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A question of downwind sails

Stemar

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12 Sep 2001
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Home - Southampton, Boat - Gosport
Yup, and which ever way you slice it, someone will tell you you did it wrong. Worse, they'll be right in some circumstances

Here, I'll save everyone some time. You're going to get it awfully, dreadfully, fatally wrong.

Now you know, just get on with blowing it in the way that suits you :D
 

zoidberg

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12 Nov 2016
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3,507
Awlrite...

I'll fit the 'prodder' and buy an A-sail.... then I can try both ways and decide which I prefer to use - and when.

Now, a far more vexing question....

What colour for this A-sail? Red? Yellow? Green? Blue? Striped like Obelix's trousers...?

 

lw395

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16 May 2007
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42,088
Agreed, on a fully crewed boat, but

Due to age and infirmity, Alzheimers and alcoholism, I seek to reduce the cockups on the foredeck as much as guile and wit permit, for I shall more often than not be disentangling said cockups on my jack-jones.

I'd still spend the budget on a feathering prop.

If I were rich enough to have both, it'd probably be another matter, but I'd probably still go for the asymmetric and accept that I can't go quite dead downwind, though I seem to remember the asymmetric on a Sun Fast 20 I did the RTI on would go pretty deep if we flew the tack high enough.
A feathering prop is a good idea, but possibly on the OP's boat, a fixed two blade prop locked in line with the keel is not so much drag?

A feathering prop will cost a fair wedge of cash.
Kites for small yachts can sometimes be got secondhand from racers for sensible money.

Asy's vary a lot. some will go reasonably deep. Particularly if the true wind is light enough for the apparent to move forwards. That's what they're best at IMHO. If you really don't want to deviate from the rhumb line and there's a little more true wind, a symetrical kite has its place, but singlehanders may not want the hassle.
 

flaming

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24 Mar 2004
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11,230
2 things. I don't think you would need a bobstay to that prodder unless you intend to fly a code zero type sail, but if you did a dolphin striker would be the solution.
Also, my interest has been piqued by the furling demountable storm jib, as it's something that has been crossing my mind ever since I read a review of the new Dehler 30OD...
What's your plan for this?
 

capnsensible

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15 Mar 2007
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Atlantic
It's all a balancing act, innit?
Indeed it is. As Blowing Old Boots asked, it depends what the intention is.

Elegant solutions for Lake Solento and other estuary type sailing areas are generally not robust enough for the big blue yonder. Not for long anyway.

I have run for a week or so with one of those big headsails that have the parachute looking thing in the middle of it. Quite impressed. Creates a lot of wear on hayards and masthead fittings though. They need to be tougher than standard. Seem to remember tcm having a big snag with that delaying his ARC entry.

No surprise that the Golden Globe boats have lots of things beefed up and even then we all know what happened in the last one. Light winds and residual confused seas knacker yachts.
 

zoidberg

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2 things. I don't think you would need a bobstay to that prodder unless you intend to fly a code zero type sail, but if you did a dolphin striker would be the solution.
Also, my interest has been piqued by the furling demountable storm jib, as it's something that has been crossing my mind ever since I read a review of the new Dehler 30OD...
What's your plan for this?
I'll detail that in a PM, for I can't be bovvered with the inevitable argument.
 

Tomahawk

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Where life is good
Poling out white sails means leaving the cockpit.
On a small boat with not a lot of room around the mast, seems to me that is an added risk.
 

geem

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One or two people aboard for a long offshore passage generally go for simple and robust and take the hit on the extra time to get there.

A spinnaker in light airs on a rolly ocean needs a lot of attention and often snags on all sorts of things as it collapses and fills again. After days of this, if its not damaged/ causing damage, most folk go back to basics. Even then, white sails slatting around for days can be very uncomfortable.
We just sailed from Carriacou, Grenada to Horta, 2650nm. A fair bit was down wind, particularly the first week. We are fortunate to have a good arsenal of downwind sail solutions. The set up is twin furlers configured as a solent rather than cutter rig with twin spinnaker poles mounted on tracks on the mast. We are also a ketch.
Coming over we used twin poles with furled genoa on one pole and working jib on the other running dead down wind in up to 35kts true wind speed. Works well but can get rolly at times. We were however, pushing hull speed and had a few hours with an average of 8knts. I think that does add to the roll potential.
When we had a forecast of 25/35 kts for a day we set up the working jib with twin poles. This allowed us to gybe the jib from one pole to the other during wind shifts. This works very well. Still a touch rolly at times.
In lighter winds we used the full main with asymmetric spinnaker on a pole. With true wind at 14/15kts this set up is super stable and fast with boats speed between 7 and 8 knots. The autopilot deals with it easily and can be left to its own devices. We roll less with this set up than any other downwind arrangement but it is employed during lighter winds with correspondingly less sea running
 

