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Thread: Flying a Spinnaker on Dura Mater

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleddog View Post
    What we found, and is still true, is the best way to learn symmetrical spinnaker trim is disregard the pole and leave it on deck.
    Thanks for that advice, Skip. I have three younger brothers. I'll see if they will still do what I tell them to do. Meanwhile, Carliane has a spinnaker but it is tangled and all smothered up in a sock. Maybe next time you are up this way we can persuade her to try that in low wind on Kynntana. It is one thing to try on a 27 foot boat, maybe a bit more daring on a Freedom 38?
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  2. #12
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    Jackie, The way to learn spinnakering is by spinnakering! I think you're doing the right thing by practicing now when the wind's light. However, I don't think you need to go as far as the StFYC. You do need to practice jibing, but early on I think setting and dousing are more important skills.There's plenty of opportunity on the Oly Circle (or what's left of it) for practice. Set, douse, pack, set, douse, pack, set, douse, go home. Oh, and in between jibe few times. Skip's right when he says that sailing downwind without the pole (in lighter air, please - my opinion) is good practice, too. Learn to keep the boat under the chute and the chute full. Hopefully your chutes have full shoulders that will show you you're doing right by them.

    There is a lot of line (sheets, halyards, up and down hauls, etc., etc.),but with practice you can manage them and keep them organized. Matter of fact, I strongly believe it's important to keep them organized. They get tangled and things you want to happen won't happen. Alcatraz is actually a small target compared to the California coastline if you're coming back from the Farallones and suddenly find the spinny halyard fouled. Getting a sheet wrapped around your ankle or neck can also result in unhappiness.

    On square riggers, new recruits had to memorize the location and use of over a hundred various lines - and do it in the dark on a pitching deck without WM foulies and a CG approved PFD. LED headlights hadn't been invented, either. You only have to learn a fraction, but it's important to know which one you're releasing, hauling in, easing, or otherwise attending to. You'll do it, and sometime coming back from a late, slow Farallones Race in the dark you'll smile to yourself proudly when the headsail goes up, gets trimmed and the spinnaker comes down into the boat. No one will see you do it, but you'll know what you did and feel as all the whole America's Cup onlookers saw it too.

  3. #13
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    Central San Francisco Bay is not user friendly for practicing short handed symmetrical spinnakering. Too much traffic, waves, current, things downwind to go clunk....

    Consider finding a quiet backwater out of current, away from traffic, nothing nearby like a tree to hang up your spinnaker on, with plenty of "runway" ahead, or soft mud landing downwind. You could tie up stern first to a dock or buoy, or back into shoal water on a flood tide and stern anchor.

    The Delta is full of these places. East of Pinole Point in 6 feet of water is closer to home. Up by Tiburon YC can work, but the wind is a little puffy in there. Over by Richmond are several good places, the best being Keller Cove. Just don't anchor on the sewer pipe.

    Or heck, sail up to KYNNTANA's backyard. Clipper Cove is a great place to practice stationary sailing, especially on a weekday. Hard to get in much trouble there.

    In summer, best to practice before the seabreeze fan turns on at 11. With the boat aimed downwind, the main furled, and the spinnaker pole on deck, hoist the spinnaker with just one sheet either side.

    When anchored from the stern, remember the true wind speed and the apparent wind speed are the same thing. In this position, 10 knots is a lot of wind.

    We used to do this with all the kids at Whites Cove....parents not allowed. We'd fly the spinnaker like a kite all afternoon, easing the halyard and sheets to the bitter end. The spinnaker would fly out in front of the boat 50 feet or more, sometimes going higher than the mast. Whoo Hoo. If it was about to collapse, the kid stationed at the mast would haul in on the halyard like mad.

    When its time to drop, easing one sheet and winching in the other effectively collapses or "flags" the spinnaker, and you stuff it down the forehatch, ready to rehoist..

    When you are confident in flying the spinnaker without a pole, then connect up the topping lift, foreguy and whatever other business you have to the pole, and attach pole to the spinnaker and mast. Just know a spinnaker pole is a mean, nasty, dangerous SOB when sailing shorthanded.

    GREEN BUFFALO uses two poles attached to the spinnaker, but only when jibeing.

    On my previous WILDFLOWER, a 6,500 pound 27 footer, the most wind I would attempt an end-for-end jibe, singlehanded, was 16 knots TWS. Anything more was asking for trouble...How to jibe a spinnaker in more wind? Dropping it first is a good look, although GREEN BUFFALO two pole jibes in about anything.

    I had windsurfer footstraps mounted on deck in front of the mast to facilitate end-for-end pole jibeing...at least I had one foot attached to the boat while dancing with pole.

    Hang on up there, Knute.

    For less stress, ask RAGTIME if you can make him lunch in exchange for a demonstration of the pleasure of asymmetrical spinnakers. Itsa whole new world.

    Merry Christmas!
    Last edited by sleddog; 12-24-2014 at 06:57 AM.

  4. #14
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    011815
    The new year, and Dura Mater’s spinnaker is raised during a race for the first time. The spinnaker? Red white and blue from Minneys for $165. One small rip in the red part of the foot, easily addressed with spinnaker repair tape, also red. Very attractive chartreuse-colored New England flight line (purchased when on sale).

