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Old 08-01-2018, 21:59   #1
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Boat: Martin 242
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Downwind sailing


I have been watching sailing videos such as this one from Distant Shores

and was wondering about downwind sail configurations. Would it be faster to have the main out in addition to the spinnaker? One might argue that the main blocks the wind getting to the spinnaker, but when I race my Martin 242, my main is always up, even with spinnaker. Is it different on a catamaran? Or is this just for ease of handling on a long passage?

On other videos of ocean crossings, I've seen boats sail wing on wing with two foresails, again with the main down. Is this actually faster, or is it for convenience as to prevent accidental gybes? If one of the foresails backwinds, I imagine one can just furl it up?

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Old 09-01-2018, 02:45   #2
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Re: Downwind sailing

If you like the twin headsail set up, then search you tube for twizzle rig. The video was posted by a member of CF, sparksman I think.


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Old 09-01-2018, 03:04   #3
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Re: Downwind sailing

Deep downwind, my main DOES interfere with the spinnaker. I usually keep it up, centered traveller, sheeted in and with two reefs in. Why?

If I'm caught with my pants down and we get hit by a squall, I want to have the main available to blanket the 'chute for takedown. Even with a sock, it's not fun to douse an exposed spinnaker in a blow short handed.
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Old 09-01-2018, 08:04   #4
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Re: Downwind sailing

Faster?? Depends on many things. Wind angle, boat type, etc.
Ease of handling is very important, Specialy in unstable conditions. If you see squalls all around, it might not be a good idea to sail the spinnaker.
If you sail wing on wing you need to have a pretty steady course with wind angle and have preventers on. That is also more work in case you need to adjust in a squall.
Cats are not that good to sail straight downwind. The stays prevent you from really opening the main. So maybe it's worthy it to drop it if you really need to be straight down wind.
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