The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Reduce Spinnaker Snag Risk

One of the nastiest spinnaker SNAFUs is when the sail jams in the V between the intermediate shrouds (D2s) and the uppers (V2s) at the lower spreaders (S1), usually on take down.

The good news is that it’s easy to stop this ever happening by installing a short piece of shock cord between the two shrouds as shown.

We could knot the shock cord, but that tends to come undone, so I find a seizing done with a sailmaker’s palm and needle a better and neater way.

This is worth doing even for cruisers who set and strike the spinnaker with a top-down furler or sock, since either of those devices can jam and in so doing leave us with no choice but a letter box take down.

And even if that take down technique is never required, the spinnaker can jam in the V during a jibe that goes even a little bit wrong.

More on rigging and sail handling:

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Mark Wilson

Good tip.

Would love to read an essay on Code Zero’s. Especially about how to rig the furler, it’s luff tension and tack height. My boat came with a North Sails one, which might have been picked up second hand but I have struggled to find an idiot’s guide to its use online. After some struggles, mistakes and resulting repairs I am starting to regard it as a friend but I know there is more to learn.

Rob Gill

Hi John, I could comment on how we set up and used our Code 0 for 10 years now, with pictures and answers to Mark’s questions from our experience passage making.

But this Tip post don’t seem to allow me to reply and attach a photo. Am I doing something wrong? I seem to be able to attach a photo in a comment on a regular post. Rob.

Rob Gill

Hi Mark,
I’ve posted a couple of comments with pictures that will hopefully answer some of your questions in Colin’s post on A-sails (that use race furlers, not socks):

Dick Stevenson

Hi John and all,
A couple of thoughts on spinnaker/asym use.
The only time I have gotten headsail wraps were in light air and swells/wakes. The swell/wake gets the boat rolling and the asym collapses around the headstay (the light air keeps the asym from being well behaved). The continued rolling serves to tighten and extend the wrap: a real mess.
A friend suggested what he called a “poor man’s spinnaker net” and it is simple and easy.
I unroll the jib 6-8 feet and sheet it hard amidships (more effective with a higher clewed jib topsail than a low clewed genoa): a poor and lazy man’s spinnaker net. The extended sail and the sheets interfere, not so much in getting the wrap but in keeping the wrap from becoming tightly wound around the rolled-up jib. If the wrap occurs, the wrap is far easier to loosen: and, one can roll in or out the jib a bit to ease tightness and facilitate loosening and freeing the wrap.
The other “hack” is to have high modulus sheets: not so much for their strength than for their not soaking up water and becoming quite heavy: heavy enough to drag the sail out of shape in light wind. Dacron sheets just act like a sponge.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy