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Spinnaker' Trim




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Theory of Sailing Part 6
Spinnaker Trim
By Roy Dunster Mark Sadler
Last months checklist for headsail trim on the windward side of the spinnaker and
included the following helping to control the vertical height of the
pole The lazy sheetguy is the one that
isnt being used at the time ie the sheet
Checklist True on the windward side and the guy on the
Know what effect the jib controls have S leeward side
EndForEnd Gybe used on boats up
Your base upwind jib sheet setting S to around 40 feet In this gybe the pole
has the sheet enter the car at an is kept horizontal and simply unclipped
angle of about 45 degrees from the mast then from the old guy and
is clipped onto the new guy and then re
The slot between the jib leech and S attached to the mast
the mainsail is even all the way up Dip Pole Gybe dip pole gybes are
done on boats where the spinnaker pole
In most wind the jib telltales break S cannot easily be manhandled by the
evenly bowman ie 40 foot and upwards and
the boat usually has lazy sheetsguys The
In strong wind the top telltales break
slightly earlier because the top of
S gybe involves the bowman unclipping the
pole from the guy and then the pole is
the sail will be allowed to twist off hoisted on the mast track and dropped at
the outboard end so that it is able to dip
The jib is trimmed constantly upwind S between the mast and the forestay As the
according to changes in the conditions pole comes through to the new windward
In big breeze the trimmer is ready to dump side it is clipped onto the lazy guy at this
the sheet if the boat gets overpowered stage the sheet is still carrying all the load
the outboard end is hoisted and the new
If the jib is up while the spinnaker is S guy is sheeted on to take the load
flown it is deliberately undertrimmed Tackline used on an asymmetric
spinnaker to anchor and adjust the
If you feel slow ease the jib slightly S tackline on the bow bowsprit or spinnaker
If you cant get height upwind pull pole
the jib in slightly Spinnaker Chute a spinnaker chute
has an opening near the bow where the
spinnaker is launched and recovered and a
The discussion this month will be anchored on the sheerline near the boats tube made out of GRP andor sailcloth in
on spinnakers and will include both shrouds It has a block or fairlead which the the boat to store it To launch the halyard and
asymmetrics In addition spinnaker sheetguy runs through and its pulled and to drop the halyard is released
to dealing with how to trim them well primary purpose is to make the angle of the and the retrieving line an talk about the basics of
handling them guy coming off the spinnaker pole greater attached to patches near the middle of the
safely We wont deal with individual types This helps to prevent the pole skying ie kite is pulled until the whole sail is stowed
of boats because the generic descriptions shooting up vertically and the tweaker for in the chute They are commonly used on
should be sufficient the new guy needs to be tensioned before dinghies and can make sail handling easier
a gybe for this reason The tweaker is also although they are prone to collecting sometimes used to help the
sheet run more when the bow goes through waves
Kite Chute Bag other terms for smoothly under the mainsail boom or to Spinnaker Bag another option
take twist out of the leeward edge of the the spinnaker
Asymmetrical Spinnaker has a spinnaker They can take the form of the sailbag on
longer luff than leech ie the clew will be Pole Topping Lift effectively a halyard big boats which can be used to store and
higher than the tack This means that the to pull the spinnaker pole upwards then launch the kite or the bags on smaller
luff is always the luff on a symmetrical Pole Downhaul pulls the spinnaker boats like Fireballs and Rebels which each vertical
edge could be the pole down located at the front of the cockpit On
luff or the leech depending on which gybe Square the Spinnaker on a dinghies spinnaker bags may seem harder
the boat is on and the sail gets gybed by symmetrical spinnaker this involves pulling to handle than spinnaker chutes but the sheet on the
one side and on the guy and is done when the boat dont collect water and give more sail
pulling it in on the new leeward side bears off further away from the wind handling options
Symmetrical Spinnaker clews are the Lazy Sheet Lazy Guy many large Snuffer effectively a vertical height and luffs are
the same length boats 35 footplus have separate sheets chute that consists of a faired opening and
