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  #1  
Old 12-17-2011
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Single-handed spinnaker

Sailing single-handed, I have always been afraid to try deploying the asymmetrical spinnaker (a "Flasher") that came with the boat. It has always seemed that there is a good chance of getting it wrapped around or under the boat without at least one other person to at least steer the boat. Last summer I did get to experiment around with it when I had help. I would really like to be able to use it regularly. So, does anyone here have a set of procedures or tips he/she uses for launching and retrieving one of these things when solo? I have no doubt I can handle getting it UP when everything is set up right, that is pretty straight forward and takes only a few seconds. It is in getting it back in the bag in a controlled manner when the wind pipes up without losing it in the water or getting it hopelessly wrapped on the forestay that I am afraid of. I know a sock would help but I don't have one and it is low on the priority list.
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Old 12-17-2011
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Actually, a sock may be the rest way to stow the chute.

I was never a fan of squeezers; I flown chutes with an without and found them slow. However, with my current boat, the chute won't fit in the sail locker in the bag, but I can fit it in with the squeezer. So, for me, it is both a squeezer and a skinny sail bag.

Single handed without an autohelm sounds very tough.
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Old 12-17-2011
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Many single handers use a spinnaker launch tube. Your set up will require at least 2 people or an autopilot.

If you are trying to take it down when the wind comes up; blanket the sail behind the main, release the tack, bring the sail under the boom, lower the halyard and stuff it down the companionway.
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Old 12-17-2011
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I single hand much of the time and fly a assy spi sometime on a pole.

But I would only do it with a reliable autopilot and a snuffer AND only in settled benign conditions.

Current boat is a lightish 44 footer.
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Old 12-17-2011
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The Singlehanded Sailing Society has a great book by Andy Evans on their website - there is a link from here:

SSS - Library

He discusses singlehanded spinnakering in there. He launches out of the cockpit - probably a little easier on his O25 than my 40' ketch, but hey. Hope that helps.
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Old 12-17-2011
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yeah, if single handed- no way, if you do not have an auto pilot then it can be hazardous and I would not do it.
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Old 12-18-2011
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Thanks guys. You're confirming my decisions to leave it in the sailbag. I would use it with the windvane steering in light wind conditions but you can't depend on wind staying light. Just getting up to the bow, dragging tethers around and not getting tangled up in flailing sheets would be a challenge, no less trying to control the halyard coming down and stuffing the sail somewhere. Guess I'll just stick with poling out the headsail on a J length pole.

In watching the boat's speed at points of sail beam to aft of beam with the a-spinnaker, I actually recorded almost no difference in speed compared to just using the headsail although when experimenting the wind was around 10 knots. I suspect that once near hull speed these provide no additional useable lift and actually just present the danger of too much canvas at that point. Is it correct to say that they are really only useful for cruising in say 1-7 knots? How many of you cruisers see a real benefit in using one? I never had a spinnaker on any of my smaller one designs so am unfamiliar with their actual usefulness. It sure LOOKS nice although it certainly obstructs the view ahead..
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Old 12-18-2011
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Fly it and have fun!

I flew an asymmetrical solo without self-steering gear, a sock or stuffer on my P26, just a bungee cord wrapped on the tiller.

Haul it up while sailing dead down so it is blanketed by the main. You can always release both sheets (and the mainsheet) if you are overwhelmed on a reach, then drop the halyard, or steer dead down and blanket the asym. with the main. Make sure your sheets and halyard have enough length to depower and drop all the way into the water. Yes, the sail will make lots of noise flapping, and may drop into the soup while you drag it by the tack, but it is not anything you cannot cure, if you stay on your toes. The .75 oz nylon is surprisingly strong. If you find it fouled in the water, release the halyard and tack line while retaining the sheets and the sail will drag behind you to be hauled in by the sheets.

Have fun and hang on during the gusts - you do not want to join the sail in the soup yourself!

Last edited by jameswilson29; 12-18-2011 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 12-18-2011
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Oh yes NO STOPPER KNOTS on your sheets or halyard.

There may be a time when you REALLY want to get rid of that sucker.

From Hoot Mon
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Old 12-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Fly it and have fun!

I flew an asymmetrical solo without self-steering gear, a sock or stuffer on my P26, just a bungee cord wrapped on the tiller.

Haul it up while sailing dead down so it is blanketed by the main. You can always release both sheets (and the mainsheet) if you are overwhelmed on a reach, then drop the halyard, or steer dead down and blanket the asym. with the main. Make sure your sheets and halyard have enough length to depower and drop all the way into the water. Yes, the sail will make lots of noise flapping, and may drop into the soup while you drag it by the tack, but it is not anything you cannot cure, if you stay on your toes. The .75 oz nylon is surprisingly strong. If you find it fouled in the water, release the halyard and tack line while retaining the sheets and the sail will drag behind you to be hauled in by the sheets.

Have fun and hang on during the gusts - you do not want to join the sail in the soup yourself!
Have messed around with it enough not to worry about being overpowered and knocked down as long as I'm paying attention. It is pretty easy to control, even in 20k gusts although I sense that it could cause trouble and was not meant to be used in moderate winds. Just looking at the size of pennant, grommets, and sheets indicates it was never designed to be used in wind> around 10k and would probably blow out if stressed much above this. I have a real aversion to dropping any sail in the water and dealing with the soggy salt water mess. The biggest problem solo is in dropping the halyard and stuffing the sail back in the handy hoop-type bag. It requires both hands, knees, and teeth There is just no quick way to accomplish this. Jack's suggestion about dropping it down the bow hatch makes sense except for the possibility of taking a wave over the bow and getting everything below drenched w/ salt water and next to impossible to get dry. I usually am out for a month or so, therefore, keeping things dry below is an issue.
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