How To Rig, Set Up & Hoist a Spinnaker: Full Guide

It's a beautiful, sunny day. You're sailing upwind, and all around you colorful spinnakers fill and flutter as boats sail the other way. Wouldn't it be nice to break that sail out of the bag for the ride back down wind?

How do you rig, set up and hoist a spinnaker?

  • Prepare the kite by finding the corner and making sure the sail isn't twisted
  • Run your spinnaker sheets and guys before attaching to tack and clew
  • Attach the halyard to the head, make sure it is outside the headstay
  • Set the pole by putting the sheets and guys in the pole's jaws
  • Hoist the pole
  • Hoist the spinnaker

It seems daunting, but the principles of setting a symmetrical spinnaker are the same whether you're on a 420 dinghy or a fifty foot racer. You may have a few more lines, but the general process is: prep the spinnaker, connect the lines to the sail, hoist the pole on the windward side, then hoist and trim the sail.

There's a little more to it (of course), and each step has a few things to get right. But we've got you covered.

spinnaker sailboat

On this page:

Spinnaker basics, steps to set it, setting problems, the bear-away set, asymmetrical differences.

Spinnaker come in two types: symmetrical and asymmetrical. The symmetry refers to the length of the sides of the sails. An asymmetrical spinnaker has a tack and a distinct leech . A symmetrical spinnaker has both sides the same length and requires a pole to position. The tack and leech of a symmetrical sail depends on which side the pole is on - the pole side is the tack. Symmetrical sails aresailed deeper downwind with the poles, whereas asymmetrical spinnakers are better at reaching and sailing at higher angles, and are simpler to set and handle.

In this article, we'll focus mainly on symmetrical spinnakers.

Spinnaker Controls and Lines

A spinnaker connects the boat with a halyard at the head of the sail to hoist it, a sheet on the leeward side, and a guy on the windward side. While the guy is a pole control, some boats use dedicated sheets and guys, while some use a single line that switches function between sheet and guy as the sail jibes from side to side. In either case, the guy connects to the sail, not the pole, and runs through the jaws of the pole. The sheet is used to trim the sail as we adjust the pole with the guy.

When the sail is set, the lines not under load are the lazy guy or sheet. The sheet on the windward side and the guy on the leeward side will be the lazy sheet and lazy guy . Not all boats use separate sheets and guys, so there may not be a lazy guy/sheet.

Pole Controls

The spinnaker guy is used to control the position of the pole, and the angle of attack of the sail to the wind. Trim to keep the pole at a right angle to the wind. Most poles have a pole topping lift and a downhaul (also called a foreguy ). On the mast, there will be a pole car or ring with an attachment point which sets the inboard height of the pole. The topping lift and foreguy keep the pole in a level position, perpendicular to the water, and can be adjusted to match the car position. The pole is trimmed lower in lighter air, though a detailed spinnaker trimming guide is outside the scope of this post.

spinnaker sailboat

For simplicity, we'll assume you’re out for a simple sail, not racing. The jib is down, and you're ready to turn the boat down wind. Racers do things a little differently, but you will need to master a basic bareheaded set before you get too fancy.

Step 1 - Prepping the Kite

("kite" or "chute" are common nicknames for a spinnaker)

To launch a spinnaker from a bag without twists, someone needs to run the tapes when the spinnaker is packed. Find the head of the sail, run it between your fingers down one edge of the sail (or the tape , referring to the thicker reinforcement on the edge), making sure there are no twists or loops. Continue until you reach the next corner. If you find any twists or loops, work then out. Leave that corner outside the bag, then start again at the head and run the other tape. Leave the head and two clews out. This step can be done at the dock before leaving, or any time, as long as someone knows it has been properly packed . Do not assume.

You can bring the spinnaker bag up on deck for this, or leave it in the v-berth if there is a hatch suitable for pulling it through. This is more common when racing.

Step 2 - Plugging in the Spinnaker

Spinnaker sheets and guys should be run before connecting to the spinnaker. Most sheets and guys go through a fairlead or turning block at the stern of the boat before running forward to the spinnaker.

When you run the lines, take care they are free and outside of all lifelines, jib sheets and other obstructions before connecting to them to the tack and clew of the sail. Take the halyard and connect it to the head, making sure it is outside the headstay and any pole control lines or other entanglements.

Step 3 - Setting the Pole

If the pole isn’t normally stored on the mast, one end will need to connected. Attach the topping lift and down haul, and put the sheets and guys in the jaws now.

Whether the jaws go up or down is a personal preference, and some boats work better than others in different positions. Some argue that spinnaker forces pull up, so that jaws-down holds them from flying out when it's opened. Others maintain it's easier and more natural to slap a non-loaded sheet and guy into a jaws-up pole, with gravity to hold it there. This is a question of comfort and experience.

Hoist the pole to the proper height for the breeze.

Step 4 - Hoist!

When the boat is turned off the wind to the angle you want to sail, you are ready to hoist the sail.

With the pole set forward, hoist the sail up quickly with the halyard, then trim the sail and pole once it is at full hoist.

  • You won't be able to trim the pole until the spinnaker is mostly up, but move it back when you can. It will help it fill and stay under control.
  • To get the sail up more quickly, you can have someone at the mast to "bump" the halyard by pulling it at the mast while some else takes up the slack.
  • If launching from a bag, attach the bag to the boat or you might launch it into the air with the sail. Most bags have Velcro straps or clips on them for connecting to lifelines or other boat hardware.

There are a few problems to watch for when setting. Twists, hourglasses, and forestay wraps are the most common, and can even happen with a properly packed spinnaker with no twists, though that is the most common cause of hour-glassing and wraps.

Avoid pulling too hard or panicking when these things happen, it just wraps things tighter. You can worked twists out if you stop the hoist and pull down from the center of the foot and the clew. If it's too bad, lower the sail, untwist it, rerun tapes, and re-pack the sail.

When racing, it's slow to run "bare headed" without a jib. Racers will do a "bear-away" set, which is like the set described above, except on a few points. It's easier and faster, but it takes more people and a little preparation since a quick set is the goal.

  • The jib is left up, so the spinnaker halyard runs outside the jib when the spinnaker is connected.
  • The spinnaker can be hoisted earlier as the jib will blanket it.
  • The pole can be trimmed back when the sail is out and filling.
  • The jib is "blown" - quickly released and gathered on the deck for the down wind leg.

Since there is no pole, an asymmetrical spinnaker is far easier to rig, set, and hoist. There are only two sheets, and no pole controls.

  • Most boats will have a short pole on the bow for attaching the tack. There may be an adjustable tack line to set the tack height for different conditions. The pole may also have adjustments.
  • The lazy sheet should run around the outside headstay.
  • Many asymmetrical spinnakers have a dousing sock or turtle , which makes launching easier. The sail is hoisted inside this cover, then the sock pulled down to let the sail fill.
  • Some asymmetrical spinnakers can be rigged on a detachable, lightweight furler.
  • Asymmetrical spinnakers can not sail as deep down wind as a symmetrical sail with a pole. However, they can be carried at higher angles of reaching and can make up for the lack of down wind capability with more reaching speed.

You stated for symmetrical spinnaker that the pole is kept “perpendicular to the water - wrong - it should be perpendicular to the wind

Bill Wheary

The pole is kept perpendicular to the MAST to that the luff of the spinnaker is as far as possible from the mast and luff of the main.

Although the pole is usually set as close to perpendicular to the wind, in most cases the pole is adjusted so as to position the the CORD between the spinnaker tack and clew perpendicular to the wind.

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Spinnaker Sails: Navigating the Winds of Adventure

  • Spinnaker Sails: Navigating the Winds of Adventure

Sailing enthusiasts, brace yourselves! In the world of sailing, nothing quite matches the thrill of harnessing the power of the wind with a spinnaker sail. Whether you're a seasoned sailor or a novice eager to learn, understanding the nuances of spinnaker sailing opens up a world of possibilities. Let's embark on a journey through the seas of knowledge, exploring the art and science of spinnaker sails.

Introduction

Brief overview of spinnaker sails.

Picture this: a vast expanse of open water, your sailboat gliding gracefully, propelled by the billowing beauty of a spinnaker sail. Spinnaker sails, often called kites, are specialty sails designed for downwind sailing. They come in various shapes and sizes, each catering to specific sailing conditions.

Importance of Spinnaker in Sailing

The spinnaker is not just a sail ; it's a game-changer. It allows sailors to harness wind power efficiently, enhancing speed and performance. Whether you're cruising or racing, understanding how to deploy and manage a spinnaker adds a new dimension to your sailing experience.

Understanding Spinnaker Sails

Definition and types of spinnaker.

At its core, a spinnaker is a large, lightweight sail designed for sailing off the wind. There are two main types: symmetrical kites, perfect for downwind runs, and asymmetrical spinnakers, ideal for reaching and running in various wind angles.

Components of a Spinnaker Sail

To master the art of spinnaker sailing, it's crucial to understand the key components of the sail. From the head and tack to the clew, each part plays a vital role in ensuring optimal performance.

Sailing with Spinnakers

Techniques for using spinnakers.

Hoisting a spinnaker is one thing; sailing with it is another. Learn the techniques to catch the wind efficiently, including gybing and reaching, to make the most of your spinnaker experience.

Advantages and Challenges of Spinnaker Sailing

While the benefits of spinnaker sailing are vast, challenges like accidental gybes and handling in strong winds exist. Discover how to navigate these challenges for a smoother sailing experience.

Spinnaker Rigging

Key aspects of spinnaker rigging.

Rigging a spinnaker requires precision. Explore the key aspects of rigging, from attaching the halyard to securing the sheets, ensuring a secure and efficient setup.

Step-by-Step Guide to Rigging a Spinnaker

Delve into a step-by-step guide on how to rig a spinnaker. Whether you're a beginner or need a refresher, these detailed instructions will have you rigging like a pro in no time.

White sailboat on a sunny day, first person perspective

Different Types of Spinnaker Sails

Symmetrical kite vs. asymmetrical spinnaker.

Uncover the differences between symmetrical and asymmetrical spinnakers. Each type has its advantages, and choosing the right one depends on your sailing style and preferences.

Choosing the Right Spinnaker for Your Sailboat

Not all spinnakers are created equal. Learn how to select the perfect spinnaker for your sailboat, considering factors like size, material, and sailing conditions.

Sailboat Diagrams and Rigging

Importance of sailboat diagrams.

Sailboat diagrams serve as invaluable tools for understanding rigging and sail deployment. Explore the significance of these diagrams and how they enhance your sailing knowledge.

Understanding Sailboat Rigging with Diagrams

Break down the complexity of sailboat rigging with the help of diagrams. From running rigging to spinnaker poles, visualize the setup to enhance your comprehension.

Addressing Common Issues

How to prevent letterbox flapping in the wind.

For many sailors, the flapping of the letterbox can be a nuisance. Discover effective tips to prevent this common issue, ensuring a peaceful and undisturbed sailing experience.

Solutions for Spinnaker-Related Challenges

Spinnaker sailing comes with its share of challenges. Explore solutions to common issues like tangled lines and accidental jibes, ensuring smooth sailing every time.

The Art of Spinnaker Flying

Tips for a successful spinnaker flying experience.

Flying a spinnaker is an art that requires finesse. Learn valuable tips, from trimming the sail to adjusting the pole, to maximize your enjoyment while sailing downwind.

Enhancing Sailing Skills with Spinnaker Maneuvers

Take your sailing skills to the next level with spinnaker maneuvers. Master the art of gybing and reaching, adding versatility to your sailing repertoire.

Read our top notch articles on topics such as sailing, sailing tips and destinations in our  Magazine.

Spinnaker Sailing and Yachts

Integrating spinnakers into yacht sailing.

Yachts, with their larger sails, pose unique challenges and opportunities for spinnaker sailing. Explore how to integrate spinnakers seamlessly into yacht sailing for an exhilarating experience.

Advantages of Using Spinnakers on Yachts

Discover the advantages of using spinnakers on yachts, from increased speed to a more dynamic and engaging sailing experience.

Step-by-Step Spinnaker Sheet Guide

Importance of spinnaker sheets.

Spinnaker sheets play a crucial role in sail control. Understand their importance and learn how to rig and handle them effectively for optimal performance.

Rigging and Handling Spinnaker Sheets

A detailed guide on the proper rigging and handling of spinnaker sheets. Explore the intricacies of sheet control to enhance your overall sailing experience.

Yacht Spinnaker Rigging Diagram

Understanding the rigging process with a diagram.

Dive into the intricacies of yacht spinnaker rigging with the help of detailed diagrams. Visualize the setup and avoid common mistakes for a seamless sailing experience.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Spinnaker Rigging

Learn from the mistakes of others. Explore common errors in spinnaker rigging and discover how to avoid them for a safer and more enjoyable sailing journey.

Sailing Pole and Its Role

Significance of sailing poles in spinnaker sailing.

Sailing poles play a crucial role in spinnaker sailing maneuvers. Uncover their significance and how to use them effectively for enhanced performance.

Proper Use and Handling of Sailing Poles

A step-by-step guide on the proper use and handling of sailing poles. Whether you're a novice or an experienced sailor, mastering this skill is essential for successful spinnaker sailing.

Purchasing Asymmetrical Spinnakers

Factors to consider when buying asymmetrical spinnakers.

Looking to invest in an asymmetrical spinnaker? Explore the factors to consider, from size to material, ensuring you make an informed and satisfying purchase.

Where to Find Quality Asymmetrical Spinnakers for Sale

Finding the right asymmetrical spinnaker is crucial. Discover reliable sources and marketplaces where you can purchase quality sails for your sailing adventures.

Sailing Safety Tips

Ensuring safety while using spinnakers.

Safety should always be a priority. Explore essential tips and precautions to ensure a safe sailing experience when using spinnakers.

Precautions and Guidelines for Spinnaker Sailing

Delve into specific precautions and guidelines for spinnaker sailing. From checking weather conditions to proper communication, these tips enhance the safety of your sailing adventures.

Recap of Key Points

Summarize the key takeaways from the article, emphasizing the importance of spinnaker sailing and the skills acquired.

Encouragement for Readers to Explore Spinnaker Sailing

Conclude with an encouraging message, urging readers to embrace the thrill of spinnaker sailing and embark on their own exciting journeys.

Get Ready to Set Sail!

As we wrap up our exploration of spinnaker sailing, remember that the seas are calling, and adventure awaits. The world of spinnaker sails is vast and exhilarating, offering endless possibilities for those willing to ride the winds. Whether you're a seasoned sailor or a curious novice, spinnaker sailing is an art worth mastering.

So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our  range of charter boats  and head to some of our favourite 

sailing  destinations .

Yachting Monthly

  • Digital edition

Yachting Monthly cover

Spinnaker masterclass: tailored downwind sailing

James Stevens

  • James Stevens
  • March 15, 2021

There’s more than one way to rig, hoist, set and drop your spinnaker. Choosing the right setup and skills is key to success with the kite, explains James Stevens

A yacht flying a yellow and red spinnaker sail

Set properly and using the right techniques for your boat, nothing beats a good passage under spinnaker. Credit: David Harding

There are, I suspect a surprising number of cruising yachts which have a spinnaker in their sail locker which has never come out of the bag.

The kind of pictures loved by yachting photographers of racing boats on their ear with spinnakers in the water and crew hanging on by their fingertips do little to encourage cruising yachtsmen.

On the other hand a spinnaker can take hours off a cross-Channel trip and it’s a real pleasure to feel the boat powering downwind with the thought of an early arrival.

It looks good too. But you have to know the ropes because as the pictures show it can go spectacularly wrong on a windy day.

Often cruising sailors will have learned to use a spinnaker, either in dinghies or on a racing boat.

If you try to replicate this on a cruising boat, often with a small crew and with a makeshift rigging setup, you’ll be sailing into troubled waters.

A yacht knocked down

What if it goes pear-shaped? Knowing how to control the sail, and what to do when it goes wrong is the key to mastering the spinnaker. Credit: Rick Tomlinson

Getting the rigging right for your boat and choosing the skills that are going to work best for your crew will help you keep control of the sail and maintain calm on board.

The secret when starting out is to think it through and set it in light winds when making a mistake is easily retrievable.

In displacement yachts, symmetric spinnakers tend to be the most effective way of sailing downwind.

With an asymmetric you’ll need to sail the angles and gybe , but 
a symmetric lets you sail dead downwind.

They can, however, be used when the wind angle from the bow is from about 80° to 180° so they’re very versatile sails.

The most comfortable point of sail is a broad reach at about 120° to the wind.

Spinnakers become harder to control as the wind moves forward, the apparent wind increases and the boat heels more, or with the wind right aft as the boat slows and there’s a danger of an accidental gybe especially if it’s rough.

The difficult skills are raising, lowering and gybing.

Systems like snuffers can help with this, but we’ll look at the basic skills, which can then be modified.

Once the spinnaker 
is up it is relatively easy to trim and if the wind is stable and if the helm can steer a straight course, you can enjoy fast, relaxed cruising.

Using the spinnaker: the right sails and setup

Half the battle with flying a spinnaker is making sure you’ve got your setup right before you hoist.

As we all know, the spinnaker halyard exits the mast above the forestay, while the two clews are sheeted back to the cockpit via blocks on the quarter, and the guys are led aft via blocks midships.

The pole height is controlled by an uphaul at the mast and a downhaul, which is led aft via a block on the foredeck.

The pole’s inboard end attaches to the mast, often on an adjustable track, and the windward guy passes through the jaws on the pole’s outboard end next to the windward clew.

Hardware is changing

Racing innovations are helping make life easier for cruising sailors, says David Barden, production director at Allspars.

‘Many racing teams are using modern soft attachments, blocks and rings, including soft Dyneema pad eyes combined with blocks such as Karver KBO and INO blocks that can deal with the high loads but are extremely light. These are also popular in long-distance cruising because they are robust and reliable and don’t have metal fittings that can fatigue.

‘Although blocks still produce less friction, low-friction rings are used all over boats; they work well on tweaker lines. If you are end-to-end gybing, tweakers mean you only need one sheet on each side, and you pull the windward tweaker on to turn the sheet into a guy.

‘Snugging the leeward tweaker down in heavy conditions help stabilise the spinnaker.;

Sail choice is critical

Using the wrong spinnaker could make your life difficult too, says Peter Sanders of Sanders Sails.

‘The chances are that only one spinnaker will be carried so it must cover all the conditions that the crew are capable of using it in. The problem with most symmetric spinnakers on cruising yachts is that they are just too heavy.

A diagram showing details of the boat and spinnaker

Credit: Maxine Heath

‘The cheapest nylon that you can buy is 1.5oz, therefore it is common for sailmakers to offer this weight for all yachts over 30ft, but it is heavy, bulky and requires at least 12 knots of apparent wind to stop it from hanging like a deflated balloon.

‘Sailing downwind, this means a true wind of about 18 knots, which is too much for most cruisers to consider a spinnaker. Most of the time, ‘light is right’, so 0.75oz spinnakers on yacht up to 35ft and 0.9oz above that, are much easier to handle, set and gybe.

‘If you have an old or second-hand spinnaker, it may not be the right size. The result will be instability, rolling and the possibility of broaching, which never helps relations on board. Similarly, spinnakers have some stretch to absorb gusts, but if it’s old, it will become deeper and baggier with tight leech tapes and it will retain water making it hard to set.

‘Most spinnakers today are made with a true-radial panel layout thanks to the advancement in sail design software. In the past, spinnakers were made on the floor so the middle panels were horizontally cut, making it possible for the sailmaker to shape the seams.’

Using a spinnaker: the hoist

The first hoist needs to be in light winds.

A man preparing a sail

Before you hoist, prepare the spinnaker on what will be the leeward side. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

It is easier to hoist the spinnaker with the jib set – this avoids the spinnaker wrapping round the forestay before it’s trimmed.

Secure the bag on the foredeck on the leeward side by the rail at the foot of the jib.

A man fixing a pole on the deck of a yacht

Setting the pole is the next step. Make sure that the end jaw is facing upwards so that the pole can drop down and away from the sheet in a gybe. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Attach the sheet and guy to the sail.

Double check that the sheet and guy are over and not through the guardrails – every racing skipper will have had this problem at least once.

A crew pulling a line at the mast on a yacht

If you have enough crew, it’s essential to hoist hand-over-hand at the mast, and you’ll also be able to see the masthead for when the spinnaker is set. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

The guy goes round the front of the forestay.

Hoist the heel of the pole on the mast to about head height.

The outer end of the pole should be on the windward side of the forestay.

Put the guy through the jaw of the pole.

A crew member holding sail at the bow of a boat

Once the sail is full, it’s harder to winch the guy back, so sneak the guy back, bringing the windward clew up to the end of the pole and off the forestay. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Attach the halyard to the head of the sail; this is quite tricky as it has to pass outside the jib.

Hoist the outer end of the pole with the uphaul until it is horizontal.

Have a little slack on the downhaul but secure it or it will lift up too far when the spinnaker fills.

A woman holding a line on a winch

Mark your halyard to show when the sail is fully hoisted, says rigging expert David Barden. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Using the guy pull the corner of the spinnaker out of the bag.

This is known as sneaking the guy.

Hold on to or, if short crewed, secure the sheet and guy so they don’t run when they come under tension.

Right, now for the big moment.

Steer downwind to keep the spinnaker blanketed by the mainsail and pull the spinnaker halyard hand over hand as fast as possible.

A yacht sailing on the solent

With the hoist complete, tidy up on deck, and adjust the pole and sheets to trim the sail. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

You might have to winch the last metre or so to get it to the top.

Winch in the guy which will pull the pole back and slowly steer up from a run to a broad reach.

Sheet in the spinnaker and drop or roll up the jib.

Wow! It fills and the boat speed jumps up.

Where it can go wrong

A twisted spinnaker on a yacht in the Solent

Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

It’s vital that the crew in the cockpit know what the person on the foredeck is trying to do.

Everyone needs to concentrate and it helps to have someone in charge other than the helm, even if there are only a few crew.

The ropes are often led the wrong way or twisted around another rope or wire. Preparation is the best way to avoid this.

The wind has to be very light to allow you to detach a sheet or guy from a hoisted spinnaker while you undo a tangle. Normally you have to drop and start again.

Sometimes the head of the sail fills with wind and there is a twist in the middle creating a wineglass effect.

To remove this you have to unravel it upwards. The helm has to steer downwind to blanket the spinnaker being careful not to gybe.

Pull on the sheet either from the cockpit or side deck, and try and persuade the twist to move upwards. This isn’t going to work if the spinnaker is filling at the top.

If it’s really jammed it will have to come down.

If the spinnaker fills on the way up it’s going to be hard work winching the halyard. The helm can help by steering downwind.

There are a number of other problems such as hoisting it the wrong way up which means dropping it again and hoping no one notices.

Trimming the spinnaker

Set it right.

The spinnaker is most efficient when there is a flow of air across it.

The leading windward edge should be pulled aft with the guy until it is close to curling inwards.

The height of the pole should be adjusted so both clews of the spinnaker are the same height above the deck.

Wherever the leeward clew is, adjust both ends of the pole to match it and keep the pole horizontal.

A yacht with a blue and white sail

When reaching, make sure the pole is not touching the forestay. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

If the course is a beam or close reach the guy is eased forward and the sheet wound in.

The pole will need to be lowered to keep the luff tight and the clews level.

Ease the uphaul and tension the downhaul and slide the heel of the pole down the mast. Avoid allowing the pole to press against the forestay as this can cause damage to the foil track for the jib, and in extremis can break the pole.

The main usually has to be sheeted in further than normal for this point of sail to prevent it from being backwinded.

Be ready to ease the main and kicker if you become overpowered.

With the wind further aft the pole is brought back by winding in the guy and easing the sheet all the time keeping the leading edge almost curling.

A spinnaker blowing in the wind

With the pole too high, the sail pays off, inducing heel rather than drive. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Remember to ease the pole downhaul as the pole comes back.

A blue and white spinnaker on a yacht

With the pole too low, the luff is pulled tightly, luffing too early. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Keep the spinnaker close to the boat – don’t let it fly too far away from the forestay or it will rock from side to side.

With wind astern the sail is more stable if the sheet is pulled down to towards the toe rail halfway down the boat by a barber hauler.

a spinnaker

Pole back to keep the belly of the sail close to the forestay. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Racing sailors never cleat the guy or the sheet.

What can go wrong

Oversheeting the spinnaker makes the boat less stable and heel over more.

In windy weather,  this can cause the boat to screw up into the wind in a broach and it is invariably accompanied by a lot of sail flapping and an alarming amount of heel.

The main and spinnaker sheets need to be eased to allow the helm to steer downwind and get the boat back on its feet.

Releasing the kicking strap will lift the boom and allow wind to spill out of the head of the main.

A yacht with a flapping sail

If you oversheet the spinnaker, it can cause the boat to become unstable. Credit: Rick Tomlinson

This is important if the boat has heeled so far over in the wind that the boom is dragging in the water.

A common mistake is to have the guy too far forward with the sail billowing like washing on the line.

The boat will heel over more than with the correct trim and you’ll need to use more helm, which is slower.

Choose your gybe

Gybing is quite difficult when sailing shorthanded, so many cruising yachtsmen only set the spinnaker when there is a long reach ahead and lower the sail if a gybe is involved.

But of course a gybe is much quicker than dropping and resetting the sail.

On a boat over about 10 metres it is much safer to have twin sheets and guys.

Each clew of the spinnaker is connected to two ropes. The sheet is attached to the sail cringle and the guy is attached to the sheet on the back of the snap shackle.

Each corner of the sail has one rope under tension and the other, the lazy sheet or guy, slack ready for the gybe.

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The lazy sheet should be resting above and not below the end of the pole.

It is helpful to have the guys and sheets made of different colours as there is going to be a lot of rope in the cockpit.

The reason for this system is that during the gybe, the spinnaker can be sailed using the two sheets and no pole while the guys are swapped over on the end of the pole.

Sos the foredeck crew is not having to handle a spinnaker pole with a bar-tight rope on the end of it.

Talk this one through before you start. Everyone needs to understand what is happening at both ends of the boat.

The dip pole gybe

Steer on a very broad reach without collapsing the spinnaker.

Raise the heel of the pole up the track on the mast. Wind in the lazy sheet on the windward side on a winch.

A man wearing a lifejacket holding on to two lines

1. Grab the guy . Prepare for the gybe by taking the lazy guy forward to the bow. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

The guy, which is through the pole, is now slack.

The foredeck crew releases the jaws on the end of the pole and the guy will lift out leaving the spinnaker flying with the sheets and no pole.

The helm has to steer carefully to keep the spinnaker filling especially if it starts swaying from side to side.

A man setting up a dip pole gybe

2. Catch the pole. If there’s space, a dip-pole gybe can be easier if the bowman is in front of the forestay. As the pole swings across, clip in the new guy. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

The cockpit crew ease the pole uphaul allowing the end to drop while the foredeck crew swings the outer end of the pole just above the deck inside the forestay.

If you have the luxury of a bowman they should be on the pulpit facing aft with the new guy in their hand waiting to drop it into the jaws of the pole.

The cockpit crew needs to ensure there is plenty of slack in the new guy.

A pole gybe with a spinnaker

3. Pole across. During the gybe, the spinnaker is flown without the pole, which requires careful helming. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

At this moment a mistake occurs which has happened on nearly every boat I’ve sailed on.

It is very easy to drop the new guy into the jaws the wrong way round so there is a twist when the pole goes up again and the spinnaker is on the new gybe.

A crew member wearing sunglasses checks the spinnaker on a yacht

4. Flying free. During the gybe, the cockpit crew need to keep the sail flying. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

The bowman shouts ‘Made!’ when the new guy is in the pole.

The main is sheeted in and the helmsman gybes as the new guy is wound in, the downhaul eased, the pole raised and the old sheet eased to allow the new guy through the pole to take the strain.

Spinnaker

5. Reset the sail . With the pole on the new side, winch on the guy and set the sail. Note that the jib sheet has been kept on top of the pole, ready for when the spinnaker drops. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

This isn’t something to try for the first time on a windy day, but it can be taken in slow time in light winds while everyone gets their heads around what’s happening.

Cruising crews are generally short handed so take it steadily and carefully – it takes months of practice for a racing crew to gybe the pole to make it look like an extension of the boom.

End for end gybe

This is a technique used on dinghies and smaller yachts.

It is easier and much safer with twin sheets and guys.

The pole must be attached to both the uphaul and the downhaul with a bridle.

A sailor using an end for end gybe

The pole is taken off the mast in an end-for-end gybe, so bridles for the uphaul and downhaul are necessary

The crew ease the guy and fly the spinnaker with the sheets alone.

The foredeck crew takes a bight of the new guy to the mast, detaches the pole from the mast and inserts the new guy into the jaw.

The pole is now pushed out to the new side, the old guy taken out of the jaw and the pole secured to the mast.

The dip pole is more complicated but safer for new crews.

The cockpit crew need to watch the foredeck carefully.

It is really annoying to be perched on the pulpit or by the mast and not have sufficient slack on the new guy to drop it into the jaws of the pole or have insufficient ease on the uphaul to pass the pole under the forestay.

Crew on a yacht

Make sure you give the foredeck enough slack. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

The cockpit crew should avoid winding in the new guy before the pole has been hoisted up on the new side.

It takes quite a lot of skill to steer and give instructions. Better to have the crew boss calling the gybe without having to worry about steering at the same time.

If the spinnaker collapses it can wind itself around the forestay.

Most problems with a spinnaker are best sorted by steering downwind, or by dropping it.

Using a spinnaker: the drop

There are several ways of doing this. The most common is to retrieve the spinnaker down the main hatch.

Again,  this is easier with twin sheets and guys. Hoist or unroll the jib. Take a bight of the lazy guy directly from the sail on the leeward side under the boom over the rail and into the main hatch.

A crew sitting on the deck of a yacht adjusting guys

Pass the lazy guy aft to the companionway hatch while the crew prepares to gather in the sail. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Ease the guy until the pole is just off the forestay. Steer downwind.

The person lowering the halyard makes sure it is clear to run.

A spinnaker being dropped on a yacht

With the guy eased, the sail will stream out like a flag behind the main. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

At this point the cockpit crew can either let the guy and lazy sheet run through the pole on the windward side or the foredeck crew can ping the snap shackle releasing the sheet and guy from the windward corner of the sail.

Either way the sail is now flapping like a huge flag behind the main, held by the halyard and a crew member in the main hatch, holding the lazy guy.

A dropped spinnaker on a yacht

Don’t drop the halyard too quickly to give the crew time to gather in the sail. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

The halyard is eased quickly and the hatch crew gather as it comes down,  trying to avoid dragging it in the sea.

Lower the pole and tidy up the lines.

Letterbox drop

On boats with a loose-footed main the spinnaker can be retrieved by passing the lazy guy between the foot of the main and the boom.

A letterbox drop of a spinnaker

A letterbox drop can help avoid trailing the spinnaker in the water. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

The spinnaker is pulled down in the lee of the main through this slot into the main hatch – a technique known as a letterbox drop which is effective in removing any wind in the spinnaker and making it less likely to trail in the water.

If the helm steers on a reach rather than a run the spinnaker is harder to retrieve because it won’t be blanketed by the main.

The first third of the halyard should be dropped quickly to de-power the spinnaker but no more or it ends in the sea.

A spinnaker in the water

Keeping the spinnaker clear of the water when dropping it is key. Credit: Rick Tomlinson

It’s really important that the spinnaker does not drop into the sea while still held by three corners or the boat will end up as a trawler pulling a huge bag of sail through the water.

You must release the windward ropes fully before lowering the halyard so it is held by only two corners.

It is equally important not to release the ropes from both clews or the sail ends up flying horizontally from the top of the mast.

Steering downwind is the only way of getting it back.

Using a spinnaker: snuffers

To save all this hassle it is possible to rig a snuffer, which is a giant collapsible tube which can slide up and down the sail.

The spinnaker is set with the pole, sheets and guys ready and hoisted like a sausage with the sail in the snuffer.

Using another halyard in the snuffer, the tube is pulled up, releasing the sail from the deck upwards.

A sailor using a snuffer

Pull the snuffer over the sail before dropping

Once set, the folded tube stays at the head of the sail.

To retrieve the spinnaker, the boat is sailed on a run to blanket the spinnaker and the snuffer tube is pulled back down.

What could be easier – except of course if it jams on the way down. But it is simpler than the traditional drop and the spinnaker doesn’t need repacking

A snuffer being used on a spinnaker

A snuffer can take the stress out of setting the spinnaker, though they sometimes jam. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

With a normal drop the cabin by the main hatch ends up full of spinnaker and it is time to repack it.

Many racing boats have a hook on the deckhead in the cabin which takes the head cringle.

This allows the crew to work down the two edges of the sail from the top undoing any twists.

crew packing away a spinnaker on a yacht

Repack the spinnaker by following the tapes. Credit: Richard Langdon

Having reached the clews, the three corners are gathered and the sail pushed into the bag keeping the corners on the top.

James Stevens

James Stevens, author of the Yachtmaster Handbook, spent 10 of his 23 years at the RYA as Training Manager and Yachtmaster Chief Examiner

The skill is to prevent a twist when it is rehoisted.

Another slower and safer technique is to find the head, sit on it so you know where it is and work down one edge flaking as you go.

When you get to the clew, sit on the folds and work down the other edge from the head.

Sit on all the folds and pack into the bag carefully,  leaving the folds until last. If it goes up with a twist the beers at the bar afterwards are on the packer!

Decades ago when offshore racing was less frenetic, sailors used to drop the spinnaker at night.

That is unthinkable when racing now but a good idea for cruising sailors.

Some of my most memorable cruising has been sailing on a summers evening in light airs with a spinnaker powering us towards our destination knowing that the extra speed has allowed us to arrive before dark to enjoy that special thrill of entering a harbour at the end of a great sail.

Thanks to UKSA in Cowes for the use of their Sweden 43 www.uksa.org 01983 294941

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The $tingy Sailor

Diy trailerable sailboat restoration and improvement without throwing your budget overboard.

spinnaker sailboat

How to Rig a Cruising Spinnaker in 4 Stingy Stages

If you don’t have a spinnaker for your sailboat yet, aren’t you a little envious of those big, colorful, billowing sails you sometimes see at your favorite cruising spots? Nothing says, “Yeah, we’ve got this!” quite like a racing or cruising spinnaker. It’s as though the sailboat is puffing its chest out with confidence and strength. No wonder it’s called the fun sail.

In this post, I describe the strategy I used to get started with an asymmetrical spinnaker. You can use the same strategy with a symmetrical spinnaker but the cost is higher due to the required whisker pole and its control lines.

If spinnaker envy has really gotten to you, then you’ve also seen the cost of rigging a spinnaker. You can easily spend as much for the hardware and control lines as for the sail itself. When you consider that you can only use a spinnaker for a few points of sail, it can easily seem like a luxury that is out of reach of the average trailer sailor, not to mention a stingy sailor.

That’s not the whole truth. An asymmetrical spinnaker (also called a gennaker – a cross between a genoa and a symmetrical spinnaker) is definitely an optional upgrade. You can sail without one everywhere that a spinnaker can go, just not as fast or with as much style (and fun!) But it’s not as expensive to get started as you might think and you can upgrade your spinnaker rigging in stages as you get more experience with the sail and want to get the most enjoyment out of it.

The strategy I’m going to describe isn’t my invention. I picked up the basic idea from Dale Mack that appeared in the Technical Tips section of the March 2002 edition of the Catalina 22 Fleet 20 newsletter. But I’ve added a few stingy twists on it that reduce the cost by integrating a spinnaker with my existing rigging on Summer Dance .

The four stages of stingy spinnaker rigging are:

  • Start with a used sail and reuse your existing running rigging. You don’t absolutely need more lines or hardware. It’s not as convenient as full rigging, but it works to get started.
  • Add a dedicated spinnaker sheet (or two) to swap headsails quicker and to make gybing the spinnaker in front of the forestay possible. Also add turning blocks to lead the sheets.
  • Add a dedicated spinnaker halyard and block to swap headsails even quicker and to prevent chafing the jib halyard. Modify your  headsail downhaul  line if you have one, to work double duty as a spinnaker tack line.
  • Add a spinnaker sock (also called a snuffer) and a launch bag (also called a turtle) for quicker, easier, dousing and storage.

Stingy stage 1 – Sail only

You can start learning to fly an asymmetrical spinnaker with just the sail. That is what I did the first year I had my spinnaker. In a nutshell, you use the spinnaker as though it were just another headsail – a very large genoa.

New spinnakers are expensive but there a lots of used ones for sale online. Most spinnakers don’t get used a lot and they don’t blow out like regular sails, so even older spinnakers are often in excellent condition and still very usable. Look for a sail from a reputable loft that is the right size for your sailboat, has no rips or they have been professionally repaired, no dye transfer stains from being stored improperly, and strong stitching. As an example, I purchased a like-new Gleason Sails asymmetrical spinnaker with a launch bag and snuffer for $400 on eBay.

The dimensions of a C-22 (standard rig) asymmetrical spinnaker are 25.69′ (luff), 13.2′ (foot), 23.63′ (leech). That gives you about 250 sq. ft. of sail area, as much as your mainsail and a 150 genoa combined, but it’s all at the bow and high off the water. If you don’t know the right dimensions for your sailboat, you can look it up online in the Sailrite Sail Plan Database .

Flying a spinnaker like a normal headsail means you attach the tack to the stem fitting or headsail pendant just like your genoa. Having a pendant is definitely a plus with a spinnaker. Depending on its cut, most spinnakers are designed to fly higher off the deck then a regular headsail and they don’t work as well if flown low or bent over a pulpit rail. What you give up by not having a spinnaker tack line is the ability to adjust the height and fullness of the spinnaker for different conditions. But at this stage, you’re just working on getting the sail launched, set, gybed, and doused without destroying it.

Running downwind with a full spinnaker is one of sailing's biggest joys

Attach the head of the spinnaker to your jib halyard and hoist it normally. You won’t use your other headsails at the same time with the spinnaker and the jib halyard is almost identical to a spinnaker halyard, so you might as well use it. The disadvantage is the jib halyard will chafe against the forestay when the spinnaker is flying out in front of the forestay, particularly when the spinnaker is on the opposite side of the forestay from the halyard. But if you only fly the spinnaker occasionally and in light air conditions like spinnakers are intended for, the chafing will be negligible. And if you follow this strategy to the third stage, you’ll add a dedicated spinnaker halyard that eliminates that chafing.

Attach the clew of the spinnaker to your longest jib sheet(s). What you give up by starting with jib sheets is the length you need to gybe the spinnaker in front of the forestay. Instead, you’ll have to learn the more difficult art of gybing the spinnaker between the forestay and the mast just like a jib or genoa. You probably already know how to do this well with a jib or genoa, but a spinnaker is typically double the square footage of a jib and much taller. Squeezing all that cloth behind the forestay while running downwind without wrapping it around the forestay is a trick that doesn’t come easy but it can be done.

Practice, practice, practice. A spinnaker is also more delicate than other headsails. It’s made of lightweight nylon instead of heavier, more durable Dacron. It doesn’t take much to snag and rip a spinnaker, so be extra careful.

Spinnaker sheets need to lead as far aft on the sailboat as practicable so the spinnaker can open as wide and as high as possible. The typical spinnaker setup has turning blocks on the aft corners of the sailboat that lead the sheets forward to the primary winches. As a temporary solution, you can use the holes or aft ears of your mooring cleats.

DSCN2788

The cleats add friction to trimming the spinnaker but because they’re only used in light air, the friction is manageable.

In this stage, you have a functional cruising spinnaker that reuses your existing rigging with acceptable compromises – good enough to start having fun flying a spinnaker in light air on downwind runs.

Stingy stage 2 – Add sheets and turning blocks

The goal of stage 2 is to allow you to gybe the spinnaker in front of the forestay. For that, you need much longer sheets than for a regular headsail, typically 2x the boat length for each sheet if you rig separate sheets for port and starboard. Figure 4x the boat length for a single sheet attached by a knot in the middle to the spinnaker clew. For a C-22, that’s 85′-90′ total.

Choose a lightweight rope to reduce the weight pulling down on the sail. Also choose a rope with low stretch for its size. When you have 30′-40′ of sheet under a load, every percent of stretch absorbs some of the force that would otherwise propel your sailboat forward. For Summer Dance , I chose 90′ of 1/4″ New England Ropes Sta Set.

DSCN2783

Lead your dedicated spinnaker sheet(s) outside of the forestay, lifeline stanchions, and all other obstructions aft to the mooring cleats or turning blocks if you have them. Use the toerail to hold them on the deck when they’re not in use. When you gybe the spinnaker, the sheets need to run suspended in mid-air only by the clew while the spinnaker flies out front of the boat (remember, you’re running downwind). I recommend you attach the sheet(s) to the clew with a DIY soft shackle .

TIP: When you’re gybing, don’t let the lazy sheet run so slack that it falls in the water and gets swept under the boat. It can foul around the keel or the outboard prop. Contrary to the rule of always tying stopper knots in the ends of your sheets and control lines to keep them from accidentally slipping out of their cleats or clutches, do NOT tie them in the spinnaker sheets. If you lose control of the spinnaker in moderate winds, it could cause a knockdown. It’s better to let the sheets run out of the turning blocks and keep the sailboat upright while you get the spinnaker back under control.

Now is a good time to add spinnaker sheet turning blocks so that you can stop using the mooring cleats. Turning blocks virtually eliminate all friction on the sheets and make gybing the spinnaker faster and smoother. These turning blocks are typically stand-up blocks on pads attached to the top of the coamings as far aft as practicable. You can also use cheek blocks or other types depending on where and how you want to mount them. Whatever type you choose, they need to allow the sheets to run freely between the clew and the winches regardless of which side of the sailboat the spinnaker is on.

TIP: If you have any ambitions about racing with a spinnaker or you’re just performance minded, consider using ratcheting turning blocks. They will let you manually play the air pressure on the sail but also temporarily lock in place so you don’t have to hold all of the pull on the sheets.

The $tingy Sailor mantra is to keep costs minimal, of course. That includes avoiding drilling extraneous holes and installing hardware that doesn’t get used most of the time. So instead of permanently mounting stand-up blocks on the aft coamings that will get in the way when they’re not being used, I chose to attach web blocks to the aft mooring cleats with continuous loops of 5/32″ Dyneema that I spliced myself. That places the blocks at least as far aft as stand-up blocks and even farther outboard.

DSCN2787

I girth hitch the loops to both the blocks and the cleats. This lets me remove the blocks easily when they’re not needed. It also makes them reusable almost anywhere I need a temporary block. Since the loads are relatively low, I chose plastic blocks which, combined with the Dyneema loops, are half the price of stainless steel stand-up blocks and work just as well.

In this stage, you have a functional cruising spinnaker that still reuses your jib halyard. But since you have dedicated sheets, you can gybe the sail out front of the forestay, which is easier and safer.

Stingy stage 3 – Add a spinnaker halyard and masthead block

This stage solves the problem of chafing caused by reusing the jib halyard. As you can see in the following drawing, when the jib halyard runs under the forestay pin and then in front of the forestay, it can make a quarter turn around the forestay. It can also chafe on the masthead itself because of the distance between the sheave and where the halyard exits to the spinnaker. You can reduce the chafing a bit until you add a masthead block by attaching your forestay to the top front pin in the masthead instead of the usual, lower pin but the best solution is a dedicated spinnaker halyard and masthead block.

A dedicated halyard lets you run it completely outside of the masthead and places it above and in front of the forestay. In that position, the halyard has a fair lead between the block and the sail regardless of which side the sail is on. The spinnaker halyard can chafe a bit below the block where it crosses the forestay when the sail is on the opposite side, but the wear is negligible. As a bonus, you can leave the jib halyard attached to the jib or genoa tied down to the deck while you’re flying the spinnaker. Then when you douse the spinnaker, you can immediately hoist the lazy headsail without having to change the halyard over first.

To rig a spinnaker halyard, you have to install a block at the masthead. I chose a standard 40mm plastic block but extended it with a second, long D shackle to attach it to the top front masthead pin. You can also use a rigging toggle. The important thing is that the block must be able to swing both up and down and also to port and starboard.

Spinnaker halyard block attached to the masthead

For the most freedom of movement, install a spinnaker crane on the masthead to move the halyard block even farther away from the forestay.

spinnaker sailboat

The spinnaker halyard should be low-stretch and at least 2x the mast height, longer if your control lines run aft to the cockpit. For Summer Dance , I chose 60′ of 1/4″ New England Ropes Sta Set. It was when I added the spinnaker halyard that I was glad that I had the foresight to install triple deck organizers in my  lines led aft project. I had an unused sheave just waiting to be put to work and all I had to add was a cleat at the cockpit bulkhead.

Once you have a spinnaker halyard rigged to hoist the spinnaker, you don’t have a lot of control over the shape and height of the sail besides with the sheets. Unlike other headsails that work like an airplane wing and you want to trim them flat and tight most of the time, a spinnaker works more like a parachute (they’re sometimes called chutes) and you want it to open full and round — more so when running dead downwind, less so when slightly reaching. You can’t do that well in all conditions when the tack or the head are in fixed positions. For the best control and performance, you want to be able to let the tack rise well up off the deck.

Usually, a sailboat is rigged with a dedicated spinnaker tack line for this. But if you rig a proper  headsail downhaul line, you can get double duty out of it. After you douse the jib in preparation for hoisting the spinnaker, detach the downhaul line from the jib and attach it to the tack of the spinnaker. (I typically don’t reave the downhaul line through the jib hanks as is sometimes recommended. If you do, you’ll want to unreave it to use it with the spinnaker). If you don’t have a headsail downhaul line, a headsail pendant  helps but isn’t adjustable.

A headsail downhaul line makes a fine spinnaker tack line

For the best speed, adjust the spinnaker tack line (downhaul line) and the spinnaker sheet until you get the spinnaker as full and high as possible.

In this stage, you’ve got a fully adjustable cruising spinnaker with dedicated rigging that makes changing between the spinnaker and your regular headsails relatively easy. But there’s one more stage that can make it even faster and easier.

Stingy stage 4 – Add a turtle and snuffer

A spinnaker is the largest sail you’ll ever use on your sailboat. It can be unwieldy until you learn its peculiar behavior and how to fly it well. Even dousing it can be sketchy, especially if you sail single-handed. There are two accessories that you can add to help you get a handle on all that Nylon — a launch bag (turtle) and a sock (snuffer).

You’re going to need a sail bag to store your spinnaker in anyway, but the right bag can actually help you to launch and retrieve the sail too. A launch bag (also called a turtle) is a sail bag that has straps or clips (the legs of the turtle) sewn into the bottom or side of the bag. These let you attach the bag to the foredeck to hold it in place while you rig and launch the sail. You can concentrate on rigging the sail while the bag keeps it secure and contained. Some launch bags (like the one shown below) also have a hoop sewn into the top of the bag that helps to hold the bag open while you stuff the sail back in.

Spinnaker turtle clipped to the pulpit with carabiners

Spinnaker sail cloth is so light that almost any breeze will catch in it. But you don’t want the sail to fill while you’re attaching the rigging or before you get the sail hoisted into place. A snuffer (also called a sock) can help.

A snuffer is a long tube of Nylon cloth that slides over the spinnaker and squeezes it closed to “snuff” it. It attaches between the halyard and the sail head with a turning block and becket and it has a hard ring or collar on the bottom that holds the snuffer open and acts as a funnel to squeeze the sail inside. It’s rigged with a loop of line that begins and ends at the collar and runs through the turning block. The loop works like a window shade cord. When you pull down on one side of the loop, it pulls the collar of the snuffer down over the spinnaker to collapse it before you lower the sail. After you hoist the sail, you pull the opposite side of the same line (around the turning block) to compress the tube above the spinnaker and open it.

Anatomy of the common spinnaker snuffer

My spinnaker came with a Chutescoop snuffer when I bought it. It’s really helpful for getting the sail in and out of the launch bag quickly without fouling the sail or the rigging.

A spinnaker snuffer controls deploying and retrieving the sail

Handling the spinnaker single-handed would usually be a train wreck without it.

Snuffer

If you make it to stage 4, you’ve got a fully rigged cruising spinnaker that’s easy to launch, control, and retrieve. If you divide your rigging expenses into the stingy stages like I’ve described in this post, you can spread your purchases out over time with the highest priority ones first and the convenience items last.

I followed this strategy with Summer Dance and spread my rigging out over two years. Now I look for every opportunity I can to fly the spinnaker, even single-handed. It’s amazing how fast Summer Dance can cruise downwind in light air with just the spinnaker. With the other sails doused, the sky is open above and the view is clear all around. The sail’s colors turn an ordinary day on the water into a celebration. That’s when I like to say, “Yeah, I’ve got this!”

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41 thoughts on “ how to rig a cruising spinnaker in 4 stingy stages ”.

I have a symmetrical spinnaker that came with my boat. It looks like it has never been used. I have the blocks and lines for it, but no spinnaker pole, so I have never used it. They also intimidate me.

I was hesitant about trying a spinnaker in the beginning too, basically because of the complexity of the symmetrical spinnaker rigging, which pretty much needs two people to handle. When I learned how asymmetrical spinnakers work and that they can be flown single-handed, I decided to give it a try. It’s more work than a regular headsail but worth it, in my opinion.

Maybe you could find someone in your local club with a pole that would be willing to show you how to use yours. Then you could decide whether you want to get deeper into it, store it away for the next owner, or maybe sell it to pay for something you would use more.

Yeah, I am planning to meet up with the local trailer sailer club, so I’ll see what happens. There are always more things to buy! I would like a whisker pole so I can run wing and wing. I was speaking to a local yachty and he reckons for my 16ft, I could use a boat hook as a whisker pole. He says he has done so in light air on his 35ft keelboat. I haven’t bothered yet because my local waterway (Gold Coast Broadwater in Queensland, Australia), despite the name, isn’t that broad and seldom do we get a long enough stretch to warrant it.

Seems like it will never end, huh?

The boat hook is a great idea if it’s long enough for you. I love getting multiple uses out of gear. Have you tried running wing and wing without a pole? I do it sometimes when I don’t feel like putting up the spinnaker. It can be tricky to keep one wing from collapsing if you have shifty winds, but when it works, it works well and it takes no time at all to bear off to a reach when you run out of water.

For some reason I can’t reply to your later comment. It must be some sort of nesting issue. Anyway, I’m replying here! Where I usually sail, suffers a lot from shifting winds. The prevailing winds are usually SE, but we can get more S or more E randomly from moment to moment, so I find it hard to keep the headsail from collapsing.

Ah, that’d do it, then.

Looks like you have a very cool place to sail down there so long as you don’t run aground, especially exploring up north? I imagine there are a lot of sand bars to watch out for but great beaches for camping and the barbie, eh?

Yes, it’s a lovely spot. There are council run campgrounds on North and South Stradbroke Islands which are reasonable priced, but as you can imagine, they are very popular. If you stick to the channel, you’re pretty safe, but we have hit the swing keel on the occasional sand shoal by pushing it a little far. 😉 And on a very low tide, certain boat ramps can be difficult to manouvre back to even with the keel wound up, but for a nominal fee, we have started using a local marina’s ramp, which is much easier, and even features pontoons for a nice dry launch and retrieve.

