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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Catalina 25 with a roller furling ( without a spinneker sail ).

I can sail pretty good going up wind ( i guess most poeple can ). But when I need to head back home ( downwind ). I always seen to have a problem going anywhere.

I do not have a spin sail.

So should I use a whisker pole to push out my front sail and push the main sail out perpendiculr to the boat ( I think this is call wing-to-wing )?

But isn't it dangerous to have the boom that far away from the center of the boat?
I would hate to have my boom that far away from the center of the boat, the wind change and it come crashing across the cockpit.

Any ideas?
Or is this normal SOP?
 

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Sailing downwind is a lot harder than upwind as a beginner. I think you are confusing some of your terminology. Having a roller furler has little to do with having a spinnaker.

My advice for you would be to avoid anything complicated like wing-on-wing or using a whisker pole at this point in your sailing career.

When sailing downwind:
1) Avoid sailing DEAD downwind for now (wind directly behind you). Try sailing a broad reach instead.
2) Yes, your sails should be fairly far out. Your fear of the boom coming across the cockpit is and should be a real concern. An accidental gybe could injure somebody so make sure your heads are down and as your sailing you need to do you best to simply avoid the accidental gybe to begin with. You might consider rigging up a preventer
3) Sailing downwind is difficult and you need to be careful. It's not dangerous to have the boom out that far in and of itself. Sailboats routinely sail with the boom out perpendicular to the boat, just see #2. The more you sail the better you'll get at avoiding accidental gybes.
 

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Sailing downwind can require more attention and caution to avoid the accidental gybe you describe from occurring.. however, while sailing upwind relies on sailshape and trim for lift and drive, downwind you're primarily looking to create maximum drag.. this means making your sails as "big" to the breeze as possible. That means main sheet and boom fully out, and the jib "winged" out (with a whisker pole if you have it).

This can be uncomfortable esp in sloppy conditions, but it will be fast in a breeze. You do need to pay attention and avoid slewing the boat into a gybe.

Alternatively you can set yourself up on a broad reach (wind coming over the quarter) and gybe back and forth to get downwind much as you tack back and forth to get upwind. You'll sail more distance but won't be so close to an accidental gybe, you'll have a little more apparent wind and the boat will "feel" better. It just may take you a bit longer to get there (or not, depending on wind strength, sailing angles and the type of boat you're on)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, thank you for the info.

I currently have tried to do the wing-wing, and never anything good comes out of it. So I usually do the broad reach coming home.

Please explain what the "preventer" does?
What is the difference between "preventer" and "Boom Vang"?
 

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You may also be surprised to find that you are sailing faster than you think down wind. Because the apparent wind is far less and there is little or no heel, you may be doing better than you think. Check your speed with a knotmeter or GPS. This also results in the situation that some novices who start their trip sailing downwind don't realize how strong the winds are until they turn around to go home.
 

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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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I have a Catalina 25 with a roller furling ( without a spinneker sail ).

I can sail pretty good going up wind ( i guess most poeple can ). But when I need to head back home ( downwind ). I always seen to have a problem going anywhere.

I do not have a spin sail.

So should I use a whisker pole to push out my front sail and push the main sail out perpendiculr to the boat ( I think this is call wing-to-wing )?

But isn't it dangerous to have the boom that far away from the center of the boat?
I would hate to have my boom that far away from the center of the boat, the wind change and it come crashing across the cockpit.

Any ideas?
Or is this normal SOP?
Sailing a broad reach is the sure fire way to ensure no accidental gybe. At times though I enjoy going wing on wing. Without a whisker pole, wing on wing is a little tricky. The headsail on my boat doesn't like to stay filled without a pole. I usually sail by the lee just a bit, and it keeps the genoa full. The tricky part is avoiding the gybe without a preventer. I sail on a lake, so shifting winds are a constant battle. I only sail by the lee if the wind is coming straight up the lake and is very steady. I also run a loose vang when sailing by the lee, as it allows the top of the sail to twist forward and helps keep it on the desired side of the boat.

 

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I've always been taught that wing-on-wing is really only for VERY light wing days when it's difficult to get the sails to fill. Just so we're on the same page, wing-on-wing is when you main sail and fore sail are on different sides of the boat. Typically someone has to hold the foresail out in order to get it to fill on a light day (hence wing-on-wing).

A preventer is a device (from just some simple rope to more complicated versions) that will actually prevent the boom from gybing).

More info here: Preventer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The boom vang (here: Boom vang111 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia is more of an advanced sail control that allows you to change the shape of the sail by exerting downward force on the boom.
 

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Yup, boom vang is fairly standard. If you had a preventer you'd probably know it because you have to set it up every time you went downwind and then removed it if you decided to head up.

Lots of good info here, hope we all helped. Welcome to sailnet btw.
 

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Faster's advice is excellent, as usual.

