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Are square sails more stable than a spinnaker? I am using a gennaker for my T 38 but get annoyed when it suddenly collapses and then starts thrashing round like a made thing before filling again and carrying on as before. Not good for the sail too I'm sure. Any experience or comments? cheers Brett

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clearly I can't spell! :)

What are square sails?

Why is your gennaker collapsing? When a gennaker collapses it is usually caused by improper trim, improper set, or the wind it too light. The great thing about flying asymmetrical spinnakers on multis is that you can square them up when running by moving the tack to the opposite hull.

thanks BB. Yes I do square it up, but maybe I need to work more on the trim and set.  I think the problem occurs more when the wind is up and the boat is  self steering and the bum can get thrown around a little with a following sea, which would change the trim somewhat....

I do find the gennaker a great sail in general. Would be nice if you could reef them sometimes.

downwind sails are usually easier and more stable if flown on their own , without the main blanketing them.  There is an old guy here that went around the world using a cheaply made square sail downwind in the trades, like the old square riggers, You could experiment with a cheap tarp and a pole for an upper boom, in fact I would swap a nice warehouse tarp  and some bamboo for your troublesome gennaker if you like.   !!!   When you see what local boats use in the tropics you realize that a few cheap tarps and bamboo poles could be handy if you had rig or sail damage on the way somewhere.  I have a furling screecher that I will try for downwind but will look out for a spinnaker as well.   Pretty slow downwind with working sails if under 15 knots, where as a good gennaker can take you from motoring in light winds to a very smooth 6 knots or more

Is it not better to sail the angles to increase the apparent wind and keep the sail shape? Last year I sailed down wind all the way home. I watched another Tiki sail big legs at angles. He was home well before me.

You can set your sights off my gennaker bro! Cheeky bugger:)

I mostly use it on its own. It makes for such easy sailing except when it has a hissy fit, which tends to be in fresher conditions so I may be doing something wrong. I saw an interesting article on square sails and they look pretty versatile and easy to reef.

I agree you could make a very cheap sail here with some cheaps tarps and bamboo. The widths of our boats is handy too!

Hi Ian. Thats interesting. I think I must be getting lazy in my old age because I love just setting the gennie and self steering and cranking up the stereo. Its always fun to sail with other boats because you tend to sail better. But no-one ever owns up to actually "racing" though aye!

Any one experimented with square sails?

Yes, 20 degrees off the sterns will definitely increase speed made good and keep the sail filled.

Ian Bamsey said:

Is it not better to sail the angles to increase the apparent wind and keep the sail shape? Last year I sailed down wind all the way home. I watched another Tiki sail big legs at angles. He was home well before me.

I've built an A2 downwind sail. First outing last weekend and it's good at around 140 to 170 degs. 

Thanks BB will experiement a bit more with angles.

Hi Ian. Hope that boat is well tied to the wharf! She looks like whe wants to get going!!

Wow that looks really great. Interesting that your A2 doesn't go to the top of the mast. Is there a reason for that? Intersting too you are using a sprit rather than the rope traveler between the bows. Well done.

Hi Brett, the A2 usually goes up higher. It's just up quickly here to dry whilst we unloaded after a few days. The sprit just gets the sail further in front of the main to catch more breeze. The whole thing is a bit of fun and not all based on experience or knowledge, so don't read too much into it.

On the subject of downwind angles, this just popped up on Twitter. 

Thanks Ian for the video.

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