How to set up the Parasailor for use in light winds
The parasailor loves light winds. If you take care to set it up properly, you will enjoy using it. According to ISTEC, the manufacturer, this sail can even cope with very strong winds. They claim 10 knots higher than usual spinnakers. So unlike the Gennaker, it can still be safely used after 18 knots. However, we do know of one case where a parasailor was not able to be handled alone in 25 knots of wind. The sail was destroyed after it fell into the sea and was run over by the propellors. It’s probably better to be conservative rather than gung ho!
What are light winds?
The winds need to be 5-25 maximum knots. The wind angle suitable is from 70 – 180 degrees. This maximum speed seems higher than standard spinnakers. This is because the vent in the upper part of the sail allows any strong pressure to be vented out of the sail. And this makes the sail extremely stable. . Venting allows the wings act as a batten and the sail does not collapse. These sails do not need constant adjustments, yet can be finely trimmed. The up-towing of the wind through the sail stabilises the boat, allowing the auto-pilot to remain in use.
Preparation of the line fittings
We attached a 12 ml double D- shackle to the top of the snuffer for easy, non-chafing attachment to the halyard. If you don’t have this, you need to tie a bowline to attach it to the halyard
Next, we arrange for all our lines to have splices with quick-release shackles, instead of having to tie more bowlines for each guy and sheet. (That’s four more bowlines). Additionally, the quick-release shackle allows immediate release if the wind gets out of hand. It’s much faster to just rip the pull lever, instead of undoing a bowline when under pressure for a quick solution. However, correct use of the snuffer should mean we never have to pull these. Now we are ready to set up our parasailor for use in light downward winds.
Preparing your lines
I have taken the instructions directly from the user manual, as found in the link under each image cited below. Occasionally I modify the words, but essentially this is their Copywrite material.
- Place the cruising bag (containing the Parasailor and EasySnuffer) on the foredeck. Secure the bag.
- lay out the lines as shown below and temporarily attach each line to the guard rail at the bow.
Key: Solid lines – sheets – green for starboard, red for port
The sheets (shown as solid red and green lines);
- Run the lines back to the winch behind the cockpit, outside of all guardrails, shrouds and stays.
- Take the sheets through the spinnaker block and onto the rear winch.
The guys (shown as dashed red and green lines);
- Run each guy around each pulpit
- Take the guys back to the cockpit, this time passing inside of all guardrails, stays and shrouds.
- Secure the guys in the cockpit on the winches/cleats which will handle them during operation.
Preparing the EasySnuffer
- Release the 6 compression straps from the Cruising Bag and open it up.
- Attach your gennaker halyard to the eye at the head of the EasySnuffer.
Note – it is essential to attach the halyard on the lee side to prevent lines from becoming entangled on the forestay. In this example, the apparent wind angle is 120°, so the lee side is to port (with the weather side therefore being to starboard).
- Withdraw as much of the EasySnuffer control line as you can from the bag and secure the webbing end of the line to a foredeck cleat.
Note – The EasySnuffer (as well as the bag and sail) have colour-codes Red (port) and green (starboard) to help prevent the Parasailor from launching back-to-front. There is also a white panel running the full length of the snuffer to make any twists easy to spot.
Do not raise the snuffer until you are on a broad reach
- Before raising the snuffer ensure that you are sailing on a broad reach. This is so the EasySnuffer and sail will blow away from your rigging to make sure you do not cause any damage to the sail.
- Hoist the EasySnuffer on the halyard. Try to guide the sleeve as it rises out of the cruising bag by keeping hold of the weather edge.
- The clews of the Parasailor attach to snap-hooks inside the pockets in the snuffer mouth.
Attach the lines
- Unhook the lee-side clew (from the snap-hook inside the snuffer mouth) first. (in this case port) Attach the lee-side sheet and guy.
- Repeat the process for the weather side. Ensure that the control line is forward of the forestay and outboard of any webbings on the EasySnuffer.
- Make an estimate of how high you want the weather-side clew (tack) to be, securing the weather guy on a winch or cleat to attach this.
- I have modified the image below to show you how the setup looks on our boat with Starboard winches at the helm and the wind coming from the port side of the boat.
Launching the parsailor
- Detach the EasySnuffer control line from the cleat and raise the sleeve by 2-3 meters.
- Sheet in the lee-side clew a little, so the Parasailor will fill with the breeze and start to take shape as the EasySnuffer raises fully
- Raise the snuffer slowly and smoothly.
- and so now, the Parasailor is set.
- Adjust the lines accordingly for optimum setup, as conditions dictate.
Note – when sailing on a port tack, the port sheet and starboard guy are your active lines, with the starboard sheet and port guy being lazy lines. Note the same explanation echoed in the video below
So here is a video of the day we tested the sail with Nod and Roms of Multihull solutions in La Rochelle. When discussing the lines, Nod uses “Brace” instead of “Afterguy”. This is at the end, where Nod is discussing the finer points of tacking and gybing with the parasailor. (Which we did not do that day because it was not really a light wind sailing type of day. We had to use apparent wind to decrease the true wind force). But we did set it up and we did use it! As the title promised, I have shown you how to set up the Parasailor for use in light winds.
Sorry I cannot get this to play here. Click the link to watch it on YouTube.
Of these, the second one by SV Tranquiliity is my favourite, despite filming it on a monohull. It is well scripted, and well videoed. It covers very clearly every step including snuffing it. Also, I have included the others because they are on catamarans. The first I chose to show SV Guiding Light snuffing the sail at the end. The last one by Sailing Blown Away is also very clear and includes snuffing the sail in detail.