Jules

First Time Flying A Spinnaker

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Maybe those days when the rest of us flew spinnakers are talk of stuff but if you were of that sort, share your first time you let the lady show her stuff.

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Was going to interview to be a racing instructor for Steve Colgate's Offshore Sailing School. 1985. But I had never sailed on a boat with a spinnaker. So I read Steve's book, and whenever he would ask a spin question I'd parrot his writing. Got hired on the spot.

For six weeks of racing classes, my boat of clients won the week ending race every time, mostly due to great spinnaker work. Was an advantage to have just learned how. 

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I'd seen them on other boats, and watched the guys on the boat I was a main trimmer on do all that sailor stuff. I bought one used with a dousing sock, I thought that should be simple. It had a 12" metal hoop on the bottom attached to two strings so it would slide nicley up and down over the spinakker. Up it went in all its glory, opened with a pop and we were off , my 4Kt shit box doing 5.2!! never seen such progress down wind in the right direction. Then came the douse, boldly strutting up to the foredeck, my missus on the tiller holding steady, I pull the sock. Nothin. I look up. The wire hoop has managed to hook over the mast head thingy. The sock is not coming down and apparently niether is the kite and we are running out of available safe water. With a mighty tug the ring came free, as did the windex. 

It got better, but it took some time

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My first keel boat was a Vivacity 20. It had a masthead rig so I picked up a T-Bird spinnaker (fractional) at a consignment shop. It was a bit oversize but flew O/K. I only had a whisker pole though, not a proper pole. I was sailing with a couple the first time it went up - doing great so they went below for s quickie. Still doing great until the whisker pole went over the side. It started oscillating a bit but still O/K considering it was my first time flying one and I was now singlehanding. Sailed past another boat who asked "where's your pole"?

Once Stanley Park started getting uncomfortably close I Interruptused the Coitus and we got it down O/K.

I have always regarded riding under a colourful chute as the best part of sailing.

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1961 on my dads Lightning racing... uneventful other than taking a long time to get it up but we figured it out fast enough 

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I can't go downwind without the bouncing bubble thingy up.  I get itchy to the point of pulling all the white sails out and start rigging staysails and whatever else I can throw up.  Was on a booz cruise on a smalish cat in Mexico a bunch of years ago.  On the way back from the days activities, with every drink my mood would darken and I would get antsy.  With about 3 or so miles left I could not take it any more and went down below to take a leak.  When down, I went through every locker, every frigging cabinet and finally I found it stuffed into a canvas bag at the bottom of the hanging locker.  I heroically shoved it through the companionway hatch to the horror and dismay of the drink serving crew( and the rolly eyes of my wife and then 5yo kid).  After much negotiation with the captain, I was persuaded to give it up, but I did get the helm for the rest of the way in...  :) 

Good times

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My boat came with only white sails, and I found a pole and a spinny second hand at the local marine consignment place.

I read a book on how to rig it, installed the track and the pole and went out, having memorised what I thought was the right way to fly it.

I was so pleased I took a couple of pictures - though it wouldn't seem to fly DDW. After I got home I realised what I'd somehow managed to do

Spot the mistake

73Qz7SR.jpg

 

Luckily there weren't many other boats out that day or else I'd probably have appeared on the front page here, proudly flying my spinnaker the wrong side of the pole...

SPrqS6p.png

 

 

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1 minute ago, alctel said:

My boat came with only white sails, and I found a pole and a spinny second hand at the local marine consignment place.

I read a book on how to rig it, installed the track and the pole and went out, having memorised what I thought was the right way to fly it.

I was so pleased I took a couple of pictures - though it wouldn't seem to fly DDW. After I got home I realised what I'd somehow managed to do

Spot the mistake

73Qz7SR.jpg

 

 

The second row of numbers are backwards :P

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Well, you got it into clear air.

So there's that.

You should have had a blooper up too.

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Standing on a dock at the Sea Scout Base, drooling over the brand new C&C custom half-tonner tacking up Newport Bay.  I think I was 12. 

Told the guy standing near me that I'd love to sail on something like that some day.  He yelled "hey, Keith, I've got one for you".  Next thing I knew I was "working the pit" on that boat.... knowing absolutely nothing about what I was supposed to be doing.  I tried to absorb what was going on and eventually figured out that "raise the pole" meant pulling on the line labeled "topper", but only after letting the one labelled "foreguy" go.  And "drop the kite" meant letting either the green one or the red one go, whichever made the biggest pile down below, but not too fast or the guy in the front of the boat would get pissy.

Might have gotten invited back, except I managed to clunk into the owner on one of the maneuvers and his beer dumped in his lap.  Oh well... flush with my "new knowledge", I got a gig as bow-kid on another half-tonner.... and then a 3/4-tonner... and then a 1-tonner...

