Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-09-2016 Thread Starter
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Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time

This is probably a dumb newbie question, but I have searched and can't find an answer.

I know very little about sailing. I've never even sat foot on a sailboat. However, the thought of selling all my possessions, quitting my job, and sailing is very temping (especially during those bad days at work!) If nothing else, my wife and I might buy a small boat such as a catalina 22 and sail it locally in Utah. This said, I have read a book (sailing for dummies) and have watched many hours of sailing on youtube. (SV Delos, Sailing La Vagabond, Catamaran Impi, SV Seeker, and Gone with the wynns are my favorites.)

My question is this. Is it ever desirable or even possible to sail a jib/genoa and a spinnaker at the same time? Or would the jib create a "shadow" on the spinnaker leading to poor performance?

Like I said, probably a dumb question, but I've never seen it discussed. Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-09-2016
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Re: Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time

It is done on occasion.. for example the Aussie 18 skiffs always sailed with both; mainly because the apparent wind is always so far forward that the (small) jib actually may help a bit, that and the downwind legs were so short there probably wasn't time to douse and reset..

Boats that never really sail 'deep' (dead down wind) will have more success. Smaller jibs work better than genoas. In the 70s and 80s a lot of IOR boats flew a spinnaker staysail, a very skinny 'jib' tacked to the mid foredeck.

One upside of having a jib up then is you'll generally avoid wrapping the forestay with the spinnaker, but the spinn may not be as stable.

Most casual downwind/spinnaker sailors will rarely fly both together...
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-10-2016
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Re: Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time

Unless you are racing, why would you even want to? Flying a chute with only one or two aboard is enough of a handful should things get a bit dicey, without having another head sail to contend with.

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post #4 of 10 Old 12-10-2016
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Re: Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time

Every boat is different, and each time you set out in it is different too. For some boats, jib & spinnaker at the same time is normal. For others it doesn't usually happen, but could. It depends on the boat and the conditions. The jib might blanket the spinnaker depending upon your heading or the windspeed, or it might not. It might have a big effect or it might not. It might be too much to handle or it could be no problem. Everything on a boat changes all the time.
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-10-2016
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Re: Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time

On my ketch, it's a normal option for a broad reach that will last a while. If done, it'll usually have one reef on the inside sail to minimize blanketing.

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post #6 of 10 Old 12-12-2016
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Re: Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time

For fast boats (J/70, J/111, Class 40, Volvo, Vendee, etc), this is easy.

If you're planing, leave the jib up.

If you're not, take it down.

When you are planing the boat speed pushes the apparent wind goes so far forward it makes the jib effective.
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Last edited by jackdaw; 12-12-2016 at 08:17 AM.
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Re: Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time

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Originally Posted by jackdaw View Post
For fast boats (J/70, J/111, Class 40, Volvo, Vendee, etc), this is easy.

If you're planing, leave the jib up.

If you're not, take it down.

When you are planing the boat speed pushes the apparent wind goes so far forward it makes the jib effective.
almost ditto. A small jib used as a staysail 'under' a spinnaker on a planing hull boat will create a larger amount and with a change in apparent (favorable) incidence angle of the oncoming upwash for the spinn to operate in; and, if the staysail is trimmed to perfection (draft forward shape with 'rounded' luff entry shape via increased halyard tension) will/may favorably enhance the apparent wind 'to' the spinnaker ... for increased spinnaker efficiency and 'higher'/faster apparent course angle sailed.
The same applies for cutter rigged boats with staysail under a 'top sail'; but, the normal staysail must be 'reshaped' (draft forward and w/ rounded luff shape ... via changes in halyard tension) and precisely trimmed according to the speedo.... very 'finicky'.

Last edited by RichH; 12-12-2016 at 10:42 AM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-12-2016
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Re: Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time

Depends on crew, boat and wind angles. But on our boat, we only ever have them both up at the same time if we need to wind shadow the spinnaker to get it down easier.

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post #9 of 10 Old 12-12-2016
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Re: Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time

ditto, ditto on RichH. Rich has mentioned Avrel Gentry's wonderful articles on sail theory in the past. One concerning double head sails is located here:

http://www.ftp.tognews.com/Publicati...e_Head_Rig.pdf

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Re: Sailing jib and spinnaker at the same time

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Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
ditto, ditto on RichH. Rich has mentioned Avrel Gentry's wonderful articles on sail theory in the past. One concerning double head sails is located here:

http://www.ftp.tognews.com/Publicati...e_Head_Rig.pdf
Indeed, CAN be a help when reaching, IF trimmed very well! So often you hear comments about this from a boat sounding like: 'We gained speed when we put the jib back up, and gained speed again when we took it down!'

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