Spinnaker Tutorial

 
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    Sections:

  • Terminology
  • Position 1: Setting Up at the Dock
  • Position 2: Spinnaker Set Preparation
  • Position 3: Raise the Pole and Prefeed the Guy (Preparing to Round the Upwind Mark)
  • Position 4: Position 4) Raise the Spinnaker (Rounding the Upwind Mark)
  • Position 5) Dousing the Spinnaker (Rounding the Downwind Mark)

 
 
 
Terminology

“Clear the lazy guy! It’s caught on the jib turning block.”
“Ease the sheet! We’re broaching to!”

To work the boat, knowledge of the words used saves a tremendous amount of time and clears confusion. Study the words, use the quizes, then practice listening for them and using them on the boat.

04-RaiseTheHalyard-Photo04-RaiseTheHalyard-Photo2

Spinnaker Halyard – There are two on Siren. The white and red line hoists the spinnaker to the top of the mast on the port side. The white and green halyard hoists up the starboard side.
Topping Lift – The blue line that raises the tip of the pole.
Downhaul (Foreguy) – The other blue line that pulls the tip of the pole down.
Spinnaker Guy – The white and green line used to move the tip of the pole horizontally.
Spinnaker Sheet – The white and red line used to adjust the clew of the spinnaker sail.
Clew – The corner of a sail where the leech and foot connect.
Head – The top corner of a sail.
Tack – The corner of a sail where the luff and foot connect.
Leech – The downwind edge of a sail.
Luff – The upwind edge of a sail.
Foot – The bottom edge of a sail.
Jib Sheet – The white a blue line used to adjust the clew of the jib sail.
Turning Block – A pulley used to change the direction of a line under tension.
Winch – A rotating, geared drum used to crank in a line under tension.
Starboard – The right side of a boat looking forward.
Port – The left side of a boat. (Hint, “left” and “port” both have 4 letters.)
Butt Lift – A thin line at the mast used to move the butt of the pole vertically.
Snap Shackle – The clip at the end of the spinnaker lines. A trigger releases the clip.
Working Line – A line being used at that moment.
Lazy Line – A line not being used. The working guy will become lazy if we jibe.
Jibe – Turn downwind until the sails switch sides.
Tack – Turn through the eye of the wind.
Lifelines – Safety wires running around the edge of the boat.
Stanchions – Metal posts holding up the lifelines.
Prefeed the Guy – Use the guy to pull the tack of the spinnaker around the forestay to the tip of the pole in preparation for hoisting.
Forestay – The thick wire holding the mast up, attached at the bow. The jib rolls around the forestay.
Line Clutch – A handle is used to lock a line in place. When locked, the line will still slide towards the user. To slide away from the user, the handle must be released and pushed all the way down onto the deck.
 
 
 
 
Position 1) Setting Up at the Dock

Let’s try to set up the boat faster. The more we do it, the better we’ll get!
4 turning blocks in place
2 Spinnaker Sheets led fair
2 Spinnaker Guys led fair (the working guy led through the jaw)
Spinnaker Halyard verified clear
Pole attached to the mast
Topping lift attached and secured at the mast base
Downhaul attached
Spinnaker packed in the bag with no twists

 

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Upwind / Downwind Course

01-SetupAtTheDock

Answer Key

01-SetupAtTheDock-Quiz

Quiz


 
 
 
 
Position 2) Spinnaker Set Preparation

As we sail towards the point where we want to set the spinnaker, we can get things ready in advance. We do this about 5 minutes before the set.

 

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Upwind / Downwind Course

Raise the pole butt to about 7 feet above the deck.
Bring the sail bag up to the foredeck
Attach the halyard to the head, leaving slack for the jib to tack over
Attach the working guy to the tack
Attach the working sheet to the clew
Foredeck crew continues to secure the bag until the set

If we still have to tack once before the set, we have to stop here. However, if there is no need to tack, we can continue with the next steps at Position 3.

02-BeforeTheLastTack-Quiz

Quiz

02-BeforeTheLastTack

Answer Key


 
 
 
 
Position 3) Raise the Pole and Prefeed the Guy (Preparing to Round the Upwind Mark)

The next step is to raise the pole and pre-feed the guy. We want to time this so that we are ready to hoist as we round the upwind mark. If we set up too early, the pre-fed section of the sail will be flapping in the wind and may pull the sail out of the bag.

