The Top 5 Reasons Top-Down Spinnaker Furlers Are Awesome For Asymmetrical Spinnakers

Top-down furling has a ton advantages over standard hoisting of asymmetrical spinnakers for shorthanded sailing and cruising.

Top-down furling systems were originally designed for hard-core ocean racers, but they can make ripping downwind even more accessible for cruising crews and shorthanded sailors too.

Most products on the market these days work the same general way: An asymmetrical spinnaker is attached to a torsional furling cable and hoisted aloft on a halyard. To furl, a deck-level sheave driven by a looped line spins the furling cable, winding the sail around the line starting at the head and working its way to the deck, giving it the name top-down furler.

Here are five reasons why top-down furling systems are awesome for asymmetrical spinnakers:

Makes spinnaker sailing as easy as deploying the genoa. In light winds, you can have the spinnaker hoisted and ready to go. As soon as you turn down, all you have to do is release the furling line, pull on the sheet, and voila! Instant gratification.

Foredeck union on strike? No problem. Since you can have the spinnaker rigged and ready to go before you even leave the dock, you can get the kite flying right from the cockpit. And in shifty situations when you’re sailing shorthanded or with inexperienced crew on board, a top-down furler makes flying a spinnaker a whole lot safer. “This is a great system for shorthanded sailors because you can deploy and furl the spinnaker from the safety of the cockpit,” says Scott Williman of Seldén Mast.

No more shrimping. Sail an angle as hot as you want, and douse at the last possible moment. Even with an inexperienced crew, there’s no chance of shrimping the kite. With a top-down furler, every douse will look like it was done by the pros. “You can sail a really hot angle to the wind with no risk of shrimping the kite,” says Ronstan’s Alan Prussia.

Takes the excitement out of gybing. An exciting gybe is often not a safe or fun gybe. Furl the sail partially or even fully before gybing and then easily re-deploy on the other side. A top-down furler limits the number of people you need to complete a gybe, and keeps the excitement in the sailing.

You’ll never have to run a tape again: With a top-down furler, dirty douses are a thing of the past. This system makes rigging and storing the kite a cinch too. At the end of the day, the spinnaker is in a tight, neat roll that’s easy to bag and stow.

Here are a couple great systems to check out, both of which can be used with any Quantum® asymmetrical spinnaker.

Ronstan Series 120: Ronstan’s Series 120 top-down furler is one of the most compact on the market but actual drum diameters are carefully matched to sail loads to make furling the sail faster and easier. High-load bearings allow this system to easily handle high-dynamic shock loads, and it auto ejects the line when deploying the sail.

Seldén GX 15: This system features a patented line lock terminal is much less bulky than other furlers on the market, and its sealed steel bearings make it virtually maintenance free. It also comes with an optional tack swivel adjuster that makes it possible to adjust the height of the tack while sailing.


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Hutchinson Wins Annapolis NOOD as Quantum Sails Claim Six Division Titles

Light winds cancelled many of the races at last weekend’s Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD, but after three days and four races, Quantum’s Terry Hutchinson won his division and the regatta. Quantum sails also led teams to victory in four other divisions, as well as in the Rally Racing.

With three days of light winds, the May 1-3 Annapolis NOOD cancelled all buoy-racing fleets on Saturday, but all fleets managed at least four races. In the 60-boat J/70 fleet, Quantum’s executive vice president and 2014 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Terry Hutchinson got off to a slow start on Friday.

The large fleet was competitive, including Quantum clients Tom and Ann Bowen and Jenn and Ray Wulff. The Wulffs, racing in the Corinthian Division, led the fleet going into the last race. In the end, though, the Bowens pulled ahead to finish in second with the Wulff’s taking fifth overall and second in Corinthian.

Hutchinson finished strong with a fleet low 24 points thanks to the smart sailing of his crew – including tactician Taylor Canfield, Quantum rep Nick Turney, Morgane Renoir, and Hutchinson’s daughter Katherine. For Hutchinson, sailing with this crew – whose average age was 28.5 years old – was the highlight of his weekend.

“My favorite part of the weekend was racing with my daughter Katherine, hands down!” said Hutchinson. “Katherine is 13-years old, and this was a first for her. Having her experience what I do for my work and to spend uninterrupted time with her on the water made for an incredibly special weekend for me.  

“It was awesome to race with Taylor, Nick, and Morgane too. You learn new things when you sail with good people, regardless of age. Taylor is a rising star in our sport, and I was hugely impressed with Nick’s expertise and trimming skill on the boat. Both showed a great attention to detail which was critical for our short-term success.”

Their 4-point victory was enough to secure the division and the overall regatta win.

Quantum sails also helped teams top the podiums in five other divisions. Pat FitzGerald won the J/24 division with consistent sailing, finishing in second place five out of six times to win the fleet. Les Beckwith in the J/80 fleet edged out the competition, finishing one point ahead of third place and tying for second. His two first-place heats secured him the first-place finish.

In the five-boat J/109 fleet, Bill Sweetser swept the competition, winning each of his five races. George Gamble in the J/111 fleet was nearly as perfect, finishing second in the first race before winning the remaining five races.

During Saturday’s Rally Race, Quantum sails led boats to the top-two places, with Themis, a C&C 30, in first, and Still Messin, a Farr 280, in second.

The next Helly Hansen NOOD regatta is June 12-14 in Chicago. Good luck to everyone, and congrats to these Annapolis winners – we are proud to be part of your success!

1 – Pat FitzGerald, Rush Hour

1 – Les Beckwith, FKA

1 – Bill Sweetser, Rush

1 – George Gamble, My Sharona

1 – Terry Hutchinson, USA 419
2 – Tom and And Bowen, Reach Around
5 – Jenn and Ray Wulff, Joint Custody
7 – Allan Terhune, Jr., Dazzler

J/70 – Corinthian Division
2 – Jenn and Ray Wulff, Joint Custody

Rally Race
1 – Themis (C&C 30)
2 – Still Messin (Farr 280)

For full results from the Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD, click here

For full results from the North Sails Rally Race, click here



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8 Keys to Successful Jib Trim for the J/70

By Allan Terhune, Jr. & Nick Turney
Quantum One Design

A lot of conversations we have with J/70 owners boil down to two things: more speed and easier set-up. With that in mind, we collaborated on some keys to successful jib trim. Nick, with Quantum Sails Cleveland, crewed for the Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD winner, USA 419. Following are eight tips that will help any team get more speed while streamlining set-up. As always, give us a call with any questions you have about your boat.

1. Have marks on your sheets and deck for repeatable trim settings. This is crucial so that you can go back to where you were time and time again.

2. Communicate frequently with your helmsman regarding current mode: Speed-build mode, height mode, etc. This will require a different set up and trim, but is easier to do if you are both on the same page.

3. Mark your spreaders for reference on jib leech settings. This gives the helmsman a good visual from the rail to repeat settings.

4. This goes without saying, but always keep the leech telltales flowing, especially in the lighter air. Once up to speed, trim as tight as you can without stalling.

5. Ideal set-up is the top slightly open, mid-batten parallel to boat and lower batten slightly hooked.

6. A good guide for the jib car is when the sheet is coming off the clew at 45 degrees off the car. Be aggressive with your settings. If you want to inhaul more, you will need to move the lead aft. No inhauling, lead forward.

7. Constantly adjust the halyard to have just a hint of wrinkles along the luff. When pressure comes, do not be shy of pulling halyard on.

8. For the Annapolis NOOD, we only inhauled a maximum of one inch. We had the lead more forward with tighter sheet tension, which gave the helmsman a wider groove to drive. This is important for down-speed maneuvers and coming off the start line.

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