Basic diffeences between a cruising chute and a Geenaker ?
I respect Tsenator''s opinion on the symetrical vs assymetrical issue. I had almost this same discussion with a couple sailmakers a few weeks back and they were close to equally split, although they seemed to agree that cruising chutes made more sense for new sailors because it is harder to understand the principles of flying a symmetrical chute when you are first starting out sailing.
I think that the ease of flying an assymetric vs a conventional chute somewhat depends on the boat, the chute and what you are used to. My problem with assym chutes has to do with the sheer amount of line that you need to handle quickly on each tacks and the ease with which they get wraps. Even on boats with long bowsprits (closer to 2 meters [6''4] than .8 meters [2''-6 or so])and even with a crack crew work wraps happen and these can be all too often the kinds of wraps that one ends up sending someone aloft to clear. On crack race boats we have a foredeck person who helps haul the chute around the forestay. Even with cruising chutes I have seen some pretty impressive wraps. In some ways, cruising chutes with their smaller crews, and short poles, or no poles, are even more prone to getting wraps than racing assymetricals. To me assymtricals look easier because they seem to jibe more or less like a jib, but in reality they are harder to keep filled and easier to wrap on a jibe.
I don''t buy the complexity arguement. I think that any spinacker requires a lot of gear but with an assymetrical flown as suggested in the original question, you need a sprit and that is far more expensive and complicated to construct than a pole lift, pole and spinacker track. Rigging the tackline is more or less the same as a foreguy. Both have the same sheets, and guys except that a symmetrical would have only both sheets in use at the same time. The key to ease of jibing is marking the jibe points on the sheets so you can preset the sheet and guy at a position that is known to work all the way through the jibe. Throwing the pole is easy at that point.
My other gripe with assymetrics is the issue that they are so next to useless dead downwind and the comparatively narrow range through which they can be flown.