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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Caribbean
    Posts
    2,417

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    Quote Originally Posted by duncan99210 View Post
    We’ve got a simple cruising chute and snuffer. I’ve looked at a furler but the cost was excessive (like five or six time the cost of the snuffer). If we’re nit likely to need to gybe, we only rig a single sheet; for longer trips likely to need a gybe, we rig both sheets and gybe by letting the chute fly right forward. It takes practice but is very satisfying when it works....
    Never bothered to pole out, the chute is enough of a drama queen in terms of wind angles, so we take the distance penalty rather than working hard hand steering to maintain a full chute ddw.
    I’ve sailed with a Code 0 on a sprit and furler: it was easier to manage than the chute and would point upwind whereas the chute won’t. But from our point of view as cruisers with nowhere to go in a hurry, the expense of fitting a bowsprit, buying a Code 0 and furler isn’t worth it.
    What type of boat do you sail? We sail ddw with a poled out asymmetric using the autopilot steering to wind angle. Works perfectly. With only the two of us on board, the autopilot is the essential third crew. I have never felt the need to take over from the autopilot. If conditions are brisk, I do turn up the response on the control unit

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    38,270

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    For a boat that size, shorthanded I would first look for a big, lightweight cruising chute.
    It's primarily for light airs, so heading up to fill the kite is not adding huge distance.
    This is the sail that will change a passage from motoring DDW in very little apparent wind to a couple of fun reaches with the apparent wind near the beam.
    I would want a fairly full sail which will 'rotate' to windward of the centreline reasonably well. Plenty of luff curve.

    If you want to make fast downwind passages in F4 and above, then look for a proper symmetric spinnaker.
    If you want to reach high and fast, then a smaller a-sail with a straighter luff might be what you want.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,550

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_Y View Post
    Ultimately the Spinnaker should be the best option though and used in light winds it's not that much in terms of strings. You can run single guy/sheets and run them through tweekers if you are planning or want to gybe. Then it's just a pole up and down.
    When sailing two-up with the wife I find dip poling just too hectic and would certainly not try it in crowded waters -- smallest spi is around 150m^2. I personally find any assy so much easier. End-for-ending is a good idea, though I'd have to swing by 'Monkey Heaven' in the IoW first to borrow one of their big lads

    As this topic often comes up; do people seriously set big spis sailing light handed in crowded waters in non-racing conditions as a matter of routine?
    Last edited by dom; 02-09-19 at 11:12.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    10,507

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post

    As this topic often comes up; do people seriously set big spis sailing light handed in crowded waters in non-racing conditions as a matter of routine?
    Yes. Of course having a racing background helps, but I'll happily throw up a kite shorthanded inside the solent for example. And I have also been known to carry one up the Orwell in a 48 footer, gybing off Levington.
    You never know, I might be right!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,550

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    Quote Originally Posted by flaming View Post
    Yes. Of course having a racing background helps, but I'll happily throw up a kite shorthanded inside the solent for example. And I have also been known to carry one up the Orwell in a 48 footer, gybing off Levington.
    Jibing up the Orwell light handed, not bad! Perhaps I just find the faff of setting up for dip poling a PITA, simply on the basis of wandering around the boat rigging all those lines and then taking them all off again later.

    What I would say though - as everyone who races knows well - big spis with big poles can quickly build up dangerous forces: 10-12kts is Pimms time, 12-14kts fun, 14-16kts getting exciting, while 16-20kts is really going some. Light handed is fine, but one really really needs to know how to - and have practiced - safely getting rid of the kite as the wind builds. When it comes to jibing, it's probably best to get used to it first either on the track, or on a well crewed yacht. We've all for example seen yachts following the daft old advice of holding the boat dead downhill with the airflow reversing upon every roll, the spi all over the place, and the white-knuckled crew hanging on for dear life

    Same applies to assys with or without snuffers/rollers; well worth practicing drops the old fashioned way as a safe and secure Plan B.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Boat (now back in) the Clyde
    Posts
    5,652

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    The key question for the OP with a 44 foot boat, small crew and sailing West Scotland is ........... what are you confident you can drop safely when the wind suddenly gets up from 10-12knots to 20-25knots. Because it will in Scotland!
    If the crew is family it only takes one fright to put people off for a very long time.

    A “code zero” type furling asymmetric is easiest to get rid of when you need to (and can be left up but furled till back in harbour), but may give limited benefit over the genoa.
    A top down furling asymetric is probably the next category up, allowing a bit more sail area.

    Unless can budget for carbon poles etc a symmetric spinnaker, even with snuffer, may prove too hard work and rarely get out of the locker except for fully crewed “mates cruises” or longer delivery trips

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Caribbean
    Posts
    2,417

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    Quote Originally Posted by dunedin View Post
    The key question for the OP with a 44 foot boat, small crew and sailing West Scotland is ........... what are you confident you can drop safely when the wind suddenly gets up from 10-12knots to 20-25knots. Because it will in Scotland!
    If the crew is family it only takes one fright to put people off for a very long time.

    A “code zero” type furling asymmetric is easiest to get rid of when you need to (and can be left up but furled till back in harbour), but may give limited benefit over the genoa.
    A top down furling asymetric is probably the next category up, allowing a bit more sail area.

    Unless can budget for carbon poles etc a symmetric spinnaker, even with snuffer, may prove too hard work and rarely get out of the locker except for fully crewed “mates cruises” or longer delivery trips
    It probably depends on the crew. As a husband and wife team we use aluminium poles on the same size boat. The poles stow on twin tracks on the mast so we are only dealing with one lose end. The difference may be that we are comfortable working on the foredeck of our flush decked boat. We do all our mainsail reefing at the mast so being on deck is normal for us.
    We have had to drop our 1700sqft spinnaker in winds over 20kts. Technique is important to avoid mishaps. On one occasion we used the rope drum on the windlass to assist in snuffing the spinnaker.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Eastern Atlantic seaboard
    Posts
    3,205

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    FWIW, I use a symmetric on a 36' AWB as it is what I have but would prefer a cruising chute (high cut clew) for less faff. My friend's similar boat with a chute sails about 160deg without issue and my own VMG maxes out around there.
    I'd rather be tethered to a pad eye than tethered to an iPad.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,550

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quiddle View Post
    FWIW, I use a symmetric on a 36' AWB as it is what I have but would prefer a cruising chute (high cut clew) for less faff. My friend's similar boat with a chute sails about 160deg without issue and my own VMG maxes out around there.
    One can sail an assy goose winged about 10 deg by the lee. If the airflow settles over the main the sail can do very well. Or just pole it out. Or just fly a symmetric to the polars as you say.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South Wales and Bristol Channel, UK
    Posts
    2,509

    Default Re: Best downwind sail?

    In my experience, the most robust method for downwind is a full cut asymmetric cruising shute using a snuffer. There are good and bad snuffers; snuffers with a wide collar are fast to use and great for single-handed. Some snuffers are absolutely pain to use. The cruising chute can also be set for downwind run
    Last edited by CAPTAIN FANTASTIC; 02-09-19 at 20:52.

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