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Spinnaker oh my dear spinnaker
G'day All,

Just following the previous message regarding who does what with the Mainsail, and notice a new thread in the previous discussion.

Anyone who has tried to raise and lower a spinnaker for the first time often comes away from the experience battered and bruise and often swearing they "...will never try that again".
Strangely, many of us do, and if you get some simple techniques right, even in the strongest wind you will come out smiling.

I would be interested in the opinions of the guns out there, but my experience has been as follows.

Never go out onto the water (having never flown a kite) and try an put it up for the first time. In fact, never go out with out putting up on shore, even if you have been sailing for a million years. Despite all the care in the world, you may very well have tied the sheets and retrival line around the wrong way, and it just ends in a terrible mess. Give yourself plenty of time and hoist it up on the beach.
If you a beginner, get someone with a fair bit of experience to help you. Don't pick on your friend in the boat yard, have a talk to the best person around with experience on a 125.

I have found practising on beach to hoist, gybe, and retrive often sort out in the skippers and crews head what the logical order of flying a kite successfully. Choose a day were the wind is light, but not dead. Somewhere between 5 to 10 knots is ideal, less is a waste of time, more can lead to a boat sailing off across the grass (nearly did this once). Also, because the boat is stationary on the beach, unlike the water, the pressure on sails and rig are much higher.

Talk to the expert on how your rig works and, discuss "is my rig safe?" It is amazing how simple mistakes in placement of fittings or the wrong type of fittings can lead to tears on the water (or in my case, boat sailing across the grass).

There was a question about how to steer the boat in the previous thread. Simple message, and I think the guns will support this. Learn to sail your boat without the rudder/tiller. For a long time I struggle with this concept (still do at times), but as soon as I developed an awareness of how to steer the boat by sails and by the balance and trim of the boat, everything became easier. Before you hoist the kite, balance the pressure between the jib and the main as you head down the reach. The boat will motor along quite happily (almost at full speed), and the boat will feel level side to side on the water. A boat that has been slowed on the water, will have a greater lateral force from wind against the rigging and the sails. The boat will feel like it is staggering in the water, if you just "let every thing go", and the effect of the kite going up will throw the boat violently. When the boat is allowed to sail naturally, with jib and main balanced, you and your crew will be able to stand up quite safely.

The skipper should stand when hoisting the kite. To not stand means that you are trying to sail the boat with the tiller and there must be a sail with to much pressure, which is trying to turn the boat windward or leeward. Further, when you sail with the tiller, you have only one hand to hoist the kite, and this slows the whole process, leaving the boat vulnerable, as the spinnaker flogs side to side. Trim the sail and stand up, this then allows the boat to be sailed by you feet. A boat flat in the water sails straight. A boat healed leeward will sail to the wind. A boat healed to the wind will sail leeward. And you can so all of this by changing you weight on your feet as the skipper. You don't need to put any pressure on the tiller by your knees if the sails and the boat is balanced and trimmed probably, the boat will sail like it is on rails.

I might leave it there and happy to see some input from others. The next step in getting the kite up is not to complicated, but the detail, needs to be explain well.

Barry Pike6-Jun-2006    Edit    Delete 

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