Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 21-02-2010, 06:12   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Back in UK earning B.O.A.T. units
Boat: Hunter 45CC
Posts: 198
Images: 2
Parasailor Spinnaker from ISTEC

I'm about to spend around 5 English B.O.A.T. units (these are 50% larger than US B.O.A.T units ) on one of these all-singing, all-dancing parafoil Spinakers from ISTEC (

According to the literature, they sound great - no pole, no worries about gusts, a two year old could launch it single handed etc etc ....

I'm about to launch off for a years cruising in the East coast and Carib and my rationale for going this way rather than a conventional Spi is threefold :
a) I have a B&R rig which limits the amount you can swing the boom forward doe to the serioiusly swept back spreaders.

b) I'll be short handed, just me and the Admiral (who is happier piloting a desk than a boat).

c) Collectively we have very little experience of Spi flying.

There are a number of previous posts on this sail, but none that give any real world experience.

Anyone out there actually used / owned one of these ? I sure could spend the money on something else if this is a bad idea.

currently on the hard in RI

duncan_ellison is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2010, 19:44   #2
Senior Cruiser
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 11,239
First time I have heard of the Istec. The parasail section looks cool but no idea if it would make the sail perform that much better that any other cruising spinnaker. For 5 UK BUs it should sing, dance and cook dinner. Is that just the sail or does that include fittings, etc?

I think you can get a "normal" cruising spinnaker for a whole lot less money. Unless you can hear from a real user I would be very reluctant to spring for that much.

Let us know if you hear any good reports.


The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 02:18   #3
Registered User
Ram's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2005
Location: Cruising Greece
Boat: Cat in the med & Trawler in Florida
Posts: 2,290
Images: 27
I would love to have one, I have been looking into them as well - I was talking to Jimmy Cornell about them, hes been using one for years now and speaks very highly of them, and uses it quite a lot with only praise, I think there worth what they cost,
Ram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 02:39   #4
Senior Cruiser
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,043
Images: 12
One year for East coast and Caribbean?? That's a long way and a short time - particularly if you plan to return during that year. You won't need a spinnaker in the Caribe, and if you want to make the Caribe (and return), you won't be spending much time on the East coast. I'd put the money to work elsewhere.


You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 03:18   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 33
thats a lot of wonga... i understand the theory behind them however id be tempted to go with a cruising chute plus a sock - get a smaller one if you are too concerned about the handling. you wont need a pole with one of these either. for 5K sterling id be looking to install a bow sprit and then id put a furling unit with an A sail on it.
wkd928 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 04:56   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Back in UK earning B.O.A.T. units
Boat: Hunter 45CC
Posts: 198
Images: 2
Thanks for the comments so far guys, I'm still trying to find anyone who's actually used one of these first hand.

Skipmac : It includes a snuffer and a custom bag, but nothing else. Fortunately I already have a Spi Halyard, but no pole.

Ram: I saw your previous posts a while back, but I see you've still not taken the plunge. Still if Jimmy Cornell says 'good', there must be something right about it.

Colemj : My plan is to make a late fall dash to the Carib and spend winter there. After that, work plans will dictate if I bring the boat back to Newport in the spring or leave it in the Carib. Final destination is New Zealand, which is partially the thought behind spending so much on a Spi at this stage.

wkd928 : Yep, it's a lot of boating tokens right enough. But with all the other jobs to do on the boat (watermaker, additional batteries, inner forestay etc etc.) I'm worrred I'll never get off the dock if I start fitting bowsprits and poles.

Anyone else got a view ?

duncan_ellison is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 05:45   #7
Registered User
Ita's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Miami, FL
Boat: CAL 29
Posts: 128
Never have one.
On Sail Magazine July 2009 is an article comparing all 3 tipes of spinnakers.
s/v ITA
Ita is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 06:56   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Aboard - wherever we may be
Boat: OVNI 435 - Pelerin
Posts: 39
Perhaps it's worth reviewing what type of cruising sailor you are, and how often you will be sailing short-handed.

If you like to push the boat hard, and you sail with a crew then the Parasailor might be worth considering, but if you would tend to use the sail in lighter conditions only, or there's only the two of you, then just how much will you use any spinnaker?

With your Begrstrom rig which might be better broad reaching than running I'd have thought that an asymmetrical chute with a good sock, or better yet on a furler, would make more sense and cost far, far less. No pole and gybe downind. You'd also have the chance to get used to flying a relatively docile beast and find out just how much you're really going to use it, and in what conditions.

We looked at the Parasailor - great concept, and the possibility that one sail might cover a wide range of wind angles was very attractive. But the price was staggering, and we could have bought something like 4 conventional symmetric/asymmetric chutes for the same price. If it had been twice the price, then we just might have gone for it, but 4x? OK, it's a more complicated sail, but even so I can't see that level of price differential is justified just from looking at one. And I'm not entirely convinced I'd be happy using one without a pole withe wind well aft, but I may be wrong.

We bought a a good asymmetric chute mounted on a furler and it suits us very well. With only two of us and a boat about the same size as your own we use it far more than a symmetrical chute with a good quality snuffer on our old boat which was smaller. Cost was just over 2200 with a custom logo (Boat Show deal), and when we work out how much more we'll get out of changing it we'll likely go for something similar in a heavier cloth. I'd explore every avenue before spending huge sums of money.
Sharkman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 07:31   #9
Registered User
Ram's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2005
Location: Cruising Greece
Boat: Cat in the med & Trawler in Florida
Posts: 2,290
Images: 27
Yes Money is what holds most of us back from buying one-
Ram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 13:08   #10
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 15,103
I do not buy the idea (and idea only) of the para-sailor - why lose the power by cutting a hole in the sail? From looking (only) at the para-sailor in action (ARC starts 2008 and 2009) they are not any more stable than a properly trimmed regular spinnaker.