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1986 plebe year at NY Maritime.

working as “midbow” of J/V 39 with the previous owner who donated her to school on board ( Tom Stark?).

reaching along the East River towards the Williamsburg bridge, we had so many knockdown/wipeouts that I had  my brand new cloth Sperrys washed off of my feet (my only pair).

Loved it and never looked back!

Sail Safe 

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14 hours ago, alctel said:

...     ...    ...

Spot the mistake

73Qz7SR.jpg

 

 

 

Spinnaker is one you stole from a Mercedes Benz enthusiast....... and the pole is supposed to go forward of the shrouds.

Otherwise, good work!

FB- Doug

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post-30927-1258949359_thumb.jpgpost-30927-1258949393_thumb.jpgpost-30927-1258949418_thumb.jpg

 

These pics were in a discussion of broaching long ago. That was an epic SA thread BTW! I am really glad this moment of sailing history was captured on film..... well, on electronic media...... but the worst roll to windward had already gone by as the photographer started shooting. These pics are when we were getting the boat back under the rig. The sail only flogged once or twice. The pics also don't capture the water pouring off the mainsail.... in went in almost to the sail numbers.

Long time crew member who was with me for this, later told newbie crew: "If he says 'HANG ON' he's not kidding."

FB- Doug

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Catalina 22 on the Potomac. Had an immensely experienced club member join us ("I learned how to do this in Transpac in the 80's...) for the training. 

Did dry drill while still tied up at the dock.  Simple boat - no afterguys! sheets only! simple up and downhaul!- and we figured we had it. 

Went out later that day, and sailed it up and down the Potomac under Immensely Experienced Guy's tutelage.  Went fine, only wrapped it on the forestay once and only put one 18" rip in it. 

Then we tried it in the next Tuesday race in Spin B.  First set we got a couple wraps on the forestay, which we eventually straightened out.  Had a disaster of a douse, nearly broached. I have no idea what we did.  Regretted not having typed out and printed the order of operations.  Bow guy didn't know what he was doing, what he was supposed to be doing wasn't clear to me.  (I was working bow... whoops, sorry).  Second lap of the course, we had a great set, sailed nicely downwind for a couple miles in 10 knot breeze, faster than that boat had ever gone except maybe on a trailer on I-95,  doused it conservatively via letterbox.  All grins while I was sitting in the cabin running the tapes and re-packing it for the next week. 

The next week, we got to the end of the leeward leg in 20 kts, had to crash gybe at the mark when the boat in front of us failed to account for the fact that, upon rounding, they'd be beam-on in 20 kt wind.  They had the main & jib strapped, rounded up so hard they bounced and did a 180.  We crash gybed to avoid a collision, the dumbass bowman (me again) went off the front of the boat with the pole in hand.  Broke the pole when I hit the water, tested my made-by-Mustang West inflatable (it worked fine!) got picked up when they later realized they were short a bowman.  Adopted a cat I found in the marina that night. Went home, had three drinks.  Still have the cat.  After 7-8 years, I definitely have the mechanics down pat and I'm *starting* to understand how spinnakers work.  A little.  Good times.

Now let me tell you about the new kids I am teaching to work bow on my J/35, mostly through Wednesday Night Worlds training sessions...  I get to see a First Time about once a month.  It ain't pretty.  I hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed my disasters. 

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I hate running the engine. Chesapeake summers are often very light air, so if you want to get anywhere, it's run the engine or fly more cloth. Simple as that.

Watched a lot of videos, asked a lot of questions here, observed while racing OPB's. I bought a ratty spinnaker for my Pearson 30 at Bacon Sails for $150 so I wouldn't feel bad about tearing it. Like @Lex Teredo, simple boat with no after-guys. I put it up while singlehanding in very light air. My story is pretty boring because there's not really any drama.

I've tried spinnaker with and without snuffers and generally prefer them without. The snuffer just seems like one more thing to go wrong.

My wife and I always share a little smile when we overtake another sailboat on the Chesapeake who's motoring because they won't fly a chute. If there's enough room on the race course for safety, I'll fly the spinnaker while racing singlehanded. If my spouse deigns to crew with me, we definitely will.

Funny thing about that ratty old kite- the foretriangle of my Tartan 33 is nearly the same size as the Pearson due to the fractional rig, so I kept it and still use it. I think it might be lucky because I usually place well with it and nothing really bad has ever happened. I still haven't torn a hole in it.

A_spin1.jpg

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Hey Newkies - 

Big thing to remember with the spin up is to turn DOWN in the big puffs - not UP as your instincts tell you. 

Don't ask me how I know. 

