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You can. A symetrical spinnaker can be used similiar to an gennaker (unsymetrical spinnaker). You can also use a gennaker with a pole similar to a symetrical spinnaker.

There will be some losses in both conditions but I tested both methods and they work fine enough.
 

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In principle you can do anything you want. Also, on the old tall ships, they rigged "flying sails" as well -- however these sails were cut much flatter than a spinnaker.

One thing I would miss if I tacked a symmetrical chute to the bow would be the ease of gibing. In 10 - 15 knots in a small boat, it's a snap to move the pole end-for-end to the other side of the boat - the sail never moves. With the sail tacked on, I'd think there'd be more of a risk of the sail getting tied up on the forestay and possibly tearing. Would probably make sense to run the lazy sheet in front of the stay instead of behind it like a jib.

The other problem I could see is one of helm balance. With a pole you have the option of bringing the sail in front of the boat, whereas tacked on the sail is always "beside" the boat. This would probably give you some weather helm on a dead run, possibly increasing the risk of broaching.

That said it's a neat idea, one which has occurred to me and which I've tossed aside. Mostly I pictured the poor sail looking all lopsided and decided it was not a good idea. Give it a try in easy conditions and let us know how it goes.
 

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Broad Reachin'
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Discussion Starter #4
Though my mast is rigged for a spinnaker pole (topping lift, track & loop), I don't have a pole. However, my boat came with an almost brand new spinnaker and the thing keeps tempting me to use it. Tacking it to the bow seems like an easy way to use it. In fact, after reading the first reply and most of the second, I was feeling good about my idea until you said the dreaded "B" word (broach!). Hmmm. Any other opinions/ideas?
 

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Kwalt,

Take a look at the ATN "Tacker".

My sister and b-i-l use this with their sym spinnaker and it actually works pretty darn well.

Here's a better link:

ATN Tacker
 

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Broad Reachin'
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Discussion Starter #7
John - The Tacker looks intriguing, but my boat does not have a furling headsail. I wonder if the Tacker will work on a bare headstay wire. Or perhaps I could make something that functions like the Tacker, but fits on a bare wire. Seems doable with some shackles, etc.
 

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The article about the Tacker mentions something I forgot: I was going to suggest tacking the sail down with a pennant, but using the pole downhaul (or foreguy) is even better. However, the foreguy may be pulling entirely at the wrong angle -- mine goes to a turning block secured to a padeye in the middle of the foredeck. Just move it to a turning block attached at the bow.

Once you've done that, the "tacker" seems pretty unnecessary unless you have a furling jib. Just a shackle with a big ring on it should be sufficient and you could hank it right onto the forestay. What damage this might do to the forestay, which seems to be designed to support loads that are spread out over the stay (like a hanked-on jib), I could not say.
 

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If you fly a symmetric off the bow you will end up with nothing particularly good going on, the sail will be twisted and mis-shapen with no shoulders. The sail is not likely to draw, and if you can get flow over it, it may not do much more than pull laterally. Asymms and symmetrics have very different profiles and shapes.

If you want give to, it a try in light air, but I don't think the end result will be very serviceable.
 

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Wannabe Sailing Bum
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If you fly a symmetric off the bow you will end up with nothing particularly good going on, the sail will be twisted and mis-shapen with no shoulders. The sail is not likely to draw, and if you can get flow over it, it may not do much more than pull laterally. Asymms and symmetrics have very different profiles and shapes.

If you want give to, it a try in light air, but I don't think the end result will be very serviceable.
I second that! Square peg in round hole comes to mind. Having raced J105's, J90's, Nelson Marek's and a few other asymm friendly boats, you just can't make a symm spinnaker work properly without the pole. Just do a little research on the dynamics of each.

I actually re-rigged my Beneteau 473 for a symmetrical spinnaker because I knew it would vastly improve the performance of this Groupe Finot (read, Vendee Globe lineage) designed boat when sailing anywhere from a beam reach to running. Although I have both kite types on board, we flew the symm the entire 750 miles from San Diego to Cabo almost entirely on rhumb line. There were quite a few faster boats that fly asymms that came in after us. We had both weapons on board and chose wisely!

So, no, don't bother. It'll be a mess. You might look for a local J24 or J105 fleet and see if you can get on board. Race some beer can regattas to get a feel for how things work. That's the best way to fully understand the dynamics of the asymm kite.

Lastly, if you choose to fly a symm kite, just get a pole that is equal to your "J" measurement (horizontal length from mast to headstay). Once you have everything rigged properly, go out and enjoy sailing at its best (read, asymms are too easy ;-)
 

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You can fly it and it is one of the things we do for race practice as after exploding a carbon pole:eek: it became pretty important to know how


I would still recommend the pole :)
 

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... it is one of the things we do for race practice as after exploding a carbon pole:eek: it became pretty important to know how
How does it compare to simply swapping in, say, a lightweight 155% genoa? In terms of performance, I mean.
 

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IMHO, I think it is not sound advice to suggest you can fly a symmetrical spinnaker off the bow. It just doesn't make sense to take one of the clews on a symm kite to the bow (thus making it a tack). That would put the other clew way to high off the water, which causes two issues. For one, the spinnaker sheet wouldn't clear the boom unless you ran a stout twinger amidships. For two, you'd never be able to properly trim the sail no matter if you were on a close or broad reach. Running, forget about it!

I've attached a shot of us flying my symmetrical spinnaker, and a photo of another boat flying an assym (the pink kite). Just take a look at how that symm kite is built and try to imagine attaching one of the clews to the bow. Can you see what would happen to that shoulder on the upper right portion of the sail? How about the left side? What about the foot? Notice the difference in cut between the two photos. Would be UGLY!! This hopefully gives a clear picture of how these two sail types are cut differently.
 

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I'd agree with the last two posts.... this sail is not designed for this type of use... yes, it may "work", but it won't really be ideal - the luff length of a symm is going to be quite short, and to tack it on the bow means you're going to have a lot of halyard between the sail and the mast... not a recipe for stabiliy, IMO.

That said, playing with it in light air seems the way to go to start.. but be prepared to drop it if things start to heat up.
 
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