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One of None
Hunter 34
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm finally ready to try using the spinaker that came with my boat! (not right now) But soon as the conditions are right I want to try.. On the river here the wind often blows straight up or down the river. I won't try this until my partner is able to steer the boat with the wind at our backs of course.

best winds for learning.. less the 5 knts?

Do I need to be; cautious, afraid, or terrified?

I have a wisker pole that's quite long and was on mounted on the port deck. Can/should I rig it for use on the mast with lines of some sort?

Do I need a swivel type of block at the mast head?

there is a track and car for the pole on the mast and I'm pretty sure I have a halyard just for the spinaker.

The spinaker is a sym, I know I need lines. my jib sheets are about 50ft each side

Lastly.. what is the best way to douse said spinaker?

thanks all!
 

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Hey Denise. I've written a couple of posts on this forum about my experiences starting out with spinnaker, so have a look at those. I talk about how I prepped (psychologically), as well as the methods I used to set, jibe, and douse. The best overall advice I think is to have a plan that you and your crew are both clear on, and do some "dry runs" before the real thing. You should also practice the jibe with a jib instead of the chute.

Regarding wind: if there's not enough, the chute won't fill. 5-10 is probably the best wind to start practicing in (I have a 0.75 oz and it won't fill with just a couple of knots; maybe a 0.5 oz would answer).

Regarding your psychology: you should be confident, decisive, and rational. Being overly cautious or afraid is likely to lead to unpleasant results.

Regarding your pole: do you have a spinnaker pole as well? They're designed for different purposes. Haven't used a whisker pole and can't help you with that. We have a spinnaker pole and it's kept tied down on the starboard deck, since in a race you really want to hoist on the starboard tack.

You don't need a swivel block at the mast head, but a swivel on the halyard itself will be useful in case the sail twists. Not, to my knowledge, absolutely necessary. We have a swivel that IIRC stays attached to the head of the chute.

Regarding lines: jib sheets are typically of a much heavier weight than spinnaker sheets. Your spinnaker sheets should probably be a 1/4" or less. The jib sheets might have trouble fitting through the pole jaws; also, if you're practicing in benign conditions, there might not be enough wind in the chute to lift the sheets.

Best way to douse is to blow the afterguy and drop the chute clew-first into the cabin.

Good luck flying your chute... it's a lot of fun! Let us know how it goes.
 

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Im finally ready to try using the spinaker that came with my boat! (not right now) But soon as the conditions are right I want to try.. On the river here the wind often blows straight up or down the river. I won't try this until my partner is able to steer the boat with the wind at our backs of course.

best winds for learning.. less the 5 knts?
IMO 5 knots of true wind is not enough to "learn" how to fly a spinnaker... 5 knots apparent might do it, heading downwind. When the winds' too light it's really tough to get the kite to fly and respond to adjustments.

Do I need to be; cautious, afraid, or terrified?
None of the above... especially if you pick the right wind range

I
I have a wisker pole that's quite long and was on mounted on the port deck. Can/should I rig it for use on the mast with lines of some sort?
A whisker pole is not really the right thing.. on your boat it should be a double ended (end for end jibing) pole... and should only be as long as your J measurement.

Do I need a swivel type of block at the mast head?
Yes, above and outside the forestay attachment.

there is a track and car for the pole on the mast and I'm pretty sure I have a halyard just for the spinaker.
If you truly have a spinn halyard, it should already be in an above mentioned swivel block.. otherwise it's a spare jib halyard and not ideal.

The spinaker is a sym, I know I need lines. my jib sheets are about 50ft each side
To be able to run the sail into the cockpit with control, your spinn sheets will likely need to be 75 feet or so.. and should be lighter/smaller than your jib sheets..

Lastly.. what is the best way to douse said spinaker?

thanks all!
The best way to douse at first is to run deep, ease the pole to the forestay, ease the guy completely and then pull the sail in under the boom into the cockpit/companionway. Gather the entire foot first and pull the "tube" of sail down (in the shadow of the mainsail)while halyard is eased. Steer carefully, as usual when deep, to avoid an accidental jibe during the takedown.

This is a very rewarding exercise, but you do need the right gear as well as the right technique.

Best of luck!
 

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One of None
Hunter 34
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks guys! I'm reading your advice with much interest! I have the big book "spinaker" I guess it's time to study that too!
The pole is double ended and easily the length of the J measurment or more.

What inspired me was watching a guy on a smaller boat single handing his chute. I was a bit jealous even.
 

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You need to have a spinnaker pole, if you try to use a whisker pole, sooner or later the loads produced by a spinnaker will break it.

The spinnaker sheets should be twice the length of your boat, and 1/4 would be tough on your hands, I would recommend 3/8s just for hand comfort.

You need to also plan for positioning tweaker blocks by your shroud base so you can trim the guy to the toe rail amidships, check any rigging guide.
 

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You need to also plan for positioning tweaker blocks by your shroud base so you can trim the guy to the toe rail amidships, check any rigging guide.
Where exactly are these blocks usually mounted? Outer toerail or what? I've got some rails on the cabintop and I was guessing they might be for tweakers, but never tried it.
 

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1/4 will be tough on the hands. I'd buy one sheet in 3/8 and the other in 1/4". Cut em in half and splice the different sizes together. That way, you get light weight and grip on your winch drums. stripping them helps too.
 

