Recommended Posts

So, here is a question for the group – Does anyone know where and when the first modern asymmetrical spinnaker was developed? I have a story about how we developed the concept on the west coast of Florida in 1982 for racing a custom 30’ Stiletto catamaran, but I was wondering if others were using them somewhere else earlier than that. I would have thought that the 18 footers in Sydney would have been the birthplace, but an ‘83 video on Youtube shows them using a symmetric on a mast mounted pole at that time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, pwormwood said:

So, here is a question for the group – Does anyone know where and when the first modern asymmetrical spinnaker was developed? I have a story about how we developed the concept on the west coast of Florida in 1982 for racing a custom 30’ Stiletto catamaran, but I was wondering if others were using them somewhere else earlier than that. I would have thought that the 18 footers in Sydney would have been the birthplace, but an ‘83 video on Youtube shows them using a symmetric on a mast mounted pole at that time.

wikipedia provides a link to this sailmagazine article

https://www.sailmagazine.com/cruising/mastering-the-a-sail

with some nice history it says that a-kites existed in the 1860's :), which makes sense as the symmetrical spinnaker derived from a full belied asymmetrical foresail.

https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/news/the-150th-anniversary-of-the-spinnaker-34861

I

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stars & Stripes '87 used a "Gennaker" on the reaching legs of the triangle in the LV Finals. I built one as a cruising sail for an Alden 75 not long after. The 1992 AC in San Diego with the middle Z legs burned though dozens of concepts.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, A3A said:

Stars & Stripes '87 used a "Gennaker" on the reaching legs of the triangle in the LV Finals. I built one as a cruising sail for an Alden 75 not long after. The 1992 AC in San Diego with the middle Z legs burned though dozens of concepts.   

That reminds me, of course cruising chutes were around in 1980. (and probably well before that)...  and that's basically an asym tacked to the bow.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, A3A said:

Stars & Stripes '87 used a "Gennaker" on the reaching legs of the triangle in the LV Finals. I built one as a cruising sail for an Alden 75 not long after. The 1992 AC in San Diego with the middle Z legs burned though dozens of concepts.   

1984 we had a asymmetrical 2.2 on "Thursdays Child" flown off a spin pole 150% LP....did not seem new...akin to "drifters" many boats  used but built for heavier conditions...also early 70's asym for reaching made from a material called Dynac , but these were specialty  sails made for narrow conditions on displacement hulls 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 1980 we purchased a "cruising" spinnaker for our Cape Dory 25 which is normally fairly slow.  With the asym I did very well in singled handed racing and even won a couple of fully crewed races.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like the Aussie 14s had them 100 years ago: 

 

image.thumb.png.62b2f0c74bdefa62f6562272167af03b.png

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In NZ  mullet boats from late 1800's , most mid 1900's centreboarders.......IA ,X, Z used them. Symmetric  kites developed from them with advent of Marconi rigs. Nothing new in the world !!!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

9A195E3C-B6BE-4E80-B9E6-EFF7E7BE9A52.jpeg1,000’s of years 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends what you really mean by an asymmetric spinnaker.

Australian skiffs and their later derivatives (VJ's and VS's) ran asymmetric spinnakers from their inception in the later 1800's. But they were flown from a spinnaker pole (and because they were asymmetrical) had to be gybed by taking down the jib (effectively removing the forestay) and swinging the pole around the front. Smaller versions like the VJ actually had to chuck the pole around the front of the jib. The first photo is of an assymetrical on a 22 ft skiff (second from front) from the mid 1890's.

If you mean a ballonner jib, well I think you'll find those on the skiffs going back many years too. See the second photo.

But if you mean a modern gennaker set up on a pole extended from the bow specifically for the purpose of carrying a spinnaker like extra, I think you'll find they came out of the Sydney Harbour 18ft skiffs in the mid to late 1980's when they found that tacking downwind was faster and the spinnaker pole was never off the forestay. JulianB was there. he might pipe in for more detail.

 

img-2847_orig.jpg

572838904-468456_orig.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I'll add one more from the early 50's just because its a great shot.

Still assymetrical. Still gybing by dropping the jib and forestay (note the lazy sheet going around the front of the jib).

 

img-3902_orig.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is nothing new under the sun

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah - I knew about the historic jibs-on-spinnaker-poles.  I was curious about when the modern symmetrical 'balloon' spinnakers were further developed to have different luff and leech lengths, along with shaping the panels to create a draft forward shape.   

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, JohnMB said:

wikipedia provides a link to this sailmagazine article

https://www.sailmagazine.com/cruising/mastering-the-a-sail

with some nice history it says that a-kites existed in the 1860's :), which makes sense as the symmetrical spinnaker derived from a full belied asymmetrical foresail.

https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/news/the-150th-anniversary-of-the-spinnaker-34861

I

I read that article, and it sounds like we were ahead of Julian.  This link shows the 18's with symmetric kites in '83.  We were already on our second iteration by then.  With the first we lengthened the luff to reach the deck without a pole.  With the second, we made the panels within the sail asymmetric to push the draft forward and open the leech.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, pwormwood said:

Yeah - I knew about the historic jibs-on-spinnaker-poles.  I was curious about when the modern symmetrical 'balloon' spinnakers were further developed to have different luff and leech lengths, along with shaping the panels to create a draft forward shape.   

 

Not a sailmaker, but in the sailing news articles about the America's Cup in the 1970s, sailing lead-bellied money gobblers, they discussed asymmetric spinnakers set on conventional spinnaker poles. One of the operating theories was to make the luff longer.

