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Old 04-10-2010, 08:59   #1
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Is it Worth Adding a Pole to an A-Kite ?

We have an asymmetrical spinnaker with ATN tacker (and snuffer) that we love very much. But we are getting ready to cross back over the Atlantic with this year's ARC. I have heard it is a lot of DDW. Is it worth spending $1,500 or more (for our 45' boat) on a spin pole so we can pole out the tack to weather and sail deeper?

It seems from my racing that a-kites work just fine without a pole and the extra sailing distance is made up for by the extra speed generated, so it all ends up a wash. If there will be a significant improvement in my VMG with a poled out kite, then I would be inclined to spend the $. But if the performance is only slight, then I'll probably stick with what I have and sink some of that $1,500 into more 2 euro bottles of wine!!!

Thanks for your input.
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:45   #2
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Hi Peter,

I have an asym that flies off a sprit or a pole. I don't use the pole much. Even if my desired course is DDW I sail off enough to keep the asym full (with a couple of reefs in the main even in light air) and the boat fast. 135 to 145 off the wind seems to be right for us.

Try dumping the ATN tacker. If you launch the chute with the tack line short and start easing it after everything else is trimmed you will find that you can get some rotation of the sail to windward (ease the sheet in concert). You should be able to get 20% or so of the sail to windward, projected area that the ATN tacker prevents you from exposing.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:45   #3
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This depends on the kite - the fuller the sail the more benefit from the pole and from sailing deeper angles. But with a flattish kite (like a gennaker) you gain very little and you will simply sail gybing from one broad reach to the other.

Also a pole is not a good idea if you have a kite with very long luff - then you rather will be looking for an alloy sprite, preferably one that can be rigged to the windward.

I am in Las Palmas and if you want a first hand advice you can contact me via a private msg.

Cheers,
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Old 04-10-2010, 14:47   #4
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Peter--

We are sailing an older Beneteau First 42 and have an Ullman Assym in our inventory. This sail flies very well down to about 150-160 apparent. At 160 our VMG is almost 20% better than it is DDW while the distanced sailed is only increased by about 6.5%. Assuming the true wind remains relatively steady so that our apparent remains roughly 160 on either gybe that means we save roughly 3-1/3 hours over a 100 mile course. While we already have spinnaker gear and could fly the assym with a pole, we have never found it offered any advantage (although we have used a whisker pole to hold out our sheet a few times in very light air). You might find that your ability to fly the sail at deep angles is improved if you dispense with the Tacker which really only seems beneficial when sailing at 90 degrees or less.

FWIW...
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Old 04-10-2010, 15:33   #5
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Peter,

Where did you get that price from seems a bit steep. Some UK prices although you need to add VAT at 17.5%.

Z Spars UK - Spinnaker Poles

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Old 04-10-2010, 19:00   #6
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A tube is about 30 EUR per meter and upwards and end fittings from 50 EUR upwards. A 6 m pole would be ... 700 USD.

Indeed, maybe you have been quoted for carbon?

b.
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Old 04-10-2010, 19:19   #7
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You will need a pole if you run dead downwind. Doesn't happen all that often but it does happen. This year the Pacific High stayed north and I ended up rhumb lining all the way to Hilo with the wind directly aft. 11 days with the Genoa poled out running wing and wing. Didn't set the asym. because I was maintaining nearly hull speed with the poled out Genoa. Trip would have been a bummer without a pole. Would have had to sail 40 or more degrees off my course to keep the headsail from collapsing.

If you are thinking about an extendable whisker pole, might think twice. Mine pretzeled after a couple days running with it about 2/3rd extended. My boat is at the top end of the LOA spec's for the pole but imy old CCA center boarder has got a short stick and only poling out a 130% genoa. Of course it pretzeled at O dark thirty so didn't see what the actual cause was. Think it was just from compression load as the pole end was way above the water and the boat wasn't rolling much at all. If you do go with an extendable pole get the strongest one you can lift. Finished the last 9 days of the voyage using the spinnaker pole without a problem.
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Old 04-10-2010, 20:41   #8
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Auspicious was likely correct. It's not worth the trouble. Wine is a better investment. Lose the ATN. That ATN is a silly & slow device. Let the A-sail rotate out to windward. Ease the tack and maybe the halyard a foot or two. Keep the boat as light as possible (except for the wine).

No pole. Sail a few degrees higher. It a wash on nearly all boats. DDW is slower than a 20 degree +/- apparent angle on every polar I've ever seen. And the rolling...ugh.
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Old 04-10-2010, 21:20   #9
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I think that you need to think long and hard about why you are doing the ARC. If you treat it like a race, you will want the pole, and you will probably break a lot of gear. If you treat it like an Atlantic crossing with parties, you will also need the pole, but not the spinnaker.

Going from the Canaries to St Lucia, the wind will be pretty much dead aft, along with the seas. It won't be a constant wind; there will be lighter moments with 12 knots, days of 20 knots, and squalls of 35 knots. There will also be days of cross seas which will roll the boat.

