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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We were going to race this-coming Sunday, and fly the kite for the 1st time. The course is basically south down to a channel buoy, round it with the buoy to port, and back up. Wind was projected to be more-or-less from the east. So we would've been on a port tack beam reach on the way down, and a starboard tack beam reach on the way back. (Of course: Either reach might've ended-up being anywhere from broad to close, depending.)

Here's the question: In rounding the "mark" at the bottom of the course, how do you handle the kite? You can't hardly cross thru the wind--the thing would just collapse. (And that's assuming the wind wasn't strong enough to cause a broach at some point.)

If the wind was to be out of the west, or the rounding with mark to starboard, you could just gybe around.

ISTM you'd have to either get the kite down or you'd have to go low, gybe around and come back up with the mark to port. Kind of a reverse-chicken-gybe, if you will :).

(Btw: The question is academic at this point. Forecast has changed to "variable winds, 10 kts or less." We're probably going to skip the thing entirely. Not inclined to mess with the kite for the first time in variable air, and drift-"racing" until midnight does not attract. We're pretty disappointed :(.)

Jim
 

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Assuming the wind was 90* from your stern, I'd bare off 5-15* near the southern mark, douse, round/tack, and then set again. Drop the pole early, make sure the crew is sailing the boat with what it has. I'd also find a way to keep everything attached to speed up the hoist on the new tack. Maybe drop the chute on deck, tack, and pull the sheet back while hoisting. A windward set if you will. The breeze should blow the kite around with 'help' from the new sheet.

Get it flying, then set the pole, and douse the jib.
Seems like this would be very unlikely for the wind to stay 90* to the beam. Keep an eye on shifts and you'll have to change your strategy at the drop of a hat. I don't believe a sym kite is very efficient that close to the wind anyhow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Assuming the wind was 90* from your stern, I'd bare off 5-15* near the southern mark, douse, round/tack, and then set again.
Yeah, I thought of that. Boy, that'd be one heckuva busy rounding :)

Seems like this would be very unlikely for the wind to stay 90* to the beam.
Yeah, well, especially on Lake St. Stupid.

I don't believe a sym kite is very efficient that close to the wind anyhow.
The authors of what I've been reading apparently believe it can be, but I'm in no position to comment. Wouldn't mind having an asym, too, tho.

Thanks for the follow-up. Someday I'm sure we'll get to put it into practice.

Jim
 

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I actually think a light and variable day would be ideal for practicing with the spinnaker. Everything light and easy, no drama, etc. You could always bail and take a DNF if it turns into a complete drifter. Maybe there's a time limit and the race will be abandoned anyway.

In my experience, it's pretty rare that you get to fly the chute up and down the course without some favorable (good luck with that;) ) windshift. More likely you'd be able to use it on one leg, and the other would just be a bit too tight on the wind. So more than likely the scenario wouldn't really pan out.

You can actually tack an asym in real light air. But with a symmetrical chute I would probably douse and reset at the mark (if possible). This approach allows the crew to assess the new wind after making the mark rounding -- to see if the chute is even possible again. You can lose a lot more time in a chute-goat-rope-mark-rounding than by delaying the set for a minute or two.
 

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Arrange the jib along starboard rail making sure that the port jib sheet goes over the spinnaker pole and lift bridle forward of the pole lift; set the jib; drop the chute to leeward (probably under the foot of the jib and into the forward hatch leaving the sheet, guy, and halyard attached); drop the pole to the deck leaving the pole lift and down haul attached; take the slack in the pole lift aft and tie it to the base of the mast; harden up; tack; bear off; snap the new guy into the forward end of the pole; untie the pole lift from the base of the mast; raise the pole to the proper position; open the forward hatch; cheat the tack forward to pole; and hoist the spinnaker.
 

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If it turns out to indeed be a port tack reach out and stbd tack reach back with marks to port, you've really no choice but to hoist a jib, douse the kite, tack around and reset.

In actuality you'll probably find at least one of these legs too tight to make the kite worthwhile. Keep an eye on the angle of the halyard to the centerline of the boat. if the halyard lead has any aft component, you're probably better off with a headsail. As long as it angles forward from the masthead and control isn't an issue it may be paying off.

