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SAILING COURSE 5 ‘SPINNAKER ESSENTIALS’
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Best suited for advanced sailors, this course provides an overview of the various aspects of sailing downwind using a spinnaker.
It explains the difference between an asymmetric and symmetrical spinnaker and the procedures to hoist and trim spinnakers. The course also covers spinnaker gybing and retrieval techniques.
The sailing course content is as follows:
1. Sailing downwind
To maximize performance running downwind the jib can be poled out to expand the sail area exposed to the wind, or replaced by a spinnaker. This section is reviewing the various types of spinnaker sails.
2. Asymmetric spinnaker. This section describes the technique to fly an asymmetric spinnaker. It explains the procedures to prepare, hoist, trim, gybe and finally lower the spinnaker.
3. Symmetric spinnaker Symmetric spinnaker are most efficient in downwind directions but can also be flown at the close reach point of sail. Symmetrical spinnakers are established and trimmed using a spinnaker pole on the windward side.
3.1 Set up and hoist
Symmetric spinnaker sails can be hoisted to the top of the mast (‘masthead spinnakers’) or above the forestay (‘fractional spinnakers’). These are smaller in size and more suited for heavy conditions or close reaching.
3.2 Pole position and trimming
This section explains spinnaker trimming techniques and the role of the pole to control the shape of the spinnaker. As a general rule, the pole is set on the opposite side of the boom and is moved forward or aft using the brace. The pole is positioned perpendicular to the wind with the spinnaker clews at equal levels.
3.3 Spinnaker gybe and drop
This section introduces gybing under spinnaker and the procedure to drop and retrieve a spinnaker. These manoeuvres require several tasks to be performed simultaneously by each crew member.
At the end of this course, you will understand the techniques for setting up and trimming a spinnaker, and the importance of the pole setting to adjust the spinnaker shape and performance. In addition, you will learn gybing and recovery principles.
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To increase your awareness on the water, we recommend that you also take course 6 ‘crew roles and team work’ to prepare for yacht racing.
Alternatively, you can enroll to the full sailing series with the entire 6 courses.
This course was well presented, easy to follow and engaging. The interactive examples make the course material easier to understand. Thanks and I suppose it’s now time to practice my spinnaker technique.
I found your explanations so much clearer than any book I’ve come across in trying to learn sailing and more specifically the insights of spinnaker manoeuvres.