R 22

Rhodes 22


Spinnakers, Cruising/Asymmetrical

Asymmetrical spinnaker, cruising spinnaker, reacher or drifter, pick a name or a nation (I am sure there are some differences, but they are lost on me) the sail in my case is 280 sq. ft. 1.5 oz Dacron, good for 50 to 170 degrees off the wind and 18 knots of wind without the need for spinnaker hardware.

Still waiting to fly it.


My genoa has a line spliced to the tack grommet. There is a red tape on the edge from the head to the tack and a green tape from head to clew. There is a block attached to the bow pulpit. How does all this function?

Bill Shafer
20 Oct 1998

It sounds like what you've got there is a "drifter" or asymmetrical/cruising spinnaker. At least the spinnakers on the Lightning I sailed as a teenager had color-coded tape so you'd know where each end went. The Neil Pryde website has a page (http://www.paw.com/Sail/neilpryde/cs_trim.htm) with a better explanation than I can give, plus some pretty clear diagrams, on how to rig and fly a cruising spinnaker. This is my next project.

Gary Sanford
s/v Raven

I agree with Gary. It sounds like your unknown headsail is an asymmetrical spinnaker. I have my 1976 Rhodes 22 rigged for both an asymmetric cruising spinnaker and a tri-radial spinnaker. Both spinnakers have red tape up one luff and green tape up the other. I assume your boat has both main and jib halyards, both run externally on the mast. I am also assuming your boat has the genoa tracks which run the full length of the cockpit.

The cruising spinnaker will require a heavy-duty padeye to be installed on the foredeck as far forward as possible. This padeye needs to be thru bolted with a big backing plate inside the cabin up in the V-berth area. When you purchase your cruising spinnaker, you also need to purchase a single block with a snap shackle, like a Ronstan RF1254 WM. This sounds like the extra line and block you mentioned in your e-mail. However, I doubt the bow pulpit is strong enough to handle the loads that are involved. I would strongly consider installing a HD padeye on the foredeck. Attach the snap shackle to the padeye you just installed.

The head of the cruising spinnaker is hoisted on your jib halyard. The tack is attached to a length of low-stretch line and threaded through the block. This line is the tack pennant and is used to adjust the luff tension in the cruising spinnaker. You don't need any mechanical advantage on the tack pennant to get enough tension on the luff of a cruising spinnaker on a Rhodes 22. In the simplest installation, simply cleat off the tack pennant on the bow cleat. However, I like to be able to adjust my luff tension from the cockpit. My boat has lifelines. To lead the tack pennant to the cockpit, I installed Johnson 40-501 stanchion-mount bullseye fairleads on the lifeline stanchions and a clam cleat back at the cockpit.

Under some sailing conditions, it is desirable to attach the cruising spinnaker's tack to the furled up genoa to prevent the cruising spinnaker from bellying out too much. For this, I use a "furling collar" which wraps around the furled up genoa and then attaches to the tack of the cruising spinnaker. This furling collar is available from:

Kent Sail Co.
35942 Jefferson
Mt. Clemens, MI 48045

In 1993, my furling collar cost $25.28 including UPS ground S&H. Some people use a ring of beads around the furled up genoa to serve the same purpose. I like the cloth furling collar better than the ring of beads because I think the collar chafes less on the genoa.

You can get away with no pole with a cruising spinnaker. However, the performance when running and reaching will be better with a whisker pole, particularly in light air. I use a Forespar HD-6-12-DL heavy-duty twist lock whisker pole. I have my spinnaker mast car mounted on a 3' long piece of the same 1" Schaffer genoa T-track as the genoa tracks in the cockpit. The lower end of the track is mounted so the whisker pole can be stowed just off the deck. The outboard end of the whisker pole is snapped onto the bow padeye. The spinnaker mast car is lowered to its lowest point and the mast end of the whisker pole is snapped onto the mast car's ring. The whisker pole just barely clears the upper front corner of the cabin roof. You could get away with a single spinnaker pole fitting, but you won't be able to adjust the angle of the whisker pole. Your downwind and reaching performance will suffer slightly.

In light air, it is helpful to have a whisker pole topping lift to take the weight of the whisker pole off the clew of the cruising spinnaker. The sail shape will be better. I have my whisker pole topping lift rigged to a heavy-duty eyestrap and block rigged at 3/4 of the length of the mast from the deck. I have my eyestrap drilled and tapped into the mast with four 10-32 UNF stainless machine screws and locked together with epoxy. My installation is overkill for a whisker pole topping lift. However, I also use my topping lift as a spinnaker pole topping lift and as a halyard for a storm jib. The HD bow padeye is used for the storm jib's tack pennant. My whisker pole topping lift is led back to the cockpit along the starboard side of the cabin roof.

In heavy air, the outboard end of the whisker pole will tend to rise up. This does bad things for sail shape and tends to make the spinnaker unstable. To prevent this, you need a whisker pole downhaul. My downhaul is also led back to the cockpit right next to the whisker pole topping lift. By the way, this is a great place to use colored lines. For instance, my topping lift is green and my downhaul is red.

You will probably want to get another set of genoa track cars for your cockpit. This way, you don't have to unthread your genoa sheets when you fly your spinnaker. The spinnaker generally flies best when the sheets are led near the aft end of the cockpit. Spinnaker trimming is an art unto itself and we won't get into that.

The cruising spinnaker is primarily a downwind sail. A tri-radial spinnaker can also be used as a reaching sail and it is also much bigger in area than the cruising spinnaker for more performance. My favorite use for my cruising spinnaker is when sailing dead downwind. I set the genoa out on one side poled with the spinnaker pole and the cruising spinnaker on the other side poled out with the whisker pole with no main sail. Together, the sail area approaches the area of the tri-radial spinnaker; but, with much more control. In fact, the rig is basically self-steering. (The ultimate in lee helm!)

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
23 Oct 1998

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