A gennaker is typically a colored sail used when the wind is coming from one of the back corners of the sailboat, blowing the boat forward, and works great in light winds. Below you’ll find a video about sailing with a gennaker and the steps necessary to set the sail up.
Sailing with a Gennaker Video
The gennaker sail is a cross between a genoa, or front sail, and a spinnaker, a very large colored sail.
A gennaker is not symmetric like a spinnaker but is asymmetric like a genoa, but the gennaker is not attached to the forestay (permanent fitting from mast to bow) like the genoa.
The gennaker is rigged like a spinnaker but the tack, or bottom corner of the sail, is fastened to the hull and the other corner (the clew) is attached to the sheets that control it.
This is how we go sailing with a gennaker:
1. Put the sail up on the deck.
2. Take it out of the bag.
Lying the head, or top of the sail, towards the mast and the tack (bottom corner of the sail) towards the bow, or front of the boat. Note that the sail will have ‘head,’ ‘tack’ and ‘clew’ written on it.
3. The tack attaches to a furling unit that is attached to a fitting on the hull or a pole near the very front of the boat.
The head is attached to a rope (halyard) that will pull it up to the top of the mast and a rope (sheets) on either side of the boat attaches to the clew.
The ropes or sheets, attach to the clew and run back to the winches. They will control the sail shape similar to jib/genoa sheets. The ‘furling unit’ allows us to manually roll the sail out and in.
4. Hoist the head up to the top of the mast using the gennaker halyard.
We’re getting closer to sailing with a gennaker!
5. Unfurl the sail from the foredeck using the manual furling unit.
It’s a wheel that has a continuous rope fed through it to allow us to furl or unfurl. Somone in the cockpit will control the active sheet. This ensures a bit of tension is on the sail to help it unfurl or furl.
Soon we’ll be sailing with a gennaker.
6. Lastly, pull or let out the sheet according to the wind and boat direction.
The sailing with a gennaker video footage was created while sailing from Turks & Caicos to Fort Lauderdale Florida off the coast of Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean.
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