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First Time Asymmetrical Spinnaker User!

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,602
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Well, that's a lie, about 20 years ago I participated with a crew in flying an asym on a Little Harbor 52; it took two of us just to carry that sail! But that was long ago and far away, and I wasn't the skipper.

My current boat is a Tartan 3800.
I: 49.75 ft / 15.16 m
J: 14.25 ft / 4.34 m
P: 43.33 ft / 13.21 m
E: 14.33 ft / 4.37 m

It came with a Doyle APC spinnaker, with an ATN sock and ATN Tacker. The mouth is cast fiberglass, and the Tacker is molded plastic. The mouth is marked with a serial number and "44'."

There's a downhaul that's only about 11' in length, and no other lines, except the integrated sock control line.

The boat has a spinnaker halyard leading to a sheave on a crane.

I have a block on a shackle for a downhaul to be led to the cockpit, and a piece of new 110' piece of 10mm VPC that I can use for a sheet; but it's not long enough for two sheets, I don't think. I might have some other useable line on the boat. I have two snatch blocks on shackles, and two toe-rail pad eyes aft of the primaries.

So, now what? :) I would love to try it out this weekend - I'm in need of some excitement. It will be just my wife and I. I'd like to go through the whole cycle of rig, set, sail, and douse, on both tacks at least once each.

Any advice for a beginner, or on general rigging of this is much appreciated.

Thanks,

jv
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,853
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
How exciting. Wish I could be there to try it with you. My boat came with an asym also. I have never sailed with one either. Of course, my boat is only 19 feet. There will be a huge difference between the trial on Dragonfly and your boat.
Good luck and take lots of pictures.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
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jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,602
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Thanks Will. Not sure I will have the presence of mind to snap some pics, but I'll try to remember.

Still need to sort out control lines. Pretty sure I have a line that will work as a downhaul. Also pretty sure I only have one suitable sheet. Don't want to invest in lines 'til I have more knowledge. I've read some about tapered sheets for spinnakers, might look into that some more.
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,853
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
My windmill came with this automatic whisker pole system. Never seen one before but it works slick.

I don't know if it would be appropriate for an asym, but it holds the jib out on the port side when going DDW. Just pull a line on the boom, where the pole stows, and it slides out a sleave along a line connected to the clew and you're set. Keep the sheet tight or loose to take out or let in more belly.
These aren't my pics. They came from the Windmill class page as a result of a Google search for 'automatic whisker pole'. I can't tell if this setup is unique to Windmills, but it is interesting that that's what came up for my search.


-Will (Dragonfly)
 
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Sep 22, 2018
1,869
Hunter 216 Kingston
You have likely already reviewed this info from ATN but thought I would post for reference, there’s a video of the sock as well.
https://www.atninc.com/atn-tacker-sailing-equipment.shtml

I’m not sure what downhaul you are referring to as the sock takes care of dousing? However I’ve had trouble pulling the sock down if the spin is full (pushed the wind strength a bit and didn’t blanket the douse with the main properly) so it’s probably a good idea to have a block rigged for that. Shouldn’t need two sheets to start or maybe at all, just douse, flip the whole thing around the furled headsail, move the sheet to the other side and relaunch.

The 11’ line might be part of the tacker...holds the cup from sliding up the furled headsail??
 

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,602
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Will, that's very cool. From my watching of the America's Cup races, when they still used spinnakers, I recall that they strived to keep the boom and spinnaker pole aligned axially, to counteract forces, and keep good sail shape. Seems your system might be able to maintain a rigid alignment.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,602
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
You have likely already reviewed this info from ATN but thought I would post for reference, there’s a video of the sock as well.
https://www.atninc.com/atn-tacker-sailing-equipment.shtml

I’m not sure what downhaul you are referring to as the sock takes care of dousing? However I’ve had trouble pulling the sock down if the spin is full (pushed the wind strength a bit and didn’t blanket the douse with the main properly) so it’s probably a good idea to have a block rigged for that. Shouldn’t need two sheets to start or maybe at all, just douse, flip the whole thing around the furled headsail, move the sheet to the other side and relaunch.

