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  #1  
Old 01-07-2013
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Retractable Bowsprit DIY

This is a copy of a post I made on the Catalina owners forum.
1978 C27 std. rig.
In the interest of flying my Gennaker or even getting a Code Zero furler some day, I'm fashioning my own retractable Bowsprit out of a scavenged Hobie Cat 16 boom extrusion that I had laying around, (A nice ridgid teardrop shape that fits wonderfully between the pulpit stanchon base and the stem fitting).
I have most of it worked out, including shaping up a pillow-block and stem fitting attachment to mount it. (The Sprit, of course, is mounted to the side of the stem fitting).

But

I have some unknowns yet to solve: Do I run it parallel to the centerline, but offset, allowing me to vary it's extension according to future needs, but have a odd angle for the bobstay and furler torque line?
OR
Do I determine how far out it needs to extend in relationship to the bow pulpit railing above it, for a furler, and after determining that dimension should I angle the Sprit so that the end intersects the centerline of the boat at that extension length in order to have a centered bobstay and furler?
Or
Do I modify the pulpit rail so it doesn't have to extend far and forgo the bobstay altogether?

What say ye?
Thanks in advance for any feedback.
Joel H.
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Old 01-07-2013
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Re: Retractable Bowsprit DIY

I have to wonder why you think it's necessary to get such an additional forward projection for the tack of an asymetrical on a boat such as yours. Simply flying it from the stem will work fine, or even the use of a spinnaker pole will afford you better options...

Don't even think about trying to fly a Code 0 from such a prod, the loads imparted by those sails can be quite high... Even a regular asym will generate some decent loads when the breeze comes up, I seriously doubt a Hobie 16 boom will be up to handling them, unless you rig a temporary bobstay... there's good reason why carbon fiber is generally the material of choice for such sprits...

Years ago, I configured a way to use my spinnaker pole as a sprit, but I've only used it a handful of times... I simply haven't seen any real advantage to it. Better and easier to use the pole in a conventional fashion, I've found...
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Re: Retractable Bowsprit DIY

With a strong enough extrusion there is no reason you can't get a 3' projection without a bob stay. Most of the Selden sprit kits do it. I don't know how strong your hobie boom section is, but I used a piece of schedule 80 4" aluminum tube for mine, and it has stood up to some pretty high loads, and even the shock load of colapsing and re filling at the top end of the sail's wind range without breaking or bending. You should talk to your sailmaker about tack loads on a code zero. As for the end of the pole being on centerline, that would be ideal, but for cruising purposes, a few inches offset isn't going to matter much.

For the record, you will find flying the sail from a sprit MUCH better than flying it from the stem, and if you plan to use a furler it is a must. You don't need a lot of projection, just enough for the tack to clear the pulpit, and to keep the spinnaker furler clear of the forestay.
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Re: Retractable Bowsprit DIY

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post

For the record, you will find flying the sail from a sprit MUCH better than flying it from the stem, and if you plan to use a furler it is a must. You don't need a lot of projection, just enough for the tack to clear the pulpit, and to keep the spinnaker furler clear of the forestay.
Just curious what sort of improvement you've found by flying from a sprit... I can see the advantage on a sport boat, but on a boat like mine, or on a Catalina 27, I'm not sure... My boat does have an unusually large J dimension, however, perhaps that's why a sprit for me might not be quite as advantageous...

Good point about the furler, but if he's going with a snuffer instead, it will work fine inside the pulpit... IMHO, I'd rather have a snuffer tacked to the deck inboard of everything, anyway...

for a Code 0, I have my furler tacked at the stem, right behind my headsail furler, seems to work fine... I suppose if I were attempting to sail at 50 degrees apparent, the furler would disturb the flow somewhat, but I generally find on a cruising boat, at that point a Code 0 really loses its advantage, and you're better off going with the genoa, anyway...
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Re: Retractable Bowsprit DIY

The main advantage is that the foot of the chute is clear of the pulpit and lifelines. If you tack the sail to the stem you either have to deal with the sail being distorted and chaffed by the pulpit, or you have to raise the tack up above the pulpit height using a strop. If you use a strop you have the problem of the whole sail falling to leeward, and you need to attach the tack to the forestay somehow to eliminate that problem. The other advantage a sprit gives you is that you can do inside gybes, meaning you run your sheet between the tack of the chute and the forestay. That eliminates the problem of the lazy sheet potentially falling under the bow if it gets too much slack in it. If you are running a furler you will also have the ability to leave the furled flying sail hoisted without it interfering with your ability to unfurl and use your headsail. And then of course there is the advantage of being able to fly a bigger sail from a sprit than you can from the stem.



