Improvised twin headsails

11/23/2010 12:00 by Thorsten Böhnke

After our gennaker tore yesterday, we created improvised twin headsails using the drifter and Genoa. Hence, we were able to increase our speed to over 7 knots.

The position of the Ulysses is 10°56’N, 35°43’W, with a wind of 14 knots from the northeast. Our course is 280° with a speed of 7.5 knots.

Since our gennaker tore yesterday, we needed to come up with a way to increase the amount of sail in front of the wind. We came up with the good old twin headsails, a favourite sail used by yachts sailing across the Atlantic with the trade winds in the past. This sail consists of two equally large foresails whose aft edges are held out into the wind to starboard and port using poles or pipes, the so-called booms. As we do not have two equally large foresails, we instead used the drifter, a large, light foresail, and the Genoa, our regular foresail.

The Ulysses has only one spinnaker pole. This means that we normally can only boom out to one side. At this point, however, our captain came up with a good idea: we set the large drifter using the mainsail boom, and used the spinnaker pole for the Genoa. Voilà - our improvised double foresail was complete! In this way we were able to increase our speed to over 7 knots.


After rough-toothed dolphins visited us the day before yesterday, we were accompanied by killer whales (orcas) for approximately 15 minutes yesterday. Our double foresail hardly allows any changes in course. One especially cheeky whale, however, dove under the Ulysses between our keel and rudder blade.

Today I’m taking advantage of the calm weather to work on the rough cut of our trailer.

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