Cruising Spinnaker2

From c34.org
Jump to: navigation, search

How Do I Set Up For a Cruising Spinnaker?

Q: I just picked up my spinnaker yesterday and I believe that I am 99% ready to use it. One thing that I still have to work out is what kind of turning block I am going to use on the sheets. My original thought was to use the aft genoa sheet block that I normally use to give a proper fairlead to the winch. My sailmaker suggested that I use a block connected to the toe rail to keep the sheets outside of the lifelines. He suggested that the blocks have a becket and that I bungee tie the block to the lifelines to keep them from bouncing around on the rail when not in use. Any thoughts on these two methods would be appreciated. Also, if the blocks on the toe rail are the way to go, should I use a snap shackle or just a swivel shackle. It would be easier to change the position of the blocks with a snap shackle but I'm not sure if this is normally done with a cruising spinnaker.

Gary L. Harkins, C400 #140 Cygnus


I'm facing precisely the same issues, Gary, so I can at least relate what my sailmaker recommended. He also suggested blocks shackled to the toerail, to keep the sheets as wide as possible... however, he recommended snatch blocks with snap shackles, his reasoning was that the snap shackles would allow me to reposition the blocks easily, and the soft rubber cheeks would prevent scratching or gouging the deck. I like your guy's idea, however, of using a conventional block with becket, and some shock cord to keep the block upright. I've been pricing snatch blocks, and they're really expensive! Are you going with full-length sheets, so you can actually gybe the sail around the front of the boat? I'm considering not going that route, and simply using the sock to snuff the sail before a gybe, so I can attach the opposite sheet before deploying the sail after the gybe. I'm not a racer, so the extra time isn't meaningful to me, and I really don't want to have to deal with 100-foot sheets and the likelihood of fouling them at the pulpit. The idea was also given to me by my sailmaker.

Norm Bernstein, Amoreena, C400 #105


For now I am going to use another suggestion from my sailmaker. When he is cruising he uses a system similar to yours except he only uses one sheet. After dousing the spinnaker with the sock he walks the sheet around to the opposite side, thus using only one sheet. I'm not sure how well this will work for me, but it sure sounds simple.

Gary L. Harkins, C400 #140 Cygnus


My guy suggested exactly that... but it seems to me it would be kind of a hassle to have to pull the whole sheet forward and then run it back along the opposite side, through the turning block. That's why I'm going to set up two sheets, with snap shackles. Unclip on, clip on the other.... Should be somewhat easier. When not in use, the sheets will be clipped to the pulpit somewhere, out of the way. How about the tack? Are you setting up a line, via stanchion-mounted blocks, so you can adjust the height of the tack from the cockpit? This was very strongly recommended by my sailmaker... he tells me that having the ability to haul the tack down is essential for getting the sail to reach effectively.

Norm Bernstein, Amoreena, C400 #105


I will be doing that but I am going to fly it a few times first. I'll just tie it off at an "average" height for these first few times.

Gary L. Harkins, C400 #140 Cygnus


Garhauer makes snatch blocks (very slick ones) that are half the price of the competition and are easier to open and close. They make them in various sizes for different loads. Run everything to the outside toe rail aft of your primaries with a downhaul for the tack attached to the bow roller and led aft. Norm, I urge you to go with the longer sheets for the chute. Going forward to snuff the sail down, gybe it, and then raise it becomes impractical and an annoyance. Merely being able to ease the working sheet, let the chute fly around the outside of the forestay and then trimming the--was lazy sheet now working sheet, is a much easier job and does not take you out of the cockpit. In my experience, the longer sheets, if they were properly run to begin with never fouled on the pulpit...occasionally on the cleats but there is a device, which fits over them to prevent that from happening. I'd also suggest that the first time you fly it do it on a light air day preferably with your sailmaker on board or someone experienced in flying asymmetrics. The first time I flew mine, it was blowing 16 to 20 true. We had a great sail until it came time to douse the damn thing and with the little woman at the helm and me on the foredeck and a lee shore within a mile, the sally (dousing line for the sock) became jammed, and couldn't get the chute down. I had new found respect for my wife as a sailor that day as the cuss words which were thrown at me would have embarrassed the most seasoned New England fisherman. The beach was getting closer and closer and still the demon chute, in all of its colorful glory, simply wasn't coming down. I didn't know what was worse...wrestling with the chute or listening to the verbiage coming from the cockpit. I finally had no choice and had to turn the boat into the wind and seas and drop the halyard which then caused the familiar ripping sounds and related mayhem. It took 2 hours to clean up the debris, 2 weeks to repair the damage, 4 weeks before she would speak to me again and a year before we flew the damn chute again. Asymmetrics can and should be fun to fly but they require allot of practice and patience.

