Flying a Symetrical Spinnaker - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-09-2009 Thread Starter
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Flying a Symetrical Spinnaker

Can I fly a symetrical/traditional spinnaker without a pole and rig it similar to the image below?

Here's the example picture:

Catalina 34

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post #2 of 14 Old 03-09-2009
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You can. A symetrical spinnaker can be used similiar to an gennaker (unsymetrical spinnaker). You can also use a gennaker with a pole similar to a symetrical spinnaker.

There will be some losses in both conditions but I tested both methods and they work fine enough.
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-09-2009
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In principle you can do anything you want. Also, on the old tall ships, they rigged "flying sails" as well -- however these sails were cut much flatter than a spinnaker.

One thing I would miss if I tacked a symmetrical chute to the bow would be the ease of gibing. In 10 - 15 knots in a small boat, it's a snap to move the pole end-for-end to the other side of the boat - the sail never moves. With the sail tacked on, I'd think there'd be more of a risk of the sail getting tied up on the forestay and possibly tearing. Would probably make sense to run the lazy sheet in front of the stay instead of behind it like a jib.

The other problem I could see is one of helm balance. With a pole you have the option of bringing the sail in front of the boat, whereas tacked on the sail is always "beside" the boat. This would probably give you some weather helm on a dead run, possibly increasing the risk of broaching.

That said it's a neat idea, one which has occurred to me and which I've tossed aside. Mostly I pictured the poor sail looking all lopsided and decided it was not a good idea. Give it a try in easy conditions and let us know how it goes.

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post #4 of 14 Old 03-09-2009 Thread Starter
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Though my mast is rigged for a spinnaker pole (topping lift, track & loop), I don't have a pole. However, my boat came with an almost brand new spinnaker and the thing keeps tempting me to use it. Tacking it to the bow seems like an easy way to use it. In fact, after reading the first reply and most of the second, I was feeling good about my idea until you said the dreaded "B" word (broach!). Hmmm. Any other opinions/ideas?

Catalina 34

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post #5 of 14 Old 03-09-2009
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Kwalt,

Take a look at the ATN "Tacker".

My sister and b-i-l use this with their sym spinnaker and it actually works pretty darn well.

Here's a better link:

ATN Tacker


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post #6 of 14 Old 03-09-2009
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Kwalt,

We have a North Sails sock. We're still learning and we're satisfied.

Here are videos on the use.

North Sails: Video JukeBox
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-09-2009 Thread Starter
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John - The Tacker looks intriguing, but my boat does not have a furling headsail. I wonder if the Tacker will work on a bare headstay wire. Or perhaps I could make something that functions like the Tacker, but fits on a bare wire. Seems doable with some shackles, etc.

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post #8 of 14 Old 03-09-2009
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The article about the Tacker mentions something I forgot: I was going to suggest tacking the sail down with a pennant, but using the pole downhaul (or foreguy) is even better. However, the foreguy may be pulling entirely at the wrong angle -- mine goes to a turning block secured to a padeye in the middle of the foredeck. Just move it to a turning block attached at the bow.

Once you've done that, the "tacker" seems pretty unnecessary unless you have a furling jib. Just a shackle with a big ring on it should be sufficient and you could hank it right onto the forestay. What damage this might do to the forestay, which seems to be designed to support loads that are spread out over the stay (like a hanked-on jib), I could not say.

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post #9 of 14 Old 03-09-2009
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If you fly a symmetric off the bow you will end up with nothing particularly good going on, the sail will be twisted and mis-shapen with no shoulders. The sail is not likely to draw, and if you can get flow over it, it may not do much more than pull laterally. Asymms and symmetrics have very different profiles and shapes.

If you want give to, it a try in light air, but I don't think the end result will be very serviceable.

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Last edited by sailingfool; 03-09-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-10-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
If you fly a symmetric off the bow you will end up with nothing particularly good going on, the sail will be twisted and mis-shapen with no shoulders. The sail is not likely to draw, and if you can get flow over it, it may not do much more than pull laterally. Asymms and symmetrics have very different profiles and shapes.

If you want give to, it a try in light air, but I don't think the end result will be very serviceable.
I second that! Square peg in round hole comes to mind. Having raced J105's, J90's, Nelson Marek's and a few other asymm friendly boats, you just can't make a symm spinnaker work properly without the pole. Just do a little research on the dynamics of each.

I actually re-rigged my Beneteau 473 for a symmetrical spinnaker because I knew it would vastly improve the performance of this Groupe Finot (read, Vendee Globe lineage) designed boat when sailing anywhere from a beam reach to running. Although I have both kite types on board, we flew the symm the entire 750 miles from San Diego to Cabo almost entirely on rhumb line. There were quite a few faster boats that fly asymms that came in after us. We had both weapons on board and chose wisely!

So, no, don't bother. It'll be a mess. You might look for a local J24 or J105 fleet and see if you can get on board. Race some beer can regattas to get a feel for how things work. That's the best way to fully understand the dynamics of the asymm kite.

Lastly, if you choose to fly a symm kite, just get a pole that is equal to your "J" measurement (horizontal length from mast to headstay). Once you have everything rigged properly, go out and enjoy sailing at its best (read, asymms are too easy ;-)
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