Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spinnakers Part 3

If it is too windy for a spinnaker or you just don’t want to mess, try the following. On a run or broad reach, fly your genoa to leeward, like usual. Well off the wind a genny won’t fill well. But you can fly your working jib to windward on the pole and it works wonders. Here's how: Tack the working jib on but don’t hank it to the forestay – you will "set it flying". In any case you either have a roller furling jib on the forestay or the genny is hanked to the forestay, so the forestay is unavailable.  Put the spinnaker pole on the mast with a topping lift and top it up to level or thereabouts. No foreguy. Put the windward working jib sheet through the end of the pole and bring the sheet aft to a winch as usual. Hoist the working jib and take the windward sheet in pretty snug - you want the sail fairly flat.

It doesn't matter if it is the genoa or the working jib that's hanked on. If you have twin headstays you can hank on both.

The jib will scoop wind into the genny and both sails will pull nicely, even if you come up nearer to the wind. And if the helmsman comes up too much, the working jib just backwinds, no big deal.

To drop the working jib, just ease the sheet so the sail and pole go forward, and lower the halyard while you bring the sail down to the foredeck. Easy, and one man can do it.

And if it really pipes up, you can drop the genny and keep on going with the jib poled out. Or, big boat style, you can switch out the genny for another smaller jib. Conversely, instead of a genoa you can use a lightweight "reacher" jib, and the rig allows the reacher to fill and pull much further off the wind than usual. It's a flexible set up.

This technique is nothing new, but the particulars are from Bob Griffith’s wonderful book Blue Water (Sail Press?), which may be out of print but is very strong on sail handling and anchoring and many many other topics, and a joy to read.

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