Go Fly a Kite! Page 3

Recent years have seen a minor revolution in downwind sailing. We have witnessed not only the rebirth of the a symmetrical spinnaker (A-sail), better-designed and stronger-built symmetrical spinnakers (S-sails), but even more recently, the Parasailor2, a sail that might lead many long-distance cruisers to rethink their off-the-wind inventories.We tested these these
Author:
Publish date:

Conclusion

As far as setting, gybing, and dousing is concerned, we found the A-sail was the easiest to handle, followed by the Parasailor2, and then finally the S-sail.

While the S-sail showed a slight speed advantage, it required the most hands and concentration to fly, making it great for race crews, but too much work for shorthanded cruisers. Also, because it requires more running rigging, it is the most demanding of the three sails, especially when it’s windy.

The A-sail gets our nod as the best overall downwind sail, mostly because of its simplicity, its ease of handling, and its higher, faster sailing angles. Plus, A-sails are a snap to gybe, which is a key reason why these sails have become so popular. That said, the Parasailor2 is now found aboard many boats taking part in the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. Because of its ability to float in front of the boat when sailing DDW, the Parasailor2 would be aboard our boat if we ever decided to go offshore.

Lastly, it’s important to note that we tested the Parasailor2 without a mainsail. It’s possible we could have coaxed a bit more boatspeed with the main up; that said, many Parasailor2 owners prefer to fly the sail without the main, as it is so stable that it doesn’t require the additional balance of the main.

If you’re considering acquiring a new downwind cruising sail, we recommend that you add a spinnaker sleeve to the kit, as this allows you to easily contain the sail and lower it in a controlled manner. The only real drawback to using a spinnaker sleeve on an A-sail is that, on a masthead rig, it may jam up between the sail’s masthead sheave and the forestay so that you won’t be able to pass the sail through the slot when gybing. If you’re unsure of the clearances involved, contact your rigger.

spinnaker_comparison_results

Taming Your Kite

When it comes to cruising kites, spinnaker sleeves are the way to avoid dramas. Forget about tricky, sometimes-soggy takedowns or scary gybes. You simply hoist the sail in its sausage-like sleeve, then, when everybody is ready, one person goes forward and hauls on the sleeve’s trip line to raise it and release the spinnaker. A sleeve takes the worry out of gybes and takedowns too. Instead of trying to deal with a fussy sail and a complicated maneuver, one crewman goes forward and slides the sleeve down over the spinnaker, collapsing it, while another eases the sheets. Should the wind come up substantially while you’re flying your kite, you’ll be very happy that you’ve invested in a sleeve.

without_spinnaker_sleeve
spinnaker_sleeve

Related

albintoilet

Gear: Albin Pump Marine Toilet

Head Start Is there room for a new marine toilet? Albin Pump Marine thinks so, having just introduced its line of Swedish-built heads—ranging from compact to full-size models—to the American market. The toilets feature vitreous porcelain bowls and either wooden or thermoplastic ...read more

07n_45R2699

Multihull Sailor: Classic Cats

If you’re looking for a decent sub-40ft cruising cat, you have few choices when it comes to new-boat offerings. It is a well-known fact that the multihull market has taken off in a way very few could have predicted. Despite Hurricane Irma’s recent destruction of a large part of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Thanks a bunch  This scene is very calm and seamanlike. No frantic rope throwing or shouting. As he passes the line to the gent on the dock, the crew on the boat says, quietly and clearly, “Would you ...read more

mcarthy-and-mouse

Experience: McCarthy and the Mouse

Sitting at the helm in a light breeze, my arms crusted with a fine rime of salt, my skin so dry I’d lost my fingerprints, I heard a clatter and a curse from below. There were only three of us a thousand miles from shore and only one on watch at a time. Usually, the off watch lay ...read more

2018-giftGuide

2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Brass Yacht Lamp Does someone on your gift list spend the whole winter missing the warm days on the water? Let them bring a little bit of nautical atmosphere home with this new lamp from Weems & Plath. The glass enclosure means the flame cannot be blown out even by ...read more

image001

Opinion: On Not Giving Up Sailing

E.B. White was 64 when he wrote his now-famous essay “The Sea and the Wind That Blows,” which begins as a romantic paean to sailing and then drifts, as if spun around by a pessimistic eddy of thought, into a reflection on selling his boat. Does an aging sailor quit while he’s ...read more

1812-JeanneaueNewsVideo

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410

Designed by Marc Lombard, the Sun Odyssey 410 shares much in common with her older siblings including of course, the walk-around deck. Other features that set the 410 apart from other models being introduced this year include the 410’s “negative bow” shape allowing for a longer ...read more