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
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
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
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
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
Kent Sail Co.
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
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
23 Oct 1998