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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-19-2008
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Spinnaker Too Small?

I just made one of those rash purchases of a gently used item I found for a great deal on Craigslist. In this case it's a Symmetric Spinnaker and pole from a Benneteau 35.

The dimensions of the sail are roughly: Leech/Luff: 43', Foot: 24' Pole: 13'

My boat is a Coronado 41. My front rig dimensions are: I: 45' J: 17'

I haven't rigged a Spinnaker before and my goal is primarily to get more speed going downwind, but we're not racing or anything. The boat is a heavy old 14.5 ton beast, so anything will help. Yet the rig is older and I don't feel a need to oversize any sails and risk undue stress.

I read much more on spinnaker rigging last night (AFTER buying the small spinnaker naturally) and realize it might be the wrong dimensions for my boat.

Maybe I could use it for a while to learn the rigging and determine even if I want a spinnaker at all

The questions:
1) Will this smaller spinnaker even work at all on the boat? The pole seems clearly too short as all reccommendations I see call for a length of J or greater. The Sail may be too narrow as I've now read the reccommendation is J * 180% (and this one at 24ft is just 140%).

2) . Can a symmetric be set without a pole, or with a pole that is 4' shorter than my J, or will I need a 17' pole no matter what symmetric sail I have?

3) Can or should I consider cutting this into an asymmetric? Would it still be too small?

I haven't seen anyone discuss running a smaller than J spinnaker so I assume there's probably some good reason (it will look dumb, won't work at all, won't handle, won't jibe right, will cause some unforseen dangerous situation).

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Cosmo
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Old 03-19-2008
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If you decide that you need a longer pole, let me know. I am currently looking for a new pole. I race a non-spinnaker fleet but need a whisker pole or shorter spin pole.
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Old 03-19-2008
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Yes, it should work, and it should give you some light air improvement, however it won't be ideal.

Setting a symmetrical spinnaker on a monohull without a pole isn't very useful thing. On a multihull, you can get away with it, since you can sheet to the outer hulls... but you don't have that choice on a monohull

I'd try running with it anyways... it won't give you the performance of a properly sized spinnaker, but it should help. It also might teach you if you even want to be messing with a spinnaker.
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With a pole 4 feet too short, you'll have problems when the wind angle is forward and you are reaching with the chute.. the sail will tend to plaster itself onto your forestay.

A saving grace for you is that the luff is a couple of feet short too.. this should prompt you to carry the pole higher on the mast to compensate. Depending on your forestay angle, perhaps at that height a 13 foot pole will actually extend just beyond the forestay, avoiding the problem above.

On the down side, carrying the pole that high will make gybing more difficult... you may be best to drop the kite and reset on the other gybe, since you're not racing anyhow.

Since it was a bargain, and you've got it already, nothing to lose by trying it on!
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Old 03-19-2008
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A saving grace for you is that the luff is a couple of feet short too.. this should prompt you to carry the pole higher on the mast to compensate. Depending on your forestay angle, perhaps at that height a 13 foot pole will actually extend just beyond the forestay, avoiding the problem above.

Great point!
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Old 03-19-2008
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You may be able to fly the sail nearly dead downwind, but otherwise, as you come up on a reach, the short foot and pole will become a serious problem. There really is no way to cut the sail down to an assymetrical sail, and its very hard to fly a symetrical chute without a pole on a monohull (heck its not all that easy to fly one without a pole on a multihull when reaching.)

The real problem comes when its time to drop the chute. When you are learning to fly a chute, the safest drop is to bring the pole forward to the headstay, release the clew from the guy, let the sail flag and then drop it down the back of the mainsail. With the short pole and foot, you can't ease the pole forward without encouraging a serious wrap.

I think you perhaps acted in haste but will have plenty of time to reconsider.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Thanks all for the insight.

Jeff, these were the kind of risks I was concerned about. I wonder if the higher than usual mounting (high enough to have the pole reach past the headstay) would reduce at least that wrapping risk. What would be the problem you expected with the short pole on a reach: performance reduction or greater broaching danger?

I'm guessing if I find a proper length pole somewhere I can make this sail perform more like it should - or at least reduce the risks you mentioned. But maybe I should just look around for a bigger set, or ditch the pole idea and go with an asymmetric on this boat.

Thanks again!
Cosmo
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By the way, you guys are all very helpful. I never expect such fast responses!
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Old 03-19-2008
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Aside from the various practical problems that others have touched on above, appreciate that this spinnaker is about 60% of the proper size for your boat. On a racing boat a spinnaker this size would be a chicken, chicken chute, used in say 18-24 knots apparent. To power your boat in lite to moderate winds, it would be of little use, even if you could get it to fly properly. Forgettaboutit.

Now I happen to be a big fan of spinnakers, and symetrical ones at that. I never go cruising without mine, and I usually leave all spinnaker lines run on deck and ready to go, so popping the spinnnaker only involves getting the bag out and putting the pole up. Many travel days turn into a relaxing sail under a well drawing chute, passing others laboring along the same route under power only.

My advice is go for it, but better a sail a little too big than one too small. Plus you'll cut quite a picture.
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Last edited by sailingfool; 03-20-2008 at 12:09 AM.
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