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Using a Drifter

Discussion in 'Sail Trim with Don Guillette' started by John Tubb, Dec 3, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    443 posts, 77 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Huntsville, AL Guntersville, AL
    Jackdaw was helpful on identifying a sail my old O'day 25 came with as a drifter. The PO thought it was a spinnaker so I never actually took it out or inspected. After a bit of research, looks like I need 5-6 mm sheets which seem very small. I have extra sheets from a jib but they are larger.

    So any feedback, should I get new sheets or use the ones I have? Is this sail a waste of time? I actually am thinking it could be a good one for us as when we go out it is planned and sometimes wind is very light under 5 knots but we still go for the family time. My son is pretty excited to try it out because it is colorful and he thought it would be fun. The boat also came with 2 Forespare poles of different diameters, I assumed one was a whisker and one a spinnaker pole based on diameter. Not sure when I use these either.

    . 20171202_155415-1.jpg
     


    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  2. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    588 posts, 147 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH Littleton, NH
    John, I'm speaking out of school (never used one) here but it looks like a drifter is specifically used for light wind 5-15 knots, that would be why the light weight sheet material. Since it is cut like a genoa, and uses a pole, it shouldn't be pulled out if there is any possibility of high winds or sailing into the wind. Otherwise, from what I've read, for the cruiser, it's pretty easy to use.
    As long as the sheet is in good condition, it should be good. Have fun.
    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


  3. SG

    SG

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    608 posts, 80 likes
    J/Boat J/160
    US Annapolis
    A drifter shouldn't need a spinnaker or reaching pole? It needs a place to mount the tack and its own halyard (I assume you have a jib that you'll leave on the roller furler. )

    You can try it with the extra, heavier sheets on a reach in ( say more than) 5 knots of true wind. Then see how you like it. I wouldn't try it on a very deep apparent wind angle to start. You wouldn't probably have much fun in very light air to begin with.
     


  4. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    443 posts, 77 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Huntsville, AL Guntersville, AL
    Thanks I don't have a furler, all my headsails are hank on. This is also hank on too.
     


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  5. Meriachee

    Meriachee

    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    2,013 posts, 398 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Edmonton, Ab Wabamun - on the orange ball
    A drifter is typically thought of as the name implies. It's a little to no wind sail. Not only do you want light sheets, you want -very- light sheets, as the weight of a double braid can pull the sail down. So the recommendation would be that if you don't want to drop some cash on some very hi tech lightness, get something small.
     


  6. SG

    SG

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    608 posts, 80 likes
    J/Boat J/160
    US Annapolis
    Drifters that I've seen have no hanks. Anyway, just fly it -- but not in winds above 7 or 10 knots true, to start with. Above 10 knots true you'll just be doing counterproductive things.
     


  7. Joe

    Joe

    Joined Jun 1, 2004
    6,165 posts, 196 likes
    Catalina 27
    US Mission Bay, San Diego
    Light air usually means under 7 kts.... the drifter is a very specialized sail... usually 2 to 3 oz. nylon... full shape. It will stretch and twist in stronger winds... may even rip. You can hank it on, or fly it free with a dyneema luff line.... Here's a discussion/article that may help you: https://www.riggingdoctor.com/life-aboard/2015/9/21/spinnaker-or-drifter
    [​IMG]
     


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  8. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    443 posts, 77 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Huntsville, AL Guntersville, AL
    Thanks, good read and pretty much fits what we sail in. Can't wait to try out, just a bit too cold in North Alabama right now.
     


    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  9. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    588 posts, 147 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH Littleton, NH
    I ship wrecked once in Mobile Bay.
    I was the only one to get off the boat that night. My family spent the night on board, I spent it in a cot at the CG station. That was an old S&S cutter named Blitzen. Beautiful boat.
    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


  10. Gene Neill

    Gene Neill

    Joined Sep 30, 2013
    2,026 posts, 507 likes
    C-22, Albin Vega
    US central Florida
    Then fly it just like any other headsail, only bigger. :) Just observe the sheeting angle, and make sure your Genny cars are far enough aft. We love our drifter - it turns miserable motoring days into fun, relaxing sailing days, and it does great work to windward. FWIW, we use the same sheets on every headsail including this one, so I'd suggest at least trying it out with your existing sheets before blowing the bucks on new ones.

     


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  11. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    443 posts, 77 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Huntsville, AL Guntersville, AL
    Awesome Gene! I'll try it first with our normal sheets for the 150. The video is great, we usually go sailing when we plan it and have suffered lite wind. Wish I had looked better at what I had earlier this season.

    Will I spent a lot of time in and out of CG station in Mobile doing Navy testing, fun times for sure.
     


  12. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    3,769 posts, 953 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Sumter, SC Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    Looks you were closing in on the boat ahead of you. Great-looking.
     


  13. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    3,522 posts, 742 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    @Kermit Gene maybe closing in or the other boat is slowing down to throw him another can of beer. It looked like he gave them the sign. I need another cold one. Shut down the camera.
     


  14. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    3,769 posts, 953 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Sumter, SC Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    Looks like it’s beer run time!
     


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  15. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    443 posts, 77 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Huntsville, AL Guntersville, AL
    I'm kicking myself for not looking and asking sooner in the season. I've been trying to be pretty cautious and only limit my new variables to one thing a sail. Last time out with low wind was a first time for Dad and daughter only so I wanted to manage the boat between us with no drama. That was successful so this will be a fun let's try this next time out.
     


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  16. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    3,522 posts, 742 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Kermie... I love your ability to find an obscure song for just about every occasion. That is just terrific:clap:....:biggrin:
     


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  17. Meriachee

    Meriachee

    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    2,013 posts, 398 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Edmonton, Ab Wabamun - on the orange ball
    I'm still struggling with how somebody can say it's cold in the south. You know how you can tell in winter who the Canadians are in Florida? They're in the pool. :)
     


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  18. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    3,769 posts, 953 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Sumter, SC Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    And you thought I was just another short, green and handsome frog!
     


  19. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    3,522 posts, 742 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    "Kermit"= short, green and -- Pretty Faced -- frog!
     


  20. Gene Neill

    Gene Neill

    Joined Sep 30, 2013
    2,026 posts, 507 likes
    C-22, Albin Vega
    US central Florida
    Of course I was. He didn't have a drifter! :biggrin:

    And thank you for the compliment on my looks. ;)
     



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