A Spinnaker thought

Nigel Barron

Notorious Iconoclast
I was looking at the numbers with a friend on the size of spinnakers that we use on my Ericson 27. I use A-Sails. It turns out that the size of my white A-Sail seen in the pictures in this thread is not too much bigger than a Melges 24 A-Sail. I have arranged for the use of a set of Melges 24 spinnakers in a few weeks, and will report what I find.

This does open a lot of options for others. With a competitive one design class like the Melges 24, picking up used sails is really cheap. For the purpose I intend, it also looks like the Melges 24 sails will work pretty well. It is a class rule that the cloth is .9oz. It is also going to be nice and flat, and being a little smaller for reaching and heavy air is not that bad. Anyway, just some thoughts.

Anyone else with an Ericson 27 have success buying used sails from other boats? Main, jibs?

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Is your pole for the boat longer than J? If so what length are you running. I have thought about A sails for moonglow my Ericson 25+ now that I have a masthead halyard. What PHRF do you get? Also where is your boat? Ryan

Nigel Barron

Notorious Iconoclast
The pole is longer than the J. PHRF allows with a penalty for the pole to be 10% longer than the J, or in this case an extra 13.5 inches for a total of 148.5 inches of pole lenght.

My PHRF is currently 238, as I am using an oversized main. With my standard main I rate 241. Both of those ratings prohibit the use of overlapping headsails.



Sustaining Partner

A few thoughts:

Nigel, I was not clear from your comments about rating, but if you have a pole which is longer than your J you will incur a penalty-typically it is -6 seconds for anything up to 10% longer, and -15 seconds up to 15%. The spinnaker girths may not exceed 1.8 x JC (your pole) without additional penalties-but I imagine you know this. I was confused about your rating not permitting overlapping headsails, also.

Having said all that-I DO belive that A sails are ALWAYS faster-masthead halyard or not-all things being equal. This means that as long as you have pole you can square back as you sail deeper, and as long as the sail is the same size as the conventional spinnaker, and as long as the A-sail is not specifically built as a reacher, you will be faster with am A-sail on any point of sail compared to a conventional kite.

This is of course my opinion, and there are times when there is an advantage to a symetrical kite: when sailing dead downwind in a big fleet and gybing a lot, the symetrical kite will stay full in the gybes, wheras the A-sail collapes each time. If you are gybing tactically to obtain an inside overlap at a mark, you MAY have an advantage. But most of the time, and especially straight line sailing, the A-sail will be faster.

The only problem I see with the Melges sail is the .9 oz. weight. This may be too heavy to fly well-especailly at deeper angles in light air.

To the rest of the gang, I say "Go for it". The future is asymetric-even for boats with 'regular" poles (i.e. not sprit boats). The big change is in the gybing technique, but this can be learned.

Gybe well, gybe often, and have FUN!!

Good times!



Junior Member
I have an Ericson 28-2 with a J of 12 feet. The spinnaker pole was missing when I purchased the boat. I now have found a pole which is 10 feet 2 inches. I have never flown the spinnaker on the boat. Is it a big deal if your pole is a bit too short?

G Kiba

Member III
If the pole is on the inside or the forestay (too short), the kite's guy end clew will hit and rub on the forestay. You need a longer pole!


This reply began as a test of the new Avatar system, but morphed into a measurement of a spin pole that's been hanging from the garage rafters since 2010, from the long-gone Hunter 28.5 . It's 12' (based on a quick measurement). No clue if the additional 22" compared to what you have is worth the effort, aggravation and $.
If interested, we can test Sean's new Site upgrade within the PM method. Thanks and take care.