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Still Learning about Flying the Spinnaker

Jan 8, 2015
345
MacGregor 26S, Goman Express 30 Seahorse Kerr Reservoir
When planning out our three day weekend, my wife asked about the possibility of sailing. I despondently responded that the wind was going to be light all three days. She mentioned that it had been awhile since she had sailed with me so I got to thinking, since the wind was forecasted to be light, it might be a good time to practice some more with the spinnaker.

I did learn a few things and relearned some others... Like everything goes outside when rigging the lines. I learned that this should include the spinnaker halyard as well. (My boat has two spinnaker halyards so if you are using the port halyard while launching to starboard , you need to run the halyard outside the forestay to avoid this...

I did get a little carried away and ran the lazy sheet outside as well so I had to reroute that before the first gybe. (I prefer inside gybes) That got me to wondering why the PO had installed these little disks by the snap shackles.
Anybody have an ides of their intended purpose?

As the wind picked up a little, I noticed the headstay flopping around. Should I increase the backstay tension to minimize this?



After what unexpectedly turned out to be a great afternoon sail, the wind died completely. Before I could even get the spinnaker stowed, we were attacked by hundreds of mayflies. I started the motor in an attempt to get away from them, but they just clung to anything they could and enjoyed the free ride.

Half way back to the marina, the wind picked up nicely so I killed the motor and raised the sails for a awesome sunset sail.
 
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Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
6,903
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
I did get a little carried away and ran the lazy sheet outside as well so I had to reroute that before the first gybe. (I prefer inside gybes) That got me to wondering why the PO had installed these little disks by the snap shackles.
Anybody have an ides of their intended purpose?
You are obviously not using a spinnaker pole... those discs keep the pole from sliding up over the shackle and jamming. If you were using a symmetrical spinnaker with a pole, the sheets/guys would be attached to each clew...since there is no fixed tack in that type of sail. When set up, the windward sheet has the pole attached and functions as the guy, thus the need for the disc. On the other side, the leeward, non-poll corner employs the line as a sheet. It is very common for separate sheets and guys to be rigged, the guy would simply be clipped to the sheet's shackle... and stay permanently attached to the spinnaker while it is being used. But the multi use method is also common and perfectly fine. I will say it's much easier with separate sheets and guys, though.

When working with an asymmetrical spinnaker the sheets attach to the single clew, which means the lazy sheet must be long enough to extend around the forestay and all the way back to the clew. Therefore, longer sheets are required for the asymmetrical than those needed for a symmetrical, racing spinnaker where the sheets do not wrap around the front of the boat.

As far as headstay slack... that is common when running downwind with a spinnaker deployed... think about it... the mast is being supported by the backstay while the sail pulls forward... Unless you're in choppy conditions where the boat is hobby horsing and the wire is snapping... I wouldn't worry about it. However.. if it makes you nervous... by all means take out some of the slack... just remember to check the adjustment when you turn upwind.
 
Jan 8, 2015
345
MacGregor 26S, Goman Express 30 Seahorse Kerr Reservoir
Thanks Joe,
Even when I go out with my wife, I am still essentially single handed sailing so I don't think I am up for flying a symmetrical spinnaker quite yet. Even though I like the idea of the challenge, I know my limitations.

Since I am still learning, I was wondering if those disks might be useful when the genoa is poled out using the whisker pole? I did manage to figure out on my own that you can get much better headsail shape using the topping lift on the whisker pole.
 
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Mar 1, 2012
1,967
1961 Rhodes Meridian 25 Texas coast
an important point- on spinnaker sheets-DO NOT put a topper knot in the end- If you EVER have to blow the sheet you want it to go all the way!!
 
Oct 22, 2014
11,341
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Even when I go out with my wife, I am still essentially single handed sailing so I don't think I am up for flying a symmetrical spinnaker quite yet. Even though I like the idea of the challenge, I know my limitations.
I know this experience. You are wise not to consider the Symmetrical Spinnaker as a solo sailor. It is a constant adjustment sail. And helm management is critical to this effort. If you are built like a normal human being it is too many tasks to manage with just 2 hands, arms and legs.

Since I am still learning, I was wondering if those disks might be useful when the genoa is poled out using the whisker pole? I did manage to figure out on my own that you can get much better headsail shape using the topping lift on the whisker pole.
Yes you could use the sheets with the disks in that manner.

Thanks for sharing yoru sailing experience. I love to go sailing and learn a new trick or two. Especially when it ends with a gorgeous sunset.
 
Jan 8, 2015
345
MacGregor 26S, Goman Express 30 Seahorse Kerr Reservoir
an important point- on spinnaker sheets-DO NOT put a topper knot in the end- If you EVER have to blow the sheet you want it to go all the way!!
Does this apply to the asymmetrical as well? (Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand better)
My thought was to use the tack line as a "all hell breaks loose" safety. I secure it with an open cam cleat so it will be free running when released even if a hockle develops.
As you pointed out, the sheets I am currently using were for a Symmetrical Spinnaker so I will replace them with longer sheets and probably smaller diameter line as well.
 

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
6,903
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Thanks Joe,
Even when I go out with my wife, I am still essentially single handed sailing so I don't think I am up for flying a symmetrical spinnaker quite yet. Even though I like the idea of the challenge, I know my limitations.

Since I am still learning, I was wondering if those disks might be useful when the genoa is poled out using the whisker pole? I did manage to figure out on my own that you can get much better headsail shape using the topping lift on the whisker pole.
Yes, that would be okay, but unnecessary since the forces on a whisker pole are much less than a spinnaker pole.... but... of even greater consideration is that the sheets for your genoa.... an upwind sail.... would have metal shackles and that big disc offering up an opportunity to get hung up in the rigging, slam against the mast or possible whack someone in the head.

In the end, I don't think it's worth the effort to change out the sheets for whisker poling.... the discs would not give you any advantage and the metal shackles are a liability when you turn back upwind. However, I do think it's worth the effort to rig a foreguy, in addition to the topping lift, to give your whisker pole greater stability and adjustability.
 
Jun 9, 2008
1,589
- -- -Bayfield
Has it been determined that he has a asymmetrical or symmetrical kite? Is he flying an a regular spinnaker like a asymmetrical? Not cut for that. I'm guessing the spinnaker is that which uses a pole since the donuts are at the shackles.
 
Jan 8, 2015
345
MacGregor 26S, Goman Express 30 Seahorse Kerr Reservoir
Has it been determined that he has a asymmetrical or symmetrical kite? Is he flying an a regular spinnaker like a asymmetrical? Not cut for that. I'm guessing the spinnaker is that which uses a pole since the donuts are at the shackles.
Bill, the PO explained during the pre-purchase sail that he had his symmetrical recut to use as an asymmetrical. He set the boat up with a cockpit adjustable tack line and marked the clew, tack, and head corners of the sail. Years ago, he raced with it that way so that is the way i have been flying it.
 
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