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Old 28-05-2020, 08:16   #1
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Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

We have unexpectedly qualified for a long distance race this summer. It's not all that serious and we will not put on a mighty struggle to improve our position, but use of the engine is totally forbidden, which spoils my usual light wind downwind tactic of motorsailing. Even if we don't care that much about the results, we sure as hell care about not bobbing around out there and not arriving. Downwind sailing is likely considering the 900 mile route.

So I think I'm going to need to add a downwind sail of some kind, something which is not presently in my sail inventory (I have carbon laminate mainsail, carb lam blade jib, and carb lam 120% yankee, plus a Dacron staysail/storm sail on an inner forestay).

I have a carbon pole off a TP52 but I don't have and don't intend to add a bowsprit.

What are my options?

I guess the obvious candidate is a regular symmetrical spinnaker. Probably pick up a used one cheap somewhere.

But should I consider something else?

I don't have much time to deal with this. All advice appreciated.
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Old 28-05-2020, 08:26   #2
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

What is the crew size for the race?
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Old 28-05-2020, 08:29   #3
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Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

If youíre talking about very light winds, can you jury rig a bowsprit out of a spin pole? Tie it down on foredeck to cleats or other tie down points, and it should be ok for an asym with winds under 10 kts?

Totally crazy idea - or do you think itís worth exploring?
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Old 28-05-2020, 08:46   #4
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

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Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
What is the crew size for the race?

Enough to handle a spinnaker -- at least 5.
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Old 28-05-2020, 08:49   #5
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

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Originally Posted by antoha View Post
If youíre talking about very light winds, can you jury rig a bowsprit out of a spin pole? Tie it down on foredeck to cleats or other tie down points, and it should be ok for an asym with winds under 10 kts?

Totally crazy idea - or do you think itís worth exploring?

I suppose I could -- is the idea that an assy would be more useful/versatile?


What about a Code 0?


What I am most concerned about is really deep angles in light wind. We'll be slaughtered without the engine.


But we have pretty light SA/D so light wind with anything behind the beam may be something of a challenge.
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Old 28-05-2020, 09:03   #6
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

My asymmetrical spinnaker is not good for deep downwind, maybe 150 degrees true? I can't recall ever pushing it except for below....). I do have a short wooden bowsprit that I fit with a stainless fitting and bobstay, has worked quite well to get separation from headstay. I only do a few races a year so I use it sparingly.

I can hold onto the asymm to a true beam reach but it's on the ragged edge. I bought a Code 0 to help fill in the gap for light air reaching.

If you want true downwind, it's hard to beat a real spinnaker.

Last year I did a solo offshore 125 mile race and stupidly flew my asym at night and it ran too deep. Got the worst headstay wrap I have ever seen and tore my bicep trying to wrestle it down in 20kts, bouncing seas by myself with a flashlight in my teeth at 1am.

All that said, I think a cruising spinnaker w/ a sock is the best sail to buy for all purpose use. You can fly it without a sprit, I'd just douse it for a gybe and rest on other side. You have the crew for it and it's not a high pressure buoy race where seconds count.

Pic is Siena on her way to line honors in 2018 Figawi, we were one of the only boats to fly a spin and it really paid off. Spin was a used J105 I bought for $250.
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Old 28-05-2020, 10:01   #7
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

From reading your original post, my immediate question was how deep down wind are you going?


If you are going to have that much crew, would go for a symmetrical that could be rigged for a dead down run and in between.
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Old 28-05-2020, 10:54   #8
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

Short of a symmetric spinnaker, a cruising asymmetric or "gennaker" is going to give you the best downwind performance. A code zero is for higher, hotter angles and is really a reaching sail. The gennaker will give usable performance from around 90 to 150 degrees. Even with a symmetric you'd be best off tacking downwind for the best speed.

Definitely get one with a sock. If you can get one with a top-down fuller, even better. Don't worry about the lack of a bowsprit. Yes you'd get somewhat better performance and you could sail a bit deeper but it's really a matter of degree. The gennaker will be the most useful sail after the race as it covers a pretty broad arc. Make sure you get one that is cruising weight. And I hope you have storage space. For your boat the turtle bag is going to be a good size. And while you're at it, pick up some cheap dynamma to use for sheets in light air, but make sure whoever is trimming is wearing gloves!
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Old 28-05-2020, 10:59   #9
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

I would lean to a symmetric although one that could be used for a less broad reach as well. You probably would be tacking downwind in any case.
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Old 28-05-2020, 11:01   #10
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailah View Post
My asymmetrical spinnaker is not good for deep downwind, maybe 150 degrees true? . . . I can hold onto the asymm to a true beam reach but it's on the ragged edge. I. . .

So it's only good from 150 true to 90 apparent? That's an awfully narrow range, isn't it?

One good thing about a spinnaker is I won't need any extra gear for it -- I've got the pole and all the lifts.

I guess a cruising Code 0 would have a wider range of use and would be really helpful reaching in light wind. But I would need a sprit and a stay and tensioning gear. I have very little time so that seems like a bridge too far.


