Sailing Tips – Hoist The Spinnaker

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,424
    Kevin Wensley, Director of Operations with Offshore Sailing, demonstrates how to prepare for and properly hoist your spinnaker.

    Kevin Wensley: Hello! My name is Kevin Wensley, I am the Director of Operations at Offshore Sailing School. I am here today at one of beautiful Southwest Florida locations. What we're going to be look at now is actually how to set your spinnaker. In this instance we're going to be doing a better way set.

    So, if we just remind ourselves that pole always goes up from the windward side and the sail always hoists from the leeward side. So in this instance we're setting up for starboard tacks, we want the pole on the starboard side. What we need now is to have somebody in the crew go forwards and actually erase the pole to attach it to the mast, so the person in the cockpit is actually doing the lifting and then Brain is just guiding the pole up there, right?

    Making sure that the off the guy in the end of the pole and then the pole itself wants to be perpendicular to the mast and also wants to be perpendicular to you mast head fly, but for the hoist what we want to do is have the pole all the way forwards in the control to get it forwards is the full guy, here we go.

    And now we are going to attach the sail to the lines, so the white line is the halyard and that's going to attach to the head of the sail. So now we have got an off the guy and the sheet. We know it's off the guy because it actually runs through the pole. A line that runs through the pole is the off the guy and the line that it is attach to the clew of the spinnaker is the sheet, so the sheets on the pole side and that guys on the starboard side right now.

    Now we are at a phase where you have got the pole setup, the lines have run, something to look at is interesting is that you notice that we haven't put any stop knots in the end of the spinnaker sheet or the off the guy. The reason that happens or the reason we don't do that is because when the sail gets full it can't get very, very heavily loaded. If your line has spot knot in it and it runs up against a block of course that's going to stop it, but it will be super hot to get that knot done. And frankly what we would rather have is have the sail fly free like a flag with completely depowered and then drive the board underneath it. What we don't want to do is have a line so heavily loaded of course it's coming out of control that we can't readily release.

    The next step in terms of the hoist making sure that we have got the turtle bag or spinnaker bag attach to the boat so that when the sail comes up the bag doesn't go with it, make sure that's attached and then we're going to go ahead and do what's called pre feet and the pre feet is where we start to pull the sail out of the bag and towards the bow of the boat. In fact we are going to pull the tack of the sail out towards the end of the pole using the line that pulls the sail or the pull back which is the off the guy.

    If we were out there and under sail, of course we have the jib outs and main out. As a rule the spinnaker never wants to go up or down without the jib being there, so we don't drop the jib and then put the spinnaker up, we put the spinnaker up and then release it and then furl away the jib. So right now we got the tack of this of the spinnaker sail out towards of the end of the pole there and then the next step would be to actually hoist the sail. So, what Brain will do is when the time comes I'll pulling on the halyard and then Brian is going to look up to make sure that the line hasn't go tide around anything and hopefully you'll get a nice clean hoist.

    As soon as the sail is up we are going to be looking to rotate the pole back, so that we can actually get it to feel with that and we were under other sails once the spinnaker if flying furl away, that's when we furl away the jib. If we had a main sail and it was flying at the moment, then as boat bears away down wind we release the main sail, the boat turns down wind and that's when we go with the hoist. So I'm going to hopefully do a fairly big arm over arm hoist to that spinnaker. Are you ready there Brian?

    Brain: Yeah.

    Kevin Wensley: Here we are, right. So that will be easing on the full guy, rotate the pole back to the perpendicular then we need to stop thinking a little bit about where the pole is relative to the wind, but also sail trim, so I am looking out to see that my pole is perpendicular to the mass head fly and at the same time Brain is working with the sheets and he is easing it until he sees a little curl on the luff and then trim to -- to stop the curl.

    The other thing you can see here is that the -- what's called the clew of the sail is flying a little higher than the tack of the sail. Now what we want to trying to do is keep those level and that's where your twinges come into play. I just pull down on these twinge, you can see how I have got the tack and the clew flying at a similar height now. And that's really what I am after. So yeah nice set, no twists, the pole where it needs to be, Brain is very busy with his trimming and the trimming on the spinnaker is a very continuous operation you never stopped, the ease and so you see the curl and then you trim to stop the curl.

    All right! Once we are on the way we're heading down wind we are moving fast it's time for a little bit of tidier. So that's how to go about setting the spinnaker on the symmetric sail.