Try it! You'll like it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, thanks for the tips, everyone! :)

Looks like we're back on! The forecast has changed Yet Again. Now calling for 5-15 kts, starting out of the NW, veering to N at about race start. (It being Lk. St. Stupid, who knows what'll really happen.) So we'll probably broad reach down with the kite, then douse it and raise a #1 for the beat back up.

Looking forward to it! I'll report back and let y'all know how it went. (Maybe even with pictures!)

Jim
 

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Can't help you with "tacking" your chute, but

I don't believe a sym kite is very efficient that close to the wind anyhow.
the fastest we ever sailed was two weeks ago in maybe 10 knots of wind. We had the spin pole just a couple of inches off the forestay and the apparent wind maybe ten degrees before the beam. The sea was nice and flat and we had no trouble keeping her on course.

Of course our speed (6.3 knots) was a large component in our apparent wind, so it might not work out so well with the true wind right on your beam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
the fastest we ever sailed was two weeks ago in maybe 10 knots of wind. We had the spin pole just a couple of inches off the forestay and the apparent wind maybe ten degrees before the beam.
The fastest the PO of our boat claims to have ever had her was 11 kts :eek: on a close reach with a chute in 20+ kts of wind. He had lots of meat on the rail. :) Hull speed of our boat is 6.7 kts.

Jim
 

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The fastest the PO of our boat claims to have ever had her was 11 kts :eek: on a close reach with a chute in 20+ kts of wind. He had lots of meat on the rail. :) Hull speed of our boat is 6.7 kts.

Jim
Sounds like he was throwing down a challenge. :D Now you just HAVE TO hoist that chute and try to break his record. :D :D

Keep us posted. In fact, this would make a good thread unto itself: "Semi-Jim's Attempts to Beat Prior Owner's Speed Record."

Remember: No photos, it didn't happen.:D :D
 

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We have rounded a buoy with the spinnaker up and tacked to the other gybe, but the current was doing funky things in order to make that maneuver advisable. Before you worry about it too much, check to make sure the Race Committee has no way to change the course to have you leave the buoy to starboard. The Sailing Instructions at our club call for rounding the marks of the course on the same side as the starting mark was left. By moving the committee boat we can send people clockwise or counter-clockwise. If I was running the RC at your club, and had the wind coming the way you say, I'd switch it to a starboard rounding and help out the racers by simply avoiding the problem. The reach to reach gybes would still be interesting enough to watch. If they can't change the course and you have to turn through the wind to 'round the buoy, you can go the dowse/reset route as others have suggested, or you could sail past the mark, pinch up a touch for a half minute to work to weather a bit, and then "wear ship" - gybe. You have to be careful not to work too far to leeward in your gybe, because you have to be able to carry the 'chute and still leave the mark to port on the return leg, after you've gybed. You should pick the maneuver that you think will be the quickest and least problem-prone. Let us know how it goes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Results

We raced. We flew the kite. We had a terrific time! :)

Was looking bad for a while there. All the way out the boat, while we were prepping to go out, and when we started motoring out: No air. I mean no air. None. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Zero. Bupkis. Nothing was stirring. But then, with the committe boat in sight, I look up and... here we are, motoring at 4 kts about dead north and the Windex is pointing steady dead aft! I point up, and say "Hey, I think we have air!" Raised the main, pointed back down until the boom was dead center, to get a wind bearing: Sure enough: Wind was straight out of the south.

Got the genoa up and everybody got familiar with their jobs. Got over the line nearly perfectly as our class flag went down. Two hours later: Rounded the southern mark, steadied her up, and up went the chute! Got the genny down, got 'er all trimmed and away we went! :D Eventually the wind backed, because we ended-up on mostly a beam reach most of the way back up.

Final result: Out of a fleet of ten boats, four in PHRF and six in JAM: We finished second in the PHRF class and second over-all. The winning boat beat us by a mere three minutes--out of an (approximate) 3-1/2 hour race. And we might have taken first, had not the air kind of died on us about two miles short of the line and the power boat wake not gotten so bad. The combination of the two was really damaging to us. The boat that beat us, a much larger boat, carrying much more sail area, was not as badly hurt by this as were we. (And I think they sailed a somewhat more advantageous course on that second leg, truth be told.)

The weather was beautiful. The sailing was fantastic. All-in-all a terrific day! :)

Jim
 

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Well done, Jim! ...and this is just the beginning! Good results too.
 
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