Maybe I should just look for a used symmetrical spinnaker and call it a day.
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Old 28-05-2020, 14:42   #11
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
We have unexpectedly qualified for a long distance race this summer. It's not all that serious and we will not put on a mighty struggle to improve our position, but use of the engine is totally forbidden, which spoils my usual light wind downwind tactic of motorsailing. Even if we don't care that much about the results, we sure as hell care about not bobbing around out there and not arriving. Downwind sailing is likely considering the 900 mile route.

So I think I'm going to need to add a downwind sail of some kind, something which is not presently in my sail inventory (I have carbon laminate mainsail, carb lam blade jib, and carb lam 120% yankee, plus a Dacron staysail/storm sail on an inner forestay).

I have a carbon pole off a TP52 but I don't have and don't intend to add a bowsprit.

What are my options?

I guess the obvious candidate is a regular symmetrical spinnaker. Probably pick up a used one cheap somewhere.

But should I consider something else?

I don't have much time to deal with this. All advice appreciated.
.



It depends on the wind angle

If you expect reaching use an asymmetric

If you expect running use a symmetric spinnaker

As a cruiser the asymmetric , tacked to the stem and launched from a snuffer , is the best way to
Spend hard earned cash

Bigger is not always better

Choose a medium size medium weight fabric sail

Jumbo asymmetrical rapidly overpower and all that fabric is difficult for the snuffer to digest
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Old 28-05-2020, 14:45   #12
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
So it's only good from 150 true to 90 apparent? That's an awfully narrow range, isn't it?

One good thing about a spinnaker is I won't need any extra gear for it -- I've got the pole and all the lifts.

I guess a cruising Code 0 would have a wider range of use and would be really helpful reaching in light wind. But I would need a sprit and a stay and tensioning gear. I have very little time so that seems like a bridge too far.


Maybe I should just look for a used symmetrical spinnaker and call it a day.
I don't think that amount of angle is unreasonable. But yeah that's about all you're going to get. If you push it too deep and let the luff wrap too far around the forestay you're on borrowed time for a wrap. If you sail too hot past a beam reach (on my boat) it will fold. And it puts a lot of lateral stress on my sprit. During racing I'll push it a bit but I have good race crew that knows what to do.

If it were me and your money, I'd be looking for a used spin and give it a whirl. Esp since this is a one and done race.

I'm not an expert on Code 0 (but I bought a brand new one on ebay for short money this year...) but I don't think you NEED a sprit. You could tack it to something strong as far forward as you can get. I use a snatch block and tack line back to sampson post. With a sock you could snuff it pretty easy and then redeploy on other side.

I also built a spin crane for masthead, assuming you have that already?

I also used Dyneema for spin sheets and then spliced that into yacht braid for everything that goes to the winch, makes handling much nicer. The lightweight sheets help a lot in light airs.
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Old 28-05-2020, 19:15   #13
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

We find that by using our symmetrical spinnaker and going dead downwind we can often beat boats that fly asymmetricals and have to sail huge distances to keep them full and pulling. We don’t go as fast, but we end up sailing a much shorter distance. If they make a 2ļ error in their angle... they can sail either too far or too slow and end up losing. Adding a regular spinnaker to your inventory seems to be the simplest, cheapest, and most effective way to make your boat competitive. Unless the course is likely to include long, tight reaches, a standard spinnaker would be the best use of your resources. You might also be able to tack something down to your bow anchor roller as a gennaker or code 0 for tighter angles, but does your rating take a hit for adding those sails as well?
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Old 29-05-2020, 01:18   #14
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
From reading your original post, my immediate question was how deep down wind are you going?

If you are going to have that much crew, would go for a symmetrical that could be rigged for a dead down run and in between.

Well, it's almost 1000 miles and 5 or 6 days of sailing, so even with 5 or 6 guys, it will be a challenge to run a spinnaker for days on end.


Of course I don't even know whether it will be downwind -- but there is a decent chance that at least some of it will be downwind.


Last time I sailed that route it was a cracking beam reach and we did 200+ mile days. But the wind could be anything.


Maybe a gennaker would be more versatile? I have a massive carbon pole -- can those be made to work well poled out, sailing deep?
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Old 29-05-2020, 01:23   #15
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Re: Downwind Sail for Ocean Race

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Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
We find that by using our symmetrical spinnaker and going dead downwind we can often beat boats that fly asymmetricals and have to sail huge distances to keep them full and pulling. We donít go as fast, but we end up sailing a much shorter distance. If they make a 2ļ error in their angle... they can sail either too far or too slow and end up losing. Adding a regular spinnaker to your inventory seems to be the simplest, cheapest, and most effective way to make your boat competitive. Unless the course is likely to include long, tight reaches, a standard spinnaker would be the best use of your resources. You might also be able to tack something down to your bow anchor roller as a gennaker or code 0 for tighter angles, but does your rating take a hit for adding those sails as well?

I don't care about the rating, but storage starts to be an issue with multiple massive sails. I'm already carrying two jibs. This boat doesn't have a sail locker.


I found a lightly used triradial symmetrical spinnaker with luff length almost the same as my "I" dimension -- 69' or 21 meters. 1738 square feet or 161m2. 1.5oz nylon. That's a massive sail. I kind of shudder to think about handling it.
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