Topcat47

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2 Jun 2005
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Solent, UK
I have a Parasail on a Nich 26. I swithered about buying it as it was expensive but I wish I'd made the decision right away when I heard about them. It takes me about 10 minutes to rig, unless I make a mistake, using the AutoHelm to keep the boat pointing, thereafter it's a simple sail to control and I sail single-handed. The Sail actually reduces rolling and I usually don't bother with the main for downwind sailing these days. I"ll put it up for preference even for a short run from Cowes to Gosport. I used a jury rig, similar to a Twistle when I had a roller headsail with two tracks, and after that tried a number of lightweight poles on the genoa but the Parasail is king. Be careful of leaving it up too long, though, if the wind is increasing. I made a ten hour run from Cherbourg to Portsmouth simply because I was too Chicken to go forward and drop the sail when the wind picked up. We survived it, but I worried about the rig most of the way across. I finally went forward when we were in the lee of Bembridge.
 

LadyInBed

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Me - Zumerzet Boat - Wareham
Questions that I didn't see an answer to are:
Solo or Crewed Up?
For downwind hops on a day sail or for longer passages with a downwind leg of several hours?
Even if you are starting to get doddery (as I am) the answers to the above can make a difference to the advice.

I see you have fitted a windvane and thinking of furling storm jib and a new 'Solent'-type jib for brisker breeze.
This suggests to me that you are thinking of longer passages.
Armed with all the above, using twin headsails, preferably on whisker poles would be my advice and is what I use. Also I think your windvane would cope better with that arrangement rather than using the main which IMO brings the 'pivot point' further aft. I liken it to a supermarket trolly being pulled by a length of rope, pulled from the front, it follows you, pulled from the middle, it has a mind of its own!
If you are 'Crewed Up' then Cruising Chutes and Spinnakers ase back on the agenda.
 

Stemar

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I have a Parasail on a Nich 26. I swithered about buying it as it was expensive but I wish I'd made the decision right away when I heard about them. It takes me about 10 minutes to rig, unless I make a mistake, using the AutoHelm to keep the boat pointing, thereafter it's a simple sail to control and I sail single-handed. The Sail actually reduces rolling and I usually don't bother with the main for downwind sailing these days. I"ll put it up for preference even for a short run from Cowes to Gosport. I used a jury rig, similar to a Twistle when I had a roller headsail with two tracks, and after that tried a number of lightweight poles on the genoa but the Parasail is king. Be careful of leaving it up too long, though, if the wind is increasing. I made a ten hour run from Cherbourg to Portsmouth simply because I was too Chicken to go forward and drop the sail when the wind picked up. We survived it, but I worried about the rig most of the way across. I finally went forward when we were in the lee of Bembridge.
I've heard good things about them, too. Someone I used to know got one for a transat and swore by it.

Be careful of leaving it up too long, though, if the wind is increasing. I made a ten hour run from Cherbourg to Portsmouth simply because I was too Chicken to go forward and drop the sail when the wind picked up

I heard a story of an offshore racing crew that left a big spinny up in a rising wind. They were flying along, but it got to the point where the skipper put someone forward with a rocket flare and orders to shoot the spinny if it gets out of control. I cant guarantee the truth of the story, but it was told as true. such stories are why as, if you'll pardon the Americanism, a Mom & Pop sailor, I don't do coloured sails.
 

zoidberg

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[QUOTE"....]They were flying along, but it got to the point where the skipper put someone forward with a rocket flare and orders to shoot the spinny if it gets out of control....." [/QUOTE]

A faint bell of memory tinkles....

I believe this is from one of Adlard Coles' own books of racing in 'Cohoe' ( whether I, II, or III I dinna ken ). He could, however, have been relating a tale of Captain John Illingworth RN. They were both 'cut from the same cloth'.....
 

Laminar Flow

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14 Jan 2020
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West Coast
I've heard good things about them, too. Someone I used to know got one for a transat and swore by it.

