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post #1 of 21 Old 09-30-2013 Thread Starter
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Tacking Asymmetric Spin

Has anyone successfully come up with a strategy for tacking (NOT jibing) an asymmetric spinnaker forward of fore stay? I don't have a symmetric spinnaker, and this was the only sail in my inventory that was able to move the boat in the light winds of my last race.

I tried a bunch of different things, each one ending in antics worthy of a viral YouTube video. My rigging is an ATN tacker, tack line, two sheets, and halyard hoisted from spinnaker crane in front of fore stay. I have no sock, and no furling for it. I do have a traditional spinnaker pole, but was not using it as I thought the ATN tacker would be better. In fact, it worked GREAT during the launch, and while sailing (adjusting luff tension).

Yes, this is unconventional - I know my equipment choice was flawed, but I'm still wondering how a true sailing Jedi might have made my gear constraints work.

Thanks in advance,
Chris

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post #2 of 21 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Tacking Asymmetric Spin

Unless you have a bowsprit or use the pole as one I don't see how you can enough enough space between the chute and forestay to make it work. Maybe I'll be proven wrong. Again.
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post #3 of 21 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Tacking Asymmetric Spin

1. If your boat has the apparent wind pass astern when jibing, you must do an outside jibe. Rig the sheets outside the tack and haul them across just as the wind is astern. Leave a little slack, to let the clew float out in front of the boat, but don't run over the sheets. It is real easy to get and hour glass if you don't let the chute float out in front of the boat a little. Also, getting the main centered fast helps, as it eliminates the wind shadow. That is how we jibe our cruising cat.

2. If your boat is considerably faster than the wind (apparent wind passes in front of the boat, like a tack) you can do an inside jibe. My last 2 cats would do this and skiffs do this. You rig the sheets between the forestay and the tack. You really need a sprit for space. Jibing becomes a lot like tacking, much easier, but the timing needs to be sharp.

But having a sprit will NOT make it advisable to do an inside jibe. Hour glass city, since the chute will blow into the forestay. Inside jibes are for fast boats.

----

All that said, an inside jibe can work in very light winds, when the sail won't blow out in front as you would like. A crew member stands on the bow and helps stuff the chute through the gap between the tack and the forestay. Without a sprit and using and ATN Tacker, I can't see how you would manage it reliably.

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post #4 of 21 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Tacking Asymmetric Spin

When we bought our Sabre 28 back in '87 it came with a gennaker and no sock. I'd never flown one before so I rigged it like a genoa - and gybed it with inside sheets. We never had a problem gybing and only had one hourglass that I recall. But we had to be fast and not let it get away from us. When we purchased Victoria in '05, it came with a gennaker and sock. We still rig it inside and haven't had a problem but I'm game to try an outside set.

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post #5 of 21 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Tacking Asymmetric Spin

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Originally Posted by cghubbell View Post
Has anyone successfully come up with a strategy for tacking (NOT jibing) an asymmetric spinnaker forward of fore stay? I don't have a symmetric spinnaker, and this was the only sail in my inventory that was able to move the boat in the light winds of my last race.

I tried a bunch of different things, each one ending in antics worthy of a viral YouTube video. My rigging is an ATN tacker, tack line, two sheets, and halyard hoisted from spinnaker crane in front of fore stay. I have no sock, and no furling for it. I do have a traditional spinnaker pole, but was not using it as I thought the ATN tacker would be better. In fact, it worked GREAT during the launch, and while sailing (adjusting luff tension).

Yes, this is unconventional - I know my equipment choice was flawed, but I'm still wondering how a true sailing Jedi might have made my gear constraints work.

Thanks in advance,
Chris
Considering that one can rarely carry an asymmetrical closer than about 60 to the wind, I can't imagine anyone going through the brain damage of trying to tack the thing when an inside gybe, easily executed with a little practice, is a relatively painless and simple evolution without sacrificing boat speed or control, eh?

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post #6 of 21 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Tacking Asymmetric Spin

Tack a spinnaker ?
Never thought of it, can't even picture how it would be required to round a mark.

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post #7 of 21 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Tacking Asymmetric Spin

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Yes, this is unconventional - I know my equipment choice was flawed, but I'm still wondering how a true sailing Jedi might have made my gear constraints work.
A true sailing Jedi would tell you that a spinnaker is NOT an upwind sail, no matter what the wind speed! Rather than wasting energy trying to figure out how to use the sail in a way it was never designed to be used, you would be better off figuring out how to get your boat going in light wind using the correct sails for that point of sail. Everyone else uses their Genoa for upwind work, and so should you!

Having said that, if one DID have an extremely flat asymmetric that could be used effectively for upwind work, tacking would present a problem. Outside tacks would be extremely difficult since you are trying to haul the clew of the sail forward directly into the wind, so the body of the sail will become a giant air brake as it fills. The most likely result will be that the sail will end up nicely wrapped around the forestay. If you had it on a furler it would be a simple matter of furling it, tacking, and then unfurling on the new tack. Obviously you don't have that option, so perhaps your best bet would be to tack it like a Genoa; through the fore triangle. You may need to drop the Halyard down a bit to allow the head to pass inside the forestay. Maybe even fly the sail from a genny Hayward if you have a spare. Obviously this would only work if you have a masthead rig, or a fractional spin halyard on a frac rig.

