Spinnaker Clinic

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Spinnaker handling

The Spinnaker Clinic teaches sailors how to safely harness the power of the Spinnaker sail.  Progress into performance sailing, or just improve your light wind skills on the gentle summer afternoons.

Tired of just sitting still in our light summer winds? Frustrated by boats with those colorful “balloons” passing you? Are you interested in moving into performance sailing, racing, or just improving your light wind performance? Learn how to use the spinnaker to sail on a reach safely and confidently.

Learn about the different types of spinnakers, the parts as well as how to pack and stow them. Students are introduced to the rigging and maneuvering of the spinnaker pole systems used for symmetrical spinnakers, the work-horse of downwind sailing. The class will also rig and fly the asymmetrical chute that's preferred for reaching across the wind.

Island Sailing racers flying spinnakers

On-Water: On the water training is highly utilized and critical to give students practical experience and training at launching, flying, gybing, and dousing along with driving the boat under sail. Students are allowed to attend as many of these four hour sessions as they like. Upon completion students are qualified to check out spinnakers from Island Sailing Club and enjoy exciting downwind sailing.

Topics include:

  • Packing
  • Rigging
  • Setting
  • Launching and dousing
  • Trimming
  • Gybing
  • Problem solving

Spinnaker class packing

Session Format: the clinics are 3 to 4 hours per clinic. Most newcomers to flying the spinnaker usually need 4 sessions to hone skills while rotating across all the learning areas needed to successfully and safely "fly the kite".

This format also allows for students to attend sessions at any point and plan training based on individual needs!  Work the foredeck, trim, etc....

Primary Skill Areas:

  • Foredeck
  • Trimmer
  • Guy
  • Helm
  • Mainsheet

Spinnaker Endorsement: NauticEd offers a practical Spinnaker Endorsement, which is required to fly spinnakers on Island Sailing boats.

The spinnaker endorsement requires an instructor assessment of your skills and sign-off that you're competent and safe with flying spinnakers.  There's no additional cost for the instructor's assessment (the instructor assesses continually during the clinics), but note it typically takes multiple clinic sessions for a new student to become competent in all required areas. If you have prior experience, then that certainly applies!

After your first session, the instructor will recommend what's needed to continue the training.

Prices & Registration

Prerequisite Requirement:  Basic Sailing (Skipper Small Keelboat, USS/ASA101 or equivalent). Coastal Cruising (Skipper, USS/ASA103, or equivalent) is highly recommended.

Price: $100 per sailor (Club Member $90*)

To Register: Select a date below, complete the form/payment, and then you'll be asked to complete a student registration form (required for each student before the clinic). We'll certainly follow-up with you and confirm all details, and answer any questions.

*Members: contact us below or at (503) 285-7765 or josh@islandsailingclub.com for a discount code.

Upcoming Spinnaker Clinics

Contact us for upcoming dates



Need Help? Contact Island SailingAlternatively, you can contact Josh Shenkman directly at josh@islandsailingclub.com or (503) 285-7765 with questions, for more information or to sign-up!