Spinnaker Strategies - Sail Magazine

Spinnaker Strategies

Reaching under a spinnaker in a good breeze calls for good teamwork between the helmsman and spinnaker trimmer. When you are close-reaching under spinnaker, keep the following in mind: • Keep a balanced helm; excessive weather helm is a sign the boat may be about to round up. • Watch for changes in wind strength; to maintain a consistent boatspeed, always
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Reaching under a spinnaker in a good breeze calls for good teamwork between the helmsman and spinnaker trimmer. When you are close-reaching under spinnaker, keep the following in mind:

Keep a balanced helm; excessive weather helm is a sign the boat may be about to round up.

Watch for changes in wind strength; to maintain a consistent boatspeed, always head up in a lull and bear off in a puff.

Maintain a constant heel angle to minimize the amount of rudder needed to control the boat.

Keep crew to windward and, if possible, station them at the boat’s maximum beam.

If there’s a choice of spinnakers, know which sail works best for the given windspeed and sailing angle.

Sailing off the wind

Have a crewmember tend the boomvang. If the helm starts to load up, he or she should immediately ease the vang and depower the mainsail to ease the helm.

To keep the bow from punching into the back of a wave, which will slow the boat and load up the rig, keep crew and gear as far aft as possible.

If necessary, head up to increase apparent wind. If apparent wind increases, fall off to maintain a constant windspeed.

Maintain at least the minimum amount of boatspeed for the conditions. Sailing at moderate speeds for extended periods is generally more successful than trying to achieve periodic spikes of uncontrollable speed. Jesse Rowse

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