Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-01-2014
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Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous?

Is there any reason NOT to fly an undersized asymmetrical spinnaker (gennaker) from my boat?

The full details:

I have a gennaker from my previous boat, a 34-foot ketch. I now own a 37-foot cutter. The gennaker is a great sail. Basically brand new, all set up with its own ATN snuffer, swivel and control lines.

I know ... you're going to ask for the specs of the sail ... I don't have them. I do know the asym is sized for our ketch, which had a:
P: 33'
J: 12'

Our current boat (cutter) has:
P: 42'
J: 16'

I know this sail will be undersized for our cutter, but is there a danger in flying it? The things I'm wondering about is, since the luff will be too small, it will either be hoisted with the head lower than it should be, or the clew set too high ... that sort of thing. Should I hoist it with a long lead off the head, to have the clew lower, or should I live with the high clew ... does it matter?

I imagine it will take some fiddling, but other than being undersized, I don't think there is a problem giving this a try -- but I'm not a great sailor. Can I get into trouble using this sail on my cutter?
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Old 04-01-2014
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Re: Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous?

Mike -
Only danger I can think of is boredom.
That's ok though, I'm a great fan of boredom at sea.
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Old 04-01-2014
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Re: Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous?

Mike, I think it sounds like a horrible idea. You're going to put a lot of stress on places where it shouldn't be. Too high up, and the stress on the bow will be off on a weird angle, and you risk causing delamination. Too low, and you put the stress on the masthead at a weird angle and could put undue stress on the halyard sheave. Your best bet is to send it to me. My boat has a P of 34.4, and a J of 12, so it's almost a perfect fit. I'll send you my address.
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Old 04-02-2014
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Re: Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous?

No problem at all. You'll be fine. Use it and enjoy it.

Long halyard or tack, it doesn't matter. Higher up it might catch more air, but have more heeling moment. Down low, it might obstruct visibility, but have less heeling moment. I've used undersized spinnakers before.

One raceboat I was on recently had an UNDERSIZED spinnaker that they used in extremely light winds. Everyone else in the racing world uses bigger spinnakers when the winds drop. The trick with the small chute was that it weighed less than the big ones, and thus would fly in winds where they bigger ones wouldn't. They called it "the secret weapon."

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Old 04-02-2014
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Re: Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous?

The only concern I would have is with a P that much shorter you may not be able to get the smaller one to trim correctly. The chute is going to be pretty unstable because of extra long line from the top and bottom. But I don't see that you could really break anything.
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Old 04-02-2014
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Re: Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
Mike, I think it sounds like a horrible idea. You're going to put a lot of stress on places where it shouldn't be. Too high up, and the stress on the bow will be off on a weird angle, and you risk causing delamination. Too low, and you put the stress on the masthead at a weird angle and could put undue stress on the halyard sheave. Your best bet is to send it to me. My boat has a P of 34.4, and a J of 12, so it's almost a perfect fit. I'll send you my address.
Jim.... Almost had me going. I wasn't sure until I got to the last sentence.
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Old 04-02-2014
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Re: Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous?

The ONLY thing dangerous about it, you might get a grin going down wind, so since boat is about the same as yours too, how about if I take it off your hands, I'll raise the ante by paying shipping.............

That might then give you enough to go buy a proper sized genneker to REALLY enjoy using them.......

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Old 04-02-2014
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Re: Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous?

I don't see any reason not to give it a try. My bet is it will fly better, with the tack (which I think you are referring to as the clew) closer to the deck than the head is to the mast head. However, if you have an adjustable tack, which is easily made with a block on deck and leading the tack line back to a cleat, you can adjust to the sweet spot. Another poster made a good point about the weight of your sheets. Presumably, you'll have a bit more out on this boat and it may or may not be an issue for your spin to hold them up.

Go out and enjoy it and provide a full report!
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Old 04-02-2014
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Re: Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous?

I have both on my boat, one undersized (chicken chute) and full sized. I find we use the undersized about 2/3 of the time. I sail in crowded waters and I like being able to see under it as it flies about 5 feet off the deck. I can also keep flying it as the breeze freshens. speed wise, it might cost you a knot or less in a light breeze.
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Old 04-02-2014
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Re: Gennaker that is undersized - dangerous?

Thanks everyone, even you oh-so generous folks who offered, out of sheer kindness, to take this little thing off my hands. You folks are the best .

I'll give it a try and let you know how it goes ... if the ice ever leaves our waters. These days even the icebreakers are having a hard time .
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