FB- Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In one of his books Phil Bolger talked using a half spinnaker on one of his designs.He was happy with the performance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was posting this in the 'Favorite Sailing Pic' thread, thouhgt it could be relvant here - pic from the early thirties

554600811_BekenofCowesLimitedEditionPhotographyPrintsVelsheda1934_framed_600.thumb.jpg.c620389144035011c632d8c04bafd62c.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, pwormwood said:

I read that article, and it sounds like we were ahead of Julian.  This link shows the 18's with symmetric kites in '83.  We were already on our second iteration by then.  With the first we lengthened the luff to reach the deck without a pole.  With the second, we made the panels within the sail asymmetric to push the draft forward and open the leech.

 

Are you suggesting it was you and your group that designed the first?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Rambler said:

And I'll add one more from the early 50's just because its a great shot.

Still assymetrical. Still gybing by dropping the jib and forestay (note the lazy sheet going around the front of the jib).

 

img-3902_orig.jpg

Looks like a wipe out in the background

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Meat Wad said:

Looks like a wipe out in the background

 

No. that's two windsurfers, one is trying to do a back loop over the other :).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Meat Wad said:

Looks like a wipe out in the background

 

You've noticed the heads in the water above the tramsom of the main boat have you.

The narrative in "The Open Boat" page from which this was taken says -

  " One boat far left is having bit of trouble, and there is a crew in the water beyond the stern of Crows Nest. Can't tell you at this point if they survived, but hard Westerlies usually take their toll."

I don't recall reports of drownings in the history of the skiffs, but who knows. 

The Open Boat site, with any more interesting photos and stories, can be found here   http://www.openboat.com.au/fleets.html

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/6/2020 at 7:17 AM, JohnMB said:
On 5/6/2020 at 7:11 AM, pwormwood said:

So, here is a question for the group – Does anyone know where and when the first modern asymmetrical spinnaker was developed? I have a story about how we developed the concept on the west coast of Florida in 1982 for racing a custom 30’ Stiletto catamaran, but I was wondering if others were using them somewhere else earlier than that. I would have thought that the 18 footers in Sydney would have been the birthplace, but an ‘83 video on Youtube shows them using a symmetric on a mast mounted pole at that time.

wikipedia provides a link to this sailmagazine article

https://www.sailmagazine.com/cruising/mastering-the-a-sail

with some nice history it says that a-kites existed in the 1860's :), which makes sense as the symmetrical spinnaker derived from a full belied asymmetrical foresail.

https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/news/the-150th-anniversary-of-the-spinnaker-34861

 

Why do people claim Bethwaite invented it when everyone apart from Bethwaite in Sydney says Andrew Buckland invented it?

As for that video it's the 1982-83 season as our summer goes through the new year. In those days we carried 3 spinnakers on the 18 a masthead runner, masthead reacher both symmetric and an asymmetrical wire luff flattie.

This video shows the first season of asymmetric flown from bowsprit pole which was 1983- 84- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPRRNfbcULA

Classes like the VJ were asymmetric then symmetric now back to asymmetric.

pole.jpg

go-jet-go-jay-brochure-p1.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We carried 2 spinnakers with the bowsprit pole on the 18 before sail numbers were reduced. A fuller one for running and a flat reacher.

 

 

40237_145297758827689_1698834_n.jpg

Alt_Chesty%20Bond%20carries%20the%20tallest%20mast%20ever%20on%20an%2018ft%20Skiff1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

don't assyms pre-date syms?

Susanne-1911-12204scA3sepia.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Trovão said:

don't assyms pre-date syms?

 

Precisely, which is what my picture from the late 1800's showed.

Which goes back to what exactly the question is.

And if the question is what is the derivation of the modern concept of an assy, it simply must be a specialised sail flown from an elongated fixed pole or bowspirit and designed for apparent wind sailing in lieu of attempting  to run square, in the expectation that will be faster.

Otherwise you are simply reverting to the ancient pole mounted assys or the equally ancient (turn of the 1900's) concept of a balloon jib (goodness, even a blooper could fall in that catagory too)

And they came out of the Sydney Harbour 18ft skiffs in what (I am now reminded) was the early 1980's.

Cruising yachts and non apparent wind yachts using a so called assy are really just carrying a modern version of the balloon jib with a new fancy name.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Mohammed Bin Lyin said:

We carried 2 spinnakers with the bowsprit pole on the 18 before sail numbers were reduced. A fuller one for running and a flat reacher.

 

 

40237_145297758827689_1698834_n.jpg

Alt_Chesty%20Bond%20carries%20the%20tallest%20mast%20ever%20on%20an%2018ft%20Skiff1.jpg

What's the SA/D of that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Mohammed Bin Lyin said:

 

Why do people claim Bethwaite invented it when everyone apart from Bethwaite in Sydney says Andrew Buckland invented it?

As for that video it's the 1982-83 season as our summer goes through the new year. In those days we carried 3 spinnakers on the 18 a masthead runner, masthead reacher both symmetric and an asymmetrical wire luff flattie.

This video shows the first season of asymmetric flown from bowsprit pole which was 1983- 84- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPRRNfbcULA

Classes like the VJ were asymmetric then symmetric now back to asymmetric.

pole.jpg

go-jet-go-jay-brochure-p1.jpg

If you could sail a "J" in a breeze you could sail anything! 

My second one,  I was convinced by Coach (Mike Fletcher running Elvstrom Sails at the time) that I should go symmetric for my new spinnaker in the mid 70's.

Still flew it off a single ended pole and roller furled it for gybes & drops though.  To gybe the f'hand would walk forward take the pole off the mast & throw it over the front of the jib catch it on the new side and reattach it to the mast.  Quite the trick on a decked over boat 3 foot 6 wide!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now