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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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Old 04-18-2011
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Single handing a 50 footer with a kite.

I met a guy who has a beautiful S&S 50, built in the early 50's (wooden, of course). He was telling me that he has single handed it under Spinnaker. The running rigging is all original and he doesn't have an auto pilot (don't know that he would want to use it down wind if he did). Seems like a lot of boat to single hand with a kite. I'm assuming the fact that it's a full keel boat makes it much more stable, and therefore possible. It this correct?
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Old 04-19-2011
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Any skipper that can single hand a symmetrical spinnaker on a 50 footer
gets my respect, big time.

Dick
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Old 04-19-2011
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Minnewaska will become famous soon enough Minnewaska will become famous soon enough
I think I would have to see that to believe it, especially with decent wind or waves, but I've seen unbelievable stuff before.
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Old 04-19-2011
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I fly a kite single handed but only in benign conditions and I have a good tweakable autopilot and a snuffer. Current boat is 44 feet.

I could not imagine how I could do it without the autopilot. Certainly not without risking some horrific wraps.
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Old 04-19-2011
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If you're going downwind in a steady light breeze in good weather for a long way, and know your boat and its equipment well, why not?
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Old 04-19-2011
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I don't use a spinnaker. But my old wooden boat with a full keel and ketch rig will keep her course for at least an hour with the helm lashed while I do other things.
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Old 04-19-2011
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Capt. Slocum claims to have hardly adjusted the helm
while crossing the Pacific.
That would have left him plenty of time to unwrap and mend a spinnaker if they were around then!!
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Old 04-21-2011
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Wow, he must have a nut-sack big enough that it would be difficult to get a pair of pants on.
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Old 04-22-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
Wow, he must have a nut-sack big enough that it would be difficult to get a pair of pants on.
Actually...he's a very unpretentious, low key guy with a stunning boat. Quite the gentleman, which is why it got my attention (after she did!). Here's a picture. Ain't she purrrdy? I love my boat, but think I know royalty when I see it!
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Last edited by L124C; 04-22-2011 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 04-23-2011
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Single handing with a big spinn is quite doable.

Its the raising/deploying part that can lead to problems ... and once youve mastered the raising, etc. its actually quite easy. I say that with tongue in cheek as you need a LOT of spinn. experience to do this; but, if you raise the kite very often and at most opportunities it gets easier and easier.

If you have a LARGE spinnaker crane that keeps the top swivel AWAY from 'eating' the spinn cloth, you can simply deploy/douse the spinn in the shadow of the genoa (with sheets 'mostly' tight' or pre-marked sheets, etc.) and furl the genoa in/out as needed.
Note: if your top swivel is in 'close' proximity to the spinn cloth, choose another method as you dont want to as a single hander need to go up the mast all by yourself with a knife in your teeth to slash away a spinnaker that has been 'eaten' by a furlers top swivel.

If you have 'clean' rigging - no hooks, sharp edges, 'catches' with which to snag/tear the rip-stop nylon spinn fabric ... if you need to douse the spinn in moderate or less conditions, simply go through the eye of the wind and heave-to which will 'stick' the spinn to the windward side of the genoa/main. While hove-to or forereaching, then you go forward release the halyard and PULL (peel) the spinn down from the windward side of the main/genoa.

Obviously, your not going to singlehandedly fly a spinn in 'heavy' or 'boisterous' conditions.

Last edited by RichH; 04-23-2011 at 07:37 PM.
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