Chart

Upwind / Downwind Course

Cockpit Crew unlocks the downhaul.
Mast Crew prepares to guide the pole up.
Cockpit Crew pulls the topping lift until the pole is horizontal and locks it.
Cockpit Crew locks the downhaul, leaving enough slack for the prefeed.
The Sheet Trimmer pulls most of the slack out of the working spinnaker sheet and belays (lock it in the winch).
The Guy Trimmer pulls the guy as the
Foredeck Crew pays out the tack of the sail until it’s against the tip of the pole.
The Guy Trimmer continues pulling in the guy until the pole is about 10 feet off the forestay and belays it to the small winch.
The Cockpit Crew continues to secure the sail bag until the set.

03-PoleUpPrefeed-Quiz

Quiz

03-PoleUpPrefeed

Answer Key


 
 
 
 
Position 4) Raise the Spinnaker (Rounding the Upwind Mark)

As we round the upwind mark, we will raise the spinnaker, roll up the jib, then trim for speed.

 

Chart

Upwind / Downwind Course

 

Captain: “Prepare to Hoist the Spinnaker!”
Foredeck, Sheet Trimmer and Cockpit: “Ready!”
Captain: “Hoist away!”
Cockpit pulls the spinnaker halyard as quick as he can (Make sure the line clutch is locked)
Foredeck and Mast help the sail come out of the bag while preventing the bag from going over, too.
When Cockpit can no long pull by hand, he puts two wraps on the winch and cranks it up until
Foredeck yells, “Made!” when the head of the sail is two inches off the halyard block at the top of the mast.
The Sheet Trimmer rolls up the jib.
The Sheet Trimmer and Guy trimmer trim for best speed.
First put the pole perpendicular to the apparent wind direction.
Cockpit releases the downhaul
The Guy Trimmer adjusts the pole angle with the guy.
Cockpit pulls and locks the downhaul.
The Sheet trimmer eases or cranks the sheet until the sail’s luff just starts to curl.

Quiz

Quiz

Answer Key

Answer Key


 
 
 
 
Position 5) Dousing the Spinnaker (Rounding the Downwind Mark)

As we approach the downwind turn we have to prepare to sail against the wind again. So here we will douse the spinnaker and unfurl the jib as fast as we can. Again, timing is key. If we douse too early, we slow down when we could have still been making good speed with the spinnaker. But the worse option is dousing too late. In that case, we miss the turn. If we turn upwind with the spinnaker still out, it will REALLY slow us down and may tangle in the rigging. Or we could continue off course while we finish up, then turn on course. But that increases distance. It’s best to get the spinnaker in the bag just as we are finishing our turn upwind with the jib and main sheeted in.

 

Chart

Upwind / Downwind Course

 

First unfurl the jib and trim it in tight. It will block the wind allowing us to easily pack the spinnaker into the sail bag.
Foredeck positions themselves in front of the forestay, sitting on the pulpit.
Mast positions themselves on the leeward side of the foredeck with the sail bag in one hand and the lazy guy in the other.
The Guy Trimmer then eases the guy until the pole is about 8 feet off the stay.
Cockpit simultaneously lowers the pole tip with the topping lift to within reach of the Foredeck.
Position the pole just over Foredeck’s head. Any lower and it could knock her a good one on the head.
The Sheet Trimmer then slack out about 20 feet of line to release pressure on the sail. With the lower tension,
Foredeck triggers the release at the tack and the spinnaker swings behind the jib with zero pressure.
The Mast Crew pulls in the clew with the lazy guy and starts stuffing the bag.
Foredeck jumps down to help right after releasing the guy.
Foredeck pulls the sail down to the Mast Crew while the Mast Crew stuffs it into the bag.
Cockpit loops one wrap of line around the winch and unlocks the halyard clutch.
He lowers the spinnaker as fast as Foredeck can pack it, trying not to get the spinnaker wet.
Foredeck removes the lines from the head, tack and clew and clips them to the lifelines.
The boat can now round the mark. It can tack, but the jib will have to squeeze between the topping lift and the forestay.
Mast brings the sail bag aft to stow below while
Foredeck secures the topping lift under the cleat at the bast of the mast.
Foredeck and Mast can now go below and repack the spinnaker for another hoist if applicable.

Answer Key

Answer Key

Quiz

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