Cruising 'chute on a 26C

quentin.sands's picture

I have found myself experimenting with the cruising chute set-up over the last year with mixed results but yesterday I managed an arrangement that I think is close to how it should be. I'm putting some pics up to see if anyone has an opinion. When I first used the 'chute I would simply run two lines from either side of the sail and let it billow ahead of the boat. Part of my reason for doing this was because the 'corners' of the sail were labelled in hand written form - port and starboard - not tack and clew. I was helped in my planning for this new set-up when Rick described the 'chute as a large genoa. Yesterday wasn't perfect for experimenting as the wind was on the beam or just forward of it and there wasn't a lot of room for going directly down wind but the sail was excellent, in light winds. A bit of a faff getting up and down - no snuffer - but a lot of fun and a thing of great beauty, I think. I believe it was a bit damp down south yesterday, it was a good day on the Lake and we managed to summit Loughrigg too.


Hi, Quentin,

Hi, Quentin,

Great to know you are enjoying being out and about on the water.

I have an M but my set up is similar to yours. I do have a snuffer though and sometimes I think that complicates things.

My outhall simply runs from a cleat in the cockpit straight out along the starboard side and under the pulpit (mine doesn't go near the bow roller) and I attach either the tack or the clew, whichever part pops out of the snuffer first to it. My pulley blocks are fitted at the bottom of the stern guard rail for no reason except that is where i positioned them. When the wind is from astern I let the outhall out as much as possible playing it against the sheets and as the wind comes abeam I bring the outhall in. I only have a jib and am not sure how good the spinnaker is if the wind is forward of the beam, nothing to compare it with.

Spinnakers do need constant attention which I enjoy but my crew seem to think a spinnaker run is time for daydreaming, relaxing, having a fag or a beer and I am forever shouting 'spinnaker' as it starts to collapse and needs attention.

I launch th spinnaker from the front cabin through the hatch and similarly retrieve it. My halyard runs back into the cockpit to make life easier.

Sorry, no pictures, always too busy to take any.

Simon Armitage

Sowenna 26M

rick.jones's picture

Hi Quentin

Hi Quentin

Looks to be working well!

From the pics, your spinnaker does look as if it's symmetrical, so the way you were using it before was technically correct. But that will probably only work with the wind astern or on the aft quarter.

It seems pretty happy rigged as an asymmetric, and quite impressive that it still flies with the wind forward of beam. In the end, all that matters is what works - never mind the theory!

leigh.ross's picture


Yeah, by the look of the sail and the markings on the clews , that is a standard symmetrical spinnaker,designed to be used with a pole.

Cruising chute A Symetric or symmetrical spinnacer

As the others have commented but what may not be clear is that your spinnaker appears to be a symmetric spinnaker that you are attempting to use as an A-symmettric. I don't think this works due to its shape, i. e. its too much of a bucket to be able to use it much off wind. Both clew and tack are intended to fly at the ends of their sheets. This can be made easier with a spinnaker pole, perhaps Mr McGregor thought spinnaker poles a cheat.

Regards Jonathan

quentin.sands's picture

Interesting stuff. Well at

Interesting stuff. Well at least I now have a definite identification of what the sail is and now I know, I will work towards using the spinnaker as intended. No spinnaker pole came with the boat and I don't think there is a place on the mast to attach one - should there be? Next time I go I think I will experiment again with the lines and see if I can get the tack and clew flying, ahead of the wind but without a pole - it worked for me very well from Fowey to Plymouth.

Thank you for all input - it's very helpful and I will keep you posted.

leigh.ross's picture


You can instal a pole fitting on the mast. You’ll also need blocks about opposite the. mast on the deck for the guy , blocks after for the short and a pole up haul and downhaul. It’s pretty complex. You can use your spinnaker as an asymmetrical but it won’t be easy to fly as it’s not designed to work like that.

quentin.sands's picture

Hi Leigh, I read a long

Hi Leigh, I read a long thread on a sailing forum about rigging a symmetrical spinnaker as an asymmetrical one and while most thought it unusual some found it worked in the right conditions. Most agreed that the symmetrical spinnaker rigged with lines to port and starboard would work quite well without a pole, in the right conditions. I will try that for the time being. It will probably do for my needs. I like to keep it as simple as possible.

leigh.ross's picture


oh yes, it’ll work, it just won’t work as well or in as wide an arc of wind directions. Nothing wrong with keeping it simple and saving money at the same time too. Enjoy your boat. :)

As I never noticed the type

As I never noticed the type of sail you were using I can't really be of much help but I don't think the foredeck of a Mac is really safe for handling a symmetrical spinnaker. Uphalls, downhalls and changing the pole every time you tack or gybe needs a safe platform.

Was the 'D' ring on your mast (for hoisting hhe spinnaker) already in place or did you attach it? If it place already the previous owner must have flown a kite as that bit doesn't come with the boat and has to be fiitted separately.

You could spend up to £1000.00 on a new one, possibly less on a second hand one or possibly explore the possibility of having an extra panel fitted to give the sail better shape, but as you say you are enjoying playing with it and it does it's job, why worry. It's not as if you in a keen racing series.

As a kid, I had a GP14 and, for fun, would attach the tack and the clew to the pole and use it as a kite giving lift off in suitable winds. All this in Milford Haven while dodging 100,000 oil tankers.

Good Luck and enjoy.


Sowenna 26M

quentin.sands's picture

D ring

No D ring present at all....thanks for the encouragement.

tom.obrien's picture

Hi Quintin. I fly kite on a

Hi Quintin. I fly kite on a regular basis .....on DUSTY 26X. I bring the line from the bow D ring up through the bulpit . It keeps the kite in control more .

quentin.sands's picture

If at first you don't succeed

If at first you don't succeed try, try and try would be good to see your pics on here Tom or you could always text them to me? You have my number. Cheers.

rick.jones's picture

This is a photo gallery, not

This is a photo gallery, not a forum post, and unlike forums you can't add attachments to the comments.

Tom sent me his photo, and I've added it to the other gallery photos - see above.

quentin.sands's picture

Tom's pic

Ah, now I see what Tom meant. That's an interesting approach....many possibilities to explore.

quentin.sands's picture

Late October update

So, on the lake yesterday I did away with the tack line and simply ran sheets from the port and starboard corners of the spinnaker and let if fly. Winds were light, on a beam reach, then a broad reach and eventually a run. Performance was pretty good and I was moving faster than a bigger boat under full sail but once I was on a run I lost a lot of control - which is something I do not remember happening on the run from Fowey to Plymouth, when rigged in a similar way. My conclusion is that I am unlikely at this stage to add the complication of a spinnaker pole - which I assume would add control - but I wll continue with my experimentation and perhaps return to the use of a tack line and rig as for an asymetric sail. It's a lot fun using the sail and very colourful. I will add pics above.