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post #21 of 25 Old 03-20-2008
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Stevyboy - First off, as is par for the course in the sailing community, everyone in this thread threw out a ton of sailing lingo that you asked to not receive. It's almost a knee jerk reaction for sailors to do so.

Here's the deal. Don't be afraid of the spinnaker. They are very easy to fly. Go on Wikipedia and you'll see all the different lingo definitions for sheets (lazy & active), foreguy, topping lift, pole, halyard, etc. Once you have an understanding of what each do, go out to your boat on a windlass day and rig everything up. Hoist the sail and then look over everything. Practicality rules in "kite" (spinnaker) sailing. For symmetrical spinnakers, sheets (ropes that control the left/right "trim" motion of the sail) are attached to the lower two corners of the triangle, and always run outside of everything, to the blocks (the expensive Harken or Lewmar devices mounted near the cockpit) and then to the winches (more expensive devices). You'll have a track on the mast for the spinnaker pole, and then a foreguy and topping lift to control the pole. The spinnaker pole is always heading in an opposite direction from the main boom. It is there to control the spinnaker and how it is positioned for the direction of sail you desire (and a few other reasons I won't bludgeon you with). Asymmetricals are generally easier to fly, but since you don't have one of those, who cares? :-)

My underlying point is that you need not be afraid of the spinnaker. Practicing in 8-10kts is the perfect environment to learn how to properly fly the "kite." Bring along two friends and you'll have a great time. That kind of wind pressure won't overwhelm you, so whatever you do won't be that hard to deal with. The trick for you as the skipper is figuring out timing for your jibes (your downwind turns). Over communicate with your crew what you plan to do and while turning the boat, make sure you watch the action of the sail so your turn is in sync with the spinnaker. That's really the trickiest part for you as the skipper.

btw, with all do respect to previous posts, if you get knocked down while flying the kite, the correct procedure to right the vessel is to blow the vang, and sheet out. When you come back, sheet in like crazy and then look at the skipper like he/she's crazy. If you are the skipper, look at the trimmer the same way. It's not good to suggest you let the active sheet go where it can run through the block and thus completely out of your control.

I do like the suggestion that you sign up to crew on a racing boat. I've spent many years crewing on J24's, J105's, J90's, NM39's, B38s5's, Farr40's, etc. You learn best by jumping in. Where ever you live, I guarantee there are crew lists, and any novice crew needing "rail meat" will invite you aboard. That's your best way to learn.
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post #22 of 25 Old 03-20-2008
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Vit, I agree with using the term sheet out as opposed to letting it go entirely I should have been more clear on that, also I've been racing since hector was a pup so a lot of what I say may not apply to more conservative approaches to dealing with a spin.

Definitely don't be afraid of the spin. Have fun.
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post #23 of 25 Old 03-20-2008
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Originally Posted by Faster View Post
As I said, there are many ways to do this. My rational, and why it has worked for us, is that the bowman can clearly and easily see what's happening with the sail throughout the gybe and has better control because of being solidly braced to the boat. Even on a 27 footer, in a breeze the loaded pole can push you around pretty good - esp if you're not a large person and esp if things don't go well.

This discussion was not meant to include dip pole techniques, rare on a boat that size.

At any rate my intent was simply to put some basics out there based on our experiences. But there are plenty of varied methods used. In the end you will work out what works best in your own situation.
I aknowledged the fact that, indeed, he will not be using a dip pole gybe, in my post, but if he moves up to a boat that does he will have been practicing proper safety.
Just my 2 Cents worth.
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post #24 of 25 Old 03-20-2008
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Agree with Sabre and Vitesse that a spinnaker is a very useful sail that too many people are unnecessarily afraid to use. We much prefer to fly the chute in reasonable conditions to sailing wing-on-wing.

I also believe that, while an Asymmetrical is less expensive to run due to reduced hardware requirements, it is not nearly as versatile a sail and can be just as much a bear if things go wrong. Which they will at some point, but that's just part of the learning curve.

I'd also reinforce that practicing in really light air is probably counterproductive. The sail will not fly easily and trying to learn will be more frustrating.


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post #25 of 25 Old 03-20-2008
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In the same vein as the last few posts, I realize my first reply (at least at the end) may have sounded a little too harum-scarum.

But I still say I think the old symmetrical spinnakers like yours are actually easier to undertand, and to fly, than the asymmetrical ones off the bow.

Go out with a knowledgable friend in light air and "learn the ropes". Don't feel bad if you get a sheet on the wrong side of the lifelines or jib sheets, it's part of the learning process, and easy to fix in light air (useful saying--"there are about 10 ways to screw up rigging a spinnaker, and I can usually think of at least 6 of them").

I helped a neighbor and his friend, who had sailed together deep-sea around the Hawaiian Islands, deliver his new-used boat on a three-day delivery in the Gulf. nice C&C cruiser, had been rigged as a club-level racer. On one of those days, there were perfect spinnaker conditions (5-15 knot breeze on the quarter) so I set up the pole, found some sheets, improvised a downhaul, and got it flying. Neither of them had ever flown a spinnaker, and they were like kids with a new toy. We flew it all day until we had to make a course change to windward to enter a pass. Without a spinnaker, that would've been either a very slow sailing day, or faster "motorsailing" (my version of Hell) where you smell your diesel exhaust all day in the quartering breeze.

So look upon it as a useful cruising tool, as long as you respect its limits, and yours.
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