Set­ting the cruis­ing chute

Yachting Monthly - - EXPERT ON BOARD -

A cruis­ing chute is an asym­met­ri­cal sail with a per­ma­nent tack and clew. It works like a large loose-luffed genoa so is of­ten seen as a sim­pler sail to use than a spin­naker. It is var­i­ously called a cruis­ing chute, an asym­met­ric spin­naker or a genaker. A Code 0 is very sim­i­lar, but has a flat­ter cut for us­ing closer to the wind.

By ad­just­ing the length of the tack line to ten­sion or slacken the luff, the sail’s shape can be made flat­ter or fuller to al­low it to sail from 80º to 120º to the ap­par­ent wind in con­junc­tion with a main. On its own, a cruis­ing chute can take the boat dead down­wind and even by as much as up to 20º by the lee be­fore you have to gybe.

1 ATTACH AT THE BOW

Set up a tackle in the bow, out­board of the forestay, to gybe the chute. I have a D-ring on the stem head. Us­ing a Dyneema over a con­ven­tional shackle re­moves any me­tal-on-me­tal fric­tion. It’s also quicker to set.

2 RUN THE TACK LINE

With the tackle at­tached, run the tack line back to the cock­pit rather than cleat­ing it at the bow. We can now con­trol the height of the tack and with it, con­trol the luff ten­sion and depth of the sail.

3 ATTACH THE SHEETS

Attach both sheets to the clew. I use snap shack­les for this but bow­lines are fine. For light wind sail­ing, some boats use thin­ner line so as not to weigh the sail down, or you can un­clip the lazy sheet.

4 LEAD THE SHEETS

The lee­ward sheet is led out­side the shrouds and guardrail to a block on the quarter and then back to a winch. Don’t put a fig­ure of eight in the end so it can run.

5 KEEP THE LAZY SHEET CLEAR

The lazy, or wind­ward sheet, will be led out­side the forestay, then out­side the guardrail on the wind­ward side to a block on the quarter, then into the cock­pit to keep it out the way. Lead the sheet around the out­side of the sail so the sail goes all the way round the front in a gybe.

This will stop it get­ting stuck on the forestay, but watch the sheet doesn’t fall un­der the bow. You can also rig the sheet in­side the genoa (but out­side the forestay) so that the chute gybes through the gap like a genoa.

6 AVOID TRAIL­ING SHEETS

Try to avoid trail­ing any sheets in the wa­ter at any point be­cause of their propen­sity to get wrapped round pro­pel­lers or jammed in the pin­tles of the rud­der. Remember, no knots on spin­naker or cruis­ing chute sheets or hal­yards. These are pow­er­ful sails and we want to be able to let them fly in a hurry if you be­come sud­denly over­pow­ered.

Ad­just the tack line to change the depth of the sail curve

It can be easy to miss a trail­ing sheet whilst con­cen­trat­ing on snuff­ing the sail

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