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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just curious if anyone ever sails with two heads sails... on the same head stay! I can't say I've ever seen this done in person. Maybe pictures in a magazine or something.

I have a 23 O'day Tempest that came with two jibs. It never occured to me to hoist them both on a long downwind run and pass on the main, but is this possible or efficient? Pros or cons? Anyone?

Thanks!
 

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are they the same size? I have never heard of someone flying 2 sails on the same stay, the person may have just gotten a new sail and kept the old one or one is larger than the other
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes one is a little newer than the other. I realize that the newer one was purchased to replace the older one by the PO.

They are very close to the same size. Maybe a couple sq ft difference. My thought was running them both up and not using the main, and also not having to rig a preventer for the main.

Just curious if anyone does this...
 

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Telstar 28
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It was a common practice when sailing downwind in the trade winds.
 

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I have seen that a couple of times but never tried it myself. I do have the rigging to try it but just go wing on wing. I think under higher winds you might have a tendency to push the bow down a bit, not sure though.
 

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I've done it with hank-on sails. You stagger the hanks as you put them on. With a twin-groove roller furler extrusion it can also be done.

Here's a Dana 24 in action with twin-headsails:

 

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Broad Reachin'
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As I mentioned in another thread, I just checked out a Cal 36 with twin forestays that apparently is set-up to run two headsails. Seems like that would be easier/safer than hank two onto one stay.
 

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I've done it while racing downwind in 18-25 kt winds. Having never done it before, I was apprehensive about raising the twin jibs in that much wind, but we sailed downwind all night, and found that the boat was very stable, and our ability to control the boat was never in doubt. The boat did a lot of surfing that night! By comparison, we saw a number of spinnakers shredded by the wind, but the much stronger sailcloth of the twin jibs was never close to being overstressed.

In the strongest winds, I doubt that a spinnaker would have been significantly faster, but a spinnaker would have been harder to control in that much wind. As the wind eased into the 18 kt range, I think the spinnaker would have been faster.
 

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Telstar 28
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Another common variant of the idea was to pole out two identical headsails, and then use sheet to tiller steering to automatically correct the heading... this was often referred to as a Twistle rig. ;)
 

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It's a foggy memory, but I seem to recall a chapter in one of Eric Hiscock's books (possibly Wandering Under Sail) that was entitled "Twin Spinnakers". If memory serves, he advocated dropping the main and hoisting twin spinnakers for long downwind runs.

He found the boat self-steered very nicely with the two sails pretty much just pulling the boat along behind them. If the boat begun to round up at all, the windward sail would begin to collapse and the leeward sail would drive the boat back down on course, allowing the opposite sail to re-fill and balance out again.

The fellow in the Dana 24 above appears to have been using blooper/drifter type sails in a similar fashion.
 

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Broad Reachin'
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You may want to exercise caution if you plan to hank on two headsails to one forestay in strong winds. I know I'd be leary of the force being applied to my single forestay with two genoa's.
 

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I've also seen 2-ply drifters - a nylon genoa that has two identical sails sewn to the same luff... hoist it and tie the clews together to use as a normal drifter/genoa, or separate the clews and open it up wing-on-wing style for ddw. Thought it was kind of a neat idea.
 

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I've also seen 2-ply drifters - a nylon genoa that has two identical sails sewn to the same luff... hoist it and tie the clews together to use as a normal drifter/genoa, or separate the clews and open it up wing-on-wing style for ddw. Thought it was kind of a neat idea.
That's clever!

Although, if I had twin headstays or furler grooves, I think I'd want separate sails, if for no other reason than to be able to still use one if the other is damaged.
 

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Twin headsails were used commonly 25 or more years ago, but have fallen out of favour as you need two poles, two halyards, two guys, two lifts...yadda, yadda. Most production boats aren't equipped to handle that and most production boats today have Code Zeros, giant furling genoas, cruising spinnakers or other options.

