Topic : Asymmetric Spinnaker (again I suspect)

Ignoring the performance comparison for a moment…

I was under the impression from previous posts on this forum that an asymmetric would be allowed however ive just perused the rules as found else where on this site and it clearly states that a spinni should be “a three cornered sail, symmetrical about its vertical centreline”

Can some one claify the position for me.

I like hiking boats and don’t like SMOD’s but I have a crew that just cant get on with a symterical kite… which doesn’t leave me many options?

I haven’t bothered checking all the other numbers yet such as max distance from mast for the pole and max height up mast etc etc but assuming these numbers all work would I be able to fit a 10sqm asymmetric and not offend the class?


Posted: 08/08/2006 16:33:59
By: Ian
Short answer is 'no'.The  spinny has to be symmetrical as per the rules.

Posted: 08/08/2006 16:53:39
By: Ex CHairman
Someone made a joke once that you could make a legal sail, but just fold it in half to use as an asymmetric.

Posted: 08/08/2006 17:12:12
By: Mags
Alternatively, check out Dick Batts tuning guide, troubleshooting section - I quote:

"Crew twitchy? - change crew"

Posted: 08/08/2006 17:13:04
By: Mags
What's a SMOD - I can only cope with TLAs and this smacks of Military Intelligence!

Posted: 08/08/2006 18:39:03
By: Curious
Acronym Definition 
SMOD Secondary Means of De-Energization
SMOD Serial Port Mode (Intel 8051 Microcontroller)
SMOD Space Monkies of Death (band)

No perhaps not.

Posted: 08/08/2006 18:50:50
By: Nigel 3280
This sounds like one but not sure about the SM yet.

SMOD St Mawes One Design

Stick to Merlins and practice with the spinny.

Posted: 08/08/2006 20:25:06
By: Brian
single manufacturer one design

Posted: 08/08/2006 20:29:59
By: doh!
O dear... not the answers I was hoping for. Shame. 

What was the performance of the last converted Merlin like. Is it specificaly not allowed because its just not what the class wants from a Merlin, or did it show specificaly good or bad traits that werent wanted


Posted: 08/08/2006 20:44:05
By: Ian
Many moons ago (early 90's?) an asymmetric kite and bowsprit were put on a Merlin at Salcombe.  I vaguely recall that it was trial sailed by only a handful of people, none of whom were impressed, before one of the more vigorous crews broke it.  

I'm not aware of it having been done since.

Modern Merlins with twin poles, well set up, are a joy to crew and relatively easy to become at least competent with.

Among the many reasons why the assymmetric argument has never gained a following in the Merlin Fleet are:
1 The Silver tiller series which takes place at some very restricted venues (e.g Cookham, Trent Valley Upper Thames). Boats with bowsprits having to gybe down wind on a 30 m wide river into a fleet tacking up wind would not be popular.
2 Salcombe, (effectively the Merlin 'Nationals' - 90+ boats always guaranteed)where having to gybe downwind out into a foul tide would put you at a huge disadvantage and
3 The desire to be different from all the other sheep running headlong towards oversized flappy jib things. (Clinker hull? 2006? Get the idea?)

The Symmetrical spinnaker is key to the wonderful variety of long standing Merlin Clubs still active on the open meeting circuit. Long may that continue, I say.

Posted: 08/08/2006 23:39:38
By: The Old trout

I dont disagree... I much prefer a conventional kite but I'm afraid its not going to be right for us.

I'm still thinking of just getting an old 12 and bunging a small assymmetric on it... as long as we can agree a handicap at teh club it would suit us


Posted: 09/08/2006 09:57:30
By: Ian
Why not just go out and buy an old RS400, or is this too obvious

Posted: 09/08/2006 10:03:46
By: the easy option
Just a thought, but aren't RS400's a bit like a Merlin, except with an asymmetric? 

You could get one of those. I hear they're all the rage!

Posted: 09/08/2006 10:04:47
By: super-surfer
D'oh! Beaten to it!

Posted: 09/08/2006 10:05:41
By: super-surfer
Because ...
we arnt really big enough for one
They cost a lot more than I want to spend
And I dont like boats that I cant fiddle with

My idea of a good boat is a Merlin, Scorpion, Lark etc.

Reasonably quick, responsive and sensible rules that control development but let the fiddlers fiddle.

The trouble is there isnt a hiking boat class like this with an assymmetric


Posted: 09/08/2006 11:00:50
By: Ian
RS 200?

