Compared with other types of rig, the modern bermudan sail plan is highly efficient to windward. Downwind, though, it’s a different story – and that’s where spinnakers and cruising chutes come in. Not so long ago, lightweight downwind sails were regarded by many cruising sailors as the exclusive preserve of the racing fraternity, who employed vast crews to tussle with acres of unruly spinnaker nylon.
But the reality is now very different. In the same way that upwind sailing has been made less strenuous by the increasing popularity of selftacking jibs, fully-battened mainsails and cockpit-controlled reefing systems, developments with spinnakers and cruising chutes have resulted in more stable, easily-managed sails which can be comfortably handled by smaller crews.
Cruising Chute (Radial Head)
The most economical design of cruising chute (small boats only). Ideal for enhancing your off wind performance in light to moderate winds at minimal cost.
Cruising Chute (Tri-Radial)
Incorporates radial panels in Tack & Clew for greater shape stability.
Cruising Chute (Full Radial)
The No. 1 Cruising Chute choice for most situations. A Full-radial construction ensures panels are lined up with load patterns.
No matter how experienced you are in handling spinnakers or cruising chutes, the combination of large sails, fresh winds and small crews sometimes calls for some extra help. This is where the snuffer comes in – a nylon sock which pulls down over your spinnaker and turns it into a long sausage, with the head at the top and the tack and clew at the bottom. When you want to use the spinnaker, you start by hoisting the snuffer to the masthead with the sail bundled up inside. The spinnaker will only start to fill when you pull the snuffer up from the bottom using its own internal halyard – so you can make sure everything’s totally under control before any wind gets into the sail. When you’ve finished spinnakering, you pull the snuffer down again and lower everything back on deck.