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Spinnaker' Trim



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Theory of Sailing Part 6 Spinnaker Trim By Roy Dunster Mark SadlerLast months checklist for headsail trim on the windward side of the spinnaker andincluded 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 aThe discussion this month will be anchored on the sheerline near the boats tube made out of GRP andor sailcloth inon spinnakers and will include both shrouds It has a block or fairlead which the the boat to store it To launch the halyard issymmetricals and asymmetrics In addition spinnaker sheetguy runs through and its pulled and to drop the halyard is releasedto dealing with how to trim them well primary purpose is to make the angle of the and the retrieving line an umbilicalalso talk about the basics of handling them guy coming off the spinnaker pole greater attached to patches near the middle of thesafely We wont deal with individual types This helps to prevent the pole skying ie kite is pulled until the whole sail is stowedof boats because the generic descriptions shooting up vertically and the tweaker for in the chute They are commonly used onshould 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 forspinnaker take twist out of the leeward edge of the the spinnaker Asymmetrical Spinnaker has a spinnaker They can take the form of the sailbag onlonger luff than leech ie the clew will be Pole Topping Lift effectively a halyard big boats which can be used to store andhigher than the tack This means that the to pull the spinnaker pole upwards then launch the kite or the bags on smallerluff is always the luff on a symmetrical Pole Downhaul pulls the spinnaker boats like Fireballs and Rebels which arespinnaker each vertical edge could be the pole down located at the front of the cockpit Onluff or the leech depending on which gybe Square the Spinnaker on a dinghies spinnaker bags may seem harderthe boat is on and the sail gets gybed by symmetrical spinnaker this involves pulling to handle than spinnaker chutes but theyreleasing the sheet on the one side and on the guy and is done when the boat dont collect water and give more sailpulling 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 spinnakersame 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 thespinnaker Controls the windward side need to use an ideal sheeting position spinnaker consists of easing the sheet andof the sail and usually runs through the this will be much further forward than the guy or just sheet on an asymmetric andspinnaker 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 lowered8 SAILING March 2009 the deck Snuffers can be useful boat sailing over it or it blowing inside theespecially on large boats sailed by few foretriangle and getting tangled A goodpeople way to prevent this is for the helmsman 3020 refers to cloth weight This to bear off a bit more as the kite is beingequates to about 06oz but can be used in pulled up but if the sail does get stucksimilar windstrength to a 075oz between the forestay and the mast a gybe 05oz refers to cloth weight This will can help to get it freebe a light wind spinnaker Lighter cloth willmake it easier for the spinnaker to set in Trimming the Spinnakerlight wind Heavier cloth will make it lesslikely to burst in strong wind Sheet And Guy Position 075oz refers to cloth weight 075oz Generally you want to have the spinnakeris the most common weight for general as loose as possible and you do this bypurpose spinnakers keeping the sheet eased enough to have 15oz refers to cloth weight 15oz a constant small curl in the luff If youand 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 spinnakerto sail size and whether it is asymmetric collapses from the luff it means it was setA or symmetrical S Note that very too loose If the collapse seems to startfew Grand Prix boats carry symmetrical from the centre it needs to be eased andspinnakers anymore Sizes are as follows or squared to windward For getting the guy in the right placeCode 075 of Spinnaker Area SPA the first thing is that the pole should neverCode 196 of SPA be right on the forestay On dinghies itCode 2100 of SPA might be as close as 5cm while onCode 390 of SPA keelboats its likely to be more like aCode 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 flyWell assume that the spinnaker is stored vertically off the pole If it seems to bend toin a bag so neither a chute nor snuffer leeward the guy is too tight and the pole iswill be used Well deal with handling a oversquared and the opposite if it tends tosymmetrical spinnaker first bulge to weather An exception could be if the wind is Symmetrical Spinnaker very strong and you are trying to flatten theThe Leeward Hoist kite in which case a bit of oversquaring This is the easier of the two methods can be a good thing especially on a runof getting the spinnaker up because the when it will help to stop the boat rollingsail flies out to leeward away from theboat and theres much less risk of getting Pole Height discussed what happens in endforend andit wrapped around something or sailing The starting point is that the clews of the dippole manoeuvresover 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 newspinnaker pole first a good starting point spinnaker to set when the wind is very light side there will probably also be waves Asis for it to be approximately horizontal while a raised pole will help it breathe the boat rolls to weather the pole will beand then the spinnaker itself will be pulled better when theres breeze a lot easier to push out and that is the idealup as the boat bears off from a beat As You can also use the point that the luff time to clip it onto the mastthe kite goes up the guy will be pulled curls to get the height right Ideally the curl Its also a good idea for the bowmanback 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 