A spinnaker is a special type of sail
A sail is any type of surface intended to move a vessel, vehicle or rotor by being placed in a wind—in essence a propulsion wing. Sails are used in sailing.-History of sails:...

 that is designed specifically for sailing
Sailing is the propulsion of a vehicle and the control of its movement with large foils called sails. By changing the rigging, rudder, and sometimes the keel or centre board, a sailor manages the force of the wind on the sails in order to move the boat relative to its surrounding medium and...

 off the wind from a reaching course to a downwind, i.e. with the wind 90°–180° off the bow. The spinnaker fills with wind and balloons out in front of the boat when it is deployed, called flying. It is constructed of lightweight fabric, usually nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

, and is often brightly coloured. It may be optimised for a particular range of wind angles, as either a reaching or a running spinnaker, by the shaping of the panels and seams. Some types of spinnaker can be carried by the side of the boat, but still in front of the mast. This is called "Flying a shy spinnaker", and is used for reaching [see below].
The spinnaker is often called a kite, or a chute (as in cruising chute) because it somewhat resembles a parachute
A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere by creating drag, or in the case of ram-air parachutes, aerodynamic lift. Parachutes are usually made out of light, strong cloth, originally silk, now most commonly nylon...

 in both construction and appearance. This should not be confused with the spinnaker chute which is a hull fitting sometimes used for launching and recovering the spinnaker. The first boat to carry this sail was the Sphinx.


A spinnaker is extremely useful for sailing with the direction of the wind.
A spinnaker is a type of airfoil
An airfoil or aerofoil is the shape of a wing or blade or sail as seen in cross-section....

 and will generate lift
Lift (force)
A fluid flowing past the surface of a body exerts a surface force on it. Lift is the component of this force that is perpendicular to the oncoming flow direction. It contrasts with the drag force, which is the component of the surface force parallel to the flow direction...

 if it is flown at a reaching angle. Since the lift and drag
Drag (physics)
In fluid dynamics, drag refers to forces which act on a solid object in the direction of the relative fluid flow velocity...

 generated by the spinnaker both act to move the boat forward, lift to drag ratio is unimportant compared to their combined total. The goal then is to generate the maximum amount of lift possible with no consideration of drag. Because of this, running spinnakers have extreme amounts of camber
Camber (aerodynamics)
Camber, in aeronautics and aeronautical engineering, is the asymmetry between the top and the bottom surfaces of an aerofoil. An aerofoil that is not cambered is called a symmetric aerofoil...

, making them nearly hemispherical
A sphere is a perfectly round geometrical object in three-dimensional space, such as the shape of a round ball. Like a circle in two dimensions, a perfect sphere is completely symmetrical around its center, with all points on the surface lying the same distance r from the center point...

 in form. The large camber maximizes the drag. Reaching spinnakers have less camber as they operate partially with an airflow that generates lift.

A well designed spinnaker will have taut leading edges when filled; leading edges that curl in will both reduce the lift and risk a collapse of the spinnaker. A well designed spinnaker will also have a smooth curve when filled, with no bubbles or depressions caused by inconsistent stretching of the sail fabric
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

. Any deviations from a smooth curve will cause the airflow over the leeward side of the sail to separate causing a reduction in lift and reduced performance.

When running downwind in heavy weather or when hit by a gust, with or without a spinnaker, there may be a tendency for a roll of increasing amplitude to build up, known as the death roll
Death roll
In a keel boat, a death roll is the act of broaching to windward, putting the spinnaker pole into the water and causing a crash-gybe of the boom and mainsail, which sweep across the deck and plunge down into the water. The Death Roll often results in destruction of the spinnaker pole and sometimes...

. It has been shown that this is due to aerodynamic instability of bermuda rig
Bermuda rig
The term Bermuda rig refers to a configuration of mast and rigging for a type of sailboat and is also known as a Marconi rig; this is the typical configuration for most modern sailboats...

s when running, which can be aggravated by gusts, waves, mainsail twist, daggerboard
A daggerboard is a retractable centreboard used by various sailing craft. While other types of centreboard may pivot to retract, a daggerboard slides in a casing. The shape of the daggerboard converts the forward motion into a windward lift, countering the leeward push of the...

 etc. too far down, hull form, and the sailing equivalent of pilot-induced oscillation
Pilot-induced oscillation
Pilot-induced oscillations, as defined by MIL-HDBK-1797A, are sustained or uncontrollable oscillations resulting from efforts of the pilot to control the aircraft and occurs when the pilot of an aircraft inadvertently commands an often increasing series of corrections in opposite directions, each...

