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Old 17-01-2020, 07:32   #1
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Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

Our new boat has three genoas and a twin groove luff foil.
When we set off next year on our bluewater adventure, I'm thinking of setting up a twin headsail rig for the big downwind legs (Cape Verde to Carib).
We have only got one pole though, so I am wondering about using a block on the boom to sheet the other genoa. We have straight spreaders so we can get the boom well out.
Are there any downsides to this compared to having a second pole? I actually have an old boom off my previous boat which is a foot shorter than the pole on the new boat. But by the time you buy the necessary fittings to turn it into a pole, it's not exactly 'free' any more. Might be more hassle than it's worth?
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Old 17-01-2020, 07:48   #2
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

If you do a lot of down wind sailing good poles for twin head sails are worth their weight in gold.
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Old 17-01-2020, 07:57   #3
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

The main boom and a whisker pole worked well for me on a trade wind crossing from the Canaries to Antigua. I extimate we rolled 1 million times on the trip. You get accustomed to ghe roll after a day or so but the pita is when it stops and starts at random intervals for no apparent reason. Watch out for chafe.
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Old 17-01-2020, 08:01   #4
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

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Originally Posted by wguinon View Post
The main boom and a whisker pole worked well for me on a trade wind crossing from the Canaries to Antigua. I extimate we rolled 1 million times on the trip. You get accustomed to ghe roll after a day or so but the pita is when it stops and starts at random intervals for no apparent reason. Watch out for chafe.

And REALLY watch out for dipping a pole in the water!
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Old 17-01-2020, 08:02   #5
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

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If you do a lot of down wind sailing good poles for twin head sails are worth their weight in gold.
It would be cheaper and more effective to buy a spinnaker. More seriously you need a good auto pilot for DDW with two head sails. It works fine with my raymarine EV400 in rather calm seas, not sure that would work in 20kts & 2+ meters following sea. OTHO I can fly the spinnaker from 140 to 140AWA, super easy on the AP. And that is basically how I crossed the atlantic.
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Old 17-01-2020, 09:21   #6
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

The problem is that you then have to fly the spinnaker to get any benefit from it.
The advantage of the twins is one edge of each sail is secured making them much easier to handle short-handed.
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Old 17-01-2020, 09:46   #7
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

we have flown our genua poled out to one side and the main on the other side for over 15,000 nm of passages. We find this is much easier on our boat (less wear) the boat does not roll as much and there is no danger of dipping the pole in the water.

Going DDW the boat has a tendency to accelerate until the boat is going as fast as it can in the wind, then the sails luff and fold , the boat slows and the sails fill again. This is (for us) an uncomfortable way to sail.

The other thing to think about is squalls. When the squalls come, you will have hard time turning out of their way with double headsails. Much easier if you are poled out
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Old 17-01-2020, 09:46   #8
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

Crossed sheets to the tiller can work tyoo
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Old 17-01-2020, 09:56   #9
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

Wing on wing or twin headsails going dead down wind can get your boat rolling to an uncomfortable degree at times. We tend to tack downwind as we find it just as fast overall (more speed over water) and less rolling if wind kept to one side or the other of the boat. Guess it depends on your boat design and exact sail layout however.
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Old 17-01-2020, 10:06   #10
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

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Wing on wing or twin headsails going dead down wind can get your boat rolling to an uncomfortable degree at times. We tend to tack downwind as we find it just as fast overall (more speed over water) and less rolling if wind kept to one side or the other of the boat. Guess it depends on your boat design and exact sail layout however.
Yah..I prefer tight angles when poled 125 to 140 seems to work
Wave period , boat type , wind strength are the factors

On a cutter I pole out the staysail to windward, Genoa to leeward and sail with a reef in the main to control chafe
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Old 17-01-2020, 10:06   #11
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

Lots of roll, possible pole dip in the water, difficult to deal with squalls. Where is the upside?
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Old 17-01-2020, 10:11   #12
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

Try a reefed main tight mid ship with the twin headsails to minimize rolling.
Having the heads sails on independent roller reefing helps simplify handling sail shape and dousing, esp with cutter rig. Mounting the poles on mast tracks makes it easier still.
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Old 17-01-2020, 10:42   #13
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

OK so not much love for the twin headsails then!
The boat is an old Moody 39, she's still quite new to us so can't really say just how badly she would roll. She is very beamy though, which might help a little bit?

We already have a spinny with snuffer, perhaps this is a better choice for daytime. The big advantage I see in twin headsails is that you can easily furl them away, which would be useful when shorthanded on a night watch. We may be doing the crossing with just two adults aboard, although if we can find the right people we would like to take one or two extra crew.

