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  #1  
Old 11-12-2011
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Using a spinnaker as a gennaker

My boat has a conventional spinnaker, left by the po. The spinnaker has a line attached at one corner (not at the head), and when I asked him to show me how to use it (while at the slip) he essentially tied that corner to the bow in flying it.

Well I thought this was odd, since it is a symmetrical, and to my knowledge, conventional spinnaker. A short time ago, on a day with light winds, just for kicks I lauched it, with its corner attached at the bow and without any pole. I was essentially flying it like a reacher or gennaker, except it was only connected to the mast at the head, nothing was connected to the forestay.. I went onto a broad reach and, while the wind was blowing, actually made some progress.

I thought I must have been imagining the progress, or that I had been going downwind so that somehow explained why it worked. But today I read a short clip in a sailing magazine which made a reference to using a spinnaker as a cheaper alternative to buying a gennaker. So...

Has anyone else done this? Is this common practice? Is there any reason not to do this? I thought only asymetrical spinnakers could reach...
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Old 11-12-2011
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Using a conventional Symm that way can work, it won't be as efficient as a properly designed reaching sail (btw you can get specific-for-reaching symmetrical spinnakers meant to be poled too)

I would be reluctant to simply 'tie the "tack" to the bow', though. If you're going to use the sail that way I'd use a typical adjustable tack line as you would with an Assym. I think the issue there will be dousing the sail in a building breeze. You could release the tack line from the cockpit and douse the sail in the usual manner - if it's strapped to the deck forward that's more difficult, esp shorthanded.

Also the luff will be somewhat shorter than an appropriate-sized Asymm since the symm is sized for the elevated pole position..
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Old 11-12-2011
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Yes, it can be done and is effective on a broad reach. Possibly even a reach if your only option is a small headsail in very light air.

I've only done it a couple of times so hopefully you will get replies from someone with more experience.

Are you running it up the spinnaker halyard? If so it mist be jibed Forward of the forestay. Rigging up something like an ATN Tacker would be useful.
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Old 11-13-2011
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The symmetrical spinnaker can be used like an asymmetrical with a sock. Good Old Boat just had a good article on the subject. For more, Google "ATN Tacker" for information on an inexpensive piece of equipment that can make using your Spinnaker without a pole relatively easy.

FWIW...
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The performance limitation will be sailing angle - with the symmetrical set up this way, you will be unable to sail as hot as with a genneker.

So - enjoy broadreating and have fun
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I googled ATN Tacker. Wow that is a great video on their site! I had the tacker and the sock in my spinnaker bag and until now wasn't sure what to do with them. Thanks for the advise!
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Have you actually folded the sail in half and confirmed that it is/isn't symmetrical? If it is the two "clews" will line up...

The presence of the tacker and the sock would point to an Asymm.
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the tacker is to be used on a symmetrical spinnaker because the luff length is not long enough to reach the stem fitting and the tack of the sail will fly way off to leeward without the tacker wraped around the forestay. a properly fitted asymmetrical spinnaker will have a luff length that will go from full hoist to all the way down to the bow fitting or the end of a bowsprit and it wiil be near centerline of the boat. a spinnaker sock can be used on either type of spinnaker
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Old 11-14-2011
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I've thought about using my symmetrical kite in this manner, but I'm concerned about dousing without a sock or furler. Still, I might give it a try someday in really light air.
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Old 11-14-2011
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Why would it be any harder to douse a symmetrical without a sock or furler used in this fashion, than a symmetrical without a sock or furler on a pole?
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