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Old 12-01-2022, 18:35   #1
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What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

I'm on a boat with no spinnaker or whisker pole. Expecting 20 knot winds behind us all day tomorrow, what's the best setup to sail downwind without a pole? Thanks!
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Old 12-01-2022, 18:37   #2
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

Genoa only. Use boom prevented out and lead Genoa sheet through block attached to boom. Latter only if needed
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Old 12-01-2022, 18:39   #3
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

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I'm on a boat with no spinnaker or whisker pole. Expecting 20 knot winds behind us all day tomorrow, what's the best setup to sail downwind without a pole? Thanks!
(1) some boats will fly wing and wing without a pole downwind pretty well with a good helmsman and it is fun when it works

(2) jibing downwind will be dead easy and safe (if you have the room) and will probably be faster than you expect

(3) I have sat (on opb) holding the jib clew out with a long boat hook for several hours.

(4) genoa only is the lazy man's approach and likely will be slowest (of these 4) but easiest
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Old 13-01-2022, 00:07   #4
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

Iíve gone wing on wing without a pole for some hours, however you typically only have a 5 or 10 degree window to keep both sails full.

Not great if you are on autopilot and the wind is varying.

Great fun if youíre on the wheel
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Old 13-01-2022, 08:48   #5
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

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Genoa only. Use boom prevented out and lead Genoa sheet through block attached to boom. Latter only if needed
Interesting tip. We're on a Hunter and have the swept back spreaders. Going downwind with the main and trying to keep it off the spreaders doesn't work well.

Leaving the main in the mast, using a soft shackle to attach a spare block to the end of the boom (easy, it has a cast in eye for a preventer), and running the jib sheet it might work better.
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Old 13-01-2022, 09:05   #6
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

Wing on wing with a preventer on the boom. I sail on the tack that puts lightly by the lee, wind from aft but on the same side as the boom. Pay attention but this helps keep the genoa full.
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Old 13-01-2022, 09:42   #7
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

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I'm on a boat with no spinnaker or whisker pole. Expecting 20 knot winds behind us all day tomorrow, what's the best setup to sail downwind without a pole? Thanks!
Jib only works great, and its easy on the equipment especially the autopilot.

I did two downwinds recently in pretty strong wind one with jib only and one where the wind got way passed the forecast and ended up around 33-34 knots.

I was sailing singlehanded both times. The one with jib only winds were nearing the high 20 knot range, and it was a walk in the park except my furler was jammed so I sailed it all the way into my creek then lowered the whole sail.

The other one I had my one and only reef in and was able to get my jib furled, but I was still over powered and had to steer for 3 hours because it was too much for the autopilot. The boat kept trying to head up due to too much mainsail up.

The boat was pushing a lot of water so I'm glad the wind didn't increase much more because it would have been a bitch to go forward to lower the main as the boat turned back into the wind as soon as I would let go the tiller.



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Old 13-01-2022, 09:50   #8
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

for my money, I'd prefer to go on a broad reach first on one tack, then another..this eliminates the odds of the boom getting backwinded and come crashing over the cockpit.
every time you change tacks, sheet in the main until you have it near center, then ease it out again...
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Old 13-01-2022, 11:21   #9
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

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for my money, I'd prefer to go on a broad reach first on one tack, then another..this eliminates the odds of the boom getting backwinded and come crashing over the cockpit.
every time you change tacks, sheet in the main until you have it near center, then ease it out again...
Which is why sailing DDW with Jib alone is much better......
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Old 13-01-2022, 12:07   #10
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

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Which is why sailing DDW with Jib alone is much better......
BUT which is ultimately faster?
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Old 13-01-2022, 12:25   #11
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

sailing DDW with jib alone is an option for sure....but it's hard to keep a boat pointed DDW in big seas, especially under autopilot....and especially at night...

..my preference is to broadreach....the few times I've done jib only is with a pole, a tightly strapped pole....

I know some people will hank a second headsail to the foil, or forestay, so as to create a wing and wing situation..but that really requires two poles...though one pole could also do the trick.

finally, there is the crew question. some folks are really good at the helm, anticipating boat movement, wave action together with sail trim...but others...not so good...

sailing a broadreach pattern helps to simplify things imo....

each to his own though...
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Old 13-01-2022, 12:55   #12
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

no need to be married to a single idea either.....try DDW under jib only....and if that doesn't work or is not comfortable.....try broad reaching.....or vice versa...

seas are also not always aligned with the wind angle...it might take some trial and error to find a " groove" you can live with..
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Old 13-01-2022, 13:35   #13
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

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Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
no need to be married to a single idea either.....try DDW under jib only....and if that doesn't work or is not comfortable.....try broad reaching.....or vice versa...

seas are also not always aligned with the wind angle...it might take some trial and error to find a " groove" you can live with..
This is the best advice! Every boat works differently. Play with the sails and find what works for you and your boat.
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Old 13-01-2022, 14:39   #14
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Which is why sailing DDW with Jib alone is much better......
Quote:
Originally Posted by sv_pelagia View Post
BUT which is ultimately faster?
Thomm may not answer this question, so I'll try:

Headsail alone is proof against accidentally gybing the main, but depending upon the sail plan may supply well less than half of the total sail area, and without a pole, poorly arrayed to maximize thrust generated. This limits speed except when there is enough wind to get to hull speed on that smaller sail area.

Mainsail alone can work well on some boats, but as Thomm noted upthread, on others it can cause control issues with very strong weather helm. This seems to be more common on longish keels with attached rudders IME.

But the best solution IMO is to pole out the foresail and prevent the boom in the wing/wing plan. This is well balanced, projects the maximum sail area and has no worry about crash gybes. More trouble to set up or take down, but definitely faster than foresail alone and stable on all the boats that I have owned. One can carry this plan all t he way up to around 120 deg apparent, easing the pole forward and trimming in the main as you go up. Maintains balance and an easy helm for the a/p.

We've done tens of thousands of miles under this rig... works for us!

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Old 13-01-2022, 14:43   #15
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Re: What's the best way to sail downwind without a pole?

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This is the best advice! Every boat works differently.
And wind/sea conditions change too. There is no one "right answer".
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