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Thread: Spinnaker Nets

  1. #1
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    Default Spinnaker Nets

    I'm about to start making my spinnaker net, and I have a question for people who've used them before:

    What kind of material should it be made of? From the little information I've found, it seems like nylon webbing is pretty popular, but I was thinking of using the core of an old spinnaker sheet with a busted cover, which would be really light. Seems like it could really be made out of almost anything. Is chafe a big concern? Strength? Spreading the contact area with the chute?

    I was planning on tying off the leading edge of the net to the bow pulpit so that it extends forward of the forestay, and keeping a bungee on a hook at the mast base to stow it during jibes.

    Any other tips or thoughts on the ideal spinnaker net would be appreciated.

    Adrian

  2. #2
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    Sep 2007
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    Default

    How you mount the net when in use depends to some degree on how you're headstay is configured: if you're use a roller furler it may mount differently than if you're using hanks or a foil. The entire point is to prevent a gap opening up between the headstay and the net through which a portion of the spinnaker can sneak and form a wrap.

    For hanks you can leave the net permanently attached to the stay for the duration of the race and the net does not need to be all that taught. (e.g., you can hank the net to the headstay if you use headsail hanks and the net simply rides up the headstay when you hoist a headsail; when the headsail comes down the net descends into position and you're in business).

    For a foil you can set the luff of the net into short sections of luff tape (connected to each other by a line) and hoist the net up the luff tape after dousing the headsail and before unleashing the spinnaker.

    If you're using a roller furler then you'll need a way to keep the luff of the net bar tight such that the net stays alongside the furler and a gap does not open up between the headstay/furler and the net luff.

    I constructed my spinnaker net from 1" flat (not tubular - flat weighs less) nylon webbing, and it's worked out fine. The cross-webs (fore & aft lengths that lead from the headstay to the mast) are just sewn to the luff and leach of the net. I attach the net luff to a tack hook set at the base of the headstay and hoist it up on a spare jib halyard, make it bar tight on a winch, then lead the net luff back to the base of the mast and tie it off.

    I expect that it would not be difficult to make a net from round line rather than webbing, perhaps attaching the cross-webs with knots or splices. Somehow sewing seems simpler, at least if you have access to a sewing machine.

    I divided the mast height by 12 and made that many cross-webs (about five feet apart on a sixty foot rig). So far that's been sufficient to prevent the spinnaker from wrapping through the fore triangle.

    One note on running the net back to the mast while gybing - you may discover you have problems with the net fouling the spin pole topping lift. Running the net forward to the headstay for a gybe (not aft to the mast) makes it simpler to gybe the spinnaker and easy to re-attach at the base of the mast.

    If you're switching out from the spinnaker to a headsail you may be tempted to swing the net luff out of the way by tying it off at the base of the mast and then leave it there. I had a problem when I left the net hanging out all night that way - in the morning I found some of the cross-webs had become tangled up in the cap shroud, which necessitated a lot of goofing around and tugging on the net from the foredeck to get the cross-webs to unwrap themselves (it would not have been good to climb up to the second spreader to undo it manually). So now I douse it completely if I'm not going to re-rig the net straight away.

    - rob/beetle


    Quote Originally Posted by cafemontaigne View Post
    I'm about to start making my spinnaker net, and I have a question for people who've used them before:

    What kind of material should it be made of? From the little information I've found, it seems like nylon webbing is pretty popular, but I was thinking of using the core of an old spinnaker sheet with a busted cover, which would be really light. Seems like it could really be made out of almost anything. Is chafe a big concern? Strength? Spreading the contact area with the chute?

    I was planning on tying off the leading edge of the net to the bow pulpit so that it extends forward of the forestay, and keeping a bungee on a hook at the mast base to stow it during jibes.

    Any other tips or thoughts on the ideal spinnaker net would be appreciated.

