 18:23   #14
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

LOL, any idiot can get a asym up, but it takes a sailor to get one down. I'd prefer a Facnor furler instead of a sock, but they're not cheap (neither is the sock).
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Old 09-12-2012, 18:44   #15
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Re: Baffled by spinnaker.

The pics above using the Tacker also show poor trim. If the spinnaker will only fly to the lee or the headstay you are sailing too high or have the sheet overtrimmed. The tack should be ahead or to windward of the headstay. If you cannot get the tack out from behind the headstay you are probably better off with a genoa or some kind of reaching sail.

There are many ways to douse. Personally I don't release the tack until the spinnaker is completely down. It seems best to have two corners of the sail firmly under control: the tack at the bow and the clew aft along the rail on a tight sheet. The only corner flapping around is the head.
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