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Spinnaker sizes

Printed From: RYA National Hornet Association
Category: Public
Forum Name: Technical
Forum Description: Discussion area for technical topics
Printed Date: 15 October 2018 at 13:57
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Topic: Spinnaker sizes
Posted By: Tom Guy
Subject: Spinnaker sizes
Date Posted: 15 November 2013 at 09:13

Both my spinnakers were made 12 years ago although 1 is un-used. I had a vague idea that the size had increased since then. Is that correct?




On behalf of Alan BUTLER


Good morning Alan,


The spinnaker size did alter, but that was pre 2000 and I believe your boat is one of the new Speed boats which was supplied with Speed sails initially.....I still have Speed sails and these are cut flatter than McNamara’s and therefore give the impression that they are smaller, but were very good on tight reaches. You need to be very careful to ensure that your crew doesn’t over-sheet them – better to have front edge almost to slightly collapsing rather than everything too taught.

Spinnaker max measurements etc are all shown on the website, but be aware most manufacturers don’t cut to max sizes on all dimensions.


I have forwarded your email to Tom as the Web master regarding your ability to post on the website.


Kind regards


Posted By: Tom Guy
Date Posted: 19 November 2013 at 09:49
Just a bit more information:
The spinnaker size increased considerably in 1980 along with a few other important changes (adding a roach to the mainsail(!), reducing all-up minimum wight by 10kg).

Both Fireball and 470 spinnakers measured within these new rules so there seemed to be two routes of development depending upon crew weight/preference; small, flat spinnaker designed for Fireball's tighter reaches courses or fuller, "shouldered" 470 spinnaker for conventional old Olympic courses.

Around 1995, a new longer spinnaker pole was adopted (2m => 2.5m). Although faster on tighter reaches, the spinnakers looked a bit ungainly as the poles had to be set so high to to balance the corners. As a result, newer designs initially from Mike McNamara with maximum length leeches have been developed so the pole can be dropped a little more. (Toby or anyone - correct me if I'm wrong) 

With 2180 being built around 2000-2001, I very much doubt whether you have a small spinnaker but it is possible that it may not have the fastest shape. Certainly North's spinnaker in 2013 is very different to the 470-type spinnaker available in 2005.

There has been a lot of discussion over the last few years suggesting that the Hornet could cope with a larger spinnaker by extending the leech length even more (the pole would then be almost horizontal), but this was rejected in an AGM two years ago. I wouldn't dare re-open that discussion...Wink

Posted By: Tobes
Date Posted: 06 December 2013 at 16:57
Hi All

Yes, there has been a lot of development over recent years with regards to spinnaker shapes. Certainly Mike Mac and North have both been producing new designs as well as one or tow other sailmakers dabbling such as Ullmans.

Design ideas for the class seem to be differing considerably at the moment, with North heading down the flatter route and others trying the bigger fuller route. Hard to say which is faster at this stage, more time on the water needed and certainly both options were to be seen at the front of the fleet at this years Nationals.

Interesting times.... (and that's just spinnakers!)

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