    Adrian
    Last edited by tiger beetle; 03-10-2010 at 02:34 PM.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2007
    Location
    San Francisco Bay
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    173

    Default The Spinnaker Net by The Spinnaker Shop

    Stan Honey and Sally Lindsay perfected a spinnaker net design and storage bag system: http://www.spinnakershop.com/Spinnaker%20Net.htm
    I've built a number of them when I worked at The Spinnaker Shop and I continue to build them with Sally's permission now that the shop has closed.

    Their design tacks to the base of the forestay and the "luff " always attaches to the forestay; either with hanks to the bare wire, small loops of webbing that wrap around a headfoil, or larger loops of webbing that wrap around the furled headsail. Their design includes only 3 or 4 horizontal webs, depending on the boat size. The big bonus with their design is the storage/organizing bag which keeps the net from becoming a tangled mess when not being used.

    I'm not aware of any issues with chafe or strength in general. But when things go bad with a spinnaker, they can go really bad (check with the General and Warriors Wish in 2008). You can expect that the net will prevent most spinnaker wraps that you can catch and correct early. But for the midnight round down - accidental gybe - in a squall - while your sleeping scenario, you might want to use your #4. But that might cause the round down in the first place.

    Synthia/Eyrie
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip.
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. On your way to a world that others might have missed.
    ~ Blues Image

  4. #4
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    Sep 2007
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    I have one of Synthia's (made from the Spinnaker Shop design), with big enough loops to go over furled twins. The storage bag is as important as the net. It's the bomb! (My kids tell me that means it's really great.)

    Speaking of rigging, the SHTP Rigging seminar is Monday night (3/15) at OYC. Give your rig some "Panda love" . . . I'll post a more formal announcement tonight.
    Last edited by BobJ; 03-11-2010 at 01:31 PM.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Carolina
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    Default Spinnaker Nets

    In reference to Synthia's Post

    I will never fly a kite singlehanded without a spinnaker net.

    I will never use a spinnaker sock again.

    I will always head downwind to raise and drop a kite.

    I will never vary from practiced proceedures. Shortcuts will haunt you!!

  6. #6
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    May 2009
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    Default

    Thanks for the replies. Based on these suggestions, I think I'm going to take the luff tape off an old genoa and sew it on to the leading edge of my net, since I have a foil. I'll have to try it out and see if I can peel from headsails to the net and back.

    I'll remember to set up the bungee at the bow to be able to bring the net forward for the jibe.

    Adrian

  7. #7
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    Sep 2007
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    San Francisco Bay
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    Default Butterfly Spinnaker Nets

    I've heard that there has been some experimentation with double spinnaker nets for boats that carry a furled stays'l, such that the "leeches" secure to each shroud base instead of the mast base, thus protecting the the spinnaker from the furled stays'l on both sides. It seems that the ever present risk of 'when lines meet they want to get tangled up' might outweigh the advantage of the double net. Often, it seems, that sailors try to think up problems to avoid, and then over engineer a solution that creates other problems. Is this a KISS (keep it simple stupid) scenario?

    Synthia/Eyrie
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip.
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. On your way to a world that others might have missed.
    ~ Blues Image

  8. #8
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    Seattle
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    That sounds like way more trouble than it's worth. Already my single net is a total rat's nest when it's not flying... Was this driven by people getting wraps around a staysail with the net up, or just trying to avoid every possible scenario?

    The horizontal components of my net only start about halfway up the rig, which is plenty enough to keep wraps from happening. I found a way to jibe with the net in place by tossing the aft line over the spinnaker pole. Eliminates the very high risk of wraps during the jibe. The aft links are made with knots, not sewn, so when I hoist it halfway and realize it's all tangled up, I can just undo the offending links, straighten it up and re-tie.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Thx for the reply and recount of your experiences.

    I think this approach is someone trying to over think all the potential mishaps until a simple tool is too complicated to bother with.
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip.
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. On your way to a world that others might have missed.
    ~ Blues Image

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