Symmetric or Asymmetric Spinnakers to Hawaii

Revised: 
Thursday, September 1, 2011

The full article is attached as a pdf.  This is just the first two pages

by Kame Richards

This article is intended as an up-date to the excellent section in the Pacific Cup Handbook by Jim and Sue Corenman.  If you haven’t read that yet, I strongly urge you to get a copy and read it carefully.  My attempt here is to consider the use of asymmetric spinnakers for the race to Kaneohe, which were in their infancy at the time of the Corenmans’ book.  If you are even reading this article, I assume you don’t know if asymmetric spinnakers are correct for you.  For several of the boats doing the race, asymmetric spinnakers are the only logical choice.  But as we shall see, all those boats have a common characteristic.

If you are sailing in the PHRF division in PacCup, there is a rating issue that will have to be addressed:  If you carry onboard both symmetric and asymmetric spinnakers, you will be assessed a 3-second-a-mile penalty (assuming the asymmetric is the same area or smaller than the symmetric).  For a rated course length of about 2000 miles, this means you have to get there 6000 seconds (100 minutes or 1.67 hours) sooner for the sail to be a benefit.  If your spinnaker inventory is of one type (either all symmetric or all asymmetric), then that 3-second-a-mile penalty does not apply.  If you are sailing in the ORR division, different rules may apply for carrying both types of sails.

File Attachment: 

Kame Richards

 Kame Richards is a sailmaker and sail designer at Pineapple Sails which he co-founded in 1973.  Pineapple Sails makes both racing and cruising sails, to exacting standards.  Every step of the manufacturing process takes place in Alameda, California.

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