Be careful of leaving it up too long, though, if the wind is increasing. I made a ten hour run from Cherbourg to Portsmouth simply because I was too Chicken to go forward and drop the sail when the wind picked up

I heard a story of an offshore racing crew that left a big spinny up in a rising wind. They were flying along, but it got to the point where the skipper put someone forward with a rocket flare and orders to shoot the spinny if it gets out of control. I cant guarantee the truth of the story, but it was told as true. such stories are why as, if you'll pardon the Americanism, a Mom & Pop sailor, I don't do coloured sails.
I think snuffers (not too fond of 'em) and furlers have taken much of the hysteria out of flying coloured sail.

I consider ours to be expendable, it didn't cost me anything, apart from a sewing machine from the recycle to sew it all up after cutting it down to size.

I'd give a Parasailor a try, if they weren't so expensive; you can get 2 to 3 reg. cruising chutes for the price of one of those and several more if you buy them used.
 

geem

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I can never get my head around the Parasail. It seems to be the best marketing in the history of sailing gimmicks!
You put a hole in a sail and charge extra for it😂
You also go slower than the same size asymetric. If you want performance you dont put a hole your spinnaker!
I know it's stable but it aint something I ever want. We fly a racing asymetric on a pole and its super stable. We get a big performance advantage over the same boat with a Parasail. We know this as we have friends with one. We wave them bye bye when sail in company. If you are singlehanding then maybe its the only option. We sail two up and the spinnaker is no problem even though its 1700sqft
 

newtothis

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28 May 2012
Messages
633
I've heard good things about them, too. Someone I used to know got one for a transat and swore by it.

Be careful of leaving it up too long, though, if the wind is increasing. I made a ten hour run from Cherbourg to Portsmouth simply because I was too Chicken to go forward and drop the sail when the wind picked up

I heard a story of an offshore racing crew that left a big spinny up in a rising wind. They were flying along, but it got to the point where the skipper put someone forward with a rocket flare and orders to shoot the spinny if it gets out of control. I cant guarantee the truth of the story, but it was told as true. such stories are why as, if you'll pardon the Americanism, a Mom & Pop sailor, I don't do coloured sails.
I heard the same story but it featured RKJ using a Very pistol to demonstrate to Clipper crews how to douse a kite in an emergency.
I'm sure someone, somewhere, sometime has done it, but it has taken on urban legend status.
 

lw395

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Joined
16 May 2007
Messages
42,088
Questions that I didn't see an answer to are:
Solo or Crewed Up?
For downwind hops on a day sail or for longer passages with a downwind leg of several hours?
Even if you are starting to get doddery (as I am) the answers to the above can make a difference to the advice.

I see you have fitted a windvane and thinking of furling storm jib and a new 'Solent'-type jib for brisker breeze.
This suggests to me that you are thinking of longer passages.
Armed with all the above, using twin headsails, preferably on whisker poles would be my advice and is what I use. Also I think your windvane would cope better with that arrangement rather than using the main which IMO brings the 'pivot point' further aft. I liken it to a supermarket trolly being pulled by a length of rope, pulled from the front, it follows you, pulled from the middle, it has a mind of its own!
If you are 'Crewed Up' then Cruising Chutes and Spinnakers ase back on the agenda.
How well do windvanes cope with lightish breeze downwind?
I know people who've done OK with the boat just sailing itself dead downwind under twin jibs, but does the OP want to dead downwind or wherever he wants in the 'downwind sector'?
 

zoidberg

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12 Nov 2016
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3,507
How well do windvanes cope with lightish breeze downwind?
I know people who've done OK with the boat just sailing itself dead downwind under twin jibs, but does the OP want to dead downwind or wherever he wants in the 'downwind sector'?
It's none too easy to give a 'cast iron' answer, 'cos it depends. These days, I'm not in too much of a hurry - no, let me put that another way.... if there isn't enough wind to fill a light spinni and keep it more or less working, there's little point in fretting. If not racing, then either run the engine.... or protect the sails, and break out a book!

The wind will comeback. Yes, it does..... I don't get impatient with wind and weather any more - I'm just grateful to be able to be out there.

I'm looking to rig the boat for singlehanding. Should I be fortunate enough to find someone else who wants to come along, then we can share watches.... Seemples!

I'm also quite happy to sail the boat at 130-140ish wind angle, if that fills the sails and keeps us moving. Not religious about dead downwind.
 
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