Jump to content

Single Handed Spinnaker Handling


Recommended Posts

What does everyone do to handle spinnakers / down wind sails single handed?

 

I'm thinking about getting into this Sail IQ solo series but want to do it properly, and reasonably safely...

 

Does anyone still uses socks / snuffers, or are they too much trouble when things get lively?

 

Do single handers fly spinnakers, or do you go with asymtrics on furlers?

How do free luff gennaker furlers actually work, can you put any old gennaker on them?

What is a torsional halyard, and can you take any old furler (old headsail furler) fit a torsional rope and head car swivel thingee and just go off furling gennakers?

 

Or are there more subtle set ups and tricks guys are using?

Alternatively, do single handers just grow a big hairy pair of testicules, put up the biggest bag they've got and see how long they can hang on for?

 

The context is that I've developed some good sailing handling systems for two handed sailing, but they don't quiet work for single handed.

My boat is 37 feet, 6 tonnes and 30 odd years old. The kites are just a bit bigger than what can be easily handled one up. I see the smaller boats, around 28 to 33 feet having an advantage here in ease of handling. But bigger boats again do single handed.

 

I have a heavy running kite, a smaller and lighter VMG runner and a good reaching gennaker. I can handle the smaller VMG runner in benign conditions, and the gennaker is ok but can get powered up in moderate wind, and I just can't see how I could handle the heavy runner one up.

 

When two up, we run letter box drops. I have special Witchard 'pingable' kite sheet clips to blow the tack. This is completely full proof in de powering the kite and getting it blanketed behind the main. Only problem is all my halyards are at the mast, and to letter box I need to be in the cockpit, pulling the kit in and stuffing it down the hatch.

 

Two up this is fine, but one up, I need to first go to the bow and reach the tack to blow it, get back to the mast for the halyard, then back to the cockpit to gather the sail in.

 

I do have a good strong hydraulic autopilot, so can leave the cockpit, but it is obviously not good practice. The more time I spend running to the bow, tack, mast and back, the greater chance I have of going swimming.

 

How do bigger boats do it?

Does everyone just use these new furlers?

Note I don't have a prod and just run the gennaker off a tack line on the stem, so don't actually have space for a furler, if I could get one (unless I install a prod, which is more $$$)

 

Note also, I assume everyone that can get one already has a furling code zero, which I don't have. I just have a massive number one that can double as a jib top also, so aren't too badly off in that area.

 

So is it just a case of confidence and risk assessment on the day, an arms race of cool gadgets, or some smart thinking and set ups?

Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I've seen its a combination of the options from your last sentence.

 

There are certainly a few guys running A/code sails on furlers and probably a slight bias towards these compared to normal crewed racing, however there have also been plenty of plain old spinnakers.

 

The furlers used are generally fancy specialised ones, you can't just use an old headsail one. There have been other similar sized (e1050 etc) boats flying spinnakers without furlers/snuffers and I think the standard approach to getting them down is to letterbox, and rather than pinging the brace just letting it run cleanly through to save you having to go up on the foredeck. But that will be tougher without the halyard coming back to the cockpit.

 

Or there's a no extras division...

Link to post
Share on other sites

The races i did on Cosa Nostra was more just a grin and bear it - race with a wing and a prayer.

Its easy to get up, and i just hoped i could get it down in one piece! - Having long sheets so it can reach back to the main hatch was a winner dropping in the cockpit rather than front hatch - means you can reach everything without letting the kite go!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you thought about running the Halyard back to the cockpit? Not normally a lot of work but depends on your setup.

In lighter conditions I drop the kite down the front hatch just by leaving 1 wrap of the halyard on the winch and walking forward with it after putting the boat dead downwind and easing the brace. In stronger breeze or when pressed up Blowing the brace and pulling it down the main hatch on the lazy brace works a lot better. Running a brace and a sheet on bigger boats gives you more options as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do like the simplicity of a conventional letter box by just running the brace and staying in the cockpit. Should be able to rig the halyard back, even if just on a temp basis for solo races.

 

Can't believe I overlooked just running the brace. When two handed, we went for the pingable clips because it was lower risk than running the brace, and someone had to be forward for the halyards anyway.

 

What is the deal with safely running the brace? I've heard stories of wrapping the pole around the forestay, or breaking the forestay... Assume you gentle ease the pole onto the forestay, then let it rip?

Link to post
Share on other sites

What is the deal with safely running the brace? I've heard stories of wrapping the pole around the forestay, or breaking the forestay... Assume you gentle ease the pole onto the forestay, then let it rip?

 

Never had a problem. The kite normally collapses as soon as you hoist the jib if you are beam reaching. If you have room try and run down wind and smother it behind the main. In either case I usually just smoke the brace (it's ok if it runs all the way through), gather the foot in then drop the halyard. Do everything from the cockpit and drop into the aft hatch. Never ever tie knots in your kite sheets!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Throwing the halyard into the drink not only slows the drop to a manageable speed, but it also seems to eliminate knots and tangles too which is nice!

Nothing like having a rock star drop turn to a clusterfart when the halyard decides knot to let the kite down past 2 thirds ha ha

Link to post
Share on other sites

How ever you figure it out the key to solo stuff like that is to be sitting in the cockpit thinking 'Glad I did that 5 mins ago' and knot 'sh*t, I should have done that 5 mins ago'.

