Spinnaker Sailing Downwind

The new Corsair Marine Sailing Manual has this article about the spinnaker sailing downwind. It caught my eye, so, I wanted to share:

On first using an asymmetric spinnaker you may be disappointed with downwind performance with a fixed mast-unless you take note of what is said here. The asymmetric cannot match a full symmetric spinnaker straight downwind because of the smaller, flatter area and a restricted ability to project to windward. The major advantage is considerably easier handling and superior reaching performance.

Tacking downwind does not work well with fixed masts, as the mast interferes with mainsail flow and the main is thus not very effective. A rotating mast is much more efficient and such boats can achieve a very large performance increase making downwind tacking the fastest way to go.

However, the same effect can be achieved with increasing sail area which helps smooth the flow over the mast and main with spectacular results. The basic technique/rule is to sail downwind while keeping the apparent wind at about 900, trimming the sails so they are not stalling or luffing. The jib for instance, should be sheeted to the float just aft of the forward beam. The extra speed generated will pull the apparent wind further forward allowing you to go deeper and deeper while maintaining a very high speed. Just keep the apparent wind at around 900. It can be tricky to get the right angles, but if done correctly, the results can be exhilarating. So try it! Flying the jib inside the spinnaker may also help improve performance with a rotating mast in light winds.

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