If the $tingy Sailor world tour ever makes it down there, that will be high on my list of places to visit!

Another great article, Thanks! I am considering mounting my 50 W Solar Panel on the Bow Pulpit because I will relocate my battery forward, this way I have a way shorter wire run to charge the battery vice having the panel on the stern. I typically won’t have the Panel mounted while sailing, but if it were I am wondering if it could interfere with headsail function in any way or launching/dousing the Spinnaker. What do you think?

It would definitely be in the way up front. Have you considered on the cabin top in front of the mast? That’s about the only semi-safe spot forward of the stern unless you don’t have a pop top. Then on top of the hatch would be better, in my opinion. Depends on the panel size and how you want to attach it. If I was going to have a portable panel, I’d probably go with suction cups and stick it on top of the cabin somewhere. Running the leads to your charge controller without them getting in the way will be a trick too. All reasons why I’m glad I don’t have one and that my outboard alternator provides all the charging I need.

I have recently started using an 18W solar panel which I attach to my sliding hatch with outdoor velcro. I sized the panel specifically to fit lengthways on one half of the hatch, so that I can add another beside it in parallel. That way when one is shaded by a sail, the other will hopefully be putting out full power, which would result in more power output than a single partly shaded larger panel. I am currently testing the setup in my front yard with the newly installed VHF in standby mode. I have tested it with only a smartphone GPS running while sailing last week, but my radio licence arrived while I was away, so the frontyard test it is.

Our “new” boat (Seaward Fox) came with all the hardware but no spinnaker. You broke this down so well. Great pictures and instructions.

First time discovering your site. Nice job on the Spinnaker project.

I completed a similar project on my Montgomery 15. Only difference I wanted to ease the single handed process of jibing the sail so built a bowsprit out of a piece of 1.5 inch aluminum pipe I acquired from our local metal yard. At first I lashed the pipe to the bow and fore-deck cleat to test the design. It worked. So I had a metal shop modify my bow plate, adding a stainless tube to the plate. Now the bowsprit slips through the bow plate tube and is lashed to the fore-deck cleat. The sail tack extends from the end of the bowsprit and is about 2.5 feet in front of the boat. This gives plenty of room to tack the sail in front of the fore stay.

I know this is late but another great article that speaks to my particular style of sailing. One of the things I’m trying to figure out is how to attach the tack of my A sail when I have a furler drum. If the tack line is adjustable how do you lead it to the cockpit? I’m also little fuzzy on how the turtle and snuffer are rigged. Do you need to attach even more hardware to the top of the mast for them? Where do the control lines go? I was planning on installing a sheave block above the jib halyard so I could have the A sail halyard led to the cockpit.

Thanks for your questions. I’ll try to clarify those points a bit more here.

The tack line on my boat is also my headsail downhaul line. It serves both purposes with one line; as a downhaul when I’m flying my jib or genoa or as the spinnaker tack line when I’m flying it. I never need it for both purposes at the same time. The jib or genoa block the spinnaker too much to fly them at the same time. If you look at my Headsail downhaul solution post, you can see how I have it rigged and how it can work around your furler. However, I have it rigged slightly differently these days now that I have a spinnaker. The stanchion cleat isn’t strong enough for a tack line so, instead of it running to the cockpit through a fairlead at a stanchion base at the edge of the deck, I now run it straight back from the pulpit turning block, through a fairlead mounted in front of my port side deck organizer, and dead end it in a fairlead clam cleat just in front of my cam cleats on the cabin top. I also moved the pulpit turning block from the aft base to the forward base. You can see that in the first picture in Quit spending setup time on turnbuckles .

The turtle bag is just clipped to the pulpit bases on both sides with utility carabiners. They hold it on the deck so that it doesn’t roll overboard and so that it can stay on the foredeck while I’m sailing. When I’m ready to douse the spinnaker back into it, it’s already in place and I don’t have to carry it back to the foredeck.

The snuffer attaches in between the spinnaker halyard shackle and the spinnaker head grommet. Without a snuffer, you would attach the shackle directly to the grommet. The snuffer just sits in between them. That’s what you’re seeing in the last picture of the post. There’s no new hardware needed at the masthead for it.

You do need a block above the jib halyard to run your spinnaker halyard through if you aren’t going to use your jib halyard for the spinnaker like I describe in stage 1. The spinnaker halyard should run to the cockpit parallel to your jib halyard and dead end in its own cleat. You essentially have two headsail halyards that are identical except at the masthead where one is above the other so that it can fly its sail in front of the other, not to one side.

I hope that answers your questions. If not, let me know either here in an email sent from the Contact page.

I just acquired a 1982 Macgregor 22 with a mainsail, jib and spinnaker (with spinnaker pole) and look forward to trying this addition to my arsenal. I have a question on the photograph of your masthead. My boat does not have a masthead assembly but is open revealing a hollow mast. All standing rigging is secured via steel straps secured to the top of the boom. Is your masthead OEM to the boat is an aftermarket item. If aftermarket, where can it be purchased? I’ve tried unsuccessfully hence the question.

My masthead is original for a C-22. If the top of your mast looks like the first picture below, then you’ll need something like in the second picture to hang your spinnaker halyard block from.

Mac 22 standard masthead

Also ask around in the Macgregor forums online. I’m sure those guys know the best way to rig your spinnaker. I’m not as familiar with your boat as I am with C-22s.

Thanks for your question!

Hi, thanks for the great article. I’m using a NorthSail G2 cruising spin on my C22 and love it – super flexible and gives me some speed in light air. Once quick question. In the photo of your tack pendant it looks like you have it rigged inside the pulpit. Is there a reason for that?

robert ouimet madsu http://www.madsu.ca

The picture in this article shows the headsail downhaul used as the spinnaker tack line like I describe in Install a Double Duty Headsail Downhaul so it’s usually inside the pulpit. It could also run in front of the pulpit. With my spinnaker, it just depends on how high and forward it’s flying for the current conditions. If the air is really light, it works best inside the pulpit. In moderate air when it flies fuller in the top half but almost dead downwind, it would work better outside the pulpit. Either way works.

When I have the jib or genoa on, the same line reverts back to use as the downhaul and I attach those sails to a 24″ pendant that I describe in How to Raise Your Foresail with a Pendant .

What size turning blocks did you use for your 1/4″ sheets? I couldn’t tell for sure from the photos. Are 30mm blocks large enough for smooth operation with the nearly 180-degree turn? Or would it be better to size up to 40mm? (as best I can tell, the sheet loads should be low enough that either size will be fine for strength)

I use 40mm blocks for halyards and sheets. They’re easier to handle with gloves on.

Thanks. I think I’ll do the same.

Another excellent, very informative and helpful article. Thank you for investing the time to put this together.

Hi! Wonderful report and wonderful boat!

In a similar way, we do so:

We are in the same boat; his name is “safety & simplicity”.

Best regards!

Pepe Prego Malaga (SPAIN)

Hi Mr Stingy … Thanks for the spinnaker post. Can you help with a couple of questions – I found a cheap spinnaker with the dimensions 20ft luff, 16ft foot, and 20 ft leech. Do you think it will work for me? I’m still searching for a snuffer. Also, could you provide a link to purchase the ‘a continuous loop of Dyneema’ described in the post. Many thanks, love the website. Take care, J.

Those dimensions are short and a bit fat for the C-22. Around 25′ luff/leech and 14′ foot is better. It will fly but it won’t work as well as it should and you’d probably end up disappointed with it. I don’t know of anywhere that sells premade Dyneema loops. I made them myself. Soft shackles would probably work depending on what blocks you put them on. You can find them for sale on Amazon, eBay, West Marine and elsewhere.

Hope that helps, $tingy

Very useful article! Thank you…

We love every edition! I’m trying to figure the best way to stow my rode and chain while cruising. I’ve looked at a couple of bags but they need to clip on to the bow pulpit and the one’s I’ve seen just have carrying straps. Ideas?

Check out Product Review: Bayco Kord Manager .

Thanks for your support, $tingy

I’ve crewed on bigger boats with a symmetrical spinnaker, and it definitely takes a coordinated effort to get it to fly right, Your description makes flying an asymmetrical spinnaker seem doable on my C-22, but in light winds, as you mentioned. Your photos and illustrations were very helpful and high quality. As always, enjoyed reading your posts. Thanks.

Masthead with spinnaker crane installed

If you’re nervous about flying one of these on a small boat, I’d encourage you to go for it. They are easy to manage, just be prudent about when you’re going to hoist it and like any big sail, reef early. Beginners tend of oversheet them (like most sails) so learn to let that sail out until you see a bit of a buckle in the leach. Having the downhaul at the tack is really important for adjusting the shape of the sail as you change points of sail. Most cruising chutes don’t really like running dead down – they’re actually a reaching sail, but you can get them to work dead down. And also for beginners, the other thing to get used to is heading DOWN when the wind pipes up, not heading up. Your muscle memory is going to make you head up in the puffs, you want to do the opposite with a flying sail. Practice those gybes. Leave the main furled to make things easier, and just practice gybing until if feels normal. Most sailors gybe seldomly anyway, so spend some time doing it with this big sail – it’s loads of fun and really impressive for anyone watching. And if the wind comes up, head down, grab the dousing line, and within 20 seconds you’ll have that big sail sitting back in the bag on the foredeck.

Broad Reaching

thankyou for the advice. i love this site and your videos 🙂

And how does one use it?

Thanks, Charlie Barlow Tumwater, WA

Hi, Charlie

A cruising spinnaker is most useful when sailing not quite dead downwind, at those points of sail where regular headsails and the mainsail are not very efficient. See also How to fly an Asymmetrical Spinnaker .

Thank you looking forward to putting into practice on my Sonata 7m Trailer Sailer-Australia-am soaking Spinnaker as per your advice as l type)

Hello Stingy, just found you and subscribed 04 Dec 2021. We are Sailing4Smiles.com. We’re on a 1982 Cape Dory 36; SV Mingus. Currently in Titusville, FL having passaged from Indiantown, FL to Oriental,NC and working our way south again helping kids as much as we can during our travels. We’ll be Caribbean bound in Dec doing the same thing.

Fair winds on you passage to the Caribbean, Chuck. We’re all jealous!

Hi, love this article and will def try this in the new season. Have you made a spinnaker sock? I used your patterning for winch covers and they are fabulous! I think it must be very easy to make a sock – what do you think? thank you again!

Hi, Pauleen

Yes! Check out https://stingysailor.com/2020/05/23/sew-this-jib-sock-to-protect-your-furled-headsails/

Hi Stingy but helpful!

I am starting to understand how this all works. So helpful. Took me a while to find you but happy i persevered.

Having said that i find that both the photographs and the drawn diagram of the snuffer/sock don’t have enough resolution to zoom in enough.

I am having a hard time still figuring out the block/becket connection….to the snuffer? and then how the head of the spinnaker then connects to this mechanism and the role and position of the pendant.

Finally, how high off the bow does the tack typically fly? and how far forward? Is it just a matter of clearing the anchor pilot and stanchions?

Good resolution photos or drawings would really help! thanks again

Catherine from Lake Ontario

The block forms the upper end of the snuffer. It reverses the direction of the control line so that when you pull down on the line, it pulls the bottom of the sock upward, compressing it over the pendant. The pendant that you see sticking out of the snuffer in the last picture is just a spacer between the halyard shackle/snuffer block and the sail head. It keeps the compressed snuffer above the head of the sail, out of its way. Otherwise, it would pinch the top of the sail together. Not a big deal, but it prevents chafing.

The height of the tack varies depending on conditions, 3′ to 6′ or more, so it needs to be readily adjustable. You’ll always hoist the sail completely to the masthead, then adjust the tack line and sheets to maximize shape of the sail for the wind speed and direction.

Hope that helps!

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spinnaker sailboat

Asymmetrical Spinnaker: A Guide to Mastering this Sailing Essential

by Emma Sullivan | Jul 18, 2023 | Sailboat Racing

spinnaker sailboat

Short answer: asymmetrical spinnaker

An asymmetrical spinnaker, often referred to as an “aspin” or “gennaker,” is a type of sail used in sailing yachts and other vessels. It is designed specifically for downwind sailing and features a shape that helps generate maximum lift while minimizing drag. Unlike symmetrical spinnakers, which require constant adjustment, asymmetrical spinnakers are easier to handle and control, making them popular among recreational sailors.

1) What is an asymmetrical spinnaker? A comprehensive guide.

What is an asymmetrical spinnaker? A comprehensive guide.

If you’ve ever witnessed a sailboat effortlessly gliding across the water, propelled by a large, colorful sail that seems to defy logic, chances are you have caught a glimpse of an asymmetrical spinnaker in action. This magnificent sail is not only visually striking but also plays a crucial role in enhancing the performance and versatility of modern-day sailing vessels. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of asymmetrical spinnakers to uncover their intricacies and highlight why they are such a valuable asset for sailors worldwide.

