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.
FEATURES OF ATN SPINNAKER SLEEVE
Images and text courtesy of Etienne Giroire / ATN Inc.
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 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.
OPENING/MOUTH OF 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 and sturdy enough not to break in the bag when stepped on or stored. Fiberglass was 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 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. 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 foredeck and then to a cleat or a winch on bigger boats.
SPINNAKER AND BAG CLOTH
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.
SWIVEL SHACKLE FOR GYBING
The hoisted spinnaker sleeve must always remain in the same position at the masthead, on top of the flying spinnaker, while allowing the spinnaker to rotate under itself. This also gives more flexibility when loading the sail.