The best rig for the crossing is twin genoas on the same furler, with a pole on one side. If you drop the main and deploy the twin jibs, you can go dead down wind and up to 20 degrees on each side (pole on windward jib), with no danger of knockdowns or accidental gybes. The steering is much more stable with the center of effort forward, and you can line up with the swell, and the rolling is much reduced.. The best is yet to come, twin 135% genoas have a lot of sail area, but are far more easily managed. When a squall hits you simply ease both sheets and partially furl the genoas--a one or two person job instead of all hands on deck. This is a lot like the twizzle rig, but with fewer complications and the same performance.

If you want the thrill of pushing the boat as hard as possible, being called up at 0300 to douse a raging spinnaker in a squall, multiple roundups/downs, and seasick and exhausted crew, go with the spinnaker and the pole.

If you want an easy passage, the boat and crew in one piece, and a finish within 24 hours of the spinnaker option, bring your old genoa and go with the twin jib rig.

I've done it both ways.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:10   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post

(...) Going from the Canaries to St Lucia, the wind will be pretty much dead aft, along with the seas. It won't be a constant wind; there will be lighter moments with 12 knots, days of 20 knots, and squalls of 35 knots. There will also be days of cross seas which will roll the boat. (...)
Going from the Canaries to St Lucia at the ARC time the wind can be anything. It may, depending on the year, be a lot of broad reaching and running. There are also years with large portion of changeable winds (and in such a year they will vary in directions and be mostly light 5-15 knots).

The apparent wind, even in a decent and puffy year, will be below 15 knots most of the time except the take off and the landfall perhaps.

What you said about the cross seas is 100% true in any year for the ARC timed crossing. If crossing later in the season the wind is better (more wind) and the cross seas, surprisingly - less.

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Old 06-10-2010, 04:12   #11
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Going from the Canaries to St Lucia, the wind will be pretty much dead aft, along with the seas.
Adjustments to the heading using the rudder can change that dead aft wind to something much faster, more agreeable to the sails available, and maybe more comfortable.
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Old 06-10-2010, 21:34   #12
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1 x 24' length of 4" O.D. x 1/4" wall aluminium tube (6061), cut to suit = $338
2 x RF1663 Ronstan end fittings at $150 each.

Total cost $638 + postage.

Tube: Metals Depot Shopping Cart - View the contents of your shopping cart=

Fittings: RF1663 Spinnaker Pole Ends Aluminium body, accepts up to 20mm (3/4") dia. ring or line - Boating Central

Shop around and you will get the tube cheaper for sure and maybe even find the fittings for a little less.
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Old 06-10-2010, 21:57   #13
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Regularly search Craig's List in all the major sailing ports regularly and you will find a pole cheap. Got my 12/24 for $300 and the 15' spinnaker pole for a $100. Have seen broken Carbon Poles that could have the break section cut off, be shortened and used for under $500. Also check with the consignment shops. Last time I was in Blue Pelican in Alameda, they had 13-24 Forespar Whisker Pole but that was a couple months ago.
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Old 15-10-2010, 05:02   #14
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Thanks, everyone, for the discussion. I so much more appreciate this website over Sailing Anarchy. At SA everyone is an expert and have no qualms reaming you a new one over a simple question. So I appreciate your tact and generosity!

From the posts I have read, it sounds like losing the ATN tacker is the way to go. On our west-to-east crossing last year we didn't have the tacker and just tied the tack off to one of the bow rollers with about 2' of line between bow roller and tack. That seemed to work. It was only this summer that we added the tacker. So going back to what we had before (i.e. no tacker) sounds like a good (and inexpensive) solution.

The only thing I have to worry about is the tack line rubbing against our our running lights (not because of chafe, but because I'd be worried of the line possibly damaging the line when loaded up). But our nav lights were fine last year so I guess they'll be fine this year!!

As for the cost I estimated, the $1,500 may have been high. But I was adding in the foreguy, topping lift, blocks, bridles, and all the attendant hardware to do the job right.

As for the post from the one gentleman regarding our approach to the ARC, I read the post almost as an all-or-nothing kind of deal -- either kick back and enjoy those 2 euro bottles of wine or put the pedal to the metal and scream across the ocean. I believe there is a happy middle ground.

Having come from a racing background, I have rigged the boat up with some "go fast" widgets. And I fully intend to use them...and to trim our sails for optimum speed on a regular basis (but not a constant basis if we were truly racing). But we won't compromise safety or fun. Waking up at 0300 to douse a kite is neither safe nor fun!!

Sailing the Med the past couple of seasons has given me a good feel for our boat. There have been several times when the wind piped up and it got fun....for about 15 min.!! And then it was time to get serious about safety and throttle back. So I think I have a pretty good feel for when it is OK to put the hammer down and when it is time to let off and take it easy. I guess we'll find out soon enough, eh?!!
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Old 15-10-2010, 06:11   #15
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Peter -

Sounds like you've got it right. Do something about the nav light chafe. I've had that issue. Wrecks both the line and the light. Both very expensive.

I'm thinking about a short sprit, like 3 feet, just enough to get the tack away from all the hardware on the bow, but not so much it is an expensive structural project.
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