Sheet rope used to control the and guys The loads on the guys are much a long bag It is hoisted with the side of the sail
bigger than on the sheets ie they need inside it and then is allowed to open when
Guy only used on a symmetrical much stronger rope and blocks and also the crew wants to set the kite Dousing Controls the
windward side need to use an ideal sheeting position spinnaker consists of easing the sheet and
of the sail and usually runs through the this will be much further forward than the guy or just sheet on an asymmetric and
spinnaker pole end turning block for the spinnaker sheet which then pulling the snuffer downwards The
Tweaker a control which is usually will be a combination of getting leverage spinnaker and snuffer are then lowered
8 SAILING March 2009 the deck Snuffers can be
useful boat sailing over it or it blowing inside on large boats sailed by few foretriangle and getting tangled A good
people way to prevent this is for the helmsman
3020 refers to cloth weight This to bear off a bit more as the kite is being
equates to about 06oz but can be used in pulled up but if the sail does get stuck
similar windstrength to a 075oz between the forestay and the mast a gybe
05oz refers to cloth weight This will can help to get it free
be a light wind spinnaker Lighter cloth will
make it easier for the spinnaker to set in Trimming the wind Heavier cloth will make it less
likely to burst in strong wind Sheet And Guy Position
075oz refers to cloth weight 075oz Generally you want to have the spinnaker
is the most common weight for general as loose as possible and you do this by
purpose spinnakers keeping the sheet eased enough to have
15oz refers to cloth weight 15oz a constant small curl in the luff If you
and higher is ideal cloth for strong wind are trimming the sail and the luff curled in the last 10
seconds the odds are
Code sails eg Code 0 A1 etc refers that its trimmed too tight If the spinnaker
to sail size and whether it is asymmetric collapses from the luff it means it was set
A or symmetrical S Note that very too loose If the collapse seems to start
few Grand Prix boats carry symmetrical from the centre it needs to be eased anymore Sizes are as follows or squared to windward
For getting the guy in the right place
Code 075 of Spinnaker Area SPA the first thing is that the pole should never
Code 196 of SPA be right on the forestay On dinghies it
Code 2100 of SPA might be as close as 5cm while on
Code 390 of SPA keelboats its likely to be more like a
Code 475 of SPA fuller than a code 0 minimum of 20cm Assuming the sheet is
trimmed correctly ie with the luff just
Handling the Spinnaker curling the luff of the spinnaker should fly
Well assume that the spinnaker is stored vertically off the pole If it seems to bend to
in a bag so neither a chute nor snuffer leeward the guy is too tight and the pole is
will be used Well deal with handling a oversquared and the opposite if it tends spinnaker first bulge to weather
An exception could be if the wind is
Symmetrical Spinnaker very strong and you are trying to flatten the
The Leeward Hoist kite in which case a bit of This is the easier of the two methods can be a good thing
especially on a run
of getting the spinnaker up because the when it will help to stop the boat rolling
sail flies out to leeward away from the
boat and theres much less risk of getting Pole Height discussed what happens in endforend and
it wrapped around something or sailing The starting point is that the clews of the dippole it
spinnaker should be roughly level As If there is lots of wind and the pole is
In a leeward hoist the crew will set the a general rule a low pole will help the difficult to attach to the mast on the new
spinnaker pole first a good starting point spinnaker to set when the wind is very light side there will probably also be waves As
is for it to be approximately horizontal while a raised pole will help it breathe the boat rolls to weather the pole will be
and then the spinnaker itself will be pulled better when theres breeze a lot easier to push out and that is the ideal
up as the boat bears off from a beat As You can also use the point that the luff time to clip it onto the mast
the kite goes up the guy will be pulled curls to get the height right Ideally the curl Its also a good idea for the bowman
back more the closer the boat is to dead should start in the middle if it starts at the to push the pole out forwards rather and once it is
all the way up top theres too much twist in the sail and across the boat there is less distance to
the sheet will be trimmed the pole should be lowered The converse push because the forestay will already be
