Filed Under (Boats and Boating Gear) by Debbie on 24-07-2008

We set the spinnaker this weekend after owning our Newport 30 for three years.  I was tense about trying this particular sail.  We’ve never even seen the entire spinnaker sail before as we’d only looked into the bag.

A few weekends ago, while in our slip, we did run it up the mast and practiced placing the running rigging.  Ours came (remember we bought a new to us boat) with a ‘sock'(?) so it’s contained inside this nice little silky tube until we pull that up and release the spinnaker.  It was a good idea to try setting everything up while at the marina.  We had some trouble with the entire set up and it took us a few tries to get it set up correctly.  After all there are five lines we’ve never-ever used plus a huge pole.  So on Sunday while the wind was very light and few boats were out we decided to try this sail.

My hubby ran all the lines while I manned the helm.  We had the head sail rolled out and were making about 1/2 MPH against the current on the Coloumbia.  Yeah, we were screaming along.  Mike tried to run the ‘guy’ around the roller furling and back to the cockpit but after a couple of tries decided it was too hard to get everything together with that sail out.  So we rolled it up and used the iron genny (motor) to hold our spot against the current.

I think it took him about 20 minutes to get everything set up and ready.  I can’t tell you how nervous I was about doing this by ourselves.  I had really hoped to have sailing friends with us as my thought was, ‘many hands make light work’. 

Finally he said he was ready and I cut the engine.  Mike pulled the ‘sock’ up with a silken whisper to the top of the spinnaker and almost like magic it filled with wind.  What an amazing sight!  A huge yellow and red sail belled out in front of the bow.  We went from zero against the current to 3.5 against the current in about ten seconds.  I think I stood at the helm with my mouth hanging open!

It was so colorful that my eyes almost couldn’t take it all in.  Yeah, I know…I’ve seen others flying their spinnakers and it’s all very pretty.  However, when it’s your boat with that bright colorful  chute for the very first time, it’s rather awe inspiring.  Mike came back to the cockpit shouting he loved the spinnaker.

Our adrenaline was pumping so hard we both were shaking with it.  What a rush!

We flew along for about five minutes then I looked up to the top of the spinnaker where upon I turned into the ‘dock ape idiot’!  I was certain the spinnaker halyard swivel had opened.  Thus motivating a moron fire drill as we sprang to action to douse the spinnaker.  A difficult procedure when you’ve no sail up to hide it behind.  I’m sure we were quite the circus.  My hubby ran forward to pull down the sock and I’m trying to release the sheet and steer.

We did get it doused and when we hauled down the spinnaker there was nothing wrong with the swivel.  What I was seeing was the end of the halyard at the bowline on the swivel.  How stupid!

We were pretty happy however with our first try at setting the spinnaker.  We’ll do it again and each time we try it will get better and less intimidating.   If you’re looking for more information on how to set a spinnaker or if the terms for a spinnaker are not familiar, you might want to subscribe to this site so you don’t miss the up comming detailed posts.

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