The 11’ line might be part of the tacker...holds the cup from sliding up the furled headsail??
I think it's called a downhaul - the line from the tack of the sail down to the deck, or to a block and led aft, to control the height of the tack. The tack is secured to the furled jib by the "tacker," a molded plastic collar. The 11' line is indeed the downhaul I found, but I'll likely replace it with a long line. I have a boom bail that I'll secure to the anchor roller, and a block on a shackle that will lead the downhaul aft.
 
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jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,602
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
@Jackdaw , what do you recommend for spin sheets for a 38' coastal cruiser? I might just invest in some line and make some up this weekend. I have a few snap shackles that I think may be up to the task. I'm thinking of tapered sheets, but need a recommendation for a line type, diameter, and how far to taper, and how to do it. Thanks in advance.
 
May 17, 2004
3,380
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
I agree that you'll want more than the 11' downhaul eventually. 11' is probably enough to run through a block to a bow cleat, but running a longer line back to the cockpit will be nice. The 110' of sheet does sound borderline to me. Certainly more than enough for one side though so as Hunter216 says you can still go fly it that way, you just won't be able to gybe quickly. You could probably set it up with half of each side on the clew with a cow hitch. The 55' that gives you will be plenty to run on each gybe individually. If the lazy sheet is too short to reach the Windward winch then just douse, pull some extra sheet over, and re-deploy when gybing. That will be easier than re-running all 110'.

Enjoy using the sail, but on the first try only go for it if conditions are really favorable (8 knots or less is where I'd start). Hoist the sail and do a sanity check before letting it out of the sock. Be sure the sheet is outside of everything - shrouds, lifelines, etc.
 

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,602
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Thanks David. I think I'll save the 110' VPC for its intended purpose, a halyard. The previous owner's newly installed main halyard is really too small in diameter.

I might well invest in some spin sheets, as mentioned above. I'm not a fan of a cow hitch, I want to use shackles so I can blow the sheet if necessary when dousing, or if things go haywire.
 
Sep 25, 2008
923
Macgregor & Island Packet VENTURE 25 & IP-38 NORTH EAST, MD

Ted

.
Jan 26, 2005
1,212
C&C 110 Bay Shore, Long Island, NY
You might want to consider using a ratchet block for the control line on the sock that you pull down to douse the spinnaker. When the wind is up a bit, there can be a lot of load on it and the line can be difficult to hold. A ratchet block will give you a holding power of about 10:1.

You can fly the asymmetrical with one sheet. For your first time out, you might want to pull the sock down over the spinnaker, then gybe. After you complete your gybe, bring the single sheet to the opposite side of the boat and then hoist the sock again. This is a slow process but easy to do with two people. It's also popular with cruisers.
 
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RoyS

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Jun 3, 2012
1,127
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
I tried mine a number of times with unsatisfactory results. After that I was advised not to sail dead downwind with that sail. I believe that is good advice but I have not used it since. Please report your results.
 
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Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
@Jackdaw , what do you recommend for spin sheets for a 38' coastal cruiser? I might just invest in some line and make some up this weekend. I have a few snap shackles that I think may be up to the task. I'm thinking of tapered sheets, but need a recommendation for a line type, diameter, and how far to taper, and how to do it. Thanks in advance.
Hey there, given the choice I would not use VPC for sheets. While decent for halyards, it has poor hand feel, and the blended core (spectra/Dacron) does lend well to being uncovered (I’ve tried). Flightline is the great and obvious choice... it is light for its size, de-covers very well, and dries fast.

As other note I would forgo SS shackles on asym sheets, and a tail is a great idea that also helps on inside gybes. Tie them on, or use soft shackles. You want the sheets as light as possible, so it does not drag the clew down in light airs.
 
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Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
With the asym tacked to the bow of the boat, you will probably be doing a lot of outside gybes. Long light sheets really help here, and so will a gybeulator on the luff of the asym near the tack. It’s a small soft batten attached at an angle that holds the lazy sheet up and out of the water.

Inside gybes will probably be OK in less than 6 knots.