is true if the curl starts near the bottom forcing the new guy some of the way out
The helmsman watches the progress
The Weather Hoist of the bowman and slows down or
When hoisting to weather the spinnaker Gybing the Spinnaker
There is no reason why a spinnaker should speeds up the gybe depending on whats
needs to go up first once the boat has happening on the front of the boat
already borne away and the pole stop drawing through a gybe except
sometimes on twoperson dinghies where The trimmers also watch the bowman
is attached to the mast and the guy and ensure the spinnaker is flying
the crew might run out of hands Good
gybes involve the whole crew looking the whole way through the gybe taking
On a twoperson dinghy the process particular care to ensure that they do not
will usually be that the crew takes the forward and communicating clearly with
each other The basic process taking into suddenly pull the new guy as the bowman
whole spinnaker out of its storage bag and is trying to attach it to the pole
then throws it forward and around the account the previous description of end
forend and dippole gybes should be Not controlling the spinnaker and
forestay as the helmsman pulls the halyard ending up with it flapping is very bad It
On a keelboat the bowman will take The tactician calls the gybe
The pregybe adjustments are made will be hard to attach the pole to the new
the whole spinnaker forward and feed guy and the flapping is likely to heel the
it around the front of the forestay as the eg the new tweaker is pulled on before
the gybe boat potentially spinning it out of pulls the halyard In both cases the
The pitman monitors the pole
pole is only set once the spinnaker is up The bowman assuming were on a
keelboat runs forward and braces himself downhaul and uphaul to make sure the
and preferably flying pole is able to be controlled and then
C o o r dinat io n b e t we e n w h o eve r probably against the mast to handle the
pole squared back sufficiently on the new gybe
is pulling the halyard and feeding the The old weather tweaker is for ward is
critical bad As the helmsman bears off into the
gybe the guy trimmer squares the pole as the boat comes onto its new could result in the bag landing
Someone is ready to release the vang
in the water in front of the boat and the The pole is gybed we have already
10 SAILING March 2009 if there is a chance of
broaching
The Drop
Leeward Drop
Here the spinnaker is pulled in on the leeward side of the boat
The process is
Get hold of the sheet by holding it directly controlling the
leeward tweaker or using a retrieving line and start to pull it and
the spinnaker onto the boat
The guy should be eased forward but controlled and the
person gathering the spinnaker probably the bowman should get
control of the foot of the sail first
Note that the guy should not be eased so much that the
spinnaker gets away from the boat Rather the guy trimmer must
watch the progress on the bow and ease on fast enough to not
slow down the bowmans job
The halyard is released and the sail is gathered in as quickly
as possible
Once the sail is in the pole can be lowered and stowed
The leeward drop is made easier by the spinnaker ending up
in the lee of the main and jib so it is relatively easy to pull in
However if the foot is not under control by the time the boat
starts to head upwind it can get away from the boat and cause a
problem like get stuck around the aft end of the boom
On large boats leeward drops are safer than weather on yachts up to approximately 30 foot they are both
fairly easy and if you are sailing a standard Olympic course it will
probably be better to do weather drops so that you are set up for a
leeward hoist at the windward Drop
The process is
Drop the pole and stow it on the leeward side of the boat
taking care to get it on the right side of the jib sheets As the
pole is dropped the guy is slightly oversquared to flatten the SAILING March 2009 11
Symetrical spinnaker Symetrical spinnaker
setting the the pole height trimming the guy
Pole end clew higher Luff bends to leeward
heavy air position ease the guy forward Luff bulges to windward
square the guy more
Clews even
base position
Vertical luff
Pole end clew lower guy correctly trimmed
light air position
Now stocking Braided sheetline Dynema
Spec 12 dock lines and anchor rope
all cut to length
We now also offer a braided racing 3 strand
and rope to wire splicing service and give more control If possible someone should hold onto
And we supply snap D and the weather shrouds and act as a human pole to help hold the
spinnaker out to windward
captive halyard shakles If you are on a keel boat where the jib sheets run over