    This is the eighth time I have raised a spinnaker, and I am delighted to do so in 1/ a race and 2/ low wind. Very low wind, as it turns out. Shortly before the start of Berkeley Yacht Club’s Sunday chowder race it was 11 knots. A good day for sailing on the formerly proud Olympic Circle, now the Truncated Olympic Circle. Rumour had it that “G” was still in place, and the wind looked good, so the Race Committee sent all fourteen of us off. There were five singlehanders in the crowd, with Paul Kamen leading the way (as usual) on his Merit 25 Twilight Zone, Ichiro Yamawaki on his Catalina 30 Avalon, Bobby Arthurs on his pretty Dutch boat, Couch, Nico on his Albin Vega, and Dura Mater, my stalwart and forgiving tank. Roxanne, the big tartan, was out there, too, and the everpresent nectarine-colored Dufour, Chrysalis. Big boats. Heavy boats. More about that later.

    Half way to the mark the wind stuttered and slowed. Significantly. The lighter boats (and Twilight Zone) circled the mark and raised their chutes. Oh weren’t they pretty? Ooh. Damn! Why was it so hard to circle that mark? Oh, yeah. The ebb. The dreaded 4 knot ebb. Forgot about that.

    Oh, well, that’s okay, because I have a spinnaker, right? I’ll go wicked fast. Huh. Or maybe 2.2 knots against the ebb. It took a long time to get back to Berkeley from G mark in Dura Mater in a 4 knot ebb, even with a (perfectly trimmed) spinnaker. I vaguely recall hearing: “Race Committee, this is Roxanne. We are grounded.” But who listens to the radio, right? As I approached the entrance to the Berkeley marina I passed Nico, drifting in, playing his harmonica, and he called out “Nice come back!”. I waved modestly. What a gentleman. As I came round the seawall I saw my friend Ichiro stalled just inside the marina. Huh? Then I noticed that my spinnaker was backwinded even though the wind was still from behind me. Surely I wasn’t grounded. Dura Mater only has a 4.5 draught. I looked down and saw the mud swirling around. So much for sailing past the finish with my spinnaker raised. Big sigh. Paul Kamen paddled over on his kayak to inform me that, as per the Berkeley yacht Club racing instructions, grounded boats are considered to have finished. Seriously.

    So Dura Mater will live to fly another spinnaker in a different race. Perhaps in the Fiasco. See you all out there. Remember, you have nothing to lose but your dignity.
    Last edited by Philpott; 01-19-2015 at 04:39 PM.

  5. #15
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    That was a fun race! Roxanne was 'fully crewed' with 4 of us on board.

    A BYC member took some picture from the race deck here:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/103375442@N04/

    It gets crazy shallow on the north entrance there, but we had a good line and decided to risk it. After 'finishing' we were able to reverse out under power and get in the south side. I think the Berkeley Marina doesn't see a reason to spend good money dredging when the sail boats will do it for them.

    See you at the Fiasco!

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunol View Post
    That was a fun race! Roxanne was 'fully crewed' with 4 of us on board.

    A BYC member took some picture from the race deck here:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/103375442@N04/

    It gets crazy shallow on the north entrance there, but we had a good line and decided to risk it. After 'finishing' we were able to reverse out under power and get in the south side. I think the Berkeley Marina doesn't see a reason to spend good money dredging when the sail boats will do it for them.

    See you at the Fiasco!
    Thank you, Michael! I took a dozen selfies because I was so excited (and relieved) that I could do it, but my flip phone is so old that there are no drivers available to transfer them to my computer. Do you use a sock on RRoxanne? Your spinnaker must be Massive!

  7. #17
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    Roxanne is heavy and it takes a lot of sail to get moving, so yeah, but at the same time the weight makes for a stable platform. Knock on wood I've only broached once and that was in a decent size swell near the Farallones. Should never have raised.
    I don't use a sock double-handed. I have one, but took it off. More trouble than it was worth. That said, I don't fly it at all single-handed like you guys do. If I tried it, I think I would put the sock back on and the winds would need to be below 10kts.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleddog View Post
    Just know a spinnaker pole is a mean, nasty, dangerous SOB when sailing shorthanded.
    3 Bridge Fiasco
    Dura Mater got a good start, rounding the GGYC X buoy only one minute late above Jack Aubrey, the other Cal 2-27 in the race. Jack Aubrey has a solid racing record, and I was pleased to be next to it, not way behind it. As I crossed the start I saw Warpath out of the corner of my eye, swooshing by toward Blackaller. Ooooh. Pretty. Fast boat. I turned to follow it. If Warpath is going that way, that way go I, was my thinking. Of course, Andrew Z was simply sailing back and forth, measuring the timing for his start a half hour later. Such is the power of beauty. I attribute my decision to the effect of Warpath’s reputation.

