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  #1  
Old 05-29-2011
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First hourglass today

Got my first hourglass on a spinnaker hoist today!

Got a much-more-experienced sailor friend of mine to come along, hands-off, advice only. Though he pack the chute before we went out, to show me the method he used.

We had the spinnaker bag at the front of the cockpit outside the coaming, hooked on the lifeline. I have only launched from here once before, in very light winds. He said he normally hoists on a close or beam reach; previously I had been launching from the side of the foredeck or the pulpit, on a beam reach. A beam reach our above would have put us ashore, so we went a bit deeper. Oversheeted the jib and main to prevent fouling the chute (normally I would leave them out).

First problem was that I had a lot of trouble pre-feeding the afterguy. Lots of friction. When I thought I had enough out I decided to take up a little bit of halyard to maybe un-clog the bag, and that's when the upper part of the sail flipped over and filled (or was it already twisted? I can't remember, happened real fast). We decided to hoist it anyway and pull the guy all the way in but the sail was too full and pulling hard. With a lee shore about 100 feet away we decided to douse and jibe off under the jib. We probably had about fifteen knots of wind at the time, a bit less apparent but there was still quite a bit of pressure in the sails even downwind.

We talked about it afterwards and decided we had chosen the wrong sail for the conditions (it was quite a broad spinnaker, 3/4 oz). I also think that the positioning of the bag was a big factor in it being so hard to pull the tack out. The sail was inside the lifelines while I was prefeeding it.

On another thread I had a few recommendations to try launching from the cockpit (my friend does it the same way singlehanding his boat), and I like the idea, but it seems that the boom and jib are a bit in the way if you're on a deep reach. Is launching on a higher point of sail the right thing to do here? I'd love to hear more details from folks using this method singlehanded.
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Old 05-29-2011
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I fly an asymm, but our procedures seem pretty similar. You definitely don't want to sail too deep downwind, or that chute is going to fly forward and wrap around your forestay. You'll be 6 different kinds of pissed off. Don't ask me how I know.

That being said, I think a close reach is a little overkill. A beam reach should keep the chute flying alongside the boat until you're ready to drive downwind and trim it in.

Hoisting a little to unclog is what boned you. You can't hoist at all until you're ready, and when you do, you'd better hoist like the devil's chomping at your ass or you're going to get the hourglass.

You can pull the clews out of the bag a bit though, that might help. Pre-feed the guy as you were trying to do.

Good luck, and keep practicing. And take pictures!!
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Old 05-29-2011
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Your method doesn't sound too bad, it's possible the twist was already in the bag...

We usually prefeed some of the guyed clew out of the bag to make it easier to pull around to the pole end, and don't hoist until it's there. Also try not to let the sheet catch or cleat until the sail is fully hoisted and at the pole.

The hoist from the companionway has many advantages but it works best on boats with non overlapping jibs (and no dodger..). You also typically need slightly longer sheets and guys to pull it off. On our current boat we hoist from a bag clipped to the first stanchion on the leeward foredeck and usually on a slightly broad reach, shooting for a 45 deg pole angle on the initial set and fill. Once up and flying, we then adjust course & trim as needed.

As already said, keep practicing!!
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Old 05-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
And take pictures!!
Next time I'm a couple hundred feet from a lee shore with an hourglass in my spinnaker I'll be sure to head down below and rummage around for the camera

Anyway, good points guys. I realize it was my bad call to hoist at that point. I was hoping it would sort itself out (this had happened to me before in much lighter winds and a few tugs on the three lines were enough to flip the head of the chute around).

It was mentioned that I should keep the sheet uncleated and free to run. I did, but the sheet never came into play because so much of the sail was jammed in the bag. The jam provided the tension on the aft edge of the sail that a sheet normally would.

I don't have a dodger but I was using a 135% jib. I'm hoping that's not too big to make launch work, because I'm hoping to do everything singlehanded in an upcoming singlehanded race. That said, it's not a round-the buoys race and there will probably be at most one downwind run each day, so maybe I don't need to be able to relaunch the spinnaker the same day, which is what attracted me to the companionway/cockpit launch in the first place.

Edit: one other thing, regarding wraps: if I hoist the spinnaker while the jib is still up, shouldn't that prevent a wrap?
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Last edited by AdamLein; 05-29-2011 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 05-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamLein View Post
Edit: one other thing, regarding wraps: if I hoist the spinnaker while the jib is still up, shouldn't that prevent a wrap?
Nope. I still wrapped around the forestay with my 130% up. Wrapped the jib up with it. It was all under load, so I couldn't flip it back around.

