UK Sailmakers’ Encyclopedia of Sails

6.3 – Spinnaker Dousing

METHOD 1: Lazy Gut Takedown

The lazy guy takedown uses the idle guy on the leeward side to insure getting the spinnaker into the mainsail’s blanket zone. The lazy guy is led forward and under the foot of the genoa. When the sail is released from the pole, the lazy guy is quickly tightened and the spinnaker is gathered.

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METHOD 2: Releasing the Shackle

The guy is eased until the pole reaches the forestay. Never let the pole smack the headstay, or you may break the pole, the headstay or both. The pole is lowered until it can be reached easily by the bowman who opens the snap-shackle that connects the guy to the spinnaker.

In this diagram the genoa is omitted to show the lazy guy brought forward to the fore-deck so that the crew can gather the spinnaker by the lazy guy under the genoa. Lazy Guy as the spinnaker is released from the guy, one or more crewmembers sitting to leeward of the main pulls on the sheet and brings in the spinnaker. 

The halyard is eased quickly for the first third of the distance, which collapses the sail. Once the chute starts coming aboard, the rest of the halyard is eased as fast as the crew can gather without the sail falling in the water. Some racing crews prefer to take the sail down into the forward hatch to keep the sail from getting tangled with the jib sheet. 

METHOD 3: Running Guy

This system is basically the same as Method 1, except that the guy remains attached to the sail. First the guy is eased until the pole kisses the headstay, and then it is completely released as the crew gathers the sail. Great care must be taken to make sure that the guy is completely clear, with no knots, so it can run free. The sail is then gathered in the same location as in Method 1.

METHOD 4: Stretch and Blow

This is a heavy air technique designed to depower the spinnaker. In this method, the foot of the spinnaker is pulled tight, making it impossible for the corners to fall into the water. To keep the clews out of the water and make the foot tight, the pole is eased forward to the headstay and the spinnaker sheet is tightened as much as possible. After the foot is pulled tight, the halyard is cast off and let run. The wind blows the sail parallel to the water allowing the crew to pull the sail in by its leeches. If the sail does touch the water, it won’t be able to scoop up a lot of water if the two clews are kept tight.

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