Spinnaker/Genniker handling on MG30s

Well, we never had an opportunity to try drying out.  But we did have a magnificant month cruising to the Scilly Isles and back.  It was head winds all the way there, and it took us 10 days with sojourns.  Then we had 10 days in the Scillies and 10 days to get back. The return had some very fast passages in between long stop-overs during gales and social engagements.  The Scilly Isles are fantastic, if somewhat tricky, with lots of white sand and hardly anybody on them. I can thoroughly recommend Mark Fishwick’s West Country Cruising Companion; the seventh edition covers the Scillies thoroughly and was consulted daily.  The return passage had a number of long runs in strong westerlies, which brings me to my main subject: spinnaker/ genniker handling on MG30s.

During my very first passage in Santana I put the spinnaker up under the lee of the genoa and before rolling it away, as one should.  But when I came to take it down I found the spinnaker and snuffer halyards had become wrapped around the rolling gear aloft, and I was unable to lower it.  Beating into Poole Harbour with the spinnaker still up and full of water following a cloud burst is a painful memory!  Ever since, I have rolled the genoa away first and not unfurled it until the spinnaker is safely down and stowed away.

My problem is that, however carefully I pack away the spinnaker in its bag, by the time it comes to hoist it, everything is in a tangle; I spend ages getting it straight and putting out the guys before hoisting – in gentle weather this is just a nuisance – in stronger
winds or rolling seas it is a real trial and somewhat hazardous.  By the time the thing is down again, it is so tangled in the snuffer I
have rarely attempted to deploy it a second time without taking it shore to straighten it all out.

On this trip I had a real struggle in big rolling seas to get it down when the wind had got  up to F5.  Since then I have made a number of improvements: I have moved the snuffer lifting line from inside the snuffer, where it just gets tangled with the spinnaker, to outside and alongside the snuffing line; I have learnt to snuff the spinnaker BEFORE removing the spinnaker boom and Barber line, and this has avoided the spinnaker riding high while I am trying to snuff it.  I am wondering whether to try the reverse procedure: putting the pole on before un-snuffing.

I am also considering fitting snap shackels on the guys and snuffing line so I can untangle things by unclipping lines rather than having to pull them through the tangle of other ropes.

On bigger yachts spinnaker poles are often stored up the mast and guys permanetly in place, which must make things easier.  What are others’ experience of spinnakers/gennikers on MG30s?  What arrangements do you have and how does it work out for you?


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