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Hi - I'd like to hear opinions on using an asymmetric spinnaker on a larger Wharram please. We currently use an old regular symmetric spinnaker, sheeting using two snatch blocks mounted near each bow on the forward beam for the guys, and sheets led to blocks on rear main beam. I'm considering purchasing a new asymmetric, but I have no experience using this type of sail. Some questions:

Is it a good investment? Most of our sailing is currently summer conditions here in the Baltic, wind 5-15m/s.

Do I need to fit a bowsprit/pole for the tack, or is it fine to attach to front beam in front of bridle? Does it need a strop or downhaul arrangement?

Is it better to use a sock or roller furler for asymmetric?

Any other tips or advice!

And for the genoa - we currently have a yankee and a genoa (maybe officially a large jib), both hanked on. Considering getting a new genoa, but I realise that this will be a quite heavy sail to handle, and stiff (when new). We like using hanked on sails for simplicity and safety, but would like comments on ease of handling vs. sail shape of fitting a roller-furling genoa. Also how easy is it to step the mast with a furler fitted, as we have to take up and down every year?

Thanks for any advice or experiences you may have!


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We have used a very large asymmetric spinnaker on Peace IV (Tike 46) and it works great the way we have it set up.  I believe you can see how this works by looking at the pics on our page.  Perhaps one of our friends reading this here, will have pics of the sail flying and be willing to share those pics.  I am not clever doing that kind of high tech computer stuff.

When it is flying, a person can move the tack easily while standing just behind the windlass right in the forward cockpit in perfect safety.  One can pull the red line or the green line to bring the tack to the port or to starboard bows or any spot in between.  Then the sheets can be pulled so as to position the clew to either the port or starboard side.  These sail tack positioning lines lead from the jam cleats behind the windlass forward to turning blocks lashed to each bow with strops.  Then each line meets in front of the bow sprit with a shackle.  The tack of the spinnaker is attached to that shackle and the red and green lines are what moves that attachment point for the sail tack.  Hope this is clear..  

We do have a sock and it is essential because we are elderly and move slowly and it is a very large sail.  To set it flying, we first hoist the sail inside its sock.  Then we tie the tack to the shackle which is at the end of the sprit until the spinnaker is being used.  Once the spinnaker is in use, that shackle can float forward of the boat and its sprit so we can actually tack down wind using the spinnaker.  

There are long light sheets running aft around all obstructions and through turning blocks well back tied to the aft shrouds for the main mast.  The sheet goes through that block near the toe rail and runs to the sheet winches in the cockpit.

After we have both checked that all is as it should be with all the lines led properly, we then raise the sock and the sail billows out in all is bright colors to great cheering and joy because it truly is a beautiful rainbow of a sail.  Peace moves well in very light airs under this sail and we have kept the sail up sometimes all by itself for whole days crossing the Bahama Banks with only us two aboard.  

Our main concern has always been safety and avoidance of stress and strain so we use this system which does not require the use of any kind of pole since we feel they are a bit dangerous and we like to use the wonderful width of the boat to help position the clew.  That sail is simple to tack downwind with.  

A word of caution re spinnakers.  One does not like to take them down but it is important to do so when the first white caps appear.  I am guilty of wanting to keep it up too long but we have a rule that we must follow the most conservative course if anybody aboard feels stressed out about sailing the boat for any reason.  Calm and safe sailing is our main goal.  I am often guilty of being reluctant to take the sail down and sometimes Nev must give me the LOOK!

The sail was easily managed by the two of us until just recently when Nev started to have balance problems which have caused us to put the boat on the market.  Please see our page for information re the sale of Peace IV

Ann and Nev  svpeacefour@yahoo.com

Hi Andy. I recently fitted a sprit pole to our Tiki 38 and had an asymmetrical kite made for it. We've had some experience with it now and have to say it's excellent. It's easy to set, easy to bring down, and the boat flies. The pole and asymmetrical sail give you more flexibility, the boat will sail shy, absolutely romps along when reaching, and it gives you a nice option for two kites running square, both tacked down to the pole. Some pics are attached, more on my page.

All the best, Norm  


Hi Ann & Norm!

Thanks so much for your informative replies - it sounds like this asymmetric is a must! ;-) I know the feeling about leaving the kite up too long, we had an "interesting" time this summer in Estonia, when we had been running all day with the spinnaker up, and then a small course alteration sent it spinning round the forestay (I was down in the cabin checking our position...)! Ended up having to enter a VERY confined harbour with half the spinnaker still pulling - interesting to say the least, provided free afternoon entertainment for everyone else. Merja, my wife, had to go up the mast twice before we could get it down, and luckily without any damage in the end.

