UK Sailmakers' Encyclopedia of Sails

7.1 - Using the Cruising Spinnaker

The Flasher ® is UK’s trademark for an asym-metrical pole-less cruising spinnaker. The Flasher ® requires little in the way of equipment. Be sure, however, that what you do have is right for the job and well-organized. The following is a list of the equip-ment you’ll need:

SPINNAKER HALYARD: This halyard is different than a jib halyard since it either exits the mast above the forestay, or it is led to a block outside the forestay.

TACK PENDANT: The tack pendant length can vary. The simplest set up is to tie the pendant to the stem fitting so that the tack of the Flasher ® is about four feet off the deck. For those who like to tweak their sail trim, the pendant must be long enough to reach a winch in the cockpit.

OPTIONAL DACRON COLLAR: The collar helps stabilize the Flasher ® . On boats with roller/furling genoas, the collar reduces chafe by distributing the leeward tug of the sail.

SHEETS: The sheets should be twice the length of the boat. Any diameter line will be strong enough, so choose one that is thick enough to be comfortable to handle, yet light enough for good light air performance. If you are going to be trimming the sail with a self-tailing winch, make sure that the line is thick enough for the self-tailer.

TWO SHEET BLOCKS: These blocks can be snatch blocks, fiddle blocks, or any other type of block. Attach them to the aft corners of the boat.

THE STASHER: The optional Stasher (dousing sock) allows you to raise and lower the sail in complete control. The Stasher is a sleeve that contains the sail as it is hoisted, sets it free when you’re ready, and encases the chute when it’s time to douse.


First things first. Clip the Flasher ® bag to the deck or lifelines on the side of the boat from which the sail will be flying. Many sail bags have been lost overboard by not taking this first step! 

1. Cleat or tie the tack pendant so that the tack will be about four feet off the deck. 

2. Pass the tack collar around your headstay and clip the hook to the O-ring. (Note: Your genoa must be roller-furled or lowered at this point.) The collar holds the tack of the sail forward while the pendant will hold the tack down. 

3. Run the leeward sheet from the block on the leeward corner of the boat, outside of everything (the lifelines and shrouds) and attach it to the clew of the sail. Make sure the sheet is never led under the lifelines. Lead the windward sheet the same way, but be sure to pass it in front of your headstay and over the bow pulpit before attaching it to the sail. 

4. Finally, attach the halyard to the top of the Stasher pendant or directly to the head of the sail if you are not using a dousing sock (see p.42 for Stasher set up).

To keep your Flasher ® under control when you hoist it, make sure your boat is headed on a very broad reach with the mainsail eased all the way to the shrouds. This way you will be able to hoist your Flasher ® in the mainsail’s wind shadow. 

The final step before raising the Flasher ® is to trim the sheet so that the clew is one to two feet forward of the shrouds. The trick in hoisting is to make sure the sail does not fill until the halyard is up and cleated.