Asymmetrical spinnaker

An asymmetrical spinnaker is a sail used when sailing downwind. Also known as an "asym"[1] or "aspin",[2] it can be described as a cross between a genoa jib and a spinnaker. It is asymmetric like a genoa, but, the asymmetrical spinnaker is not attached to the forestay over the full length of its luff, being rigged like a spinnaker. The asymmetrical spinnaker has a larger camber than a genoa, making it optimal for generating lift at larger angles of attack, but the camber is significantly less than that of a spinnaker.[1]

The asymmetrical spinnaker is a specialty sail used on racing boats, bridging the performance gap between a genoa, which develops maximum driving force when the apparent wind angle is between 35 and 60 degrees, and a spinnaker, which has maximum power when the apparent wind is between 100 and 140 degrees. Due to its geometry, the sail is less prone to collapsing than a spinnaker and does not require the use of spinnaker pole.[1] The sail can benefit greatly and be much larger if the boat is equipped with a bowsprit.[1] Some boats (e.g., the Melges 17), have retractable bowsprits for this sail.[3]

A form of asymmetrical spinnaker is also used on cruising boats as being easier to handle than a symmetrical spinnaker and known as a "cruising shute".

Rigging is different from other spinnakers.[4] Maximizing performance and effective sailing of asymmetrical spinnakers requires unique sail and boat trim.[5] It is often paired with a Spinnaker chute.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Flynn, David (2010). "Just The Facts... A Guide to Asymmetrical Spinnakers" (PDF). Quantum Atlantic. Quantum Sail Design Group, LLC. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  2. Goodall, Sandy. "Inside the Asymmetrical Spinnaker". FX Sails. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  3. "Product Brochure, Melges 17" (PDF). Melges Boatworks. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  4. Goodall, Sandy. "Rigging Your Asymmetrical Spinnaker". FX Sails. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  5. The Editors (June 14, 2005). "The Commandments of Asym Trim". Sailing World. Retrieved November 7, 2013.

External links

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