The spinnaker is a very easy sail to use on a trimaran

Reading the new Corsair Marine Sailing Manual ...these helpful tips about spinnaker basics are key, so I wanted to share:


The spinnaker is a very easy sail to use on a trimaran, due to the wide beam and level sailing. The spinnaker thus becomes a very practical and safe sail for family sailing with very few control problems. All Corsair trimarans use an asymmetric spinnaker which are the easiest to use, and the fastest if used correctly. The asymmetric spinnaker can be launched from the leeward wing net, or main hull bow, and the sheets led back to blocks on the floats near the aft beams for general all round performance. For better pointing ability, particularly when tacking downwind, a closer sheeting angle is better, and the ideal position will vary depending on spinnaker. A block on a movable strap around the aft beam gives plenty of options in this regard.

The tack line is led from a block at the end of the pole back along the main deck to a cleat on the cabin roof at the aft end. To set, connect tack line, sheet, and halyard. Full on tack line until tack is at the end of pole, hoist and then sheet in. 



The asymmetric spinnaker can be jibed either through inside in front of the screacher or forestay or around the outside. With ‘inside’ jibing the sheets are run between the spinnaker tack and the screacher if fitted, forestay if not. Outside jibing requires the sheets to be run outside the spinnaker tack.

Inside jibing is probably the most common, as outside jibing does have the risk of a sheet going under the boat, though this is lessened using a continuous one piece sheet. The advantage is that the sail does not have to fit through the narrow slot between spinnaker and screacher.

With inside jibing, the skipper should start turning slowly while the crew eases the sheet to keep the sail full. As the clew nears the slot or the spinnaker starts to collapse, the new sheet should be quickly pulled in to pull the spinnaker through the slot and around while also releasing the old sheet.

The outside jibing procedure is similar with the crew waiting until the clew reaches just in front of the headstay and then pulling in the new sheet, with the sail going around the outside.

In all cases it is very important that the skipper turns slowly and then heads up to fill the sail before coming to the right course.



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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