 

If you have the later you made your job so much harder and dangerous than it needed to be.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Trail the brace behind also then before you drop you can see if both the halyard and brace are tangle free

I still like to ping the brace but will run it if needed, the biggest help is getting the headsail up first then running off deep, don't allow yourself to carry it too long and on a reach you will often do better two sailing as you'll travel less distance and won't spend the next leg with a large flag rapped around your forestay

As for your halyard if you haven't a jammer on your mast above your winch then add one, this allows you to remove the halyard from the winch and run it through a snatch block at the base if the mast then back to a free winch in the cockpit, when you go forward ti ping the brace open the halyard jammer first then the kite will be free flying behind the main so then you can control everything from the cockpit.

Sounds easy aye, but with practice it becomes doable

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jon, yes we have a good spinlock jammer on the mast. so can lock off the kite halyard and run it back to a spare winch in the cockpit. Am thinking about set ups around that, bring the halyard back into the cockpit, which should simplify the actual drop and gathering in.

I see some advantages in being familiar with running the brace, as I still have the pingable clips on the sheets, then this gives me options to ping it or blow it. Am starting to think there is logic in trailing the brace and the halyard. Definitely don't have any stopper knots in anything attached to the kite.

We normally run sheets and braces on the kites, meaning there is a second rope to ensure will run free. But sheets and braces are so we have lazy sheets for gybing, so I may not run them when solo. Gybing the big kite solo would be down the list a bit after getting confident with putting it up and down. Have gybed the VMG runner solo, but that was in drifter conditions and hardly counts.

 

Interesting there is not a lot of comment on the gennaker furlers. The digging around I've done indicate they aren't cheap, and while they can be really handy, you still need a bit of technique and practice to ensure you get  good tight furl. All the promo videos are in nice sunny 10 knot breezes, can't find any footage of anyone furling a gennaker in 25 gusting 30...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice, but quite a rigmarole getting that thing up and down. Sure makes me appreciate the snuffer...

 

12189493_10207085012179966_1133014690838

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Interesting there is not a lot of comment on the gennaker furlers. The digging around I've done indicate they aren't cheap, and while they can be really handy, you still need a bit of technique and practice to ensure you get  good tight furl. All the promo videos are in nice sunny 10 knot breezes, can't find any footage of anyone furling a gennaker in 25 gusting 30...

They are good if you get a good one set up well, if not just stab yourself in the eye, it'll be less painful than using a half arsed one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a Caligo gennaker furler. It has a torsion line that the gennaker roles around from the top down. Will always roll up tight when you're underway. Just takes more turns than you think. Not cheap but a little cheaper than the sail. Ideal when you're gybing with runners.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice, but quite a rigmarole getting that thing up and down. Sure makes me appreciate the snuffer...

 

Do you have one line to pull the kite up and out to the end of the prod, or two separate lines?

 

I know a lot of high performance dinghies now have a continuous line that does everything with one pull. And some even use a pump up/down system.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you have one line to pull the kite up and out to the end of the prod, or two separate lines?

 

I know a lot of high performance dinghies now have a continuous line that does everything with one pull. And some even use a pump up/down system.

I would run with 2 separate lines on your gbe. Much easier to deport mad give options in the takedown and hoist. Can hoist halyard, then tack, no risk of running over the kite. If you pull tack too soon, watch it go under the boat....

 

Reverse on a drop (even singlehanded). Grab lazy, blow sheet and tack, collect foot, blow halyard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, run over a few kites in my lifetime, I don't remember ever doing it on my own boats tho.

 

Apparently my kites a fraccy, so should be slightly easier to deal with than some other mastheads. Although I believe it has been trawled once before.

 

Do you normally drop on the windward side? In my skiff days we would run flat so the kite collapsed, then haul windward sheet until the clew was in hand, then dump halyard and tack together. Transferred the exact same method to the Fireball except had to trip the pole when flat off to reach the tack. (Symmetric kites).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you have one line to pull the kite up and out to the end of the prod, or two separate lines?

 

I know a lot of high performance dinghies now have a continuous line that does everything with one pull. And some even use a pump up/down system.

 

On the Falcon I have a separate tack line that runs out through the inside of the pole. On my last boat I had a single line system and I definitely prefer separate lines. A single line sounds good but as Clipper says two lines gives you more control of the deployment, and when you're ready to hoist it enables you to get the sail up a little quicker than if it's pulling through a 2:1 on the tack at the same time.

 

In my case the tack line is pulled approaching or just after rounding the top mark (depending on what else is going on) and it pulls automatically into a cam cleat under the mainbeam. Singlehanded especially, the hoist is delayed till closer to the offset mark. If there's breeze you often want to be able to steer a little deeper before getting the kite up.

 

In case it's not obvious, the tail end of the halyard (the red line) is also the retrieval line - it goes through the tramp, and out through the snuffer to the loops on the sail. The red handle in the middle of the tramp is attached to a light line that pulls the tack line out of its cleat under the beam once most of the sail is back in the snuffer.

20151030_114516.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...