To understand what an asymmetrical spinnaker is, let’s start with some basic knowledge about traditional symmetric spinnakers. Symmetric spinnakers are symmetrical in shape and require complex rigging systems with multiple sheets and guys to control their position relative to the wind. They work most efficiently when sailing downwind or at broad reaching angles but become less effective as the wind shifts towards closer-hauled angles.

This limitation led to the development of an innovative solution – the asymmetrical spinnaker. Unlike its symmetric counterpart, an asymmetrical spinnaker features a unique design that allows it to function effectively at various points of sail, significantly broadening its range of applications. It boasts a distinct profile with one side longer than the other, resembling a wide-bodied delta or parachute-like shape.

The primary purpose behind using an asymmetrical spinnaker is to generate additional lift and propulsion in light or moderate wind conditions while sailing off-wind (from reaching angles up to dead downwind). Its design takes advantage of specific aerodynamic principles called apparent wind angle and pressure differential that enable it to catch airflow more effectively than conventional sails.

One notable benefit associated with utilizing an asymmetric spi is its ease of use. Unlike symmetric sails that demand meticulous trimming and precise adjustments through various control lines, triggering nightmares for even seasoned sailors, asymmetric spinns are relatively straightforward to handle. These sails are typically flown from a retractable bowsprit or a sprit pole, eliminating the need for complicated rigging and allowing for easy deployment and stowing.

Another advantage of asymmetrical spinnakers is their ability to sail faster and closer to the wind compared to symmetric sails when reaching or sailing slightly off the wind. This characteristic enhances boat speed, making it an excellent choice for competitive racing sailors aiming to maximize their performance. Additionally, they can be flown on boats with shorter masts since they don’t require as much height as symmetric spinnakers.

The key to mastering the use of an asymmetrical spinnaker lies in understanding how it interacts with apparent wind angle. As the boat changes course relative to the wind direction, the apparent wind also shifts. By skillfully adjusting the trim of your asymmetric spi based on this change, you can harness its full potential and optimize your boat’s performance.

While they offer numerous advantages over symmetric spinnakers, it is important to note that asymmetrical spinnakers have limitations too. They perform optimally within a specific range of angles relative to the true wind direction and may struggle in heavy winds where other sail configurations might be more appropriate.

To conclude, an asymmetrical spinnaker is a fascinating piece of sailing equipment designed not only to catch the eye but also significantly enhance a boat’s downwind performance. With its distinctive shape and versatility across multiple points of sail, it has become a game-changer on many modern boats. So next time you see one majestically billowing in the breeze, marvel at both its aesthetic beauty and technical prowess – knowing that behind each stroke lies a comprehensive understanding of aerodynamics and purposeful design craftsmanship.

2) How to use an asymmetrical spinnaker: Step-by-step instructions.

Title: Mastering the Art of Asymmetrical Spinnaker Sailing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Introduction: Sailing is not merely a means of transportation; it is a thrilling adventure that allows us to defy gravity and embrace the raw power of the wind. One technique that adds an extra oomph to your sailing experience is deploying an asymmetrical spinnaker. With its distinctive shape and unmatched speed potential, mastering the use of this sail can take your sailing prowess to new heights. In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the steps to harnessing the full potential of an asymmetrical spinnaker.

Step 1: Preparation Makes Perfect Before embarking on this exhilarating escapade, ensure you have all necessary equipment on board. Your arsenal should include a well-sized asymmetrical spinnaker suitable for your vessel, sturdy sheets and guy ropes, a snuffer or sock for easy deployment and retrieval, as well as a competent crew ready to assist in hoisting and trimming.

Step 2: Understanding Wind Angles Get friendly with wind angles – they are your allies! The beauty of using an asymmetrical spinnaker lies in its ability to propel you effectively when sailing off-wind. Keeping these principles in mind will aid in maximizing performance:

– Beam Reach (90°): At this perpendicular angle to the wind, crosswinds stability sets in, offering ideal conditions for unfurling your sail and enjoying its benefits. – Broad Reach (+90°): When heading away from directly downwind but still being able to capture considerable airflow into the sail’s curved edges, it means you’re on a broad reach – optimum for fast downwind sailing. – Running Downwind (180°): When you find yourself directly downwind with little apparent breeze, this is called running or goosewinging. In these typical scenarios, transitioning between asymmetrically flying both sides can help provide consistent pull and speed.

Step 3: Unfurling the Asymmetrical Spinnaker With the initial setup complete, it’s time to unleash the beast! Begin by setting your vessel on a beam reach or broad reach to ensure your sail fills well. Use a reliable method such as deploying from a snuffer or sock to safely release the sail without getting tangled in its folds. Coordinate with your crew to maintain an optimal sheet tension, trim angle, and prevent the dreaded wrap-up.

Step 4: Fine-tuning Trim The key to mastering asymmetrical spinnakers lies in their unique trimming technique. Experiment with sheet tension and angle adjustments based on wind shifts and gusts. Aim for a shape that matches half-wingsail profile – considerably filling up yet maintaining minimal curl on the leeward side while avoiding excessive sag on the windward flank.

Step 5: Sweating Sheets Like a Pro Knowing how, when, and where to adjust sheets is crucial for achieving peak performance while controlling sail power. When sailing downwind or at broad reaches, keep a slightly eased sheet for better airflow across both sides of the sail—a fine balance between controlled power and avoiding unnecessary flogging.

Step 6: Dousing & Recovery Ending your exhilarating asymmetric affair requires careful dousing. Prepare beforehand by again employing a handy snuffer or sock system. Ease off the sheets before drawing down along with foreguy line or retrieval line to deflate and envelop the sail within its casing smoothly.

Conclusion: Asymmetric spinnaker deployment can be daunting initially but becomes an art once mastered through practice and experience. By understanding wind angles, perfecting trim techniques, and coordinating seamlessly with your crewmates, you’ll harness this remarkable sail’s full potential. Embrace adventure, chase thrills, and relish every moment as you conquer waters in style with your new-found proficiency in using an asymmetrical spinnaker!

3) Common FAQs about asymmetrical spinnakers answered.

Asymmetrical spinnakers, often hailed as the ultimate sail for downwind sailing, have gained immense popularity among sailors. However, their unique design leaves many intrigued and curious about their functionality. In this blog post, we will answer three common FAQs about asymmetrical spinnakers to help unravel the mysteries surrounding these remarkable sails.

1) What is an asymmetrical spinnaker? An asymmetrical spinnaker, also known as an A-sail or gennaker, is a type of sail specifically designed for sailing downwind or reaching angles. Unlike symmetric spinnakers that require a whisker pole to hold the clew out from the boat’s centerline, asymmetrical spinnakers are simpler to deploy and control. With a fan-like shape and a larger leading edge on one side called the “luff,” these sails generate lift from wind pushing against their surface area rather than being solely driven by boat speed like conventional sails.

2) How does an asymmetrical spinnaker differ from a symmetric spinnaker? The fundamental difference between an asymmetrical and symmetric spinnaker lies in their design and purpose. Symmetric spinnakers are typically used while sailing directly downwind or at fixed angles off the wind with little variation in course direction. On the other hand, asymmetrical spinnakers offer more versatility as they can be used not only for downwind sailing but also reaching angles thanks to their ability to create lift from airflow.

Moreover, deploying a symmetric spinnaker requires attaching it to both sides of the forestay using a bowline knot, which limits its movement relative to the boat’s centerline. In contrast, an asymmetrical sail attaches only to one side of the bow or bowsprit, granting greater freedom of trimming and maneuverability even in shifty winds. This attribute makes it incredibly convenient for recreational sailors looking for ease of use without compromising performance.

3) How do you handle an asymmetrical spinnaker? Handling an asymmetrical spinnaker efficiently requires a good understanding of sail controls and crew coordination. Firstly, to deploy the A-sail, hoist it with the halyard from a dedicated tack point near the bow or bowsprit. Once raised, trim the sail using sheets attached to both sides of the clew. Tension these sheets accordingly to adjust the shape of the sail while paying attention to maintaining the correct angle relative to apparent wind direction.

When steering downwind or on a reach, it is crucial to prevent an accidental gybe (when the wind catches the backside of the spinnaker). To avoid this, use a boom brake or gybe preventer system that keeps the boom under control and reduces sudden movements caused by shifting winds or helmsman errors.

Lastly, knowing when and how to douse or drop an asymmetrical spinnaker is vital for safety. Practice controlled dousing techniques such as “socks” or “snuffers,” which enclose the sail and de-power it while lowering. This minimizes any chance of entangling lines or getting caught in gusty conditions during recovery.

In conclusion, understanding the dynamics and advantages of asymmetrical spinnakers allows sailors to tap into their immense potential for efficient downwind sailing. Their simplified deployment process, versatility across different angles off-wind, and improved maneuverability make them indispensable tools for sailors seeking thrilling and effective performance on their voyages. So set your A-sail free and experience exhilarating downwind rides like never before!

4) Understanding the benefits of an asymmetrical spinnaker in sailing.

Title: Sailing with Finesse: Unraveling the Marvels of Asymmetrical Spinnakers

Introduction: Ah, the art of sailing! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being at one with the wind and water, gliding effortlessly across waves. While any experienced sailor will appreciate the power and elegance of traditional sails like jibs and mainsails, there exists another secret weapon in a sailor’s arsenal – the asymmetrical spinnaker. In this blog post, we shall delve into the fascinating world of asymmetrical spinnakers and shed light on their immense benefits in sailing.

1) Harnessing Efficiency in Design: The beauty of an asymmetrical spinnaker lies in its precise engineering. Unlike symmetrical spinnakers that necessitate constant trimming to maintain an optimal sail shape, their asymmetrical counterparts possess a unique aerodynamic design. This design provides enhanced lift while reducing drag, allowing sailors to glide through the water more efficiently even under fluctuating wind conditions.

2) Versatility: A Sail for All Occasions: One may argue that not all opportunities to hoist sails are created equal. Here comes the extraordinary versatility of asymmetrical spinnakers! Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping downwind run or smoothly transitioning from a broad reach to a beam reach, these sails adapt amazingly well. Their ability to harness lighter breezes is unmatched by other sailing options, thus ensuring smoother progress even when other sails may struggle.

3) Easier Handling for Quick Acceleration: Picture this: you’re racing against formidable competitors or simply aiming to leave others admiring your swift maneuvers around buoys during a regatta. Enter asymmetrical spinnakers – built for rapid acceleration! Their user-friendly handling makes them an undeniable asset for sailors seeking speed gains quickly. With their intuitive rigging design requiring just one tack line for controlled deployment and retrieval, these sails allow sailors to respond swiftly to changing wind speeds and angles.

4) Safety First, Always: In sailing, safety is paramount. The unique benefits of an asymmetrical spinnaker extend beyond performance alone. Sailors appreciate their inherent stability, allowing for a more controlled ride while maintaining optimal balance in challenging conditions. This sail variant’s design reduces the risk of accidental jibes due to its simplified control system, ensuring you can explore the thrill of sailing without sacrificing security.

5) Adventure Amplified by Innovation: Imagine yourself embarking on a long-distance voyage or simply indulging in an exciting coastal cruise. An asymmetrical spinnaker adds that touch of innovation to your sailing experience by extending your range and enabling exploration beyond traditional sailing routes. With its remarkable ability to catch even the slightest breeze from uncommon directions, adventurers can enjoy new horizons without limitations.

Conclusion: Asymmetrical spinnakers have revolutionized the world of sailing with their exceptional characteristics and unmatched performance. Their aerodynamic efficiency, versatility across different wind angles, ease of handling, enhanced safety features, and expansion of adventure possibilities set them apart as invaluable assets on any sailor’s journey. So next time you find yourself on a sleek yacht or a nimble catamaran, don’t forget to unleash the magic hidden within this quirky yet essential sail – the awe-inspiring asymmetrical spinnaker! Embark on extraordinary voyages and experience pure exhilaration like never before!

5) Tips and tricks for effectively rigging and deploying your asymmetrical spinnaker.

Title: Demystifying the Art of Rigging and Deploying Your Asymmetrical Spinnaker

Introduction: Rigging and deploying an asymmetrical spinnaker can be a daunting task for sailors, especially those new to this exciting world of downwind sailing. To help you navigate through the challenges and make the most of your sailing experience, we have compiled a comprehensive list of tips and tricks. With our professional advice, combined with some witty and clever insights along the way, you’ll soon become a master at harnessing this powerful sail.

1) Choose Wisely: The Right Wind Angle Before thinking about rigging your asymmetrical spinnaker, it’s crucial to understand that it excels when sailing between 90 to 180 degrees off the wind. Don’t expect mind-blowing performance if you find yourself pointing too high towards the wind or too low away from it. Be wise in choosing conditions where your sail will truly shine—a quirk that even James Bond would be proud of.