Wing and wing is a beautiful point of sail when both sails are spread against a blue and white sky. It's especially fun when there's a good breeze, because, in the right conditions, the boat can often exceed hull speed. But, you can never become so entranced by the experience that you fail to keep your focus on the wind angle and your helmsmanship. Either the wind angle or your course don't have to change very much to result in an unplanned gybe.

Sailing wing and wing isn't just for light air. I sailed wung out for over 60 miles on a friend's 30 foot cruising boat in 18-25 kt winds, at speeds up to 9 kts, without a single unplanned gybe. You don't need to be afraid of sailing wing and wing, as long as you keep your concentration, but, before you sail in that much wind, practice it and develop your skill in less wind.
 

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many vangs can be used as preventers. mine will work that way if unhooked from the fitting at the base of the mast and led forward instead. I have enough line on it to reach from the attachment point at the front of the boat back to the cockpit so it can be untensioned from there if need be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok.. I know the fitting you are talking about, but I wonder if I have another one in front of the mast. Hmm.

But I do know that I have plenty of line to fully extend the boom perpendiculur to the boat. In that case. If I have that fitting in the front, I should connect and then tighten the line to keep the boom perpendiculur?
Sounds like a cool concept.
 

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SpcAlan1,
For a preventer on my Catalina 25, I keep a carabiner (a shackle would do) attached to the end of my boom to give me a nice, big loop I can hook onto. Before I let the boom all the way out on a downwind run, I clip the end of a long length of some parachute cord I keep in the aft starboard locker.
After the boom is let out, I'll walk the preventer up to a forward stanchion and loop it under a support brace, then walk it back to the cockpit and cleat it.
I like using parachute cord because it's stretchy--a good thing for a preventer--and it's bright chartreuse and hard to miss and trip over. Also, it's light enough to do the job but it WILL break in the event of a knockdown, thus releasing the boom from the water--also a good thing.
As to the headsail, I find that the C25's mainsail often blankets the (roller-furled) genoa downwind, so I like to use a lightweight whisker pole, even when not running wing-on-wing.
Here's a concise video from pole-maker Forespar on using a whisker pole: Seafaring Magazine –Latitudes and Attitudes Television | Seafaring
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well I am going to try that, but you just wrap the line around the stanchions?
Hmm, seems that would put stress on those. I wonder if I could move up one of my sliding blocks forward of the mast and "back-feed" it?

Hmm. Looks like I am going to the boat this afternoon and seeing what I can do.

Great idea....
 

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Hm. I found wing-on-wing trickiest in light air. Jib is most likely to collapse. Any speed you get means your apparent wind drops to zero. I think it's better to broad reach and jibe in winds under 5 kt, which takes advantage of the apparent wind coming forward better. In 5-10 I can maintain wing-on-wing much more easily.

Like US27, I'll often sail by the lee ever so slightly, since in reality the wind is still behind the line of the boom. Too much and you put the jib in the main's lee. Not enough and the wind is on the wrong side of the jib. If the jib collapses, I let the sheet out a bit. If it luffs or "folds" on itself I trim it in.
 

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We sail by-the-lee when wing-on-wing too.. it's really the only way to prevent constant collapsing of the headsail, esp without a whisker pole. In a good breeze going DDW wing-on-wing doesn't really give up much to a similar boat flying a spinnaker on the same heading. But it's nerve racking steering so tightly to avoid a gybe. We prefer to fly the spinnaker (up to a point) for that reason.
 

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We sail by-the-lee when wing-on-wing too.. it's really the only way to prevent constant collapsing of the headsail, esp without a whisker pole. In a good breeze going DDW wing-on-wing doesn't really give up much to a similar boat flying a spinnaker on the same heading. But it's nerve racking steering so tightly to avoid a gybe. We prefer to fly the spinnaker (up to a point) for that reason.
A couple of weeks ago while racing on my friends Ranger 22, we did a little wing-on-wing-on-wing. The wind was howling, and we didn't want to get broached with the spin. We also didn't want to have our ass handed to us by just flying the 90% blade downwind. There is certainly not enough time to do a headsail change, then do it again at the downwind mark, so we were in a pickle. So I moved the spin pole downhaul out to the bow, then I clipped on the tack of the old worn out 150 we refer to as "the bedsheet". I hoisted the 150 using the spin halyard without hanking it on, and ran the sheet back to the spin blocks at the stern. The result was flying 2 headsails plus the main, and going more than a knot over hull speed for the downwind leg.
 

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....The result was flying 2 headsails plus the main, and going more than a knot over hull speed for the downwind leg.
And nobody protested you for that? Not sure it's strictly legal, nor is your rating likely to reflect that sail area.....;)

But as you saw, it works well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hmm.. flying 2 head sails...
I wonder if I could do that...

I don't think so, since I have only 1 halyard ( and that is my roller ).
 
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