It's hard being in 3 places at the same time. You can bring the tail of the spin sheet up to you, you can trim it the second it's hoisted and tied off.
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Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
Nope. I still wrapped around the forestay with my 130% up. Wrapped the jib up with it. It was all under load, so I couldn't flip it back around.
Yikes. Good to know.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamLein View Post
Got my first hourglass on a spinnaker hoist today!

Got a much-more-experienced sailor friend of mine to come along, hands-off, advice only. Though he pack the chute before we went out, to show me the method he used.

We had the spinnaker bag at the front of the cockpit outside the coaming, hooked on the lifeline. I have only launched from here once before, in very light winds. He said he normally hoists on a close or beam reach; previously I had been launching from the side of the foredeck or the pulpit, on a beam reach. A beam reach our above would have put us ashore, so we went a bit deeper. Oversheeted the jib and main to prevent fouling the chute (normally I would leave them out).

First problem was that I had a lot of trouble pre-feeding the afterguy. Lots of friction. When I thought I had enough out I decided to take up a little bit of halyard to maybe un-clog the bag, and that's when the upper part of the sail flipped over and filled (or was it already twisted? I can't remember, happened real fast). We decided to hoist it anyway and pull the guy all the way in but the sail was too full and pulling hard. With a lee shore about 100 feet away we decided to douse and jibe off under the jib. We probably had about fifteen knots of wind at the time, a bit less apparent but there was still quite a bit of pressure in the sails even downwind.

We talked about it afterwards and decided we had chosen the wrong sail for the conditions (it was quite a broad spinnaker, 3/4 oz). I also think that the positioning of the bag was a big factor in it being so hard to pull the tack out. The sail was inside the lifelines while I was prefeeding it.

On another thread I had a few recommendations to try launching from the cockpit (my friend does it the same way singlehanding his boat), and I like the idea, but it seems that the boom and jib are a bit in the way if you're on a deep reach. Is launching on a higher point of sail the right thing to do here? I'd love to hear more details from folks using this method singlehanded.
hmmm. you're hoisting an S2 (runner) on a beam reach, 100 yards from a lee shore in 15 kts of breeze, main and jib oversheeted. I'd love to have been the photo boat to see the round up when the spin filled if everything had gone well! On the 'do over', give yourself more sea room to cover your bases if things go sideways. Then let's see... The pre feed is critical. It has to happen, especially if you're trying to hoist on a reach. If someone has to feed it from the bag as you pull on the guy, so be it. Make sure the spinnaker tack is at least a foot off the headstay because it'll be on the guy will be on headstay when the kite fills. Hoist quickly, then steer down as necessary to fill the spinnaker, then try to work yourself back up to a beam reach. The moment the spin halyard is up, the jib should be coming down.

But again, and beating a dead horse to boot, It's pretty questionable that you could carry an S2 on a beam reach in 15 kts in control to begin with even if everything had gone well unless you have some very good steering and trimming talent along with some weight on the rail.
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Previously I had only flown the chute (the "S2", new term for me) in significantly lighter winds. My other spinnaker has narrower shoulders and heavier cloth, and my buddy suggested it would have been a better choice, but I'd only used it twice before. The upcoming race will probably be a broad reach, so that's probably what I should be practicing anyway.

Yeah, we messed up the prep. Mostly laziness and too many delays prior to the hoist. I should have jibed off under the jib, gotten some sea room, and started over. But I had just gotten the pole up and didn't feel like dropping it to jibe.

Also I will be sure to get the pre-feed right this time. It will probably mean a slightly different setup, but it clearly is priority #1.

puddinlegs, when you say to make sure that tack is a foot off the headstay, do you mean ahead of it, to leeward of it, or what?
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Adam, are you doing the RNSA to Nanaimo next weekend?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamLein View Post

puddinlegs, when you say to make sure that tack is a foot off the headstay, do you mean ahead of it, to leeward of it, or what?

Basically, the tack is at the pole end, a foot off the headstay to windward. The bigger the boat is, the more critical it is to keep the pole off the headstay. If you're hoisting on a broad reach or downwind, as soon as the spinnaker is up, square back on the pole quickly, and it'll help fill the spin quickly. Again, even if you're trying to beam reach, you'll need to steer down for a bit to fill the kite.

Here's a chart describing the 'S' designation:

North Sails: Downwind Sails

Last edited by puddinlegs; 05-29-2011 at 04:50 PM.
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