Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 43 Times in 40 Posts
Rep Power: 11
Re: Do the Cat 22s, and the S2 26 footers, etc., use spinnakers?
I would bet that 70% of cruisers don't use spinnakers, though many of that 70 do wing out their jibs on whisker poles or on the otherwise unused spinnaker pole.
But if you live or cruise in light-air land and your next port is straight downwind, an old-school symmetrical spinnaker can give you a useful sailing day on a run at (say) 4 knots, when no spinny means you are crawling along at about 2 knots under sail, or breathing your own exhaust motoring or motorsailing.
Assymmetrical "spinnakers" are really lightweight unstayed big (really big) jibs. Being tacked down on the boat's centerline, they get partially or completely blanketed by the main when you run, or even deep broad reach. And to jibing them is real work, since you have the friction of pullingl the sail around against itself while trying not to let it fill aft of the headstay instead of in front of it, which it loves to do and which you and the boat will hate. They do work nicely on a "middling" broad reach, but you're covering lots of extra real estate to do that if your destination is a dead run or nearly so, plus you're having to jibe more.
I have over-answered your question. I'm a fan of spinnys for cruisers. But I think the old-school syms are more practical.
Oh, and, uh, whichever one you use, make a point of stowing it well before that dark cloud way over there gets too much closer. Much easier that way, spinnakers are Satanic when you get into a sudden squall.