In this pic I am using an old guy for my tack line, and it is eased slightly so the tack is a bit higher than normal.
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Last edited by SchockT; 01-07-2013 at 07:50 PM.
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Re: Retractable Bowsprit DIY

To answer Jon as to why I need a Bowsprit on my boat, I will admit, I'm not 100% sure....
While I achieved a certain level of proficiency sailing Hobie Cats over many years, (single-handed). I only bought my Catalina 27 two seasons ago, so while I consider myself a decent sailor, there are certainly a few holes in my skill set/knowledge. Because I sail my C27 single-hand, I've never had the opportunity to fly the gennaker that came with the boat (or use the "whisker Pole", for that matter).
I will also admit that the code zero videos, coupled with the fact that I have this spar, and somewhat unlimited fabrication resources, just might have something to do with it.

Also, I just like toys!

Having said all that, am I wrong for thinking it would be vary cool to be able to deploy and dowse a asym. from the comfort of my lonely cockpit.

So, I guess my question now is: Is a code zero just a ridiculous thing to put on a C27? Or, would it be a reasonable asset to a solo sailor?
All opinions are appreciated.
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Re: Retractable Bowsprit DIY

A Code Zero seems like a big expense for an old Catalina. I would think that you would get more use out of a decent asymetric spinnaker than you would out of a Code Zero, but then I don't know what kind of sailing you do! The C27 runs a big genoa that will do you just fine for tight reaching, and when you want to sail deeper the asymetric will be more versatile.
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Re: Retractable Bowsprit DIY

I see. Well obviously I need to do a little thinking. And probably take another sailor's suggestion and sail on somebody else's boat while they fly a Asym. to get to understand more about it.

P.S. She might be old, but she shines and sails like a boat half her age.
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Re: Retractable Bowsprit DIY

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
The main advantage is that the foot of the chute is clear of the pulpit and lifelines. If you tack the sail to the stem you either have to deal with the sail being distorted and chaffed by the pulpit, or you have to raise the tack up above the pulpit height using a strop. If you use a strop you have the problem of the whole sail falling to leeward, and you need to attach the tack to the forestay somehow to eliminate that problem. The other advantage a sprit gives you is that you can do inside gybes, meaning you run your sheet between the tack of the chute and the forestay. That eliminates the problem of the lazy sheet potentially falling under the bow if it gets too much slack in it. If you are running a furler you will also have the ability to leave the furled flying sail hoisted without it interfering with your ability to unfurl and use your headsail. And then of course there is the advantage of being able to fly a bigger sail from a sprit than you can from the stem.



In this pic I am using an old guy for my tack line, and it is eased slightly so the tack is a bit higher than normal.
Good point about the inside jibes, I'm a kroozer, so I try to avoid that sort of work as much as possible (grin)... Still, if I need to, I can still do the same with the tack at stem...

We obviously fly our chutes differently, I generally try to have the tack 4-6 feet above the deck, anyway... If I feel compelled to lower the tack to deck level, it's generally time to switch to a Code 0, anyway...

For Joel, whether you really need a Code 0 depends on the sort of sailing you do, of course... The sail and a continuous furler is a significant investment, and probably of questionable value to the typical weekend/vacation sailor... But, for more extended cruising, IMHO no other sail so consistently makes the difference between sailing, and motoring... I love my Code 0, it's been worth every penny, for the kind of sailing I do...

And, in my experience, it's a much more versatile sail than most people are led to believe... Most sailmakers will not tell you it can be used like this, for example...

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Old 01-07-2013
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Re: Retractable Bowsprit DIY

Does your existing gennaker have a sock? How are the halyards run? Do you have an autopilot?

I tried running a socked gennaker single handed on my C-25. I set a straight ahead course with the autopilot, went forward to the mast to raise the sock, routed sheets, then launched the gennaker.

It could be done without the sock too, but the sock makes it a lot easier to launch and douse (especially douse). Since you've already got all of this stuff (maybe not the sock) you should try it before building the bowspirit.
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