I like the idea, as Ann explains, that you don't need the sprit pole, but I would think that the pole does give a bit more control? I'll have to see how one would fit. Our boat is a Pahi 42, and we have a walkway extending about 50cm in front of the beam. I might be able to use that as a fixing point for the tack, with stays to the hulls to provide additional rigidity.

Norm, I saw you had mentioned that your sail cost US$1,400 from Hyde sails - that is a lot cheaper than I've been quoted from Fareast sails and Rolly Tasker so far. What m2 is your sail, and which Hyde loft is that?

Thanks again for the advice, and happy sailing!


Correction!  And appology!

I was not advising against a sprit pole!! That looks good to me.  What I was advising against is using a pole to hold the spinnaker out - a regular spinnaker pole.  Those are often difficult to use without maybe unbalancing the crew member if he or she are elderly.  We are both elderly, for example.  A sprit pole is not a bad idea, really, and they can be made quite stable and useful.  I know Jacques used one for his boat, Pilgrim, during his trans Atlantic and it worked well for him.  

The thing I like best about our arrangement is that we can have the spinnaker head held at the top of the mast as usual.  But then we can put the forward corner, the tack, anywhere we wish between the two bows and this lets us get a good clean gulp of wind where we want it.  Then the aft corner of  the sail, the clew, can be placed either port or starboard as usual.  This all worked well for us.

 I think it is sometimes hard for me to express myself in words and then all over the world we Wharram sailors have different languages and name parts of boats and sails with different words.  Hopefully one of the folks who have sailed with us in the past will now post a pic of our system.  

All the best!   Ann and Nev

Hi Andy,

Bear in mind we're only 38' LOA and we have short masts for the wingsails, so our reacher is relatively small, although it's proven most adequate for up to 15knots on the beam, and up to 20knots broad reaching or running. 

The reacher came from Hyde sails in Cebu, Philippines. It's a high-tech loft, very impressive. Here's the contact: Simon Pickering /span>pickeringsv@gmail.com

This was the deal: Asymmetric sail 37m2 from 1.5oz nylon w/ luff rope @US$1.400 (the Wharram Owl Eyes were an extra $75) 

I guess it's worth mentioning our boat is light and no doubt this helps the reacher work as well as it does. 

All the best, 



Norm - ah, yes, quite a size difference, I was quoted for 137m2 sail! ;-) Our mast is 13,8m, and of course we only have one, unlike your Tiki! I like you sail colour - we were just considering black for ours, so you might have started a trend... Thanks for the contact.

Ann - no need to apologise, I did understand what you meant fine. Maybe my explanations were not so clear? Very much appreciate your experience and observations! For us too, ease of handling and safety are always prime concerns, with 3 kids and 3 big dogs on board!

I notice that both of you have roller furling for your genoa. Is it straight forward to set up when raising the mast? I've never had a furler so sorry if it is a stupid question!

Thanks again,



I got my first furler after a Bermuda trip in my old 28 foot monohull.  I went forward to bring down the jib and the foresail and raise the storm jib.  It was extremely rough conditions and I took advantage of the situation to ask my old friend and then husband of we could have a furler when we got back.  His eyes were bugging out at the time because waves were breaking over me.  I knew he was stressed out to the max on that occasion and he said yes.  Furlers back in the late 80s were not as good as they are now, but they were great for safety because you could reef and furl from the cockpit and that old boat took me across the Atlantic twice.  Once solo and once with Nev.  The furler was a great safety feature and I am so glad I had it even back in those early years when they were not as good as they are these days.

At the upper end of each of the shrouds and also of the forestay on our boat, there is a loop that goes around the mast.  If you go to our page, I believe you will find a pic that Clifton Thompson took of those details.  It is all to plan and it is super simple and reliable and you can do it yourself, repair and replace everything yourself, etc.  This is very old and reliable technology which Wharram is right to use for these designs. We put all new standing rigging on Peace a couple years back at Walter Green's yard in Maine. (That is an excellent yard filled with pleasant folks and it is multihull central and friendly to Wharrams)  We are quite satisfied with the dead eyes and lanyards found on the lower end of the shrouds.  There is a lanyard at the bottom of the forestay too.  You won't want to see another bottle screw again once you master life with lanyards. 

A while back I wrote a piece about tensioning our rig using just bare hands and a certain sequence which results in a nice, tight, forestay.  We are talking about my old lady hands and we are happy to say the rig is tight and happy.  When you have a Wharram built to plan, you learn how to tie knots and how to sweat lines, and you respect and admire these old fashioned ways of doing things.  They work well and no sneaky metal fatigue will catch you out on a stormy night by going ping and then a mast falling.  Ropes fray and they tell you if they need to be replaced.  Truth be told, most of the lanyards and almost all of the beam lashings and both rudder lashings are original on our boat and they have done over 50,000 miles already and look ready to serve for another 50,000 miles.  Braided dacron lines are rugged.