2) Know Thy Sail Shape An asymmetrical spinnaker isn’t just about unraveling fabric amidst gusts; it requires finesse in shaping as well. When setting up your sail, pay close attention to ensuring proper shape and trim. Think of it as sculpting Michelangelo’s David amid precarious winds—it takes skill! A fuller belly generally assures better forward power, while flatter sails offer heightened control. Finding that sweet spot is akin to discovering buried treasure – elusive yet immensely rewarding!

3) Tame That Beast: Controlling Twist Keeping twist under control is like cracking an enigma code—complex but rewarding once unlocked. Use your cunning skills to alter the tension on various lines accordingly—tighten the leeward side for reduced twist or loosen on the windward side for a more forgiving shape closer to neutral-axis airflow behavior behind the mainsail—think Swift’s “Blank Space,” rewriting the twist equation on the waves.

4) A Rigid Guide: Utilize a Continuous Line Furler To avoid that embarrassing scenario of sails wrapping around themselves like an unruly tangle of spaghetti, invest in a continuous line furler. With this nifty contraption, deploying and furling your asymmetrical spinnaker becomes child’s play. Picture it as installing your personal autopilot—a sailor’s best friend when seeking both ease and efficiency!

5) Stay Ahead with Preplanning It wouldn’t be a witty guide without firing up our time machine to advice sailors to preplan their moves. Prioritize sheets and control lines for quick access during rigging and deploying maneuvers—it’s like choreographing a well-rehearsed dance routine where even Fred Astaire would marvel at your seamless movements.

Conclusion: Rigging and deploying an asymmetrical spinnaker is an art form that combines technical expertise with resourcefulness. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll transform into a sailor who handles this powerful sail with finesse. So, embrace the winds, trust in yourself, and go conquer the open waters—an experience worthy of both admiration from fellow sailors and accolades from literary critics!

6) Mastering downwind sailing with the help of an asymmetrical spinnaker.

Title: Mastering Downwind Sailing with the Aid of an Asymmetrical Spinnaker

Introduction: Sailing downwind can be a thrilling experience, as you harness the power of the wind to glide across the water effortlessly. To maximize your speed and control while sailing downwind, mastering the art of using an asymmetrical spinnaker is essential. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of downwind sailing, highlighting how an asymmetrical spinnaker can enhance your performance in a professional, witty, and clever manner.

1) Riding the Wind’s Embrace: When sailing downwind, you enter a realm where wind becomes your ally. The asymmetrical spinnaker is an ingenious device designed specifically for this purpose. Much like a ship’s sails catching favorable winds centuries ago, today’s sailors deploy an asymmetrical spinnaker to capture every ounce of downdraft and convert it into propulsive force that guides their vessel gracefully over waves.

2) The Art of Minimizing Drag: One key aspect of effective downwind sailing revolves around reducing drag. A conventional symmetric spinnaker creates considerable resistance due to its round shape that limits airflow across its surface area. However, by opting for an asymmetrical spinnaker instead – which possesses a more aerodynamic design – you greatly decrease drag and enable smoother navigation through wind corridors.

3) Seeking Performance with Precision: When it comes to sail handling on these voyages, precision matters. Unlike traditional symmetrical sails requiring meticulous coordination between crew members to trim correctly, deploying an asymmetrical spinnaker allows for simplified handling thanks to its single-line system. With skillful trimming techniques combined with quick adjustments based on wind nuances, you’ll unlock unrivaled performance potential while simultaneously impressing your crew with seamless teamwork.

4) Unleashing Control Amidst Turbulence: While gliding through calm waters can offer moments of serenity, the real thrill lies in facing turbulent conditions head-on. An asymmetrical spinnaker grants you reliable control even when winds become unruly. Its unique design spreads a significant portion of the sail area forward, allowing for exceptional stability and balance in gusty conditions. As you maneuver gracefully through intense winds, your crew will marvel at your ability to confidently tame the restless elements.

5) Mastering Gybe Techniques: The seamless transition from one tack to another – commonly known as a gybe – is a testament to your skill as an experienced sailor. With an asymmetrical spinnaker, mastering the art of the perfect gybe becomes an attainable feat. Rather than facing intricate arrangements for rigging changes during a traditional symmetrical sail gybe, utilizing the lightweight nature of this innovative sail allows for nimble turning while maintaining speed and precision with minimal effort.

6) Harnessing Versatility and Innovation: The beauty of including an asymmetrical spinnaker in your sailing arsenal lies in its versatility beyond just downwind scenarios. This revolutionary sail can be employed across various wind angles, making it a valuable asset regardless of whether you’re navigating directly downwind or slightly off course. The possibilities are endless when you tap into this innovation’s potential.

Conclusion: Mastering downwind sailing with an asymmetrical spinnaker requires a blend of technical prowess and creative finesse. Using this advanced sail is not only practical but also opens up new horizons for captivating experiences on the water. By harnessing its power efficiently and employing witty techniques coupled with clever adjustments according to wind dynamics, you’ll elevate your performance to new heights and leave all who witness it awestruck by your mastery of downwind sailing.

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Home > Resources > All About Spinnakers

All About Spinnakers

08 May 2019

Ask Precision Sails , Design , Downwind , Featuring - Partners , Products and Accessories , Sails , Spinnakers , Technical Tags: asymmetrical spinnaker , code zero , spinnaker , standard sail , symmetrical spinnaker

What is a Spinnaker? 

A Spinnaker is used to sail off the wind from a reaching course to a downwind. The Spinnaker is set forward of the mainsail and balloons out ‘flying’ in front of the boat. Spinnakers will have a smooth rounded surface when flying and will have taut edges holding its form. Spinnakers are made from radial panels which allows for them to be customized with different colored Spinnaker cloth or even printed on to create a unique addition to a sailboat. 

Customize your own spinnaker with our Spinnaker Color Tool!

What are the differences between symmetrical and asymmetrical Spinnakers?

Symmetrical Spinnakers are cut in a symmetrical shape and have mirrored Clew and Tack corners based on the orientation of the sail to the wind and require a Spinnaker pole. Asymmetrical Spinnakers have a designated Head, Tack, and Clew due to their shape and do not require a Spinnaker pole.

SV Delos   Flying Their Precision Sails Asymmetrical Spinnaker Being Featured on the Cover of  Caribbean Compass

SV Delos also recently released a video that explains Spinnakers. Watch from 1 minute to 3 minutes.

Symmetrical Spinnakers

Symmetrical Spinnakers are designed for specific wind angles and apparent wind speeds. The spherical profile projects better to windward on a run causing it to have an advantage in a variety of wind conditions. This is made possible by the mid girth of the sail being much larger than the foot girth. Symmetrical Spinnakers come in a variety of sizes to suit your sailing conditions:

Learn more about  Symmetrical Spinnakers

Sailing Nahoa   Flying Their Precision Sails Symmetrical Spinnaker

Asymmetrical Spinnakers

The Asymmetrical Sail’s shape and radial construction make it ideal for running and broad reaching angles. With a triangular shape their cross-section design allows for a smooth, rounded entry tapering to a straight edge at the leech. Easy to handle, these spinnakers minimize a boat’s heeling angle when reaching. 

Learn more about   Asymmetrical Spinnakers

Sailing Doodles Flying Their Precision Sails Asymmetrical Spinnaker

Accessories to ease Spinnaker Use

Turtle bags.

A rectangular bag secured with a turtle closure which can be clipped to the rail with four stainless steel hooks. Includes three apertures with Velcro loops labelled Head, Tack and Clew that secure the corner rings. This enables you to attach your sheets and halyard to the sail before removing it from the bag. Simply open the bag and hoist it out. A great accessory which helps ease the use of flying the sail. 

Click  HERE  to learn more. 

Spinnaker Sock

The Spinnaker Sock is a common tool for dealing with large and often unruly Spinnakers. A specially designed fabric tube that allows for single-handed containment of the sail quickly and reliably. Hanging vertically, you will raise the sock which will open the chute and in turn allow the sail to catch the wind. To contain the sail simply pull the chute back down and it will feed the spinnaker into the sock for storage. 

Click  HERE   to learn more.

What should your offshore sailing inventory look like? 

Ben and Ashley of Sailing Nahoa have put together a wonderful video going over their Catamaran’s sail inventory as well as breaking down the conditions to use different sails. Check out the video below! 

Looking To Get A Spinnaker?

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How to choose the right asymmetric spinnaker for your kind of racing

Yachting World

  • October 19, 2015

The asymmetric spinnaker or A-sail has helped to simplify downwind sailing, but picking the right one can be the hard bit – there’s just so much choice. Jonty Sherwill investigates the options

spinnaker sailboat

© ROLEX/Daniel Forster

What should you be looking for in an A-sail for your boat when the bulk of your season’s racing is a mix of inshore racing round the cans and windward-leeward racing with the occasional offshore event thrown in?

It’s easy to assume than an A-sail – or asymmetric spinnaker – is a fairly standard ‘all-purpose’ piece of kit on a modern yacht, but these sails have come a long way since the early days of cruising chutes and flat reaching sails that were sometimes added to a conventional spinnaker inventory. Today on many racing boats A-sails have usurped the symmetrical kite as the mainstay of a downwind sail inventory.

Neil Mackley of North Sails UK has been at the leading edge of this evolution and explains why knowing the characteristics of the boat is so important: “We look at the boat’s VPP and find out the ideal angles the boat sails at in a given wind speed to determine the size and shape of sail required – it will be a quite different design for a TP52 sailing fast with apparent wind forward using flatter asymmetrics compared with a heavy-displacement Swan 60 running at 170° T.”

Although setting the right sail is important to make you fast downwind it’s clear that sailing technique and knowing your target boat speeds is also a big part of it. “An example is the J/109 which, in 8-10 knots, will be searching for VMG at 135°-140° true with a flatter-luffed A1 sail. With a bit more pressure they will head down to 145°-150° true wind angle using a fuller A2 sail that projects the shoulders. When the wind reaches 18-19 knots it will be time to go bow up again and surf,” says Mackley.

Having established the performance profile of the boat, the sailmaker needs to know what type of offshore racing you are planning to do. Will it be an occasional JOG race, a fully crewed RORC campaign, or maybe a double-handed Fastnet Race?

Rolex Big Boat Series 2014

It soon becomes clear that to provide good performance across the full wind range for both reaching and running just setting one A-sail will not cut it in a competitive fleet.

While a typical inventory will usually consist of three A-sails, often including a Code 0 for close reaching, it’s not uncommon to see four or even five asymmetric spinnakers being carried, particularly on the larger yachts.

Under IRC the rating ‘tax’ for these extra sails is reduced as the boat gets larger, typically two points extra per sail over 35ft LOA – but check with the Rating Office.

Code 0 a ‘given’

Peter Kay of One Sails thinks that for a mixed programme of inshore and offshore races the Code 0 is almost a given in a three-sail inventory, alongside an A2 light-medium runner plus a 0.9oz A4 that would run in almost any conditions: “If the racing is to be all inshore you might substitute an A3 reacher or a second A2 for the Code 0 depending on budget.”

Screen shot 2015-10-09 at 15.54.09

A further option is the wide range of Nylon spinnaker fabrics now available. With ten weights of fabric from 0.4 to 3.0 ounces, this allows the sail designer to fine-tune designs for a specific boat’s performance profile and, just like an inventory of headsails, each A-sail will have a ‘sweet spot’ for wind speed and apparent wind angle.

Another factor to be considered is whether the boat is fitted with a bowsprit or uses a conventional spinnaker pole. The latter has the advantage of being able to go ‘pole back’ for running square, but it makes gybing more complicated, requiring the tack of the sail to be swapped to a bow tackle and then back onto the pole after each gybe, which is likely to lose you a couple of boatlengths each time.

For offshore racing with less frequent gybes that may not be such a big issue, but when racing windward-leeward courses or round the cans, where regular tactical gybes will be needed, the activity on deck will also telegraph your tactics to the fleet. “That’s in contrast to a symmetrical spinnaker boat that can float through a gybe at a moment’s notice [at least in light airs],” explains Neil Mackley.

The difference is less marked with bowsprit-equipped boats, but at the top end of the wind range the boat handling advantage swings to the asymmetric boats. Even so, the art of achieving the ‘late main gybe’ (where the kite is fully gybed before the mainsail comes across) needs to be practised to avoid what could be a costly broach.

Mackley continues: “A-sails are really good for long legs without gybes and in point-to-point races. On a boat like the Swan 45 with a spinnaker pole our tests have shown that an A2 sail is a faster sail than the equivalent symmetrical S2 with better attached air flow and the narrower head angle which reduces roll.”

Campbell Field, professional navigator and offshore team manager, explains further: “When looking at inventories of A-sails for inshore v offshore racing, one has to consider very carefully the two modes of sailing. Inshore racing is typically VMG-oriented, with a set of trimmers or grinders who can give 100 per cent for a few hours, in moderate to flat seas. Offshore or coastal racing is more varied, much longer legs, so normally sailing a ‘hot’ VMG mode, with longer waves and swell to consider.

