Snuffing Gennaker in Strong Wind

We have a Snuffer on our Gennaker. What is the proper process for snuffing when the wind is strong? It’s tough to get the snuffer to collapse the sail.

The stronger the wind is, the more important it will be to relieve the sheet pressure on the gennaker before pulling the snuffer down. Keep the halyard and tack line in the normal sailing positions. Then try easing the sheet several feet until the sail starts to luff. Don’t let the sheet go completely. If the sail is flogging when you ease the sheet, have the helmsman bear away from the wind to an angle where the breeze is coming across the windward corner of the transom–an apparent wind angle of about 160 degrees. That should blanket the spinnaker behind the mainsail so that there is very little pressure on it. When you bear off this far, it is important for the helmsman to keep an eye on the spinnaker in case it starts to wrap around the headstay before you can get the snuffer down. If the sail begins to blow through the foretriangle, the helmsman should steer towards the wind slightly to make the airflow through the foretriangle, blowing the gennaker fabric back out to the leeward side of the boat.

When it is time to pull the snuffer down, you should be positioned in the middle of the foredeck, rather than at the base of the mast. By moving further forward, you are pulling from between the luff and leech edges of the sail so it is easier to collapse it. I prefer to sit down on the deck instead of standing up. Then, if I lose my balance, there is nowhere to fall!

If you try these techniques and find that it is still very difficult to pull the sock down, you may have a twist in the retrieval line. To check for a twist, take the sail and snuffer off the boat and lay it out straight on a lawn or porch. Feel the retrieval line inside the colored sleeve at the top. The line goes through a block on the inside of the sleeve and it can develope a twist if the block flops over. If you and a helper run the sleeve up and down a couple of times on the lawn you will be able to tell if it is hanging up from the friction of a twist.

Good luck. Regards, Dan Neri

Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)

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