The furler goes on over the existing forestay and our mast was up all that day when we replaced the old one and raised the new one.  When we got the old furler off, the job was not difficult but we were alongside a dock at the time.  The new furler went on easily also.  Maybe you could do this kind of work yourself, but Nev is pushing 80 now and so we called in some help with the job.  Mike Aiken helped us put it up.  He is a musician and rigger and he got us a great price.   Find him at Rebel Marine in Norfolk, Virginia.  Nice guy, great songs, wonderful pleasant and safe afternoon rigging Peace with reliable equipment.  His wife helps with the songs and the rigging too.  That yard is schooner friendly and most everybody has had a sail on our boat or spent the night etc.  They call Peace "The Island" because she is so big and we did have a lot of parties over the years down in Bahamas.

Andy, just keep persisting with your boat.  All will be well and each year she will be better and better and she will teach you what she wants from you and amaze you and your family with the adventures  and life learning she will provide to all of you.  Three kids and two big dogs.  Sounds like great fun!  

There are no stupid questions.  Only answers that are needed.  No better way to get those answers!

All the best,  Ann and Nev.  

We have two sloop rigged T 38's and two tiki rigged T 30's

We rig our a symmetric spi's as follows : no bow sprit . Instead there is a fixed rope between the bows which  has a block on it .It's a traveller so it has two control lines attached to it ,allowing block the to move between the bows .

A second block is attached to the one the traveller rope. Through this block  the tack line of the AS is led . Thus you can put the tack of the AS  wherever you want between the bows(using the control lines ) and put as much or as little tension on the luff of the AS as you want ( pulling in or slackening the tack line). As the tack is well forward of the fore stay jibing the AS  is easy as well. On a reach you set the traveller block in the middle between the bows the more down wind you go the more you move the tack to wind ward.

This set up is works very well, and is easy and cheap .

           Maxim Jurgens

        Siam Sailing , Phuket  

I have the same arrangement on my tiki 30. The traveller is a help for trimming the Genaker. But I use a rolling system. AND: if I go downwind (120°), the traveller is in luv. So. the wind can fill the sail, wich is not bihind the main. if I go windwards, the traveller goes to lee, because the luff will collapse otherwise. The traveller in the middle is for half wind only.
Maxim Jurgens said:

We rig our a symmetric spi's as follows : no bow sprit . Instead there is a fixed rope between the bows which  has a block on it .It's a traveller so it has two control lines attached to it ,allowing block the to move between the bows .

On a reach you set the traveller block in the middle between the bows the more down wind you go the more you move the tack to wind ward.

This set up is works very well, and is easy and cheap .

           Maxim Jurgens

        Siam Sailing , Phuket  

I use the same system as above. If you can afford it, this sail will really bring the boat to life. I never had an ass. spin. for my last boat (a T 30) but I love the one I have for my T 38! You will not regret buying one.

My T30 was rigged with a two part purchase from each stem to the spin tack. The traveler arrangement absorbs a lot of energy bowing and stretching the traveler line. I prefer the dual tack line set-up.
Our Ariki 48 is set up with an extendable carbon bowsprit. We snap shackle a Colligo continuos line furler to the sprit and extend the sprit and hoist the furled sail and then in roll the sail. When we douse the spinnaker we simply roll it up. We can't go as deep efficiently this way. We can attach the spin tack to either stem fitting if we need to go really deep. It is usually much faster to jibe down wind especially if the wind is light. When the wind is honking we are have plenty of power and the reduced efficiency of ddw is not an issue. Our spin is 1250 soft. Spinnakers are reall a cool sail for off the wind, especially with a boat with a very small man sail. We also have a 550 soft screecher on a furler which tacks down right behind the spinnaker on the sprit. This sail is for upwind work when the wind is light. Photos soon.

I know you are asking about big wharrams, but for what its worth I have experimented extensively comparing an asymmetric (Doyle APS) on a sprit, vs a tri-radial spinnaker without the sprit on my Tiki 21. The asymmetric is an amazing sail that will sail up to an apparent close reach, but loses its power if you fall below a 90 degree apparent reach. The tri-radial will hold a 90 degree apparent reach all day, but still has power down to a broad reach. If I had to choose only one sail, it would have to be the tri-radial because it is more flexible. Note that it is a tri-radial and not a cross-cut, which would not reach as well.


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