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Getting More From Your Genny Archy Posted - 11/12/2007

How many times have you seen a gennaker with measles lots of little self-adhesive patches below the bottom downhaul patch? Most of us have done it sometimes without realising. You come back from a really enjoyable days sailing only to find a hole in the gennaker. Sometimes, you know when its all gone wrong and youve heaved too hard on the downhaul to get out of a tricky situation. Other times, for no reason at all!
Some owners say its snagging, others bunching, maybe even rope burn! The 2000 does seem to be a trifle voracious when it comes to gennakers, but there are some things that you can do to minimise the risk. Here, from one who has learned the hard way, are a few ideas (most of them copied from others) for getting a little more life out of your genny.

Click on the thumbnails to open a larger image ....

Physical Protection
The jib furling gear has a nice sharp edge on it. Use a 20mm rubber grommet for additional protection - as used with galvanised boxes (pattresses) boxes for mounting light switches & sockets.

The are some plastic spacers at the end of the jib bar, but they are not always flush with the ends of the aluminium tube. Cover any sharp edges with tape (some people have recommended cable ties).

The forestay eye strap is a good contender make sure its taped up.
Note: When sailing the forestay should be secured to the mast step.

The jib shackle should be taped up after hoisting the jib I use a shackle with a slot-head pin. Its not as easy to fit but it does not have such a large protrusion to tape over.

The full Monty: tape, tape, tape and a bit of rubber!

Setting Up
There is a knot and bobble on the tack line inside the genny pole. The bobble retracts the pole when the genny enters the sock. However, if the bobble is too close to the end of the tack line then during the final stages of retrieval the pole is being pulled upwards rather than backwards. This means more pull is required on the downhaul. The optimum set-up seems to be around 300mm of pole extension when the genny is fully home.
Note: More pole extension also means you get to the finish line sooner, but be careful when manoeuvring at close quarters!

Use an extra bobble or just a large loop on the downhaul to prevent bunching. Ideally, the two patches should be separated by some 100-150mm.

Its all too easy for the genny halyard to recleat itself during the drop. Use some elastic tied to the gooseneck to keep the halyard clear of the jambing cleat. Some people use a stainless steel ring between the fairlead and the cleat, but the principle is the same.

Oh and dont forget: If you can afford it, some Sailkote or equivalent on the sail and around the entry to the sock will ease the genny back in whilst also helping to keep the water out of the fabric.
In Action
The downhaul can only be attached to one side of the sail. Mine has the patches on the Port side. As a consequence, when on Port tack, the downhaul runs freely inside the sail, and during the drop the sail follows the two patches into the sock. However, when on Starboard, the downhaul runs outside the sail and during the drop the lower third of the sail can get snarled up on the downhaul or anything else that gets in the way. In my experience, this is when the damage occurs. If you can plan ahead, then always aim to drop your gennaker whilst on Port. Most race courses are set with marks rounded to Port so maybe Laser/Hyde got it right!
Regardless of which side you are flying your gennaker, the drop seems to be more successful if the sail is full for a long as possible. For example, if you are sailing deep downwind in light airs and the genny collapses, it can take a lot of effort to pull it in, especially on Starboard. Try heading up slightly to fill the sail, then go for the drop. How do you keep it filling? Well if the crew is working the halyard and downhaul, pass the sheets to the helm. Conversely, if the helm is working the strings, the crew hangs on for a couple of seconds longer during the drop.
Contingency Planning
If all else fails make sure you have some spinnaker repair tape in your bag!
by AndyB

Note: Original topic by Andy Baldwin 06/12/2003.


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