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JordanH 08-12-2012 06:55 PM

Spinnaker Rigging
Hi All,

I bought my Contessa last year and today is the first day I've pulled the spinnakers out of the bag for inspection. My goal for the summer is to get the boat rigged and have the spinnaker flying.

I have some questions about the spinnakers. My boat is rigged (almost) for flying symmetrical spinnakers so I have assumed that the spinnakers in the bag would also be symmetrical. It appears that at least one of the two was not purchased for my boat, It is, as far as I can tell symmetrical in shape but it is cut with an almost blade like head and does not have the "full belly" (sitting on my floor here anyway) that I would expect. Further, someone has eye-spliced a tackline to the one corner. The latter makes me suspect someone was using this kite previously as an asymmetric kite.
Q1) I've never flown or handled an asymmetric kite; Is it possible that this chute is actually asymmetric even though it is actually symmetrical in shape or is it simply improperly rigged?

Q2) The second sail is quite clearly a proper symmetrical spinnaker. Full belly, rounded shape and looks to be in fantastic condition - except for a few small holes near the head. Is there a proper and easy way to patch these holes or do I need to bring it to the loft?

Q3) I have spare 1/2" jib sheets on the boat and plan to use them, at least for testing. They are too heavy for such a light spinnaker but they will do for now. I've only ever used systems with lazy guys/sheets before... is there anything in particular that I should consider for testing this spinnaker without the lazy guys/sheets?

Q4) There is a leech-line in the "asymmetric" sail that has slipped back into the taped seam - only about an inch. Any tips on how to fish this back out without damaging the seam?

Q5) My sail number is #312. The spinnaker has #121 on it. Is there an easy way to remove the numbers? I may just remove a #1 and add a #3 if it's not easy.

I've already unseized the pole and it appears to be in good condition/size/strength. The uphaul is in good working order and the spinnaker halyard is also my spare halyard so it, too, is in good working order.

My only missing link is a downhaul. I need a turning block and to figure out how it gets routed back to the cockpit.

.... Hmmm, I may need some snatch blocks to move the sheet turning blocks until I find a good location... hmmm...

jsaronson 08-12-2012 07:29 PM

Re: Spinnaker Rigging
An asymetric usually has a leach and luff of differnent lenghts. You can get nylon repair tape or patches in colors. If you are doind end for end gybes instead of dip-pole gybes you don't need lazy guys. The sheets are heavy for light air. It won't matter for the guy.

Try a small needle to push the leech line out.
Numbers usually peel off.
Have fun!

JordanH 08-12-2012 07:57 PM

Re: Spinnaker Rigging

I couldn't tell if the leech & luff were different lengths on the living room floor so I put 'er out on the clothes line and stretched it over the pool. It's definitely not symmetrical so... weee. Looks like I'm going to give that one a shot. I'm hoping the previous owner made sure it's the right height. :-)

Never flown an asymm before so this should be interesting.

jsaronson 08-12-2012 07:59 PM

Re: Spinnaker Rigging
easy to fly. not so easy to gybe. you need really long sheets-twice the lenght of the boat.

SHNOOL 08-12-2012 08:54 PM

Re: Spinnaker Rigging
What you describe is exactly what someone did to my Capri 22's symmetric kite. It's not efficient, but it works, and it makes flying the spin a whole lot easier (like a drifter or a genniker).

Attached is probably my best shot of it...

You can probably tell here, that it's a sym kite not an asym.

SchockT 08-13-2012 12:15 AM

Re: Spinnaker Rigging
Wow! Schnool, that is a spectacular example of a 1970's radial head spinnaker! I have one alot like it that came with my boat, although it is not quite as ....colourful! :D


You will need pretty long sheets to run your asymetric properly, but once you buy them you will be able to use them for the symetric chute as well. Double the length of the boat is a good rule of thumb.

You should shackle a couple of blocks quite far aft on your toe rails to fly the sheets from, and then deflect forward to another block that will give you a good angle to a winch. you might want to consider using ratchet blocks in the system to allow you to have better control in conditions where winches aren't required. As for the downhaul, if the boat has been rigged for spins in the past there must be a padeye on the foredeck to put a block on, if not you could consider running it from the base of the mast,while such a setup has it's advantages, it is less forgiving than a downhaul directly under the pole.