. Excessive heel leads to loss of rudder effectiveness resulting in the boat slewing round uncontrollably in the direction opposite to the direction of heel. This is known as broaching
Broach (sailing)
A sailboat broaches when its heading suddenly changes towards the wind due to wind/sail interactions for which the rudder cannot compensate. This causes the boat to roll dangerously and if not controlled may lead to a capsize...

. Aerodynamic instability when running can be countered by easing the pole forward slightly and over-sheeting the spinnaker somewhat to stop it swinging from side to side, by reducing mainsail twist using the boom vang
Boom vang
A boom vang or kicking strap is a line or piston system on a sailboat used to exert downward force on the boom and thus control the shape of the sail. An older term is "martingale"....

, and by skillfully trimming the mainsheet. Luffing carefully onto a broad reach may help to retain control, as can moving everyone's weight as far aft as possible. Reducing sail should be considered.

Types of spinnakers

There are two main categories of spinnakers, symmetric and asymmetric depending on whether a plane of symmetry exists for that particular sail. Asymmetric spinnakers operate more like a jib, generating lift from the side, rather than the top like a symmetric spinnaker. This makes asymmetrics a better choice on reaching courses than symmetric spinnakers, which excel when running. While a fully equipped racing boat might have a number of spinnakers, both symmetric and asymmetric, to cover all courses and wind conditions, cruising boats almost always use an asymmetric, due to the broader application and easier handling afforded by the asymmetric.

Symmetric spinnakers

The symmetric one is the most classic type, running symmetrical alongside the boat controlled by lines known as a sheet
Sheet (sailing)
In sailing, a sheet is a line used to control the movable corner of a sail.- Fore-and-aft rigs:Fore-and-aft rigs comprise the vast majority of sailing vessels in use today, including effectively all dinghies and yachts. The sheet on a fore-and-aft sail controls the angle of the sail to the wind,...

 and a guy
Guy (sailing)
A guy is a term for a line attached to and intended to control the end of a spar on a sailboat. On a modern sloop-rigged sailboat with a symmetric spinnaker, the spinnaker pole is the spar most commonly controlled by one or more guys.There are two primary types of guys used to control a...

 running from the lower two corners of the sail. The windward line, or guy, is attached to the corner called the tack
Tack may refer to:* A type of cut nail, used in upholstery, shoe making and saddle manufacture* Horse tack, harness and equipment to allow horse-back riding* Tack , quick, temporary stitching intended to be removed...

 of the sail, and is stabilized by a spinnaker pole
Spinnaker pole
A spinnaker pole is a spar used in sailboats to help support and control a variety of headsails, particularly the spinnaker. However, it is also used with other sails, such as genoas and jibs, when sailing downwind with no spinnaker hoisted...

. The leeward (downwind) line is called the sheet
Sheet (sailing)
In sailing, a sheet is a line used to control the movable corner of a sail.- Fore-and-aft rigs:Fore-and-aft rigs comprise the vast majority of sailing vessels in use today, including effectively all dinghies and yachts. The sheet on a fore-and-aft sail controls the angle of the sail to the wind,...

. It attaches to the clew of the spinnaker and is used to control the shape of the sail. The spinnaker pole must be moved in each gybe
Gybe may refer to:*Gybe, an alternative spelling of jibe, a sailing maneuver**Chinese gybe, a type of jibe*To deride or tease with taunting words, also spelt "gibe" or "jibe" and done with a Sneer...

, and is quite difficult for beginners to use. However, it can be sailed in all downwind wind directions.

Symmetric spinnakers when sailing across the wind (reaching) develop most of their lift on the forward quarter, where the airflow remains attached. When correctly set for reaching, the leading edges of a symmetric spinnaker should be nearly parallel to the wind, so the flow of air over the leading edge remains attached. When reaching, the sail camber allows only some attached flow over the leeward side of the spinnaker. On running the spinnaker is angled for maximum drag, with the spinnaker pole at right angles to the apparent wind. The symmetric spinnaker also requires care when packing, since the three corners must be available on the top of the packing.