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First race with my boat, learned to fly it from youtube the night before..... 

 

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I agree, Ajax, Chesapeake summers were made for kites (if nothing else it keeps you from staring at the floating stripers).

1st time crewing on spin boat: Lindenberg 26 "Wildcat" skippered by Dean Mulder out of AYC summer 1988. Damn those were fun times.

1st time as skipper racing my own Lindenberg 26: around 2003, quite the roller coaster ride.

Now I fly the asym short/single-handed (wife or OTTO at the helm), took off the top-down furler last year and been doing letterbox drop ever since.  Pure joy.

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We taught spinnaker sets, jibes, douses with NO wind by going in reverse with the engine at Offshore Sailing School.   The toughest part was remembering which way to turn while in reverse. Dave Ellis

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Read all I could, picked a calm day and a reasonably open and quiet stretch of water, did a few hoists, gybes and douses, all single handed.

Remarkably undramatic! Spinnaker on a folkboat luckily isn't very big and easy to blanket with the mainsail

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45 minutes ago, alphafb552 said:

Remarkably undramatic!

Consider yourself lucky. ;)

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On 8/14/2019 at 11:04 AM, BravoBravo said:

1961 on my dads Lightning racing... uneventful other than taking a long time to get it up but we figured it out fast enough 

huh, no shit...

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18 minutes ago, justsomeguy! said:

Consider yourself lucky. ;)

I do!  

Never regretted my choice of a folkboat!

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23 hours ago, Ajax said:

I've tried spinnaker with and without snuffers and generally prefer them without. The snuffer just seems like one more thing to go wrong.

I think snuffers are a bit safer to use on fractional rigs.  Since it is well below the masthead there are fewer things to get tangled with.

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23 hours ago, Ajax said:

I hate running the engine. Chesapeake summers are often very light air, so if you want to get anywhere, it's run the engine or fly more cloth. Simple as that.

Watched a lot of videos, asked a lot of questions here, observed while racing OPB's. I bought a ratty spinnaker for my Pearson 30 at Bacon Sails for $150 so I wouldn't feel bad about tearing it. Like @Lex Teredo, simple boat with no after-guys. I put it up while singlehanding in very light air. My story is pretty boring because there's not really any drama.

I've tried spinnaker with and without snuffers and generally prefer them without. The snuffer just seems like one more thing to go wrong.

My wife and I always share a little smile when we overtake another sailboat on the Chesapeake who's motoring because they won't fly a chute. If there's enough room on the race course for safety, I'll fly the spinnaker while racing singlehanded. If my spouse deigns to crew with me, we definitely will.

Funny thing about that ratty old kite- the foretriangle of my Tartan 33 is nearly the same size as the Pearson due to the fractional rig, so I kept it and still use it. I think it might be lucky because I usually place well with it and nothing really bad has ever happened. I still haven't torn a hole in it.

A_spin1.jpg

Now you just jinxed yourself.  Nect time you fly it you are gonna wrap it so bad you will have to borrow one of those guys that caries a knife everywhere knioves...  ;)

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59 minutes ago, shaggy said:

Now you just jinxed yourself.  Nect time you fly it you are gonna wrap it so bad you will have to borrow one of those guys that caries a knife everywhere knioves...  ;)

LOL...I'm not saying I've never had a wrap but yeah, maybe I did just jinx myself.  I'll re-tell this little story-

A buddy and I were sailing home from Annapolis. I'm singlehanding my boat and he's doublehanding with a friend on his boat. We're "racing" home, the wind is light so we both put up our symmetric chutes. Each time I gybed, I screwed it up and got a single wrap around the forestay.  Each time, by the grace of God (or luck) I would give a tug and the chute would unwrap and fill nicely.

When we got home, the crew buddy on the other boat said "Tell me about your de-powering technique while gybing singlehanded?"  I looked at him blankly for a few seconds and then laughed as he thought my accidental wraps were intentional!  I've never looked so good while screwing up, apparently.

Gybing the chute is my biggest weakness. I'm terrible at it. I'd fire my foredeck person but...

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12 minutes ago, Ajax said:

LOL...I'm not saying I've never had a wrap but yeah, maybe I did just jinx myself.  I'll re-tell this little story-

A buddy and I were sailing home from Annapolis. I'm singlehanding my boat and he's doublehanding with a friend on his boat. We're "racing" home, the wind is light so we both put up our symmetric chutes. Each time I gybed, I screwed it up and got a single wrap around the forestay.  Each time, by the grace of God (or luck) I would give a tug and the chute would unwrap and fill nicely.

When we got home, the crew buddy on the other boat said "Tell me about your de-powering technique while gybing singlehanded?"  I looked at him blankly for a few seconds and then laughed as he thought my accidental wraps were intentional!  I've never looked so good while screwing up, apparently.

