All About Spinnakers


What is a Spinnaker? 

A Spinnaker is used to sail off the wind from a reaching course to a downwind. The Spinnaker is set forward of the mainsail and balloons out ‘flying’ in front of the boat. Spinnakers will have a smooth rounded surface when flying and will have taut edges holding its form. Spinnakers are made from radial panels which allows for them to be customized with different colored Spinnaker cloth or even printed on to create a unique addition to a sailboat. 

Customize your own spinnaker with our Spinnaker Color Tool!

Spinnaker Color Tool Gif

What are the differences between symmetrical and asymmetrical Spinnakers?

Symmetrical Spinnakers are cut in a symmetrical shape and have mirrored Clew and Tack corners based on the orientation of the sail to the wind and require a Spinnaker pole. Asymmetrical Spinnakers have a designated Head, Tack, and Clew due to their shape and do not require a Spinnaker pole.

SV Delos Magazine Cover

SV Delos Flying Their Precision Sails Asymmetrical Spinnaker Being Featured on the Cover of Caribbean Compass

SV Delos also recently released a video that explains Spinnakers. Watch from 1 minute to 3 minutes.

Symmetrical Spinnakers

Symmetrical Spinnakers are designed for specific wind angles and apparent wind speeds. The spherical profile projects better to windward on a run causing it to have an advantage in a variety of wind conditions. This is made possible by the mid girth of the sail being much larger than the foot girth. Symmetrical Spinnakers come in a variety of sizes to suit your sailing conditions:

Precision Sails Standard Size 

S1 Light Reacher

S2 Medium Runner

S3 Medium Reacher

S4 Heavy Runner

S5 Heavy Reacher

Standard Size Symmetrical

S1 Symmetrical Spinnaker

S2 Symmetrical Spinnaker

S3 Symmetrical Spinnaker

S4 Symmetrical Spinnaker

S5 Symmetrical Spinnaker

Our Standard Size Spinnakers are a great option for cruisers looking to get the most out of their sail in a variety of conditions. Designed with radial panel construction this sail is ideal for facing directly downwind.  The Code 1 Symmetrical Spinnaker is a Light Air
Reaching sail. With a narrow girth in the uppermost portion of the sail and a medium fullness, this sail is ideal for sailing close to the rig allowing for deeper wind angles.
The Code 2 Symmetrical
Spinnaker is a
Medium Air / All
Purpose Running
sail. Designed for use in the widest ranges of apparent wind angles and speed, this sail has a large head and big shoulders to create maximum fullness and power. The Uppermost section of the sail is flatter than the lower portion. 
The Code 3 Symmetrical Spinnaker is a Medium Air / All Purpose Reaching sail. Featuring a flatter profile and less shoulder than a Running Sail, allowing this sail to perform at tighter apparent wind angles.  The Code 4 Symmetrical Spinnaker is a Heavy Air Running Sail. Designed with the mid-girth brought as high as possible. Ideal for powerful, stable vessels, this sail will improve the broad reaching to downwind capability.  The Code 5 Symmetrical Spinnaker is a Heavy Reaching Sail. Designed to be extra strong with a smaller size overall, this sail is best for intense heavy running. 
Wind Angle

Wind Speed

60-120° Apparent Wind Angle

Apparent Wind Speed

Apparent Wind Angle

Apparent Wind Speed

Apparent Wind Angle

Apparent Wind Speed

Apparent Wind Angle

Apparent Wind Speed

90-160° Apparent Wind Angle

10-22kn Apparent Wind Speed

Learn more about Symmetrical Spinnakers

Sailing Nahoa Orange Spinnaker

Sailing Nahoa Flying Their Precision Sails Symmetrical Spinnaker

Asymmetrical Spinnakers

The Asymmetrical Sail’s shape and radial construction make it ideal for running and broad reaching angles. With a triangular shape their cross-section design allows for a smooth, rounded entry tapering to a straight edge at the leech. Easy to handle, these spinnakers minimize a boat’s heeling angle when reaching. 

Precision Sails Standard Size

Code Zero

A1 Light Reacher

A2 Medium Runner

A3 Medium Reacher

A4 Heavy Runner

A5 Heavy Reacher

Standard Size Asymmetrical Spinnaker Code Zero A1 Symmetrical Spinnaker A2 Asymmetrical Spinnakre A3 Asymmetrical Spinnaker A4 Asymmetical Spinnaker

A5 Asymmetrical Spinnaker

Precision Sails’ Standard Sized Asymmetrical All Purpose Spinnaker is deeply discounted over custom Spinnakers, it’s a good option for cruisers who need a Spinnaker for the widest possible range of uses. This versatile sail is ideal for anyone hoping to sail with only one Spinnaker on board. 

The Code Zero is a Spinnaker-Genoa hybrid; designed to operate like a Genoa but considered a Spinnaker under racing rules. This sail will help boats performance in tight reaching angles, especially in lighter winds by generating much more speed than a slightly eased head sail. The Code 1 Asymmetrical Spinnaker is a Light Air Reaching Sail. Designed for stable boats whom want to improve their light air performance.  The Code 2 Asymmetrical Spinnaker is a Medium/ All Purpose Running sail. Designed with the longest luff and largest mid girth of all spinnakers this sail is very stable and is capable of sailing in the deepest angles.  The Code 3 Asymmetrical Spinnaker is a Medium Air Reaching sail. Designed to help the boat accelerate in choppy or changing wind conditions. With a slightly flatter profile, smaller girth and longer luff than the A1 this sail will perform better with increasing winds.  The Code 4 Asymmetrical Spinnaker is a Heavy Air Running sail. 

Designed with the mid-girth brought as high as possible. Ideal for powerful, stable vessels. This sail will improve broad reaching to downwind capability.

The Code 5 Asymmetrical Spinnaker is a Heavy Air Reaching Sail designed with a flatter shape and straighter luff for reaching in higher wind speeds. Ideal for higher wind conditions.
Apparent Wind Angle
True Wind Angle

True Wind Speed

Apparent Wind Angle

3-12kn Apparent Wind Speed

Apparent Wind Angle

Apparent Wind Speed

Apparent Wind Angle

Apparent Wind Speed

Apparent Wind Angle

Apparent Wind Speed

Apparent Wind Angle

16-28kn Apparent Wind Speed

Learn more about Asymmetrical Spinnakers


Sailing Doodles Asymmetrical Spinnaker

Sailing Doodles Flying Their Precision Sails Asymmetrical Spinnaker

Accessories to ease Spinnaker Use

Turtle Bags

A rectangular bag secured with a turtle closure which can be clipped to the rail with four stainless steel hooks. Includes three apertures with Velcro loops labelled Head, Tack and Clew that secure the corner rings. This enables you to attach your sheets and halyard to the sail before removing it from the bag. Simply open the bag and hoist it out. A great accessory which helps ease the use of flying the sail. 

Click  HERE to learn more. 

Turtle Bag

Spinnaker Sock

The Spinnaker Sock is a common tool for dealing with large and often unruly Spinnakers. A specially designed fabric tube that allows for single-handed containment of the sail quickly and reliably. Hanging vertically, you will raise the sock which will open the chute and in turn allow the sail to catch the wind. To contain the sail simply pull the chute back down and it will feed the spinnaker into the sock for storage. 

Click HERE to learn more.

Spinnaker Sock

What should your offshore sailing inventory look like? 

Ben and Ashley of Sailing Nahoa have put together a wonderful video going over their Catamaran’s sail inventory as well as breaking down the conditions to use different sails. Check out the video below! 

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