Cruising Tips: Spinnaker Net

Like most cruisers, I was happy to ditch my symmetric spinnaker and defect to a more easily handled asymmetric kite, but I can’t deny that the symmetric sail has its advantages. It works better on downwind runs with the apparent wind at 140 degrees or more, and on most older boats it has the considerable virtue of already being on board (no need to spend money) and is probably lightly
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Like most cruisers, I was happy to ditch my symmetric spinnaker and defect to a more easily handled asymmetric kite, but I can’t deny that the symmetric sail has its advantages. It works better on downwind runs with the apparent wind at 140 degrees or more, and on most older boats it has the considerable virtue of already being on board (no need to spend money) and is probably lightly used.

One reason cruisers fear these sails is the dreaded spinnaker wrap, which is much more likely to happen with a symmetric kite. One way to avoid a wrap is to rig a spinnaker net. I saw this one on a Cal 40 that was being prepared for a trans-Pacific race. It was a simple affair, made of webbing and attached in this case to the genoa halyard. It would be easy enough for a cruiser to fabricate a net that fits over a rolled-up genoa. I’d like the peace of mind at night and when sailing shorthanded. A net would also be useful in light air and a big swell, when the boat’s rocking often causes the spinnaker to collapse and refill—prime conditions for a spinnaker wrap.

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