Asymmetric spinnakers

Asymmetric spinnakers resembling large jibs and flown from spinnaker poles are not a new idea and date back to at least the 19th Century. However in the 1980s a new concept appeared, starting with the Sydney Harbour
Port Jackson
Port Jackson, containing Sydney Harbour, is the natural harbour of Sydney, Australia. It is known for its beauty, and in particular, as the location of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge...

 18ft Skiff
18ft Skiff
The 18ft Skiff is considered the fastest class of sailing skiffs. The class has a long history beginning with races on Sydney Harbour, Australia in 1892. The boat has changed significantly since the early days, bringing in new technology as it became available. Because of the need of strength,...


Since the 1960s many faster sailing craft, starting with catamaran classes, had discovered that it is faster to sail downwind on a series of broad reaches with efficient airflow across the sail rather than directly downwind with the sails stalled. This technique had developed to the extent that in bar conversation at the end of one season Andrew Buckland observed that the 18s had sailed all season without pulling the spinnaker pole back from the forestay and that all the systems could be simplified by eliminating the pole and setting the spinnaker from a fixed (but often retractable) bowsprit. The concept quickly evolved to a sail with a loose luff much more like a conventional spinnaker than the old jib style asymmetric sails. Julian Bethwaite was the first to rig and sail a boat with one the next season, followed shortly by Andrew Buckland. The first modern offshore sailboats to incorporate a retractable bow sprit and an asymmetric spinnaker were J/Boats http://www.jboats.com- specifically, the J/105
The International J/105 is a fixed keel "one design" racing sailboat. It was the first production boat featuring a retractable bowsprit, which allows for an unusually large asymmetric spinnaker....

. http://www.jboats.com/j105/j105gallery.htm. Today, J/Boats have built the world's largest fleets of asymmetric spinnaker sailboats- over 3,000 today.

The concept has spread rapidly through the sailing world. The tack
Tack (sailing)
Tack is a term used in sailing that has different meanings in different contexts, variously a part of a sail, and an alignment with the wind. When using the latter sense, the maneuver of turning between starboard and port tack is either tacking or jibing....

 of the sail may be attached at the bow
Bow (ship)
The bow is a nautical term that refers to the forward part of the hull of a ship or boat, the point that is most forward when the vessel is underway. Both of the adjectives fore and forward mean towards the bow...

 like a genoa
Genoa (sail)
The genoa or jenny was originally referred to as the 'overlapping jib' or the Genoa jib, being named after the city of Genoa as explained below. It is a type of large jib or staysail used on bermuda rigged craft that overlaps the main sail, sometimes eliminating it. It is used on single-masted...

 but is frequently mounted on a bowsprit
The bowsprit of a sailing vessel is a pole extending forward from the vessel's prow. It provides an anchor point for the forestay, allowing the fore-mast to be stepped farther forward on the hull.-Origin:...

, often a retracting one. If the spinnaker is mounted to a special bowsprit, it is often possible to fly the spinnaker and the jib at the same time; if not, then the spinnaker will be shadowed by the jib, and the jib should be furled when the spinnaker is in use.

The asymmetric has two sheets
Sheet (sailing)
In sailing, a sheet is a line used to control the movable corner of a sail.- Fore-and-aft rigs:Fore-and-aft rigs comprise the vast majority of sailing vessels in use today, including effectively all dinghies and yachts. The sheet on a fore-and-aft sail controls the angle of the sail to the wind,...

, very much like a jib, but is not attached to the forestay along the length of the luff, but only at the corners. Unlike a spinnaker, the asymmetric does not require a spinnaker pole, since it is fixed to the bow or bowsprit. The asymmetric is very easy to gybe
Gybe may refer to:*Gybe, an alternative spelling of jibe, a sailing maneuver**Chinese gybe, a type of jibe*To deride or tease with taunting words, also spelt "gibe" or "jibe" and done with a Sneer...

 since it only requires releasing one sheet and pulling in the other one, passing the sail in front of the forestay. Asymmetrics are less suited to sailing directly downwind than spinnakers, and so instead the boat will often sail a zig-zag course downwind, gybing at the corners. An asymmetric spinnaker is particularly effective on fast planing dinghies as their speed generates an apparent wind
Apparent wind
Apparent wind is the wind experienced by a moving object.-Definition of apparent wind:The Apparent wind is the wind experienced by an observer in motion and is the relative velocity of the wind in relation to the observer....