Posted: 09/08/2006 11:14:44
By: RS
Sorry Laser 2000?

Posted: 09/08/2006 11:31:54
By: RS
Laser 2000 is another SMOD and quite dull, unless its really windy.

Posted: 09/08/2006 11:49:18
By: :-(
what about an old ISO. cheap and lots of fun ?

Posted: 09/08/2006 11:50:39
By: :-)
A Cherub of a certain age?

Posted: 09/08/2006 12:04:57
By: Yet another
Get a merlin (and a new crew if you have to) & come to the training, you wont regret it!

Posted: 09/08/2006 12:10:40
By: do this
lol, just take your crew to the training.

You'll probably find out that it's all your fault anyway.

Posted: 10/08/2006 09:27:21
By: Jon
Alternatively get an International 14 - they've got symetrical kites but I find the Merlin spinnaker a little easier to handle......

Posted: 10/08/2006 12:13:35
By: Jon
The International 14s are a development class and according to their website they carry huge unlimited asymetrical kites on 11ft bowsprits! They're skiffs now and Stewart Morris would probably turn in his grave if he knew what they'd done to HIS class.

Posted: 10/08/2006 15:55:44
By: Robert Harris
Actually back in the 50s asymmettric spinnakers that were symettrical to the measurer (ie luff and leech the same length etc) were not uncommon in Cherubs. They were seam shaped so that the flow was in the front of the sail and probably a deal faster in a straight line. Quite how on earth one gybed the damn things, especially considering this was coupled with a 9ft spinnaker pole, I have absolutely no idea, but I imagine you timed gybes with the minute hand not a stopwatch...

Posted: 10/08/2006 21:24:46
By: JimC
What was the question?  The solutions are so entertaining, and varied, but relevant?  If the problem is the crew not getting on with a symetrical spinnaker, this may indicate a learning opportunity rather than a search for something different. As someone commented before - go to the Merlin training! Also, aren't there training guides on the seb site?  An extremely helpful pamphlet on spinnaker handling by Mrs King got us sorted when we first started in Merlin - is that still available?

Posted: 12/08/2006 20:38:48
By: Mischief Maker
Of course - have a read of all 3 parts if you can.

Posted: 14/08/2006 09:23:04
By: Mags
Its much more to do with not wanting to have to learn than it is not understanding. She is 5ft nothing and less than 8 stone, she is also one of these people that just enjoys being on a boat and sailing, no particular interest in the technical aspects of it, its just meant to be fun not hard work and frustrating. Personally I love it when its hard work and frustrating but its meant to be fun for all

So we want a boat that’s
Not a SMOD... so that I have something technical to play with
Has an asymmetric spinni so that is quick and fun and not to hard for the crew
and that’s a hiking boat... because that’s what we both like!

Please don’t take this as a criticism of the Merlin class, its far from it as id love one, its just our desperation in tying to find a boat we can sail.

Posted: 14/08/2006 16:04:25
By: Ian
Have you thought about a Bosun...?

Posted: 14/08/2006 16:09:41
By: :)
Ian - to get sensible answers, you will have to say what aspect of not being able to handle a symmetrical spinnaker applies.  Then, if you can overcome the problem, do so. Too short? fit twin poles with strings to pull them out or if a single pole, fit a bar to stand on. Not strong enough? - ask the other girls in the fleet how they do it - none are exactly Russian shot putters!

Do what you can to sail a Merlin, it is by far the best hiking boat and a sails beautifully - not like Bosuns (heavy 1950s merlin) or a GP14 ('nuff said about sheds)

Posted: 14/08/2006 16:33:40
By: mad jack
I sailed the 1998 nationals at Abersoch with just such a crew as you describe.  It blew its **** off all week but we got round OK.  I am sure you won't be sailing in such extreme conditions so it should not be a problem.

Posted: 14/08/2006 16:53:41
By: JC
Buy a 12, do some events without the kite and if you fancy it put a small one on it for club racing. You might be surprised how interesting a 12 is to sail offwind with the new jib-sticks and no kite.

Posted: 14/08/2006 17:14:32
By: Interloper
The Star Class has managed for close on a Century without a Spinnaker. But then keeping the mast in the boat is pretty nearly a full time job.

Posted: 14/08/2006 20:01:34
By: Ancient Geek


To Reply, please join/renew membership.

Owners Association

Developed & Supported by YorkSoft Ltd


Merlin Rocket Owners Association