Again, I doubt very much that using your asym in this way will meet with very much success, aside from providing all kinds of entertainment for your competitors!

If you really want to get your boat going in light wind, start a thread on that subject, and we would be quite happy to help you sort it out young padwan!

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Last edited by SchockT; 09-30-2013 at 10:01 PM.
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post #8 of 21 Old 09-30-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Tacking Asymmetric Spin

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Originally Posted by Sabreman View Post
When we bought our Sabre 28 back in '87 it came with a gennaker and no sock. I'd never flown one before so I rigged it like a genoa - and gybed it with inside sheets. We never had a problem gybing and only had one hourglass that I recall. But we had to be fast and not let it get away from us. When we purchased Victoria in '05, it came with a gennaker and sock. We still rig it inside and haven't had a problem but I'm game to try an outside set.
I was under the impression that since my spin halyard is forward of the forestay I have no choice but to do an outside tack/jybe. If I go inside I think I'm creating a nasty chafe point...

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Re: Tacking Asymmetric Spin

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
A true sailing Jedi would tell you that a spinnaker is NOT an upwind sail, no matter what the wind speed! Rather than wasting energy trying to figure out how to use the sail in a way it was never designed to be used, you would be better off figuring out how to get your boat going in light wind using the correct sails for that point of sail. Everyone else uses their Genoa for upwind work, and so should you!

Having said that, if one DID have an extremely flat asymmetric that could be used effectively for upwind work, tacking would present a problem. Outside tacks would be extremely difficult since you are trying to haul the clew of the sail forward directly into the wind, so the body of the sail will become a giant air brake as it fills. The most likely result will be that the sail will end up nicely wrapped around the forestay. If you had it on a furler it would be a simple matter of furling it, tacking, and then unfurling on the new tack. Obviously you don't have that option, so perhaps your best bet would be to tack it like a Genoa; through the fore triangle. You may need to drop the Halyard down a bit to allow the head to pass inside the forestay. Maybe even fly the sail from a genny Hayward if you have a spare. Obviously this would only work if you have a masthead rig, or a fractional spin halyard on a frac rig.

Again, I doubt very much that using your asym in this way will meet with very much success, aside from providing all kinds of entertainment for your competitors!

If you really want to get your boat going in light wind, start a thread on that subject, and we would be quite happy to help you sort it out young padwan!
One of my light air problems is completely toasted sails... I believe they are original 1977, and generate all the lift of tissue paper. Budget constrains me to a new main this winter, and a new genoa next year. This stuff was tolerable before I started casually racing and realized how far off the performance benchmark my boat really is.

Having said that, for not being a upwind sail it sure holds its shape better than my dacron 150% does in extreme light air, and all that extra surface area seemed to help. It brought my boat from .25kts up to 1-2 kts when nothing else seemed to work.

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Re: Tacking Asymmetric Spin

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One of my light air problems is completely toasted sails... I believe they are original 1977, and generate all the lift of tissue paper. Budget constrains me to a new main this winter, and a new genoa next year. This stuff was tolerable before I started casually racing and realized how far off the performance benchmark my boat really is.

Having said that, for not being a upwind sail it sure holds its shape better than my dacron 150% does in extreme light air, and all that extra surface area seemed to help. It brought my boat from .25kts up to 1-2 kts when nothing else seemed to work.
Perhaps, but what kind of vmg were you making? While it is true that the golden rule of light air sailing is to get the boat moving, it doesn't do you any good if you can't dial up to a decent point once you do get moving. What you need for ultra light air is a "drifter", which is a very light headsail or staysail. size is not as important as light weight. Often they are not even overlapping sails, but they have the ability to give you a foil shape in the lightest zephyrs. You could probably find one used pretty cheap if you look.

It is definitely challenging sailing in light air with baggy all purpose dacron sails, but it can be done. If you talk to the loft that is going to build your new main, they may be able to give your headsail a little "nip 'n' tuck" that would help. You could also get some light weight sheets so you aren't weighing the clew down so much. Lots of leeward heel will help the sail hang with some shape, and one of the crew on the leeward side can hold up the clew so the leech doesn't choke off from it's weight. If you can get gravity to put some shape in your sail, even the lightest wind will start to generate lift and before you know it, you are leaving a wake. It takes a very gentle touch on the helm and sail trim, and minimal movement on the boat.

The thing is, when you do get the boat moving, and the breeze fills in enough to fill the sails on it's own you will be able to smoothly dial the boat up to a decent upwind angle, whereas with an asym, you will be reaching off into oblivion while your fleet sails away on you. Changing sails at that point could disrupt the boat enough to stop you dead. Either way, you are going to be tail end charlie!

There are other things you can do to help your light air performance that don't cost much. Simple things like a clean, smooth bottom are critical, particularly the foils. If you have a fixed blade prop, consider looking for a used folding one. A fixed prop is the biggest thing that will kill your light air performance. If you have a folding prop, are you sure it is folding? if it is a Martec or something similar where the blades are not geared, and the prop stops in the horizontal position, the bottom blade will drop down and cause drag because you are not moving fast enough for the water flow to close it. When I raced on a boat with one of those we marked the prop shaft where the blades would be aligned vertically. When we shut the engine off before the start, one of the crew would go down and turn the shaft to the marks to make sure the prop closes.

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