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Old 09-12-2009, 13:10   #1
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Chicken Chute Trim?

does anybody have experience with a chicken chute, which they would be willing to share?
After a lot of tweaking, we managed to get it working well, but feel we are trying to re-invent the wheel. We are using it (a very small, heavy weight symmetrical spinnaker for DDW sailing in the trades, where the autopilot has trouble steering) without the main, so there is no gybe to worry about. The boat is a Leopard 40 catamaran, so there is no pole to struggle with.
The main questions are how far up (or down) the spinnaker halyard should you fly it, and how much luff tension?
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Old 09-12-2009, 14:11   #2
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Chicken chutes by definition are flatter, have narrower shoulders, are generally heavier weight (1.5 or 2.2 oz) and are smaller then runners. They are typically more difficult to fly well because of all the above.

But since you have one. The head should be within 8 inches or so of the mast, clews should be even unless you are reaching then try pulling down the foreguy to give the kite a draft forward or assymetric shape, if the kite is bouncing around a bit choke the kite by moving the leads forward. Not much more to add, good for you getting a kite and flying it.

Cheers Joli
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Old 09-12-2009, 18:06   #3
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Try heading up thirty degrees or more and making a regular assymetric set, then check the speed vs extra distance - maybe you are using the wrong tactic.
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Old 09-12-2009, 20:16   #4
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out of curiousity....what is a chicken chute? is it what I would call a heavy runner?
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Old 09-12-2009, 21:26   #5
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The "chicken chute" is the kite that you put up when you are too scared (i.e. "chicken") to put up anything bigger or lighter.

Typically it will be 1.5oz cloth (or even 2 or 2.25oz cloth), small and flat and, essentially, bullet proof. It will generally be a kite that you can carry fairly shy too.

When racing fully crewed boats it has been my exerience, in a blow, that the younger less experienced crew always want to put their balls where their brains ought to be and put up the bigget kite they can get away with, while the older wise heads (and the guy who pays for sail repairs and replacements) generally opt for the chicken chute!

P.S. To answer the original question, and with the caveat that my catamaran sailing experience is somewhere between limited and negligible...

Might you be better with a reaching sail and heating up your sailing angle, rather than sailing dead downwind? If you do want to sail dead downwnd, how about carrying a poled out headsail (or even 2 poled out headsails, port and starboard if truly DDW)?
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Old 11-12-2009, 14:18   #6
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Thanks for the replies. We only use this sail in strong winds (15 to 30 kts, and usually fairly big seas, where auto doesn't do well), doing between 7 and 10 kts. Any faster and you start flying off waves and doing damage. The main reason for this sail is not having to worry about accidentally gybing the main. It is simple and seems very safe for a double handed crew.
The higher we hoisted it, the more the tack and clew flew around chaotically, so we lowered it to 5-10 feet above deck level, and secured the tack with tension on the guy and lazy guy. It is quite stable there, but tore when we increased the halyard tension (2.2 oz nylon!) We fixed it (better than new?) and are anxious to try again when the wind off Columbia gets below 30.
We did need to set another block much forward of the gennaker sheet block.
Can't imagine this trip without it!
The gennaker is huge and only for light winds.

Changing Spots, at anchor in Aruba, en route to Panama
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Old 11-12-2009, 14:56   #7
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the younger less experienced crew always want to put their balls where their brains ought to be and put up the bigget kite they can get away

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Old 11-12-2009, 17:07   #8
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Originally Posted by c.spots View Post
Thanks for the replies. We only use this sail in strong winds (15 to 30 kts, and usually fairly big seas, where auto doesn't do well), doing between 7 and 10 kts. Any faster and you start flying off waves and doing damage. The main reason for this sail is not having to worry about accidentally gybing the main.
You may not need to worry about a gybe, but any round up caused by a wave or an errant autopilot move could be a major problem in 30 kts downwind.

Paul L
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Old 16-12-2009, 08:53   #9
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One advantage of a spinnaker, especially on a multihull is the tendency to lift, instead of stuffing the bows. I would also hope that without a mainsail, it would be difficult to round up, since the chute is pulling the bows downwind.
About to try and get another 500 miles of "experience" with it.
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