How to Fly Symmetric Spinnakers

How to Set Up for a Spinnaker Hoist

In this video, Kevin Wensley, Offshore Sailing School Director of Operations, demonstrates how to set up for a spinnaker hoist, taking into consideration the three component parts – sheet and guy, pole, and spinnaker. Here are some helpful hints on how to set them all up:

  • First, accordion fold the spinnaker to make sure it unfurls without twisting as you raise it from its bag
  • Hold the head of the sail in one hand and use the other hand to fold one side of the spinnaker in and out; grab those folds with the hand holding the head, then do the same with the other side of the sail
  • Holding the head of the sail and the two corners together, carefully place it in its bag
  • If the two lines that control the bottom two corners of the spinnaker are not yet set up, run the after guy and the sheet completely outside the lifelines and lead them into the cockpit on the side where you plan to let the spinnaker fly out
  • Run the after guy through the end of the pole, with jaws up
  • Attach the topping lift to the bridle that holds the pole up when the sail is hoisted

 

Want to learn more? In the Learn to Sail Course you get to sail downwind with a spinnaker. In our Performance Sailing Course, you practice over and over how to properly set and fly a spinnaker. Performance Race Week truly hones your downwind racing skills with lots of sets and douses.

How to Set a Spinnaker

In this video, Kevin Wensley, Offshore Sailing School Director of Operations, shows you how to do a bear-away spinnaker set. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Always put the spinnaker pole up on the windward side and hoist the spinnaker from the leeward side
  • Make sure the pole is all the way forward as the spinnaker is hoisted
  • Make sure the spinnaker sail bag is attached to the boat, connect the halyard to the head of the spinnaker
  • Keep your jib up while hosting the spinnaker
  • As someone pulls quickly on the spinnaker halyard, another crew member should control the sheet to keep the spinnaker from twisting around
  • When the chute is all the way up, bring the pole back perpendicular to the masthead fly
  • The spinnaker trimmer should continuously ease the sheet until he/she sees a little curl on the luff, then trim in to stop the curl

 

Want to learn more? In the Learn to Sail Course you get to sail downwind with a spinnaker. In our Performance Sailing Course, you practice over and over how to properly set a spinnaker. Performance Race Week truly hones your racing skills while flying a spinnaker.

How to Jibe a Spinnaker

In this video, Kevin Wensley, Offshore Sailing School Director of Operations, shows you how to jibe a spinnaker, move it from one side of the boat to the other as the boat turns. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Have someone ready on the foredeck to move the pole from one corner of the sail to the other
  • Make sure another crew member is handling both the sheet and guy to keep the sail full as the boat turns
  • Stay behind the pole, release the jaws as the boat turns and while the sail is full, attach the pole to the new clew
  • Secure the guy tightly as the pole is brought back perpendicular to masthead fly
  • Continuously trim the sail by easing until you see a curl, then trimming in to stop the curl

 

Want to learn more? In the Learn to Sail Course you get to sail downwind with a spinnaker. In our Performance Sailing Course, you practice over and over how to properly set a spinnaker. Performance Race Week truly hones your racing skills downwind while flying a spinnaker.

How to Douse a Spinnaker to Leeward

In this video, Kevin Wensley, Offshore Sailing School Director of Operations, shows you how to bring your spinnaker down on the leeward side of the boat. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Reach up under the boom and start to pull the clew of the sail around the boat while releasing the after guy
  • As the clew comes toward you, release the halyard, pull the sail down and into the boat manually, stuff it into the cabin down the companionway
  • Make sure there are no twists as you haul the sail in or you will have to repack the spinnaker
  • Secure the pole on deck

 

Want to learn more? In the Learn to Sail Course you get to sail downwind with a spinnaker. In our Performance Sailing Course, you practice over and over how to properly set a spinnaker. Performance Race Week truly hones your racing skills downwind flying a spinnaker.

How to Douse a Spinnaker to Windward

In this video, Kevin Wensley, Offshore Sailing School Director of Operations, show you how to bring a symmetric spinnaker down on the windward side of the boat. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Send someone forward to disconnect the pole and stow it on the leeward side
  • Pull the sail around to the windward side of the boat, and release the after guy as you bring the sail into the boat
  • The pole and the lines controlling the spinnaker are now on the leeward side, ready for a tack set when you go around the next windward mark
  • Be sure you run the afterguy through the end of the pole, before setting up for your next hoist

 

Want to learn more? In the Learn to Sail Course you get to sail downwind with a spinnaker. In our Performance Sailing Course, you practice over and over how to properly set a spinnaker. Performance Race Week truly hones your racing skills downwind flying a spinnaker.

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