Spinnaker or parasailor

Joerg Esdorn

Paul, the Parasailor is not as easy to launch as my Code Zero on a furler but it's less work than setting the pole.  There are two ways to set it.  The standard way is using 2 sheets and 2 guys running through blocks at the bow.  The way I've started using it this season is with the ATN tacker, which requires just one sheet, and one downhaul line at the tacker.  I also use barber haulers that prevent the clew from rising too high.  With the snuffer, it's easy to retrieve it if you ease the sheet so it collapses but when the wind comes up (say>20 knots), it can be hard work getting the bag down without it going in the water.  You'll want to fall off and do it downwind in the lee of the mainsail if you can.  That means you need to set the main if it's not up already.  I've done it plenty of times this season with just 2 people on the boat so it can be done.  

You can use the Parasailor from about 6 - 7 knots true and for AWA of between 90 and 160 degrees if you have the mizzen up or 180 degrees if the mizzen is down.  You can have the main up as well if the AWA is less than about 120 degrees or more in higher wind speeds.  So it's a lot more flexible than the poled out Genoa, which you can use between 150 and 180 AWA in my experience.  I've not poled out the Code Zero but since it's wider than the Genoa, I suspect it's even more restrictive than the Genoa.  The boat will go quite a bit faster than with the poled out Genoa (.5 to 1knot faster in most situations) and will not roll as much - the Parasailor stabilizes the boat actually.  I've not had the Parasailor up in more than 20 knots true but I've spoken to an A55 owner who did the ARC with it and had it up at night during squalls in up to 30 knots.  That sounds a bit much to me.   I've typically taken it down in 20 plus and switched to the Genoa, poled out if the angle is right.  

Happy to discuss on the phone if you'd like.  Just PM me.  

Joerg Esdorn
A55 #53, Kincsem
Almerimar, Spain


Hallo Joerg and all Amelians,
I have read with much interest your description of your way of using the parasailor on your 55. I have a Santorini with my man Dietmar; we are thinking about buying a parasailor since 2 years, but it seems there are some problems using it on a Santorin.
The first problem seems to be the 2 “horns” at the top of the Genoa furler: do you have it on the 55? and did you have to remove it using the parasailor?
The second problem are the winches: the Santorini just has 2 winches: are they enough or we have to mount some others winches or “blocks”?
Third and last doubt is: is the parasailor really manageable by just two 60andmoreyears old people?
Sorry for my bad English! I hope you can understand my questions.
Thanks a lot for your time.
Fair wind

Stefania and Dietmar
SY Euploia SN #93
Actually in Skinousa ( Cyclades, Greece)

Joerg Esdorn

Hi Stefania, the A55 doesn't have the "horns" but that should not mean that you cannot have a Parasailor on your boat.  There are several SMs with "horns" and Parasailors so you should compare your setup to an SM.  I suspect it's not a problem but it all depends how your spinnaker halyard is run at the top of the mast.  Any spinnaker even a Code Zero should have the same issue as a Parasailor as regards the "horns".  As to the number of winches, you will need only 2 winches if you attach the Para to your forestay with an ATN tacker although even in that case we use another winch to tighten the barber hauler.  But that's not necessary for your boat - you could just use a block and tackle (Flaschenzug) or even a single line led to a cleat.  If, on the other hand, you run the para sailor with 2 sheets and 2 guys, you will need 2 winches on each side of your boat.  

As to manageability, the issue arises when you take the sail down because the wind has picked up too much.  Then it depends a bit on how fit you are.  I'm 64 but I'm very fit and have sailed for 50 years plus.  So I'm comfortable on the bow of my boat.  You will need on reasonably fit person to haul the bag into the boat (once the snuffer is down) and one person who can let the halyard down.  On the other hand, for your boat the Parasailor may be quite a bit smaller than the 175 m2 for the A55!  I hope this helps!  Cheers Joerg

Joerg Esdorn
A55 #53