thandownwind and once it is all the way up top theres too much twist in the sail and across the boat there is less distance tothe 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 progressThe Weather Hoist of the bowman and slows down orWhen hoisting to weather the spinnaker Gybing the Spinnaker There is no reason why a spinnaker should speeds up the gybe depending on whatsneeds to go up first once the boat has happening on the front of the boatalready borne away and the pole stop drawing through a gybe except sometimes on twoperson dinghies where The trimmers also watch the bowmanis 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 notwill 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 bowmanwhole spinnaker out of its storage bag and is trying to attach it to the polethen throws it forward and around the account the previous description of end forend and dippole gybes should be Not controlling the spinnaker andforestay 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 newthe whole spinnaker forward and feed guy and the flapping is likely to heel theit around the front of the forestay as the eg the new tweaker is pulled on before the gybe boat potentially spinning it out of controlpitman pulls the halyard In both cases the The pitman monitors the polepole 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 theand 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 gybeis 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 vangin the water in front of the boat and the The pole is gybed we have already10 SAILING March 2009 if there is a chance of broaching The DropLeeward DropHere the spinnaker is pulled in on the leeward side of the boatThe process is Get hold of the sheet by holding it directly controlling theleeward tweaker or using a retrieving line and start to pull it andthe spinnaker onto the boat The guy should be eased forward but controlled and theperson gathering the spinnaker probably the bowman should getcontrol of the foot of the sail first Note that the guy should not be eased so much that thespinnaker gets away from the boat Rather the guy trimmer mustwatch the progress on the bow and ease on fast enough to notslow down the bowmans job The halyard is released and the sail is gathered in as quicklyas possible Once the sail is in the pole can be lowered and stowed The leeward drop is made easier by the spinnaker ending upin the lee of the main and jib so it is relatively easy to pull inHowever if the foot is not under control by the time the boatstarts to head upwind it can get away from the boat and cause aproblem like get stuck around the aft end of the boom On large boats leeward drops are safer than weather onesHowever on yachts up to approximately 30 foot they are bothfairly easy and if you are sailing a standard Olympic course it willprobably be better to do weather drops so that you are set up for aleeward hoist at the windward markWeather DropThe process is Drop the pole and stow it on the leeward side of the boattaking care to get it on the right side of the jib sheets As thepole 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 out12 SAILING March 2009 the spinnaker is up and the tackline is sailing in waves this will eventually result in Checklist Trueset the odds are that the loads will be too the kite losing its balance and collapsinghigh to do so completely You know what the different S spinnaker controls do The next thing is to pull the tacklineand then the halyard Apart from that Gybing the Asymmetrical Spinnakerit 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 Sspinnaker 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 S Spinnaker collapse However in breeze you probably can do either dont want to come out of the gybe withSheet and Tackline Position the spinnaker too powered up In this caseLike 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 Swith the asymmetric is to keep a bit of curl as youre going through the gybe This ison the luff at all times and try and keep the achieved by giving a quick jerk on the oldsheet 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 thespinnaker is just flown off the bow you adjusted and the luff curls evenly new side once the mainsail has gybed andobviously dont have a pole to square and the whole way up the boat is on its new coursethis could make sailing lower than a beamreach pretty difficult However sailmakers The Drop In light wind the pole or the tackline is lowered Sar 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 thatskiffs dont have the problem because their In strong wind the pole and the S the pole is the last thing to be stowedapparent wind is always so far forward and tackline are raised irrespective of whether youre doing athe sails are designed to be able to float leeward or windward drop It was the firstaround to windward with a massively Youve practised gybing the S thing to be launched in the hoist and theeased 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 kiterole beyond just pulling the kite to the in the water especially if it is being flownend of the pole and should actually be off a bowsprit which is physically very You know the difference between Strimmed like the pole uphauldownhaul a leeward and weather drop and close to the water This means that gettingon a symmetrical spinnaker ie eased to can do either the spinnaker onto the boat very quicklyallow the tack to go higher in breeze and is extremely important On bigger boatstightened when the wind drops When If theres anything youd like to it has resulted in techniques like pullingtheres lots of wind an eased tackline discuss about spinnaker trim or any the spinnaker through the gap betweencan also help to get the spinnaker to float of the other topics weve covered so the boom and the loosefooted mainsail tofurther 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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