Garry Willis, C 42 #502 Breezn, Marina del Rey


I don't remember if I sent you this or not..... Recently there was some posting going around the C&C list about just that for both asym. Cruising spin and a pole-less sym. chute. I copied it at the bottom below for your info...

Ken, 1984 C-30 TR #3573 Positive Impact


I have been following a "Tacker" thread and want to clear up some misconceptions and information I read.... To wit... First, let me say that the Tacker(tm) is manufactured by ATN, but I have extensive experience in using both it and the "Spinnaker Guy(tm)." The reason that I have extensive history with these type products is that I am a cruising sailor with typically only two of us aboard -- but I love to fly a chute. Plus, we manufacturer the SG. Both products are used for basically the same purpose. The Tacker is good. We think the SG is better. That's all I will say about the difference, so PLEASE do not reply to me ON THIS LIST with specific questions about either the Tacker or our product. To the use of them.... <> These were first developed specifically to be used with an symmetrical chute on a boat with a furled headsail -- to let cruisers to USE their chutes, rather than keeping them tucked away. Cruisers are often short or single-handed and cannot use a pole, obviously (well, safely anyway.) I have not used my pole for 7 years now. And rarely flew the chute before because of the pole hassle. <<It is designed for use with a "cruising chute" or asymmetrical spinnaker on a boat that has roller furling........It comes in several sizes>> To accommodate the "rolled-up" Genoa. It appears to be made of fiberglass They can also be used on asymmetrical chutes (gennakers, etc.) (Which are relatively new compared to the traditional chute) so long as you have a furled headsail. Their main purpose was for the traditional chute, however. And they work. Well. The Tacker is hard, the SG is flexible. Other options are parrell beads and sewn cloth loops. <<and is intended to allow you to "tack" the asymmetrical chute inside the forestay without taking the tack off the furler.>> The Tacker and SG let you tack the chute TO the forestay, not exactly inside it. If you are instead talking about tacking or gybing the chute, I find when shorthanded, the easiest way to tack the chute is to "chicken tack" it outside the forestay. Turn dead downwind, let it fly out in front of you and bring it across to the other side. <<When I see guys like the America's Cup boats using a true radial spinnaker hanked down at the bow fitting.........and not using a pole, then I'll believe the design is valid for that application>> Both the Tacker and SG work. And they do it well for their "application" The application isn't maximum efficiency in a racing scenario. It's for the cruiser who would rather USE a spinnaker, than NOT USE one. A slightly less efficient chute is still "better" than none at all. Better in many ways. Faster, more fun, more challenging, etc. We call the SG a "relationship saver for cruising couples." Does that ring a bell, ladies? <<My spinnaker won't handle for beans tacked down at the bow...........and it wasn't designed to.>> CORRECT, that's why the Tacker and SG are used. You DO NOT tack the chute "down" at the bow. It is tacked to the headstay and the height is adjustable. Here is a picture of how you would fly a symmetrical chute....

Flying

<<However, my "cruising spinnaker" does need to be tacked down and that's a problem with a furler.......the "tacker" would provide great control of an asymmetrical spinnaker even without the furler, one of the trim problems is that they like to be controlled keeping the tack near the forestay........I suppose one of the smaller ones that fit around a bare forestay would be a nice addition as well>> A good point. Neither is designed to be used on a bare forestay. There may be model for that soon. The fact is, the majority of cruisers that these were designed for have furlers. Racers typically do not. Racers would typically not use these (unless cruising), so there is probably little market for a bare-headstay product. The benefit of using the Tacker or SG with a cruising chute, is that it controls the tack near the centerline of the boat, yet allows adjustment for conditions. If you fly the asymmetrical off a pennant, it flies off the centerline as you raise the sail tack and you lose all trim. <<It would have to be a frantic emergency occasion to plan to use one on a symmetrical spinnaker in my opinion.>> Opinion aside, like I say they work well. I think racers are not "fond" of them because it allows cruisers to hone in on something (flying a chute) that has typically been considered "their turf," and not cruisers' turf. <<At the Atlantic City show I was told you could use the Tacker with a standard spinnaker.>> Yes, that's what the Tacker, SG, and other options were originally are meant for. <<It seems to me that it would probably be OK for reaching.>> The typical first-time user can fly a chute from a beam reach down to about a broad reach. As you get minimal experience -- a close reach down to about 160 degrees apparent. I can fly my full chute from nearly close hauled (YES, I have been able to trim my symmetrical as a large drifter or huge genny -- what a thrill ride) down to about 170 apparent. Yes, cruisers may have to make an extra tack or two getting to a destination, but what's better? An extra tack at 6 knots or dead nuts on at 3 knots? <<also sees to me, that a belt made out of sail cloth would probably be just about as effective and could be made from an old sail.>> The belt idea will "work," but not well. You need structure to the gizmo, so it will ride up and down the furled headsail easily. A soft, cloth belt would get tangled in the sun cover "folds."