If you take pics of your deck layout we could probably get more specific, and I would be curious to see pics of your sails too!

JordanH 08-13-2012 01:08 AM

Re: Spinnaker Rigging
Thanks ShockT. Length of line isn't an issue, I just needed to know how much I should be picking up.

Yes, the down haul has a pad eye installed, that's not an issue. Neither is running the line back, I just have to figure out where it's going to run unobstructed.

I don't have a current photo, but this one was taken a day or two after I bought the boat last year. ( 3008x2000 pixel image, hopefully this doesn't auto-embed)
Currently, the blocks are placed slightly differently;
1. The forward most car on the rail now has a block for the 100% jib and is farther forward.
2. The second car on the rail is slightly forward of the stanchion and is just used to turn the line at the proper angle to the winch.
3. The cheek block (incorrectly rigged in the photo) is presently left empty. I suspect this is where the previous owner ran the spinnaker, but it obviously doesn't swivel so i imagine I'll need another turning block somewhere there.

There are the old padeyes for the original mainsheet are below the bulwark and out of site (behind the life ring) and might be a suitable place for an aft turning block, however, they may not lead directly to the winches and may foul other items like the life ring or stanchions if I try to rig something there.

I think the cheek block is the right location so I'm disappointed he didn't put in just a padeye so I could fix a swivelled ratchet block there.

I'll have to figure out if I can take photos of the spinnakers tomorrow in the day light. The yard is full of pool so it's difficult to lay them out flat.

JordanH 08-13-2012 01:11 AM

Re: Spinnaker Rigging
oh right... also need to find out where I can tack that sail down. Since I obviously don't have a bowsprit, is it best to tack to the base of the furler and then run a loop around the forestay to keep it off the pulpit?

I saw a rolling/bead loop used for this before, but I'm not sure if that will put too much strain on the forestay.

JordanH 08-18-2012 10:16 PM

Re: Spinnaker Rigging
Hi All,

I rigged up the asymmetric spinnaker today with my beautiful new lines (dyneema core with tapered jackets) and it worked well in the light breeze we had tonight. Too bad the lake was a bit lumpy.

1. I found a good spot to attach a block, just behind the furler. I think I'll rig a snatch block with a tack line that runs back to the cockpit in the future.
2. I ran the sheet through a block at the aft most possible position on the toe-rail track. It's not far enough back so I need to find a better location for that turning block.
3. Since the spinnaker halyard is actually a genoa halyard, everything had to be run within the foretriangle. I expected this to make gybing more difficult but it worked quite well, save for a little bit more chafe than I'd like on my expensive lines. I hope this is the case, even when the wind comes up a little stronger.

I expected more fuss on hoist and douse but everything went very smoothly with the help of my crew. I'm glad I had 2 extra folks onboard tonight as we figured out tack, block and line placement.

I still need to change the sail number on this old sail, but at least she flies and flies easily. The wind died and the lake was lumpy but it got the job done. Here's a quick vid... sorry, not exciting and no music.

SchockT 08-19-2012 01:50 AM

Re: Spinnaker Rigging
Good job, you got it working!

I am surprised you don't have a dedicated spinnaker halyard that is on a block at the masthead considering the boat was rigged for spinnakers in the past. (Isn't that white/red external halyard that is shackled to the mast ring a spin halyard?) The problem you are going to encounter flying the chute from a genny halyard, aside from being forced to fly inside the foretriangle, is that genoa halyards are only designed to handle loads on the fore-aft axis. the side load that a spinnaker puts on the halyard will have it chaffing on the mast exit rather than running on the sheave. Not only will it damage your halyard, it may not run free when trying to drop or hoist in more breeze. Ideally you should have a proper spin halyard. I can't see your anchor roller very well in the pic, but it looks like it might be a good spot to fly it from. Once you get the tack point a bit further forward and outside the fore triangle you might find that your aft blocks are ok.

Are you still going to try and rig for the symetric as well?

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