    Ahead I saw Randy on Tortuga. Prior to the race Randy had laughed when I told him that the vision of his Westsail 32, with its impressive bowsprit, is what scared me enough to sail ahead of him in last year’s Corinthian race. He informed me that this year’s Fiasco would find Dura Mater facing his stern instead. And indeed it did, all the way around Blackaller. He zipped around that mark and was on the other side of the bay by the time I rounded it. Touche, Randy! But what is this? He seems to have stopped! He seems to be grounded. Wait a minute! Nobody goes aground in front of the bridge! It’s too deep there! And he can’t be anchored. It’s too deep there! Oh! No! It’s the dreaded ebb, come early to torture everyone!

    As I sail across the bay Dura Mater starts to slide sideways toward Japan. Correction: toward that container ship coming from Japan! Slowly, slowly, skirting the shadow from the bridge, she makes her way to Lime Point, out of the container ship’s path and uncomfortably close to Lime Point. Near the Point the current gentled and, keeping an eye on the depth finder, I hugged the land and inched over to Horseshoe Cove, where Tortuga waited patiently.

    Every time Tortuga poked her bow out of the Cove, the ebb pushed her downstream. As Tortuga went, so went Dura Mater. Ready about? Tacking. Ready about? Tacking. Again and again. For at least an hour. Ah, patience, grasshopper. The wind will arrive.

    I put on my big girl pants, raised the pole from the cockpit, unclutched the spinnaker halyard, went forward and attached the turtle bag to the bow pulpit. I looked around one last time to make sure the lines were set up right: pole on the starboard side of the boat? Check. Jib sheet on the correct side of the pole? Yes. Spinnaker sheets all around everything? Yup. I went back to the cockpit and waited for the breeze to pick up at Dura Mater’s stern. And it did. So I raised the spinnaker and trimmed. Glancing behind, I saw dozens of spinnakers explode and Moores galore started flying toward us. Ooooh. Pretty. Facing forward again, I watched my spinnaker float down gently in front of Dura Mater. What’s this? I must not have raised it all the way up! What a long halyard! I raised it again, trimmed it again, and now the Moores were really close. What the hell? That sail wouldn’t stay up! What was I doing wrong? Ah. The clutch, the clutch!. I had forgotten to close it. I shoved it closed, but by this time the sail was tangled around itself, and no matter how much I called out to it, it was unforgiving: You had your chance, you dumb bunny. Next time get it right.

    As it floated down, a bloody stain on the water, Dark and Stormy had to alter course. “Sorry!” I called, to which her captain generously responded, “That’s okay.” I was relieved to learn later that Dark and Stormy came in first in her division, that my incompetence didn’t cause her to lose a place. I dragged the sodden mass into the boat and tossed it down into the cabin. I called in to retire.

    I went up to the GGYC clubhouse and whined, but nobody was interested. They had a race to run. Somebody vacated the radio for a minute and I registered a lot of retirements. I saw some amazing finishes by boats that shouldn’t have been able to finish so early but did, because of fine sailing.

    And then it was getting late, so I went down to where Dura Mater was tied up, and chatted a bit with Tom Boussie, sailing Egret for the last time with her new owner, a GGYC member. Tom just bought another boat, and I know which one, but it’s a secret.

    On the way home I decided to try to raise my other spinnaker. First I turned on my navigation lights. Check. I closed the spinnaker halyard clutch. Check. As I sailed east toward Berkeley, sailing past Fort Mason, I raised my second spinnaker of the day. After a few brief twists it billowed out. Aaaaahh. I felt great. We sailed along and I realized that we were going really fast. How fast? I have no idea. I was hyperventilating too much to look. Then the sun went down and the water looked dark. It got scary fast. As I passed Blossom Rock to starboard the wind picked up and gusted to 17 knots. Um, not what I had planned for. I had never flown a spinnaker in more than 6 knots. And it was getting darker. So I changed my mind.

    The spinnaker handling articles advise the sailor to lower the pole before dousing. Well, that didn’t work. There was way too much power on the sail. Instead the pole flew upward. Yikes. I loosened the spinnaker sheet on the starboard side and pulled it back down. I uncleated the halyard, which promptly fouled at the clutch. One of the lines tangled round the fuel handle, which came flying up at me just as the boom flew across in an uncontrolled gybe. Good thing the boom is above my head. I felt it brush the top of my hat. Good thing the fuel handle didn’t clock me. Dura Mater, poor thing, and I were laid on our side for way too long. And then, as the sail sank into the water my boat and I lay ahull for long minutes, while I caught my breath and considered the situation: Nothing was broken. I wasn’t dead. The mast hadn’t fallen. In my world that means that it wasn’t a disaster.

    I slowly dragged my spinnaker up out of the water, and tossed it down into the cabin on top of the first pile of nylon. What an ignominious way to end the day. Oh well. There’s always tomorrow. I turned on the engine and pointed toward Berkeley. Called Carliane and chatted about the day. Another day on the water, another Fiasco under the belt.

  9. #19
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    Great story, DURA MATER! As the late Chick Hearn used to say: "No harm, no foul."

  10. #20
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    Thanks for sharing your story Dura Mater; well written. Knocked down while flying the chute at night, and pinned by an a*hole in the clutch? Sounds familiar somehow :-)

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