<<Garhauer makes snatch blocks (very slick ones) that are half the price of the competition and are easier to open and close. They make them in various sizes for different loads.>> Now all I need to know is what the appropriate load factor is. I was looking at some Ronstan snatch blocks in West Marine the other day; there were two sizes, priced at around $66 and $94 respectively. How in the world can I find out what rating I'd need for 1000 sq. ft of colored nylon on a C400? <<Norm, I urge you to go with the longer sheets for the chute. Going forward to snuff the sail down, gybe it, and then raise it becomes impractical and an annoyance.>> Always good to hear a contrary opinion! However, the sheet-snagging problem may be a bit worse on my boat than many others... I like to keep a spare anchor, Danforth, on a bracket on the bow pulpit with the shank up... it's BEGGING to get snagged. The notion of dousing before the gybe was not my idea; it was my sailmaker's.... and seeing as how I'm strictly a laid back (re: lazy) cruiser, I'm not likely to use the sail if I'm going to have to gybe it often... it's strictly for those very long offwind runs. However, I'll think about your suggestion, and weigh your advice carefully.

Norm Bernstein, Amoreena, C400 #105


I recommend having a downhaul on the tack. It may be too much for stanchion mounted blocks. My preference would be for two sheets, as I single hand often, I really couldn’t see a good reason for one sheet.

Adam


We are studying blocks in the catalogs today as well. We ordered a UK asymmetric spinnaker last week for our C42. The sailmaker told me its 1300 sq.ft. We have the "maximum load capacity" questions for not only the sheet blocks, but also the halyard and downhaul blocks. Do you think the loads would be similar on all three corners? What is the max load imparted on the blocks by our sails? What size blocks do we buy? The sailmaker says the 0.75 oz. cloth is good to 18 knots apparent on a reach and 20 knots true downwind.

Paul and Ann Gregor, C42 #677 Headway


The 36 doesn't have a toe rail for a snatch block; there is a track on the rail so I use a stand up swivel block on a car at the aft end of the track. I ordered a second pair of foot blocks for the sheets, they'll mount right on top of the existing ones and they have an internal cam cleat, according to Bill at Garhauer, so you don't have to tie up a winch. BTW, Practical Sailor has a review of snatch blocks in the current issue, including Garhauer's.

Peter & Judy Larson, Tesseract C36MkII #1699, Muskegon, MI


<<Norm; You go by price. You have an expensive boat so it stands to reason that you need the more expensive blocks. :)>> Aha... being the owner of a C400, I suppose I deserved that! *grin* <<Seriously, the bigger blocks are in all likelihood what you need. Schaeffer and Harken catalogs have load tables for block sizes as well as design load tables for various sized applications and boats. May also be available on their net sites.>> I was browsing the Garhauer online catalog, and although they don't show heir snatch blocks there, they do show their line of single blocks with snapshackles and beckets, which would be the alternative to a snatch block (the becket would be used to support the block upright, via a piece of shock cord tied up to the lifeline or rail). Their biggest, meanest block is only $57 or so, which is a lot cheaper than a comparably sized snatch block. Admittedly, the snatch block could be used for other functions, but somehow I managed to never need one in the last 15 years of sailing, so perhaps the Garhauer block is the way to go. <<Since spinnaker blocks are mounted very aft, loads are high (often close to double the sheet load) since the angles are tight.>> That seems a bit hard to believe... close hauled, the 5/8" sheets of my 150% genny are bar tight on a Lewmar 58STC... I'd have thought that the loads on a cruising chute sheet would be a lot lighter.

Norm Bernstein, Amoreena, C400 #105


That seems a bit hard to believe... close hauled, the 5/8" sheets of my 150% genny are bar tight on a Lewmar 58STC... I'd have thought that the loads on a cruising chute sheet would be a lot lighter. Actually, the loads can be higher...much higher. You're dealing with a much larger sail area, the loads on a reach are much higher that on a run and the turning angle of the line going thru the block is considerable greater---up to 160% which is much greater than the 45% on a genoa sheet putting more pressure on the block. All this adds up to higher loads, particularly as the wind increases.

Garry Willis, C42 #502 Breezn, Marina del Rey


I use a block with a snap swivel attached to the bail on the anchor bow roller. The tack pennant is led down through the block, then is led aft to the cockpit through the same style stanchion-mounted blocks as the roller furling line.

Peter & Judy Larson, Tesseract C36MkII #1699, Muskegon, MI


Some folks run the downhaul along the cabin top using fairleads, some folks run it along the stanchion base using blocks. As the line is pretty much in a straight line aft there won't be too much of a load on the base and it's much cleaner that way. I ran mine along the stanchion base using those blocks that Schaefer supplies and it worked out fine.

Garry Willis, C42 #502 Breezn, Marina del Rey