Gennaker: A new purchase in January, 2013, was a gennaker from North Sails/Yacht Shop. The blue star. It took about half the summer to finally get it hooked up properly, so our experience hasn’t been much so far. We used it twice in 2013. Michael assures me that he still has some tweaking to do. I really don’t quite have the feeling for it yet. Personally, I was hoping for a nice downwind sail as I was accustomed to a spinnaker used in light winds, not this overbearing light aired jib, that we now have, which takes us over waves in lightening speed! How fast? Well, fast enough that I couldn’t dear check the knot meter, as my eyes were glued on the sail, fearing I would have to run to the fore deck at any moment to take it down. And that is confusing too, as down is the very last thing to do with it. If you need to “get rid of it” the first thing is to pull on a rope in the opposite direction you did, when you uncovered the sail from its chute, as the chute is now barely covering the top of the sail. Yanking on the rope pulls down the chute, while it quickly gathers in the gennaker, encasing it in the tube which quickly turns into a snake like creature, whipping around in the wind from the halyard above. If you work fast enough (and I thought those days would be over), the process is complete in less than a minute. Michael then releases the halyard from the cockpit and I just pull the snake down neatly into its bag secured on the deck. Then once again it is calm. No worries about clew, tack and head. The clew is connected to its sheet, the tack is connected permanently to a spot on the deck and I release the halyard from the head, which snaps to a lifeline which Michael secures and tightens on his end in the cockpit. There is nothing to it, she says. Although, if you need to tack while under sail, there is no pole, so you have to bring the sail in with its chute, let the snake flutter in the wind, take the one sheet over to the other side of the boat, hand it to someone there and then pull up the chute again to “engage” the sail. “Pouf” it goes! That’s the process which seems very inefficient but on the other hand, it isn’t a spinnaker. Sounds better on paper, but I do need more practice. I only hope the winds will be gentle on me! If you study the picture, you can compare the angle of the horizon to the angle of the mast and it wasn’t my imagination that we were on a powerful sail. We were heeled over a bit too much for my comfort zone especially since this was our only sail flying!
Update: The gennaker bag barely lasted two seasons. After bringing it to the attention of North Sails, we were told we weren’t supposed to leave it on the deck. It is a sail. It is a sail bag. Since we could use it every time we sailed, why would we even think of stowing it away? By the end of the second season, the bag was a mess. Rotting in many parts, bleached and useless. Did I want another bag like it? Certainly not.
Since I sew, I purchased three meters of Sunbrella fabric in navy to match our boat, removed the hardware and mesh bottom from the old bag and made a new one with the old parts! I was so pleased with my work that the following year I completely restored the dodger to something new! The move from machine quilting to sewing for boats was easier than what I would have thought. (Update 8 January 2017)