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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've experienced many, many days with very light winds since I purchased my first sailboat more than 8 years ago. I'm having serious thoughts about purchasing either a spinaker, or maybe a genaker, something that will allow to me to sail downwind when there is essentially no wind, speeds of 3 to 5 MPH at most. There are a lot of days like that on the upper Chesapeake.

Now, the biggest problem I seem to see about either is I sail mainly single handed. Just about every video I've seen on either sail recommends a crew of at least two or three for a 33-footer, which is the size of my Morgan Out Island. I do not have auto pilot, and when I go forward to raise or lower the main, I just point the boat into the wind, lock the wheel and do things as quickly as possible.

Any and all comments will be warmly received by this old man,

Gary :cool:
 

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S/V Wyndwitch - Morgan 24
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Hi Gary, enjoy your posts. Good thread. I have a Morgan 24 and have often thought of setting the symmetrical but am too inexperienced with them to even think of it solo... I have a big drifter I set which helps a lot on calm days but look forward to hearing others take on this

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First, get an auto pilot!

THEN, get the asym spin/genaker or equal. Many find having a sprit ont he front makes tacking a bit easier vs having these tacked "just" in front of the jib tack area.

I've run a tack line back to the cockpit, some have run socks lines back, but probably easier to run some type of furling system for the assym spin/genaker. I can gybe my asym by myself, along with doing the main and steering at the same time. BUT, I am a decade or two younger than you, and have a tiller I can steer in between my legs. If I had a wheel, a self steering/auto pilot would be needed. or would help. As you do have to move the boat into the new direction as you gybe.

I typically let the spin out about as far as a I can, gybe the main so I am wing on wing for a bit, then gybe the spin. I prefer doing outside line gybe vs inside. Seems to make not catching the spin on the forstay being as I do not have a sprit/pole to make the tack forward of the jib tack.

You may find a BIGGER code zero style of a headsail to be easier for you to handle. Then again, that is what you could be calling a gennaker......

Marty
 

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I've experienced many, many days with very light winds since I purchased my first sailboat more than 8 years ago. I'm having serious thoughts about purchasing either a spinaker, or maybe a genaker, something that will allow to me to sail downwind when there is essentially no wind, speeds of 3 to 5 MPH at most. There are a lot of days like that on the upper Chesapeake.

Now, the biggest problem I seem to see about either is I sail mainly single handed. Just about every video I've seen on either sail recommends a crew of at least two or three for a 33-footer, which is the size of my Morgan Out Island. I do not have auto pilot, and when I go forward to raise or lower the main, I just point the boat into the wind, lock the wheel and do things as quickly as possible.

Any and all comments will be warmly received by this old man,

Gary :cool:
Gary--As one "old bird" to another, before doing anything else sail wise, I suggest you invest in an Autopilot, particularly if you're sailing alone/single handed. We've had "Otto" since 1987 and, frankly, couldn't get by without him, particularly now (age considered).

Once steering's resolved, consider an asymmetric on a furler. You can hoist the thing and leave it up and then deploy and recover it as needed/desired without leaving the cockpit. It can make a world of difference in light air conditions. They're only good up to about 150º off the wind but, the distance added by sailing 30º off DDW is more than made up for by the added VMG. Just gybe within a +/- 5º cone of your waypoint and you'll be good.

There are other solutions, but the foregoing is the most simple/fool-proof.

FWIW...
 
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Don't call me a "senior"!
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For the best performance, and still fairly easily singlehanded, I would get an assym on a furler. However, if you already have a furler on your headstay, consider getting a big, lightweight genoa (and maybe pole it out with a whisker when the conditions warrant). It will give you almost the performance of an assym, but with a lot less hassle. And get a tiller pilot.
 
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One word, code zero on a furler.

These new furlers work on a torsion rope that is flexible, eliminating the extrusion. You set everything up at your leisure before you get underway. The sail comes out of the bag like a big snake (similar to a snuffing sock), but you don't need to go forward to pull the sock up. Instead, you casually unroll it. More importantly, when it pipes up, you can roll it back up. These things are not quite spinnakers, they are more like the old reacher-drifter.

The only issue with these things is your rig. I'm not sure what you got Gary but you want to get the furler ahead of the rolled up jib, and be able to tension the torsion rope. This works best if you have a fractional rig since you got a place up top higher than the jib. Some people have removable sprits.

We've got this set up, and we're not young sailors, but we have no intention to quit till they burry us.

BTW/all the previous advice on autopilots I think is right on the money no matter what you do with a downwind sail. Single handing gets a whole lot easier!
 

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Although the quadrant mounted, ram driven auto pilots are superior, you can get by with a less expensive wheel pilot with the kind of sailing that you do. (ICW)
 

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One word, code zero on a furler.

These new furlers work on a torsion rope that is flexible, eliminating the extrusion. You set everything up at your leisure before you get underway. The sail comes out of the bag like a big snake (similar to a snuffing sock), but you don't need to go forward to pull the sock up. Instead, you casually unroll it. More importantly, when it pipes up, you can roll it back up. These things are not quite spinnakers, they are more like the old reacher-drifter.

The only issue with these things is your rig. I'm not sure what you got Gary but you want to get the furler ahead of the rolled up jib, and be able to tension the torsion rope. This works best if you have a fractional rig since you got a place up top higher than the jib. Some people have removable sprits.

We've got this set up, and we're not young sailors, but we have no intention to quit till they burry us.

BTW/all the previous advice on autopilots I think is right on the money no matter what you do with a downwind sail. Single handing gets a whole lot easier!
A code 0 is more of a reaching sail than a downwind one though you can get an asym on a furler. I have one on order.
 

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One word, code zero on a furler.
If you have to choose just one, a Code 0 would be my choice, as well...

You can't sail upwind, or at least close reaching, with an asymetrical cruising chute, but you can carry a Code 0 pretty deep downwind, if need be... So, seems to me the more versatile choice, and more bang for the buck...

On the other hand, Code 0 furlers are generally pricier than a sock, and chances are you'll have to have a Code O made new for you, whereas there's a better chance you might find a suitable asymetrical chute at a place like Bacon's, or on eBay...

And Gary, I don't even want to hear about it, if you head south again without an autopilot...

:)
 

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Another vote for some sort of effective self steering, and ideally an asymm on a furler. These furlers can be lowered and stowed if not needed, and would work best on some sort of sprit.

An Asymm with a sock is another viable plan, hopefully the sock rigging doesn't get to be a hassle.

We have both - and still prefer the symmetrical spinn and pole unless it's truly going to be a one-tack reaching fetch and no gybing is likely to be involved. And while it's what we're used to, we have more reliable gybes with the pole and Symm than with the Asymm. But that's with two people and 'otto' steering. Sailing solo is another thing altogether.
 

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asym on a sock

best and easiest although those new asyms on furlers that are detacheable when the price comes down sound like the best do it all sail really
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The prices are totally insane on much of this, and after having one model Wheel Steering auto-pilot I'll not have another. I fried two of them in two weeks. They just don't seem to hold up in rough weather while sailing with a following sea.

The best autohelms I've seen are hydraulic, which means I would have to do a major refit of my steering system. I guess this old man will have to stick with what I have, drink more Margarettas, and go back south using traditional methods, motorsailing ain't all that bad.

Thanks everyone for your input,

Gary :cool:
 

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Hi Gary, I'm with the, "first get an auto," gang. How about a vane? As a solo sailor I would put this as priority #1 PERIOD! I dunno how I would even reef without auto while sailing solo, and my boat loves to track straight. Electric autos can't handle any condition, but for sail changes and deck work, they are invaluable.

On my recent journey we made great use out of our old drifter. It's basically a large nylon genoa that was re-taped to fit our furler. Meant we had to do head sail changes off the furler, but the sail was easy to manage and worked in almost all angles.

I also carry an assym (genniker) with a sock (ATN). It's easy to deploy and manage. It can't run dead down wind, but I hate doing that anyway.

I'm seriously looking into the new Code-0 systems. They look really interesting to me.
 

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I'm a n00b so take everything I say with a grain of salt, but...

I totally love my 170% nylon drifter! It keeps me sailing when other people say "there's no wind" and guests love it because it's brightly colored and and feels festive. I've tried a couple different ways of rigging it, and I've settled on pulling the sheets back through the spinnaker blocks that are almost on the stern.

It does take a bit to hank it on and run the sheets, but it's a way fun sail to fly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, Mike, the drifter sounds like the way to go, at least from a single handed standpoint. As for the wind van steering system, nah - too expensive to put on a 1973 boat. Now, even at my age, I can get things done pretty quickly, including reefing, and setting or dropping the main. Additionally, I'm going to install a lazy jack system this winter, something I should have done during the summer, but just didn't get around to it. Usually, I can drop the main, flake it on the boom and tie it down in less than 3 minutes, during which time I have the boat slowly motoring into the wind in Havre de Grace Basin, which is pretty tight. I've had a few times, though, when the wind was screaming at 40 or more, and getting that main down, flaked and tied down was a real hassle. So, I guess in those instances, an autohelm would have been nice to have. But, when I used the two I had for just a couple days of sailing with heavy, following seas, the gears fried. Turns out the gears were made of nylon and essentially melted. When I contacted the manufacturer about this, they said take it back to the dealer and get a new one, which I did. When the second one fried, all within a couple days of use, I got a refund - no questions asked.

Apparently, the wheel systems were never designed for use in heavy, following seas. This was obvious when I saw those fried, nylon gears. If I were designing a wheel system, I would have never used nylon gears, and I would have used a much heavier duty servo motor, too. That motor was tiny and got really hot after just an hour of use under less than optimal conditions.

See you next year, Mike.

Gary :cool:
 

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FWIW Raymarine has gotten rid of the plastic gears in their latest wheel pilots.
 
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On tiller pilots at least, Simrad has stronger versions than raymarine, assuming by fasters post as to what you had previously is a raymarine.

Marty
 

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Gary,
You only have a couple of years on me and if you wish to sail well into your eighties then get an auto pilot whatever the cost it takes to get one that will do the job. (remember you have a much heavier 33 than most, maybe all the others) And don't worry about it being a 1973 boat, it's the boat you have and probably the boat that is going to carry you I to your eighties (I think the Morgan 33 is a great "old mans boat"), so who cares how old it is. I've come to the conclusion that my 1976 Pearson will probably be parted out (given I buy any new parts between now and then) when I stop sailing.
Second phase is to get a used light weight 170 that will go onto your existing furler. Along with a whisker pole. You will know when you leave the marina if it is going to be one of those light air days and can change out the jib before leaving the dock. If you get caught in a rising wind, you can just roll up the jib and sail on main alone.
And all this time, Otto has done many silent jobs for you.
Happy sails; I just love spending other people's money.
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Glad to hear they got away from those plastic gears - guess I might have to give them another chance.

Yep, that old Morgan is a real heavy boat. I shift to neutral 250 yards before the marina entrance while motoring at 6 MPH and I still come into the entrance at 2 MPH from the inertia. Sure like all that weight when it get nasty, though.

Thanks again for the responses everyone,

Gary :cool:
 
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