 on the bow allowing them to sail more directly downwind. It is also particularly useful in cruising yachts in the form of a cruising spinnaker or cruising chute, where the ease of handling is important. Various types of asymmetrics exist, and a common nomenclature classifies them by code from 0 to 6. Codes 1, 3, and 5 are reaching sails, and codes 2, 4, and 6 are running sails; the code 0 is a hybrid of genoa and spinnaker, designed to work like a genoa but classified under racing rules as a spinnaker.
  • Code 0 The code 0 asymmetric is a tight reaching sail, the most upwind capable of the asymmetrics. The luff is as straight as possible, and the sail is flatter than other spinnakers. Due to the flatness of the code 0, it is usually made with a wire luff for strength, and of a heavier, less stretchy fabric than normal for a spinnaker. Due to the tight luff and flat cut, the code 0 can be fitted for roller furling
    Roller furling
    Roller furling is a method of furling or reefing wherein a sail is rolled around a stay or rotating spar. Roller furling is most commonly encountered on foresails, such as jibs, with mainsails a distant second.-Furling methods:...

  • Code 1 The code 1 is a light air reaching sail, where the apparent wind angles at low speeds has a significant effect to create angles of less than 90 degrees.
  • Code 2 The code 2 is a medium air running sail, used for apparent wind angles over 90 degrees.
  • Code 3 The code 3 is a medium air reaching sail, used for apparent wind angles near 90 degrees.
  • Code 4 The code 4 is a heavy air running sail, used in the heaviest winds normally expected.
  • Code 5 The code 5 is a heavy air reaching sail, used in the heaviest winds normally expected.
  • Code 6 The code 6 is a storm sail, for running in storm conditions.

Spinnakers for cruising boats are starting to be patterned after the roller furling code 0 racing spinnakers, as they provide the easiest handling. North Sails, for example, offers three gennaker
A gennaker is a sail that was developed around 1990. Used when sailing downwind, it is a cross between a genoa and a spinnaker. It is asymmetric like a genoa, but the gennaker is not attached to the forestay like a jib or genoa. The gennaker is rigged like a spinnaker but the tack is fastened to...

sails, based on the racing code 0 asymmetrics, with different sizes and cambers for varying angles and wind speeds. Other manufacturers offer similar cruising code 0 designs under different names, such as the screecher and reacher for upwind and downwind use respectively.

Cruising Chutes

A cruising chute is a form of asymmetric spinnaker used by cruising yachts and designed for easy use when short handed. Two sheets are used, with the tack line eased by a foot or so before gybing. Alternatively only one sheet is used, with the sail snuffed before a gybe.

Flying the spinnaker

Since they will only be used on certain points of sail, raising and lowering the spinnaker is a task that is often performed while under sail. Due to the size of spinnakers (the spinnaker is often double or more the size of the mainsail) this can be a difficult operation, since the sail will immediately catch the wind.

Rigging the symmetric spinnaker

Typically the symmetric spinnaker is packed in its own bag, called a turtle, with the three corners on top for ready access. The clews (lower corners) are controlled by lines called sheets. The sheets are run in front (outside) of the forestay and lead to the back of the boat. The head (top corner) is attached to the spinnaker halyard, which is used to raise the sail up the mast.

Symmetric spinnakers have the windward clew secured to a spinnaker pole. The pole is attached to the mast and holds the windward edge of the sail in position. Lines that control the spinnaker pole are called guys. The spinnaker pole may be allowed to raise and lower with the force of the wind, or it may have lines attached to it to raise (the topping lift) and lower (the foreguy or downhaul) the angle of the pole. If these lines are used, they are generally set up before setting sail, and left in place even when the spinnaker is stowed.

Since spinnakers are downwind sails, they are never tacked, they are only jibed. When jibing a symmetric, the pole is removed from one corner and attached to the opposite corner. This corner now becomes the windward corner. There are two ways this is done. Generally on smaller boats, an end-for-end jibe is accomplished by disconnecting the pole at the mast-end and connecting the mast end to the opposite side of the sail. The old sail end is disconnected and then attached to the mast. This prevents the pole from getting loose during the procedure and allows the use of only two control lines that alternate as sheet and guy (more on this below). End-for-end jibing requires a pole with identical fittings at either end. Larger boats do a dip-pole gybe (jibe) in which the pole remains attached to the mast and the outer end is lowered until it can clear the head-stay and is then raised back up on the other side of the boat to the proper height with the topping lift. The guys are adjusted as before to set the sail angle on the new course. Dip-pole jibing can use a pole with one mast end and one sail end.

