How Long are Your Spinnaker Sheets??…

How long are your spinnaker sheets??  I think it was about 1997  when I first saw those super tapered vectran spinnaker sheets – you know the ones with those long gradual tapers. I had to have some and took out a mortgage to cover it!! On the Dragon, we even had the spinnaker halyard made up the same way….  They came from Alan Bax and replaced the bits of string that were on the boat from new. Anyway, we adored those sheets and I still have them for a rainy day (as it were)….  Phil Evans did our second Fifteen and it had Phil’s very special triple tapered sheets on it. Beautiful craftsmanship – I have looked long and hard and cant quite figure how Phil does it. BUT …There was bloody string everywhere and it took me a while to be brave enough to lay them out in the house beside the vectrans – and cut the lovely triple tapers off….  All was peace in the boat though.

So the third flying fifteen arrives ten years later. I had forgotten the sheet length issue of a decade before and the boat was full of bloody string again. Lots of things were longer than 3644, but the spinnaker sheets really lit my fire.  It does occur to me that a boat raced at sea might need longer sheets, but on the flat waters of Datchet the old Baxie length sheets work brilliantly. I am phased by it because I think Phil Evans might secretly be a God… However, I feel for sure he wears his spinnaker sheets too long…. and I cut the ends off again….

I popped up to Kendal to see Phil recently and  asked for two new sets of the clever triple tapers to be made up – but this time very specifically to our ‘Datchet’ length. Phil tried the raised eyebrow ploy as he does when he’s waiting for me to come around, but bless him he made them up as asked. They’re perfect. They are one and a half metres shorter than Phil’s sheets. A tidy boat is a happy boat… !!

Oh – what’s the magic number????  18.5 metres….. Go on, give it a try on an old set of sheets and see how it goes…. you know you’ll want to !!