Monday, January 16, 2012

Sailing with a Spinnaker, Sort of

The napkin! Er, I mean, spinnaker.

After a spine wrenching Saturday working on the dreaded toerail, Vlad and I took a much needed break and went for a sail with our dock neighbors. They had received a J-22 spinnaker and wanted to see what it would do on their Westerly.

This was a bit of an experiment for the following reasons. A spinnaker is a very light sail, used in light air, downwind sailing, and is typically quite large compared to the size of the boat. But the spinnaker for a 22-foot boat is evidently really small for a 37-foot boat, so when we popped it out there it looked like a napkin fluttering in the breeze.

Having never flown a spinnaker before, I thought this was the greatest thing I'd ever seen. It sounds like crepe paper, and you can fly it like a kite! And napkin or not, we got an extra 3/4 of a knot out of it. Needless to say, now I want one. Here's a few more pics from our sail in Galveston Bay:

Vlad at the helm.

Clouds over Galveston Bay.


  1. Hey, that's cool! I always wondered if it would be worth it to have sails from boats of a different size than ours. Frankly I have found our large spinnaker to be a pain in the hind end to put up, and then very delicate to keep it up in light wind. The little napkin looks much easier to me.

    1. The folks we were sailing with, who have a ton of experience as racers, said it was very easy to handle in comparison to a full-sized spinnaker. It seems worth it to me, at least just to try. Plus, it's fun!