Smaller boats tend to use only one line on each clew (a combination guy and sheet). The windward line that runs through the jaw of the spinnaker pole is referred to as the guy (as opposed to foreguy) and the one on the free-flying corner is referred to as the sheet. During a jibe, these roles and thus the names are reversed. Larger boats may choose to use both a sheet & guy on each corner, with the guy being a heavier line. Having 2 sets of lines will makes the jibe easier as the kite is flown by the two sheets while the crew at the bow and at the mast are removing one guy from the pole and attaching it to the other with no tension on them.

Retrieving the spinnaker is a multi-step process, and the take-down depends on wind position. First, the windward corner is detached from the spinnaker pole and the guy is released. This step is referred to as blowing the guy. This allows the spinnaker to collapse into the shadow of the mainsail, where the foot is gathered by a crew member. The halyard is then lowered, and a crew member gathers the sail and stuffs it carefully into the turtle, corners out, and ready for the next deployment. There are, however many other ways to retrieve the spinnaker depending on the conditions and intent. It may or may not go into a turtle. It may be pulled back into the cockpit & then down below to be repacked for the next hoist or be pulled in a foredeck hatch & left free for the next hoist.

Rigging the asymmetric spinnaker

Like the symmetric, the asymmetric is often stored in a turtle, with the corners on top for easy access. While a symmetric spinnaker is flown with a "guy" and a "sheet", an asymmetric spinnaker is flown with a "tackline" and a "sheet." The tack attaches to the bow or (often retractable) bowsprit, and the two sheets attach to the clew. The head of the sail is attached to the spinnaker halyard, which is used to raise the sail. The sheets are passed to either side of the forestay, one to each corner; they may be passed outside the tack of the asymmetric, or between the tack and the forestay. The sheet on the downwind side of the hull is used to set the angle, and the opposite sheet is left slack. Often a tack line is used at leading edge to provide adjustable tension on the luff of the spinnaker. To keep the tack near the centerline of the boat, it may be attached to the forestay with a sliding collar (often riding over the furled jib on parrel beads or similar device). This allows the tack to slide up and down the forestay to adjust the luff tension. On racing boats, the tack of the asymmetric is often rigged to a retractable bowsprit
The bowsprit of a sailing vessel is a pole extending forward from the vessel's prow. It provides an anchor point for the forestay, allowing the fore-mast to be stepped farther forward on the hull.-Origin:...

, which increases the foretriangle area and prevents interference with the jib. As this trend becomes more popular in racing boats, it may result in similar adaptations to cruising boats as well.

Jibing with the asymmetric is much less complex than the symmetric, due to the lack of the spinnaker pole. Much like a jib, all that is required is to change sheets. However, since the asymmetric still flies in front of the forestay, the operation is reversed. The sheet is slackened, and the opposite sheet is pulled in, which allows the sail to pass around in front of the forestay, and then be sheeted in on the new lee side of the boat.

Retrieving the asymmetric is similar to the process for the symmetric. The sheets are released, allowing the sail to collapse to the front of the boat. The foot of the sail is then gathered, and the halyard released and the head of the sail lowered, where it is packed into the turtle.

Dousing socks

The dousing sock, "spinnaker sleeve", snuffer, or just sock, is a device used to make deploying and retrieving the spinnaker a much easier task. The sock is a long fabric tube with a ring in one end to hold it open. Since the spinnaker is stored in the sock, the first step is to set up the sock. Two lines are attached to the sock; one is attached to a bridle on the ring, for pulling the sock down, and one is up the inside, from the ring, through the top, and back down, for raising the sock; these lines may be two ends of the same line, to form a loop. The head of the spinnaker is attached the top of the sock and the ring runs down to the tack. The resulting bundle is stuffed into the spinnaker bag. The top of the sock will have provisions for attaching to the spinnaker halyard.

The spinnaker is raised as normal, but with the sock in place the spinnaker is unable to catch the wind. Once the spinnaker is raised and the guys are ready to set, the sock is raised, releasing the spinnaker. The sock remains bundled up at the head of the sail while the spinnaker is deployed. To retrieve the spinnaker, the sheet or the tack is released and the sock is pulled down, gathering the sail. The halyard is then dropped and the sail may be packed away.

