ATN Spinnaker Sleeve
"Anybody can get a sail up--It takes a sailor to get it down"
That statement is particularly true regarding the spinnaker. The problem is not to hoist the sail but to get it back on the boat. That's when the spinnaker sleeve makes the average sailboat owner a great sailor. Without any help, the ATN Spinnaker Sleeve makes that very powerful and expensive sail disappear with a minimum of fuss and trauma. And the sail is ready to be hoisted again immediately, no more packing!
While it would seem that a spinnaker sleeve is a simple sailing tool, and that any one with a sewing machine could design and fabricate one, when dealing with large sails, the problems increase rapidly in complexity and cost. It is very plausible to get hurt or to inflict great injury to others, and to one's wallet, if the system used is inadequate. But there is no need to rub it in, especially at sea: it has to work and be reliable.
Problems Solved by the ATN Spinnaker Sleeve
The main problem to solve was the mixing of the control lines and the sail.
A separate channel (which contains the control line) is sewn alongside the main sleeve which contains the spinnaker. The spinnaker and the control line are completely separated. The separate channel (side sleeve) is made of a different colored cloth than the main sleeve which shows the eventual twists of the sleeve prior of hoisting it. There will often be some twists in the sleeved spinnaker as it comes out of the bag, especially after long periods of storing and moving it around the sail locker. Needless to say, those twists are to be removed before hoisting the sleeve.
Another problem to address was the opening, the mouth of the sleeve.
It had to be rigid to remain open when pulled against the sail, slippery to enable it to slide over the sail without chafing it, light (weight aloft should always be avoided) and sturdy enough not to break in the bag when stepped on or stored. Fiber glass was, from the beginning, the material of choice by its versatility and ease of manufacturing.
While the round shape seems obvious, the oval shape is more spinnaker friendly for it doesn't have the tendency to rotate around the sail as it is guided by the spinnaker leeches and it is easier to slide through the hatch when storing below deck. We make them out of Kevlar and glass which, while expensive, offers a good combination of strength and lightness.
The control line is a closed loop, made of 2 different lines. One side is to hoist the sleeve. It must not kink and it should be small enough to travel in the side sleeve and through the top turning block. The other side must be much heavier as it is handled by the operator to douse the sail. It also must not kink as well as be long enough to be lead through a snatch-block in the fore deck and then to a cleat or a winch on bigger boats.
The cloth problem came from the fact that spinnaker or bag cloth doesn't breathe and might bleed.
The cloth that is milled especially for ATN is a "tricot", a mesh like material which is light, strong, and doesn't retain water. The sail can dry when in the sleeve and it will not cling to the sail when hoisting the sleeve, even after long period of wet storing.
Finally, the spinnaker is fastened inside the spinnaker sleeve with a swivel shackle to allow gibing.
The hoisted spinnaker sleeve must always remain in the same position at the mast head, on top of the flying spinnaker, while allowing the spinnaker to rotate under itself. This also gives more flexibility when loading the sail.
Features of the ATN Spinnaker Sleeve
- Single hand any spinnaker, reacher, gennaker, MPS, screecher or mizzen staysail up to 15,000 sq. ft. (Mega sloop Frers/Huisman 156' "Hyperion")
- High-tech, ultra-light Kevlar Hoop matches shape of the spinnaker and will not warp under load
- Single control line led through separate sleeve eliminates fouling
- Contrasting visual reference stripe
- Wire pennant with swivel at head of spinnaker prevents sleeve from affecting sail shape by allowing the sleeve to accumulate on the pennant
- Mesh construction allows sail to breathe, so that sails dry quicker, even while stored