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1/4 will be tough on the hands. I'd buy one sheet in 3/8 and the other in 1/4". Cut em in half and splice the different sizes together. That way, you get light weight and grip on your winch drums. stripping them helps too.
Better still, strip the core of 3/8 and feed a spectra or kevlar line through, and stiitch it together. This leaves the lightweigt working line with an easy-on-the-hands cover at the "holding" end.

Tweaker blocks should be mounted outboard of the lifelines so that you can pull the guy to the deck for better mechanical advantage and some downhaul component. Ordinarily the sheet tweaker is fully eased. However as the wind pipes up you can really stabilize the chute by "tweaking" the sheet down too, even to the point that it too is at deck level. Tweakers should be eased to facilitate jibing.
 

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One of None
Hunter 34
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9,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
hey.. your loosing me guiys! duh
 

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One of None
Hunter 34
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9,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
the Pole that came with the boat is a spinaker pole i'm sure. it's long and a good stout 2.5 in dia. (but I'll ck it) and it has the spring loaded pins with a full length line to pull the pins out. I must say it works well as a whisker on my genoa too.
 

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It does sound like a spinn pole... especially if the length is NOT adjustable. Most whisker poles are adjustable (a good whisker on a genoa will be longer than the "J").. So you're probably good to go with that.

Also it's VERY important that your downhaul be adequate. The greatest loads will be trying to pull the spinnaker pole up. The downhaul's job is to prevent this. It should be readily adjustable but easily cleated/released too. Most downhauls attach to the deck somewhere between mast and bow, and so need to be trimmed each time the pole position is adjusted. The pole lift should keep the pole level, but really, once the sail is flying there's usually no load on it.. it needs to support the pole in light air and during sets and jibes. Also if you value your deck gelcoat train your crew to gradually ease the pole lift to gently set the pole end on deck...

Do a search for "spinnaker" here and you'll find some further discussions....
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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A couple quick points;

It sounds like you guys are talking about twings and not tweakers. Tweakers adjust the lead on the genoa similar to a barberhauler or inhauler. Twings bring the lead for the guy to the deck at the point of maximum beam.. On a thirty foot boat, you can get by with a snatch block on the rail that you insert the guy into rather than going through the trouble of making up twing lines.

As a rule of thumb, spinnaker sheets are twice the length of the boat and genoa sheets are between 1 and 1.5 times the length of the boat depending on the overlap, use of turning blocks, and whether you have a furler. A jib sheet will be too short.

I would not bother with tapered spinnaker sheets for what you are doing, but the previous posters are right, 1/4" is way too light line for a spin sheet for 30 foot masthead rig boat.

The diameter of pole on the boat and its on deck storage sounds like a spinnaker pole, but if it is longer than the J of the boat and long enough to use as a whisker pole, then it probably is too long to use as a spinnaker pole. Denise's description only mentions trip lines and does not mention lift and downhaul bridles so the pole may actually be a whisker pole.

Faster is right that you will need to rig a pole downhaul, but it can be rigged from the bridle on the spin pole to the base of the mast so it does not need to be adjusted when you adjust the guy or during the jibe.

Jeff
 

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Faster is right that you will need to rig a pole downhaul, but it can be rigged from the bridle on the spin pole to the base of the mast so it does not need to be adjusted when you adjust the guy or during the jibe.
Jeff
True Jeff (you're showing your Laser 28 heritage) but this arrangement provides no forward component to the downhaul's pull and makes (btw, you're correct of course),"twingers" mandatory to keep the pole end against the tack of the spinnaker.

We've always found at that bit of ease on the downhaul (cleated, of course) makes it easier to get the pole back on the mast during a jibe in any case.

One other point - hopefully obvious - Denise, be sure to clip the spinnaker end of the pole on the guy itself, not into the cringle on the sail (some newbies try this)

And I agree that tapered sheets are unnecessary for this scenario.. but they look racy!;)
 

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And I agree that tapered sheets are unnecessary for this scenario.. but they look racy!;)
Racy is cool :cool:
And for future reference, orange is the fastest color. :)

One more thing, make sure you clip the spinnaker into the ring jaws UP. If it goes in jaws down it can get wedged/stuck in the ring when the wind pipes up. The guy should also go in jaw up, so when you open the jaw, the pole drops right off the guy.

Oh, and disconnect from the mast first, then to the new guy (now you have both sheets in the pole ends), finally disconnect from the old guy and put it on the mast ring.

Hard to explain all of this, but it happens a lot faster and easier than it sounds. Sit back and enjoy new speeds downwind. :)

Edit: I use swivel shackles on the sheets as well as the halyard, and I've never had an hourglass go up. For the little extra weight, it saves huge amounts of time not having to douse and re-set.
 

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Don't worry to much about getting a wine glass/ hour glass or two. EVERYBODY has done it. The way to avoid it is to pull the brace out so that the tack of the sail is touching the spinnaker pole(outer end!) before the hoist and keep the sail set through gybes. Also make sure kite is not twisted before hoist. Do this by running your hands along the luff tapes to make sure they are not fouled up. We have also all put kite up sideways( halyard onto tack/clew instead of head). Don't let mistakes upset you to much. If you have not made these basic mistakes you are either a world champion or not put yourself under much preassure on the race course. There are two equally legitimate schools of thought on which way up the spinnaker pole should go. My personal preferance is for the beaks to be open end down(I've been doing this since the late 70's with no problems). For the practical side of kite work there is no sustitute for having somebody out on your boat to show you. Maybe ask around at the local yacht club. Most yachties are happy to help out. Just remember to make sure you and your crew are comfotable that the breeze isn't to strong. You don't want to damage your boat or crew.
 
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