Spinnaker chute

A spinnaker chute is usually a tube or aperture in the deck close to the forestay, for the launching and recovery of the spinnaker. They are most commonly found on modern dinghy designs, and updated older classes. To allow recovery of the spinnaker into the chute, one or more recovery patches are fitted to the spinnaker, to which the tail of the spinnaker halyard
In sailing, a halyard or halliard is a line that is used to hoist a sail, a flag or a yard. The term halyard comes from the phrase, 'to haul yards'...

 is attached or passed through. The spinnaker and its halyard
In sailing, a halyard or halliard is a line that is used to hoist a sail, a flag or a yard. The term halyard comes from the phrase, 'to haul yards'...

 thus form a continuous loop, passing through the chute.

If the spinnaker chute penetrates the hull and is required to be watertight, it takes the form of a hard tube sealed to the hull at both ends. If a watertight arrangement is not required, a cloth tube may be used to contain the lowered spinnaker.

Etymology of the Word

Some dictionaries suggest that the origin of the word could be traced to the first boat to commonly fly a spinnaker, a yacht called the Sphinx, mispronounced as Spinx. The Sphinx first set her spinnaker in the Solent
The Solent is a strait separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England.The Solent is a major shipping route for passengers, freight and military vessels. It is an important recreational area for water sports, particularly yachting, hosting the Cowes Week sailing event annually...

 in 1865, and the first recorded use of the word was in 1866 in the August edition of Yachting Calendar and Review (p. 84). In addition, the term may have been influenced by the spanker
Spanker (sail)
A spanker is either of two kinds of sail.On a square rigged ship, the spanker is a gaff rigged fore-and-aft sail set from and aft of the aftmost mast. Almost all square rigs with more than one mast have one or two spankers, which evolved from the driver sail. Some also carry a topsail above the...

, originally a gaff rig
Gaff rig
Gaff rig is a sailing rig in which the sail is four-cornered, fore-and-aft rigged, controlled at its peak and, usually, its entire head by a spar called the gaff...

ged fore-and-aft
Fore-and-aft rig
A fore-and-aft rig is a sailing rig consisting mainly of sails that are set along the line of the keel rather than perpendicular to it. Such sails are described as fore-and-aft rigged....


It has been pointed out, however, that the skippers of the barge
A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboats or pushed by towboats...

s on the Thames (see Thames sailing barge
Thames sailing barge
A Thames sailing barge was a type of commercial sailing boat common on the River Thames in London in the 19th century. The flat-bottomed barges were perfectly adapted to the Thames Estuary, with its shallow waters and narrow rivers....

) also used the term spinnaker for their jib
A jib is a triangular staysail set ahead of the foremast of a sailing vessel. Its tack is fixed to the bowsprit, to the bow, or to the deck between the bowsprit and the foremost mast...

A staysail is a fore-and-aft rigged sail whose luff can be affixed to a stay running forward from a mast to the deck, the bowsprit or to another mast....

s. Unlike the other, tanned sails of these boats, the spinnakers were usually of white color. It has thus been suggested that the term could be "connected with the obsolete word spoon, meaning to run before the wind (cf. spindrift
Spindrift usually refers to spray, particularly to the spray blown from cresting waves during a gale. This spray, which "drifts" in the direction of the gale, is one of the characteristics of a wind speed of 8 Beaufort and higher at sea....

). Early usage of the verb to spoon can be traced back to the 16th century; the change from spoon to spin in the term spindrift is attributed to a local Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 pronunciation. According to Merriam Webster's dictionary, however, spindrift derives from a local Scottish pronunciation of speen (not spoon), meaning "to drive before a strong wind."

Furthermore, references to a mid-nineteenth century origin are problematic. In the logbook of the USS Constitution
USS Constitution
USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. Named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America, she is the world's oldest floating commissioned naval vessel...

, opening "Remarks on Board Monday July 13th 1812" is the comment "From 12 to 4 AM moderate breezes and thick cloudy weather with rain at 1 AM hauled up the mainsail and set the spinnaker at ½ past 3 AM set the mainsail JTS [John T. Shubrick, Fifth Lieutenant]."

According to Merriam-Webster's etymology, the origin of the word spinnaker is simply unknown.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.