Gybing the chute is my biggest weakness. I'm terrible at it. I'd fire my foredeck person but...

best part about td furlers when singlehanding.

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My first sailboat ride was on my dad's Paceship 23, I was strapped into the cockpit in something like this....
Image result for bassinet cardboard

So i would venture to guess that was my first spinnaker sighting.

47 years later I race on a boat (little red 1/2 tonner on Lake Erie that some may know) that has 6 spinnakers I think? I dunno, I lost count. I just set what gets handed up to me. We do spinnaker peals blindfolded with our hands tied behind our backs, as well as all the fun "stupid boat tricks" you do at the leeward mark roundings. On a good day we may still throw up the blooper or a staysail too! We're definitely not chute shy on Infrared.

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On 8/14/2019 at 2:14 PM, alctel said:

My boat came with only white sails, and I found a pole and a spinny second hand at the local marine consignment place.

I read a book on how to rig it, installed the track and the pole and went out, having memorised what I thought was the right way to fly it.

I was so pleased I took a couple of pictures - though it wouldn't seem to fly DDW. After I got home I realised what I'd somehow managed to do

Spot the mistake

73Qz7SR.jpg

 

Luckily there weren't many other boats out that day or else I'd probably have appeared on the front page here, proudly flying my spinnaker the wrong side of the pole...

SPrqS6p.png

 

 

So you invented the blooper!  

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40 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

So you invented the blooper!  

He invented the blooper-on-a-stick!

FB- Doug

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I think it was 1975 or 76.  I somehow convinced my crusing-loving dad his boat needed a spinnaker.   My dad was really more of a powerboat guy, but that's another story.

Once he gave the go ahead, it was up to me to figure out how and where to install everything needed to fly a spinnaker.  So I poured over sailing magazines, looking at all the pictures and reading every article I could find that would provide the answers I needed.  My dad got a used spinnaker from a client who owed him money.  He told me his client said it would fit.  I was so excited knowing I would be sailing under spinnaker I never thought to ask how his client knew the sail would work.

I remember picking up the new spinnaker pole from some shop near downtown Chicago.  The cost was $400.  I guessed on the height location for the track on the mast.  Guessed the location for the eye for the downhaul snap shackle, as well pretty much everything else I installed.

On the day when we were ready to fly the chute I once again guessed how to set it up.  I made a few mistakes but did manage to get the chute flying.  Then came time to gybe.  I looked at how to get the pole end to the other side of the boat, scratched my head, and realized it was not possible unless the chute was first dropped.  So we did.  On every gybe.  There was still a lot of learning to do...

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We bought a thoroughly used Dragon class spinnaker (measurment stamped 1968!) from Minney's surplus to try out on our San Juan 21. It had more repairs than original fabric, wire luff reinforcement, and a smell like the bottom of a teenager's laundry hamper. We named it The Skanker. First time we launched it, on one of our small mountain lakes, I stupidly used a bronze clip at the head. We flogged the sail down the lake, I went forward to douse ... and found the clip had snapped itself to the mast ring. Oh god. So we headed up (fortunately not much wind!) I whipped and bungeed the sail around the forestay, and after setting an anchor,  was able to lower the mast, unclip the halyard, and put the sail away where it belonged. 

We did eventually fly it with great success around Catalina Island, where steady light winds and plenty of time took the stress out of it. Tillerpilot steers under kite better than we do. The first time we launch the Ballad spinnaker, I'm gonna widdle myself. Thing's almost as big as our house, and you ain't blanketing it behind the main!

 

p311.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, Diarmuid said:

The first time we launch the Ballad spinnaker, I'm gonna widdle myself. Thing's almost as big as our house, and you ain't blanketing it behind the main!

The chute I bought for my first Quarter Pounder was bigger than the apartment we lived in.

I figured I had arrived. :D

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On 8/14/2019 at 11:14 PM, alctel said:

My boat came with only white sails, and I found a pole and a spinny second hand at the local marine consignment place.

I read a book on how to rig it, installed the track and the pole and went out, having memorised what I thought was the right way to fly it.

I was so pleased I took a couple of pictures - though it wouldn't seem to fly DDW. After I got home I realised what I'd somehow managed to do

Spot the mistake

73Qz7SR.jpg

 

Luckily there weren't many other boats out that day or else I'd probably have appeared on the front page here, proudly flying my spinnaker the wrong side of the pole...

SPrqS6p.png

 

 

Your creativity has got me thinking: I’ve got two spinnakers which I might be able to fly at the same time using your solution.... :blink:

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It's been done.

 

 

Twin Spinnakers.jpg

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