We are installing a Hydrovane, I was hoping that twin headsails would give the windvane a nice easy time of it. We also have an AP, can't remember the model offhand but it's only a couple of years old, so far has coped admirably with everything we've thrown at it.

The advantages I had assumed for twin headsails were:
a) boat would be nicely balanced, equal sail area each side and no tendency to broach
b) very easy/quick reefing is possible
c) minimal chafe, compared to using the main, which would be against the shrouds if sheeted right out

I might be totally wrong about all these points, and main+genoa, or just a spinny, might actually be preferable.
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Old 17-01-2020, 10:51   #14
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

Lots of people wing on wing ,crossing the Pond and many more with mains sail out on a preventer ,not seen many with a spinnaker of a cruising shute , too light material for the winds , it might be the case of just getting out and practising both methods to find out how your boat deals with this, all boats are different and many will swear by one to the other but only you will know because it is your boat.
Reefing down a main is not to bad short handed , as always reef her in at night ,to be safe and then you can always judge in daylight and see the weather ahead if you need to reef early.
For chafe maybe putting some good chafe protection on the wire will help.
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Old 17-01-2020, 10:59   #15
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Re: Twin headsails for trade wind sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by SY Kelpie View Post
Our new boat has three genoas and a twin groove luff foil.
When we set off next year on our bluewater adventure, I'm thinking of setting up a twin headsail rig for the big downwind legs (Cape Verde to Carib).
We have only got one pole though, so I am wondering about using a block on the boom to sheet the other genoa. We have straight spreaders so we can get the boom well out.
Are there any downsides to this compared to having a second pole? I actually have an old boom off my previous boat which is a foot shorter than the pole on the new boat. But by the time you buy the necessary fittings to turn it into a pole, it's not exactly 'free' any more. Might be more hassle than it's worth?
I don't like sailing wing-on-wing. It's not stable and constantly risks gybing the mainsail (or finding yourself on your side with a deadly-dangerous prevented main).

I've been flying twin jibs for years. It's my normal way of making the passage from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz or Monterey: 80 nm. I often average 7 to 8 knots for the entire voyage in moderate swell by surfing. My hull speed is 5.8 knots.

I just take in my main and leave the tiller free without an autopilot. There's no need to steer my full-keeled boat. Just sit back and watch. Twin jibs (on my boat) are self-correcting for headings off dead downwind. If I need to steer +/- 20 degrees of dead downwind, I accomplish that by adjusting the tensions on the jibs. Attached is a video that demonstrates the heading adjustments. Conditions: wind 5-8 knots with the boat anchored by the stern.

I've flown the jibs in up to 25 knots of wind. At that point, my boat will make 4 knots or more under bare poles downwind. So I just drop the jibs and enjoy the ride.

I have a spinnaker -- I never ever use it single-handed. If something is going to go wrong - it's the spinnaker. With "the twins," there's no broaching and no "roll of death."

I also have whisker poles that I only use in variable winds or rougher seas (rarely). The poles go up only if the jib clews start snapping. I don't sail in the S.F. Bay where the winds are continually squirrelly. Those poles consist of hollow fiberglass tubes (intended to be used as antenna masts) that cost me $16 each. If they get "dipped" I expect them to break to save more expensive stuff. With the cut of my jibs, I'd have to be in really big seas or heel nearly 90 degrees to dip a jib clew (YMMV with a beamier boat). Hasn't happened yet. I've heard of people using outrageously expensive whisker poles. Comeon: it's just a pole! And my fiberglass poles weight only a little more than the $thousand carbon fiber versions.

One real charm of flying twin jibs is this: you can sail on an upwind reach, and the upwind jib will just lay over the downwind jib. Then, when you turn to a run: the two jibs will bloom open like a flower. Just use a separate jibsheet for each jib. You never have to leave the cockpit!

By the way, there is a gap at the luff between the two jibs where they hank on. That gap is beneficial - it acts like the apex vent in a parachute to prevent oscillation - which on a boat is known as "rolling." Oscillation makes parachute landings harder and that's why there's a hole at top of a round parachute canopy. On a boat - rolling consumes energy. I get very little of that. The "leakage" between the jibs is a good thing. Don't bother sealing it.


Here's where I got my poles: https://www.dxengineering.com/search/department/rigid-tubing/part-type/fiberglass-tubing?N=part-type%3Afiberglass-tubing&SortBy=Default&SortOrder=Ascending

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