But I well remember the utility of the "twinset" from Hiscock (correct, John), Smeaton, Roth and other authors (Don Street, I think) who found the self-correcting aspects and the "stayed spinnaker" effect useful and, once laboriously set up, easy to handle and forgiving in a multi-day, tradewind situation. Twin head sails have the virtues of nearly the sail area of a spinnaker but the forgiveness of a poled-out genoa. Dousing them is easy...round up, hoist poles, sheet in and free halyards.

The Solent rig is a refinement of this idea, but doesn't always need the poles.

I have some ideas in this area I will attempt with my cutter rig, which has the staysail fairly large and forward, a "semi-Solent". I doubt I would try it with a furler, however.
 

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On one trasatlantic race we flew two hank jibs (prehistoric times) but only one was hanked on, the other was loose. We were running downwind in a very strong breeze in very large waves. Couldn't carry a spinnaker, even the storm spinnaker. We had four spinnakers aboard, and blew three of them in the three weeks of the race. That's where I learned to use a sailor's palm. We tried wing and wing but the waves were too big and the main boom spent a lot of time dragging a furrow in the water and only a stout preventer prevented a couple of crash jibes, so we had to bring the double reefed main down and stow the boom in its crutch (another relic of the past).

We had a #3 jib up but when we took in the main we felt undercanvassed (we were still racing after all). We hoisted the #4 inside the the #3 with the luff loose and she went up with no trouble since it was dry. Once the second sail was up we jibed it and had a hell of ride following the two small jibs as we surfed, safely and at hull speed or better, for a few hours. The beauty of the system was that when the wind piped up even more and even those two small sails were too much, it was relatively easy to strike the loose luffed sail. Just jibed it back so that it was inside the other sail. The friction on the two wet sails made it a bit of an effort to bring it down, but it was manageable and safe, if time consuming. I forgot to mention that we did have the luxury of two spinnaker poles and each sail had a pole to keep it under control. Not many boats have two spinnaker poles today but back then they were made of wood and on a long, rough race you occasionally busted one so many boats carried two if you were racing more than a few hundred miles.

I've never been in a similar situation that required the use of twin headsails but I can vouch for its effectiveness in strong winds and big waves, when other sail combinations might not be as effective. The foils with two slots that everyone has nowdays would make it even easier to use.
 

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Masthead rig or 3/4 rig?

I was just curious if anyone ever sails with two heads sails... on the same head stay! I can't say I've ever seen this done in person. Maybe pictures in a magazine or something.

I have a 23 O'day Tempest that came with two jibs. It never occurred to me to hoist them both on a long downwind run and pass on the main, but is this possible or efficient? Pros or cons? Anyone?

Thanks!
I kind of recall they come both ways.

As someone pointed out, this is sort of a non-designed load. With a 3/4 rig the forestay and mast are significantly supported by the mainsail, even if there is a backstay, and a large load could pull the mast out of column. Triple reefs can be a problem in fractional rigs too, depending on the details of the mast support. I know that has caused masts to be pulled backwards and snapped. I saw the scrap metal.

Just keep a lid on it and you will be fine.
 

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Here's a Dana 24 in action with twin-head sails:quote]

That Dana is singlehanded with a tiller pilot, I am impressed with that fact that it keeps it on course so well and not back winding either sail while the skipper flies the kite (actual kite with camera, not a chute).
 

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That Dana is singlehanded with a tiller pilot, I am impressed with that fact that it keeps it on course so well and not back winding either sail while the skipper flies the kite (actual kite with camera, not a chute).
Joe,

Having owned and sailed a Dana 24 for a number of years, I'm not surprised. Actually, he probably could have managed without the tiller pilot -- that boat balances out very nicely. I never flew twin headsails, but based on our experiences, I doubt that tiller pilot is working very hard.:)
 

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This is a common way of downwind sailing. If you use twin headsails without the main, the boat travels with the wind and you do not have to use the tiller. If the boat changes direction the sails redirect the boat.
 
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