Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Symmetric Vs Asymmetric Spinnakers: The debate is on

Sailors often differ in their choice of spinnakers. Symmetric spinnakers are convention but asymmetric spinnakers have rapidly become favorite of many post 1980.
In every racing championship or in every GT of sailors, this eternal debate is kicked off. We think debates keep us healthy.

  • The basic difference is the difference in shape and that has made them generate lifts differently. A symmetric spinnaker does it from the top while an asymmetric does it from the left. 

  • For day sailing and cruising asymmetric is the best option since it doesn’t need a pole and helps in light air reaching. 

  • Heavier keel boats prefer asymmetric as it helps to sail faster. 

  • From the sailmaker’s point of view, asymmetric is better than symmetric. Let us explain. While designing the latter we need to compromise on what is optimal. In case of asymmetric we can make optimum luff curve and optimum leech exit. In symmetric the luff and leech are often switched between each other. 

  • Previously people thought that asymmetric spinnakers can’t sail as low as the symmetric ones which is not true. With the use of a pole and a squared back there is more speed control with the asymmetric spinnakers. 

  • Downwind oscillation of day sailing and light cruising boats can be solved with an asymmetric spinnaker. 

  • For racing boats also asymmetric sails or A-sails are great since these sails can make sailing faster. But at the same time these sails need tighter apparent wind angles. Less experienced crew members can hardly pull off a good jibe. This is a handicap that prevents lot of sailors not to prefer A-sails. 

  • For downwind sailing, most sailors opine that symmetric spinnaker is far better in performance than asymmetric ones. 

Everything said and done, your boat length, design and sail plan are the factors that determine whether you need a symmetric or an asymmetric. Ideally you should keep both in your inventory.

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