Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spinnaker Fun

After we bought our Fuji 40, the gracious seller offered us a bunch of nautical stuff in his Arizona (read: climate preserved) garage--for nothing more than the cost of shipping. We are grateful that he took the time and effort to do this. (Thank you Merritt!)

Anyway, what showed up in two very large boxes (one weighed over 100 pounds) was three sets of foul weather gear, a Pacific Northwest chart guide, a hank-on fore sail, a furling-track-ready genoa, spliced sheets with shackles, and a lovely .75-ounce symetrical spinnaker.

Windy confirmed that two of the foul weather gear sets fit her beautifully. I confirmed that the sails and sheets are all in excellent condition. Then, on a warm, late summer evening, we and our good friends and their kids, took the spinnaker to the park next to our house.
We unfurled the sail and took a good look at her. There are a few minor tears in the nylon, but they will be easy to repair. The adults grabbed the corners and we lifted and lowered that sail until our arms were sore, the five girls running underneath and out, screaming with delight.

I've never flown a spinnaker--certainly not a real, symetrical spinnaker. Just the 110 genoa on my Newport 27 was a handful when the wind piped up. I've heard a million spinnaker-twisting, blow-out horror stories. Until I heard we had a spinnaker for this boat, for the asking, I had pretty much written off the idea of ever owning one. It seems every collection of racing pictures that Latitude 38 publishes includes at least one dramatic "crash" of a boat trying to fly a symetrical spinnaker. But, on the flip side, Lin and Larry Pardey praise the virtues of this old-school sail in their writings and videos, and that means a lot to me.

That night I watched as many YouTube videos as I could find that showed how to fly a symetrical spinnaker. In the end, I am much less daunted. We've got a solid pole aboard and the only question that remains is whether to buy a sock (or douser). I can probably get a used one at a fair price. I will first ask Merritt how he managed things.


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