The Asymmetric Spinnaker


asymmetric spinnaker as part of a balanced Simbo sailing set up

When reaching and running in light winds, I substitute an asymmetric spinnaker for the Simbo Rig. I will fly this up to 15 knots of true wind before recovering it with a well designed snuffer. On a reach I straighten the luff by tightening the tack with a hauling line run through a turning block on the bowsprit/plank, to give some lift.

On bearing away on to a run, I ease the downhaul to take the asymmetric forward. The sheet is re-run through a block attached above and to the outer end of the main boom which then leads back to the cap rail banjo block and on up to the cockpit winch. For this exercise It is advisable to temporarily snuff the asymmetric to maintain control of what is otherwise a powerful flying sail. Finally a reef is put in the mainsail to allow the wind to flow over and around the leach to keep the asymmetric fully drawing. The mainsail's outhaul should be eased to increase the draft and the boom eased to it's furthest run without allowing the sail to rest against the spreaders. This fully exposes the asymmetric ’spinnaker to the following wind.

Although the reduction in the mainsail gives some loss of drive, it is more than compensated by the fully powered asymmetric spinnaker which would otherwise have collapsed. Before snuffing the spinnaker, I roll out a full mainsail to blanket the spinnaker to ensure an easy retrieval. Another merit of the in-mast furling mainsail.

Although the asymmetric is a satisfying sail to fly, one must be careful not to let it spoil the experience by hanging on to it too long especially if the increased wind has built up a sea which can make life on the foredeck hazardous.

With the availability of the Simbo Rig it is also unnecessary to fly the asymmetric spinnaker over 15 knots of wind unless you have a powerful and athletic foredeck crew who are out for a blast !



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using the asymmetric spinnaker as part of your downwind sailing plan for ocean and coastal cruising.