“As an example, for an A2 for inshore racing you would be looking for a big shouldered sail, well projected luff, with maximum area sail that requires 100 per cent trimmer and driver concentration to keep the boat in that very narrow max VMG groove.

“[By contrast] an offshore A2 has to be more versatile and forgiving, slightly smaller shoulders (but still max area), slightly straighter luff for a bigger ‘groove’ to allow the driver to sail around waves and absorb the apparent wind swinging from the boat’s acceleration and decelerations.

asymemetric diagram copy

“This will also preserve some of your trimmers and grinders on the really long runs. A flatter shape would improve the ability to sail higher angles and increase the overlap to a reaching A3 – giving you a better chance of sailing the course you want to rather than the one dictated by the sail.”

With this advance of A-sail design a bowsprit appears to be the logical route on most boats, but how has the progression of the A-sail from a fast reaching sail to an effective deep running spinnaker been achieved?

“While early A-sails were designed the same way as symmetrical spinnakers, with shape in the radial head and a bit of shape in the middle and clews, now our design software means that every single panel has shape in it, so the sails have became smoother and easier to fly,” explains Mackley.

You might think that, with sophisticated sail design software creating predictable flying shapes, this would tend to standardise all sail designs, but it seems there is still plenty of scope for individual design philosophy. Peter Kay of One Sails says: “When running we are looking for maximum projected area so our approach is to shape the sail, particularly the upper leech, in a way that allows the sail to rotate around the forestay, out to windward and which will respond well to tweaker [downhaul] adjustment.”

The effect on your rating

An important consideration when changing things on your boat is the effect it will have on your rating. Some aspects of the A-sail revolution offer potential gains without any rating penalty, eg the Code 0, and the RORC has made sure that the IRC Rule has kept up with these fast-moving developments.

Rolex Big Boat Series

And what of those looking to change from a symmetrical spinnaker with sheets and guys? When upgrading an older boat to A-sails, one of the key decisions is whether to stick with the existing spinnaker pole, with the benefit of being able to ‘pole back’, or invest in fitting a bowsprit for slicker gybing.

While a retractable bowsprit has the advantage of less overall length in the marina it would probably be difficult to retrofit so an externally fixed bowsprit and bobstay is a more popular solution – this is a common sight now on boats of all sizes.

  • Assess what type of sailing will form the bulk of your season – eg offshore, inshore, round the cans or windward-leeward.
  • Get a polar performance chart for your boat to identify a baseline for performance.
  • Bowsprit or spinnaker pole? The latter will allow you to square off deeper downwind, but is more complicated in hoists and gybes.
  • Given a three-sail limit and a mix of inshore and offshore racing, many opt for Code 0, A2 light-medium runner and A4 runner.
  • Inshore programmes might substitute an A3 reacher or a second A2 for the Code 0 depending on budget.
  • Consider what would be the effect of a change to your rating.

See our 5-tips on racing with an asymmetric

spinnaker sailboat

How to Fly a Spinnaker (Beginners Guide) 

How to Fly a Spinnaker (Beginners Guide) 

Table of Contents

How to fly a spinnaker (Beginners guide) 

Choosing to fly a spinnaker on your sailboat is the best way to sail off the wind during your trip—but can be a bit complicated to the beginner. When you’re just starting out sailing, it’s important to know all the different terms and ways to improve your experience, including how to raise and fly a spinnaker sail. 

How to Fly a Spinnaker:

  • After prepping your sail, run the guy through the ends of the pole with its jaws up, clipping it to the tack. Attach the sheet to the leeward quarter’s block and clip it to the corner of the sail.
  • Attach the topping lift to the bridle where it holds up the pole when the sail is hoisted.
  • Attach the halyard to the head of the spinnaker. 

How to Fly a Spinnaker (Beginners Guide) 

  • Trim the sail when it fills with wind. 

But what is a spinnaker, and what does it do for a sailboat? What are the terms you should know before you attempt to fly your spinnaker? Read on to find out more.

What is a spinnaker?

A spinnaker is a type of sail that is designed for sailing off the wind—when the wind is 90 to 180 degrees off the bow. The spinnaker will fill with air and balloons out in front of the boat when it is used, which is called flying. 

There are two types of spinnakers—symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetrical spinnakers are nearly hemispherical in nature, constructed in a way to have the maximum amount of lift. Asymmetrical spinnakers generate their lift from the side, rather than the top of a symmetrical spinnaker. Cruising boats almost always use asymmetrical spinnakers, while a racing boat could have either.

Spinnakers are usually made out of lightweight fabric like nylon. Some are shaped purposely to a specific wind angle by the way the panels are constructed or how the fabric is seamed. 

The sail is sometimes also called a kite or a chute, although it should not be confused with the spinnaker chute, which is a type of hull where the sail can be launched. 

Parts of a Spinnaker

Before you head out into the water and use your spinnaker, it’s important to note what kind of equipment you’ll be using. Spinnakers will use a sheet or a line to control the movable corners of the sail, and a guy, a line to control the end of the support pole, to move the lower corners. 

The guy will be windward, and it is stabilized by the spinnaker pole, while the sheet will be downwind. That rope attaches to the side of the sail and controls the shape. 

You will also hear or read the terms “leeward” or “windward”—leeward is the side of the ship sheltered from the wind, while windward is the direction in which the wind is coming. 

Often, the bag that your spinnaker will be housed in is called a turtle, based on its shape and appearance.

How to Hoist and Set the Spinnaker

When you know all the parts of your spinnaker sail, the first thing you have to do is hoist your spinnaker properly. All lines should run outside of the sails. 

How to Fly a Spinnaker (Beginners Guide) 

  • Accordion fold the spinnaker as you pull it out of its bag to prevent twisting. Hold the upper edge of the sail with one hand, using the other to fold it inside and out. Grab those folds with the hand holding the upper edge, then do it with the other side. Hold both the sail and two corners as you place it into its bag. 
  • On your boat, run the guy and sheet completely, leading them into the cockpit on the side of which you plan to fly the spinnaker. 
  • Run the guy through the ends of the pole with its jaws up. It should be clipped to the tack of the spinnaker. 
  • The sheet goes through the leeward quarter’s block and is clipped to the clew, or the corner, of the sail. 
  • Attach the topping lift to the bridle where it holds up the pole when the sail is hoisted. 
  • Making sure the pole is on the windward side, prepare to hoist the spinnaker on the leeward side, keeping the pole all the way forward and at a right angle to the mast.
  • Connect the halyard, or hoisting rope, to the head of the spinnaker, keeping the jib up while you hoist. 
  • When you hoist, make sure the spinnaker doesn’t twist. Hoist it as fast as possible so when it fills with wind, it is completely raised.
  • After it is raised, watch the leading edge, or the luff, of the sail. When it curls, pull in the sail until it is smooth and curved.

Furling mainsail versus standard. Find out which is better here .

How to jibe—or move— your spinnaker.

Now that you have the sail out and flying, follow these steps to move your spinnaker when the boat turns. 

  • Manage both the sheet and guy, keeping the sail full as the boat turns. 
  • Staying behind the pole, release the jaws as the boat turns. 
  • While the sail remains full, attach the pole to the new corner of the sail. 
  • Secure the ropes tightly as it is brought back perpendicular to the masthead fly. 
  • Trim your sail as needed.

Follow the same steps in the opposite direction to bring your spinnaker back in the opposite direction. 

How to Drop Your Spinnaker

How to Fly a Spinnaker (Beginners Guide) 

  • Turn the boat into a safe, broad reach and reset the headsail. 
  • Trimming the spinnaker when necessary, use the guy to position the pole to the forestay of the sail. 
  • Hold it under the boom, releasing the guy as you lower the halyard. 
  • Pull the sheet until you have a hold of the clew.
  • Continue dropping the sail as a crew member bundles it and replaces it in the turtle.

There are many more ways you can learn to work with your spinnaker but knowing the basics can help you get out onto the water and use your sail safely. Make sure to test out your newfound knowledge with a trusted, experienced professional before heading out on your own!

RELATED QUESTIONS

What is the difference between a spinnaker pole and a whisker pole?

Whisker poles match the length of the foot of the sail, while a spinnaker pole matches the distance from the mast to the bow. This means that for the same boat, a whisker pole is significantly longer than a spinnaker pole. 

When can I fly my spinnaker?

While it depends on the weather and strength of the wind, there are a few ways to determine whether you should fly your spinnaker, like whether your boat will move faster with the sail, where the angle and direction of the wind is coming from, and whether your boat can handle a higher rate of speed. Most beginner spinnaker users should fly the spinnaker in under 15 knots of apparent wind speed. 

How to Fly a Spinnaker (Beginners Guide) 

Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Please consult a legal expert or medical professional to address your specific needs.

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All-Purpose The Soling Monster is considered the class standard spinnaker and has been the dominant downwind sail in the class for years. It is an all-purpose spinnaker and performs well throughout the wind range and over a wide variety of courses. The Monster is built from class minimum weight AirX 600 cloth. For colors other than solid White, please contact your local North Sails loft or agent.

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  8. Spinnaker

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    SETTING THE SPINNAKER How to Accomplish the Perfect Spinnaker Set. Nothing takes as much teamwork and practice as spinnaker handling. Here we'll cover the skills and techniques needed to handle and control conventional spinnakers, set from poles. Throughout the discussion the 'Divide and Conquer' approach to boat handling will be central: one team sails the boat as fast as possible with ...

  14. All About Spinnakers

    The Code Zero is a Spinnaker-Genoa hybrid; designed to operate like a Genoa but considered a Spinnaker under racing rules. This sail will help boats performance in tight reaching angles, especially in lighter winds by generating much more speed than a slightly eased head sail. The Code 1 Asymmetrical Spinnaker is a Light Air Reaching Sail.

  15. How to choose your asymmetric spinnaker

    Mackley continues: "A-sails are really good for long legs without gybes and in point-to-point races. On a boat like the Swan 45 with a spinnaker pole our tests have shown that an A2 sail is a ...

  16. How to Fly a Spinnaker (Beginners Guide)

    How to Fly a Spinnaker: After prepping your sail, run the guy through the ends of the pole with its jaws up, clipping it to the tack. Attach the sheet to the leeward quarter's block and clip it to the corner of the sail. Attach the topping lift to the bridle where it holds up the pole when the sail is hoisted.

  17. SOLING MONSTER SPINNAKER

    SOLING MONSTER SPINNAKER. $2,487.00. All-Purpose. All-Purpose The Soling Monster is considered the class standard spinnaker and has been the dominant downwind sail in the class for years. It is an all-purpose spinnaker and performs well throughout the wind range and over a wide variety of courses. The Monster is built from class minimum weight ...

  18. Spinnakers

    Please feel free to call us at 800.611.3823 with any questions. We're always happy to help our customers find the perfect solution for their needs, whether they're shopping for spinnakers or sail hardware. Investing in quality craftsmanship isn't only a better choice from a financial perspective, as you will get more adventures from a ...

  19. How to sail with a Spinnaker on a small sailboat

    The spinnaker is an additional sail that can only be used at certain times b... This video will take you through how to sail a small sailboat with a spinnaker. The spinnaker is an additional sail ...

  20. 3947 Spinnaker Drive #201, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

    3947 Spinnaker Drive #201. Welcome home to this GORGEOUS direct waterfront unit in Sailboat Bay with arguably the best view that Sailboat Bay has to offer. As SOON as you walk in, you're met with breathtaking views of the Bay, and being on the top floor means that that's the very first thing you see! There is no one on the North side of you!

  21. 3946 Spinnaker Dr, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

    Zillow has 36 photos of this $395,000 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,533 Square Feet condo home located at 3946 Spinnaker Dr, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 built in 1983. MLS #362203.

  22. 3947 Spinnaker Dr #201, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

    For Sale: 3 beds, 2.5 baths ∙ 1810 sq. ft. ∙ 3947 Spinnaker Dr #201, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 ∙ $579,900 ∙ MLS# 362589 ∙ Welcome home to this GORGEOUS direct waterfront unit in Sailboat Bay with argua...

  23. Elektrostal

    In 1938, it was granted town status. [citation needed]Administrative and municipal status. Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as Elektrostal City Under Oblast Jurisdiction—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, Elektrostal City Under Oblast Jurisdiction is incorporated as Elektrostal Urban Okrug.

  24. Elektrostal

    Elektrostal , lit: Electric and Сталь , lit: Steel) is a city in Moscow Oblast, Russia, located 58 kilometers east of Moscow. Population: 155,196 ; 146,294 ...

  25. Machine-Building Plant (Elemash)

    In 1954, Elemash began to produce fuel assemblies, including for the first nuclear power plant in the world, located in Obninsk. In 1959, the facility produced the fuel for the Soviet Union's first icebreaker. Its fuel assembly production became serial in 1965 and automated in 1982. 1. Today, Elemash is one of the largest TVEL nuclear fuel ...

  26. The flag of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia which I bought there

    Its a city in the Moscow region. As much effort they take in making nice flags, as low is the effort in naming places. The city was founded because they built factories there.