Whether you are club racing or cruising, we all want to get the most from our boat and sails. Is your current spinnaker up to the task? Many club racers and cruisers will continue to use their spinnaker long after it’s performance life. While it is relatively easy to see when you mainsail or headsails have stretched and no longer performing to the best of their ability, this is not always the case with Spinnakers.
(Catalina 30, Don't Panic, win Spring Series Race with new Rolly Tasker Spinnaker)
When the spinnaker was new, you boat just wanted to get up and go. The material was crisp, and popped when it filled. But like all sails, the spinnaker wears out over time and may be ready for replacement.
Most spinnakers are made of woven nylon with a urethane coating. Overtime, the urethane coating will wear off which allows increased stretch and becomes porous allowing some air to flow through the fabric. Although Rolly Tasker uses Challenge Fibermax cloth, which provides a very tight weave to minimize porosity, as the urethane breaks down, the sail will not hold air as well as a new spinnaker.
You can also look at the cloth and feel. Is the cloth soft in your hands or does it still have a crinkle to the cloth. Are the colors look faded? Are the tack and clew corners bunching up or folding over especially in light wind? Is the surface fabric getting fuzzy or have burrs. Are you finding tears in your spinnaker and cannot find an obvious issues causing the tear such as a cotter key or broken lifeline? These are all signs that you may need to replace the spinnaker.
Finally, is the spinnaker shape optimal for your boat? Change in a spinnaker’s shape are hard to see and will be subtle over time. On a new spinnaker, as you are trimming and watching the luff curl, it should be easy to make small trim adjustments and keep just the slightest curl in the luff. As the sail stretches and changes shape, the curl will tend to fold more abruptly with a larger fold. With a spinnaker that is stretched out, you will find that your trimming adjustments are larger to keep the sail flying at maximum effectiveness
If it is time for a new spinnaker, give us a call or request a quote.