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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 10-26-2009
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Go fly a kite



I've always been envious when I see a boat with a spinnaker up. The boat looks really cool with the big colorful sail out front of it. And I think, that guy must really know how to sail, cause I've heard how difficult it is to fly it.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I have had a spinnaker aboard for two years and this past week is the first time I've flown it. I was intimidated by all the equipment that came with it. The pole, the dousing bag/turtle and all the other lines you are supposed to rig.

But I fouled the turtle and its lines the first time I tried raising the spinnaker early on, so I got rid of the bag. This time, I raised the spinnaker in light air with the mainsail up, blocking the wind.

I rigged the spinnaker pole, but on my boat it appears to do nothing. With my wide beam, the lines are spread well apart. And when done, I just doused the spinnaker with the mainsail blocking the wind.

The spinnaker is my new favorite sail! I used to hate sailing downwind. While my boat tracks effortlessly on a reach, downwind sailing always required active helming. Not so with the spinnaker up in 5-10 knots wind.

I look forward to refining my skills so I can fly it in heavier winds. Maybe the turtle bag and pole will of more use then, but I still feel like a bad ass sailor with my spinnaker up in light air.

Any tips or advice for flying the kite in the future? I still feel like a newbie doing it. It's an old school symmetrical spinnaker.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision

Last edited by NautiG; 10-26-2009 at 09:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2009
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The advantage of using a spinnaker or genoa down wind is that the boat is being PULLED by the sail, rather than pushed by it, as happens with the main. This means that the boat will track far better... since the center of effort is FORWARD of the center of lateral resistance. Of course, it also means that if you fall off...you're going to be left behind unless someone is aboard to turn the boat around.
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  #3  
Old 10-27-2009
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Nauti,

Very nice. Glad you had fun with it.

While the pole may have seemed superfluous in the light air, I think you'll find it useful for maintaining good trim, taming oscillation, and carrying the sail through a larger wind angle (rather than just DDW) as the wind builds.

At least, that's my experience on monohulls.
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  #4  
Old 10-27-2009
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You asked for it...

For starters, Keep the pole perpendicular to the breeze.
Ease the sheet until the luff curls/breaks, if it breaks high move the pole up, if it breaks low, move the pole down.
For best speed the sheet should be constantly trimmed/eased to just hold a curl at the luff.
Pole tip height, try to keep the clews even.

Pretty chute.
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  #5  
Old 10-27-2009
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Thanks zz, I'll try that stuff next time I get a chance (Hopefully again this fall). I really didn't know what to do with the pole. I'll make sure to keep it perpendicular to the wind and try adjusting its height while trimming the lines.

Thanks John for the encouragement!

SD, I also tried setting up some jack lines for the first time. The best I could figure out was tying to the mast where the spinnaker pole hooks in about six feet up. This kept my tether from tangling too bad on hand holds etc on the deck, allowed me to clip on in the cockpit, and reach the bow.

I still would be dragged along overboard if I fell near the mast. I'm still not sure of the wisdom of the jacklines. I'm a good swimmer and often wear a wetsuit while single handing. I feel like I'd have a fighting chance if I went over a mile or two from shore.

On the other hand, if I'm clipped in and fall over, I could be dragged for miles and miles. My boat really does sail itself on a reach for hours at a time sometimes.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision

Last edited by NautiG; 10-27-2009 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 10-27-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NautiG View Post
....

SD, I also tried setting up some jack lines for the first time. The best I could figure out was tying to the mast where the spinnaker pole hooks in about six feet up. This kept my tether from tangling too bad on hand holds etc on the deck, allowed me to clip on in the cockpit, and reach the bow.

I still would be dragged along overboard if I fell near the mast. I'm still not sure of the wisdom of the jacklines. I'm a good swimmer and often wear a wetsuit while single handing. I feel like I'd have a fighting chance if I went over a mile or two from shore.

On the other hand, if I'm clipped in and fall over, I could be dragged for miles and miles. My boat really does sail itself on a reach for hours at a time sometimes.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
Scott,

The jacklines should not run all the way aft. They should stop at a distance forward of the stern that is no less than the length of your tether.

Also, it's best to have a quick release on the tether where it attaches to the harness. That way you can "let go" if circumstances demand it (for instance, if you're being drowned). The quick release needs to be a "high load" version, i.e. one that can still be released while under tremendous pressure/load.
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  #7  
Old 10-27-2009
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John,

What I have right now is a climbing harness which I suppose is meant to be worn around your legs and waist, but fits well also around my arms and chest. It came with a six foot webbed tether which I extended about two feet with some line. If I tie it directly to the spinnaker hook on the mast, I can reach from the cockpit to the bow.

I know it's not the ideal set up, but it's what I have lying around for free. I'll look for a quick release shackle. If I could find a way to release if I were being dragged, I would be sure to use the harness consistently.

The admiral recently declared the Chesapeake her arch nemesis. She's good about going sailing with me cause she knows how much I enjoy it. But she gets seasick in conditions when the sailing just starts to get fun. I'm going to try to do more river sailing with her on the Rappahanock, so I can get some good sailing in with her aboard. But it looks like I'm going to continue to primarily single hand the boat.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
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Old 10-27-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NautiG View Post
John,
The admiral recently declared the Chesapeake her arch nemesis. She's good about going sailing with me cause she knows how much I enjoy it. But she gets seasick in conditions when the sailing just starts to get fun. I'm going to try to do more river sailing with her on the Rappahanock, so I can get some good sailing in with her aboard. But it looks like I'm going to continue to primarily single hand the boat.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
Bonine works wonders, just slip one in her ice tea.
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Old 10-27-2009
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Very cool Nauti! I look forward to tossing up my own chute soon.
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Old 10-27-2009
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COOL!!

Cant wait to give it a try myself.

But these guys had the bragging rights on being nervous during pole handling..
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Last edited by Stillraining; 10-27-2009 at 03:26 PM.
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