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post #1 of 19 Old 06-08-2016 Thread Starter
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asym spinnaker vs. traditional

Hello all,

Yesterday, I raised the spinnaker for the first time on my new (to me) Olson 25. I was single-handing (as usual) and it... um... didn't go well. I'm now looking into an asym spinnaker in hopes that it will be easier to single-hand. I would like to race this boat, and I'm wondering if it would be feasible to use the asym and get similar performance on a windward/leeward course (going faster, but with a higher wind angle)?

Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-08-2016
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No, it'll be much slower and jibes will be painful.
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post #3 of 19 Old 06-08-2016
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Re: asym spinnaker vs. traditional

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Originally Posted by StephenMaturin View Post
Hello all,

Yesterday, I raised the spinnaker for the first time on my new (to me) Olson 25. I was single-handing (as usual) and it... um... didn't go well. I'm now looking into an asym spinnaker in hopes that it will be easier to single-hand. I would like to race this boat, and I'm wondering if it would be feasible to use the asym and get similar performance on a windward/leeward course (going faster, but with a higher wind angle)?

Thanks for the help.
Generally not. Typically boats designed for poled kites do best with them, as they can achieve their VMG angles with the pole pulled back. Heating up will give better boat speed of course, but at the loss of VMG. Indeed, most PHRF boards now give credit to boats switching to asyms for this reason.

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Last edited by jackdaw; 06-08-2016 at 01:14 PM.
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post #4 of 19 Old 06-08-2016
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Re: asym spinnaker vs. traditional

It very much depends. I am not familure with the 25, but I used to have an Olson 30. So I will answer for that boat.

The 30 is not quite fast enough to make an asym work on a w/L course most of the time. The real trick to a good asym is that the boat needs to be fast enough to pull the apparent wind forward and allow you to sail deeper and the Olson just isn't but it's right on the cusp.

On the other hand an asym is far easier to handle than a symetric and for short handed racing the ease of dealing with it may be faster than trying to deal with a symetric. So there may be an advantage if you are racing solo on short courses.

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post #5 of 19 Old 06-08-2016
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Re: asym spinnaker vs. traditional

I crew on an Olsen 25 and we try to race with at least 4 people. 5 is better and 3 is a ton of work. We've raced and flown the kite with 2 and its an adventure for sure! An asym wont be anywhere close to as fast. Might be easier to launch and take down but jibing will be a bugger.
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Re: asym spinnaker vs. traditional

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Originally Posted by StephenMaturin View Post
Hello all,

Yesterday, I raised the spinnaker for the first time on my new (to me) Olson 25. I was single-handing (as usual) and it... um... didn't go well. I'm now looking into an asym spinnaker in hopes that it will be easier to single-hand. I would like to race this boat, and I'm wondering if it would be feasible to use the asym and get similar performance on a windward/leeward course (going faster, but with a higher wind angle)?

Thanks for the help.
Practice, practice, practice, you'll find the "go button".
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-08-2016
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Re: asym spinnaker vs. traditional

If you're going to make a habit of flying a symmetrical spinnaker solo, you will need a reliable self-steering method for the crucial maneuvers like setting, dousing and gybing. And, as mentioned, practice, practice, practice...

Ron

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post #8 of 19 Old 06-08-2016
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Re: asym spinnaker vs. traditional

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I crew on an Olsen 25 and we try to race with at least 4 people. 5 is better and 3 is a ton of work. We've raced and flown the kite with 2 and its an adventure for sure! An asym wont be anywhere close to as fast. Might be easier to launch and take down but jibing will be a bugger.
I would have thought that on a 25ft boat, 800lbs (4 extra people) of additional ballast would have a rather significant negative effect on boat performance.

Maybe leaving four crew members on the dock and trading the ease of gennaker v spinnaker would be a step up, especially if your rating offers further advantage?

But then I'm a cruiser not a racer.


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Re: asym spinnaker vs. traditional

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Originally Posted by jackdaw View Post
Generally not. Typically boats designed for poled kites do best with them, as they can achieve their VMG angles with the pole pulled back. Heating up will give better boat speed of course, but at the loss of VMG. Indeed, most PHRF boards now give credit to boats switching to asyms for this reason.
Am I wrong when I think that the further back the pole gets, the further off the wind/more downwind/slower you are getting? How does this help VMG?

I wonder if my boat was "designed for a poled kite". I never knew that boats were designed to suit sails, always thought sails were designed to suit the boat.


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Re: asym spinnaker vs. traditional

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I would have thought that on a 25ft boat, 800lbs (4 extra people) of additional ballast would have a rather significant negative effect on boat performance.

But then I'm a cruiser not a racer.
Most good ole racers from the 80s that you see on the PHRF scene today using symmetrical kites sport light displacement, high buoyancy hulls, married to a large upwind sailplan. They need to be sailed as flat as possible upwind to hit their polars, and that means weight on the rail (in the form of crew); otherwise, they get overpowered, heel over too much, spill wind, want to round up, and the tiller fighting this effect creates drag, and all of this slows you down. To a lesser extent, extra crew weight also helps such light boats bash their way through oncoming seas. The J/29 I sail on in BC, a 5500 lbs boat, typically likes six to seven people, and we've used 8 and even 9 in heavy weather. Downwind, extra crew weight does become a liability, but if you keep them forward, out of the cockpit, to get the widest part of the boat out of the water, the penalty is less than what you pay going upwind short-handed. Crew weight management at all points of sail is definitely critical for successful racing, however. Hope this helps.
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