everything have someone ensure that the weather jib sheet is
pulled tight to make it easier for the bowman to get the spinnaker
dropped on the correct side of the jib sheets
This is a simple but very effective way to ensure that the jib
sheets are always over everything else
The bowman gets hold of the guy and starts to pull it onto
the boat At this point the sheet needs to be eased and the crew
gathering the kite MUST get control of the foot before the halyard
is eased too much ie this means that everyone is looking
forward and making sure that the spinnaker does not land up in
the water in front of the boat
The cool thing with the weather drop is that once the kite
68 Moss Road Westmead is mostly under control the helmsman can head up as heshe
pleases because the spinnaker will get blown into as opposed to
Ph 031 700 4525 away from the boat
Fax 031 700 290855
Asymmetrical Spinnaker
Email The Hoist
The critical point when hoisting an asymmetric is that on boats
which have them the bowsprit needs to be pulled out all the way
before anything else happens If you try to pull the bowsprit out
12 SAILING March 2009 the spinnaker is up and the
tackline is sailing in waves this will eventually result in
Checklist True
set the odds are that the loads will be too the kite losing its balance and to do so completely
You know what the different S
spinnaker controls do
The next thing is to pull the tackline
and then the halyard Apart from that Gybing the Asymmetrical Spinnaker
it is the same as hoisting a symmetrical For the most part this involves releasing
You know which spinnakers you
have in your inventory and why
spinnaker the old sheet and pulling in the new one
In light wind the spinnaker can float most
Trimming the Asymmetrical of the way around and should not need to
You know the difference between
a leeward and weather hoist and
Spinnaker collapse However in breeze you probably
can do either
dont want to come out of the gybe with
Sheet and Tackline Position the spinnaker too powered up In this case
Like a symmetrical spinnaker the objective it can be good to collapse it on the jib just
On a symmetrical spinnaker the
luff flies vertically up the luff
with the asymmetric is to keep a bit of curl as youre going through the gybe This is
on the luff at all times and try and keep the achieved by giving a quick jerk on the old
sheet as loose as possible sheet as the boat gets to dead downwind
On a symmetrical and asymmetric S
On boats with fixed bowsprits or if the spinnaker the sheet is frequently
The sail can then be pulled through to the
spinnaker is just flown off the bow you adjusted and the luff curls evenly
new side once the mainsail has gybed and
obviously dont have a pole to square and the whole way up
the boat is on its new course
this could make sailing lower than a beam
reach pretty difficult However sailmakers The Drop
In light wind the pole or the
tackline is lowered
ar e go o d at making a s y mm e t ric al This is the almost same as for a for heavy keelboats high speed spinnaker the main difference
being that
skiffs dont have the problem because their In strong wind the pole and the S
the pole is the last thing to be wind is always so far forward and tackline are raised
irrespective of whether youre doing a
the sails are designed to be able to float leeward or windward drop It was the first
around to windward with a massively Youve practised gybing the S
thing to be launched in the hoist and the
eased sheet spinnaker and can do it in an
order is reversed for the drop The other
The tackline performs a very important condition youre likely to sail in
point is that it is very easy to get the kite
role beyond just pulling the kite to the in the water especially if it is being flown
end of the pole and should actually be off a bowsprit which is physically very
You know the difference between S
trimmed like the pole a leeward and weather drop and
close to the water This means that getting
on a symmetrical spinnaker ie eased to can do either
the spinnaker onto the boat very quickly
allow the tack to go higher in breeze and is extremely important On bigger when the wind drops When
If theres anything youd like to
it has resulted in techniques like lots of wind an eased tackline discuss about spinnaker
trim or any
the spinnaker through the gap between
can also help to get the spinnaker to float of the other topics weve covered so
the boom and the loosefooted mainsail to
further to windward although if youre far give Mark a call on 072140 9049
help keep it high and out the SAILING March 2009 13

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