So, if you know (or a willing to learn) how to sail under a spinnaker, use the real thing. If you do not know how to, use a gennaker, or twin jibs.

Look up Momo's result at ARC 2009 - they flew twin jibs ...

barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2010, 07:09   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Back in UK earning B.O.A.T. units
Boat: Hunter 45CC
Posts: 198
Images: 2
Last post


You and I already have a PM thread going on this. Whilst I applaud your faith in your product I'm not sure what the moderator on this thread will make of your post.

I suggest we keep the sell / buy relationship off this forum.

duncan_ellison is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2010, 08:17   #12
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: [S]Hamble (Spring and Fall)[/S], Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 16,456
Originally Posted by Ita View Post
Never have one.
On Sail Magazine July 2009 is an article comparing all 3 tipes of spinnakers.
The article is available on line. Here's a link: Comparison between spinnakers: a-sail, s-sail, and parasail.

They say they like a cruising chute best of all for a cruising boat, out of the three options, as much more convenient to use than any other kind of kite, but that they would definitely have a Parasailor for a long offshore passage.
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2010, 13:45   #13
Senior Cruiser
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 9,135
Send a message via Skype™ to Jim Cate
G'Day All,

Did anyone else note that in the comparison artical the parasail was WAY slower than either the a- or the s- kite? I thought that the reason one flew a kite while cruising was to get better boat speed... can't see why one would spend the big extra bucks to go slower.

They did note that they were flying the parasail without the mains'l. Maybe that's why it's slower, but if so, why in the world would they deliberately cripple the sail in a compariosn test?

Finally, they didn't really say why they would want a p-sail for an offshore cruise. One of the alleged advantages of the sail is easier gybing, but at sea one usually stays on a given gybe for longer periods than when inshore, so again, I don't understand where they are coming from.

Must admit that the one in the artical is cool looking, but that's not enough to tempt me to spend that much money!


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Church Point, NSW, Oz
Jim and Ann
s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
Jim Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2010, 00:43   #14
Registered User
Heikki's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Finland
Boat: Stormwind 40 cutter rigged steel ketch - "Columba Livia"
Posts: 90
After reading through the test in the Sail magazine, I think its results can be summarized as follows:
-the main reason why parasailor is recommended for long off-shore passages that it requires the least attention of all kites
-parasailor adds up speed on a run, however, it does that clearly less than spinnaker or asymmetrical
-if you want the maximum speed and also the ability to go dead downwind, go for a conventional spinnaker unless you are sailing shorthanded
-if you are sailing shorthanded, go for asymmetrical or parasailor
-if you are shorthanded, not racing, and want to sail dead downwind, go for parasailor
-if you are shorthanded, want speed, and 160 degrees off wind is enough, go for asymmetrical

I have never sailed with a one, however, being a shorthanded off-shore sailor commonly sailing dead down wind, parasailor sure sounds like an interesting option. Is it worth its price? That is another question the answer for which needs to be judged individually. For far too many of us the answers is likely "no". For the more privileged ones, the answer is more likely "yes". If I would have a lump sum of extra cash, I would sure give it a try.
Heikki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2010, 01:51   #15
Long Range Cruiser
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in New York
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,204
Images: 25
Hmmm this is an interesting one.
I saw a photo somewhere of this type of chute and wondered.

Here's my thoughts:

I am from a racing background so love chutes etc

When we were in the Caribbean I was surprised at the strength of the wind. I doubt I want/need on up in that strength wind. A 3 once storm kite would be OK.

ITCZ (Doldrums) too fickle for kites unles on a furler. no time to douse them easily shorthanded

We like the one person on watch being able to do pretty well everything otherwise I am up half the night!

Pacific Trade Winds: I had always read of people putting up a spinnaker leaving port and pulling it down 3 weeks later entering a port. BULL TWADDLE! I reckon you'd be working harder than a one armed wallpaper hanger.

After a while boat speed isnt as important as ease of use. Genoas get used more often than mains because Genoas are on a furler, mains not and they only take a few moments to put up!

We did the Pacific without a spinnaker pole cos we couldn't afford one (read in reference to members here who think I am a millonaire). Getting the pole did wonders for us! But still much more 'work' outside steady tradewinds, up and down like a yo-yo.

Broad Reaching V's Dead downwind. Some day I will do a good comparison, but unless its a catamaran or a modern racing boat then I think rhumb line is by far the better option. Gybing multiple times? may as well the going upwind.

I am not full bottle on all this as we don't have the money to play here, but I would think the good options would be a furling asymetric spinnaker (or socked) with pole for going deep downwind and a BIG genoa thats also poled out when too strong/fickle for the asymetric.

Passages we find totally fun and full of enjoyment because of a few factors:
Good unique watch system allows us LONG sleeps
Minimal 'work' on passage incl easy sail handling
Great food

Sailing 300 miles to go 200 miles.
Breaking gear by pushing it too hard.
being tired -> grumpy -> angry -> arguments -> no enjoyment -> no more long passeges.

Things that don't matter didly squat:
5.32725kts compared to 5 kts.
Getting there on Day 5 compared with day 7

If you enjoy the sailing I don't think many folks would need all the fancy kit. On the other hand, if you love racing you might love a slick spinnaker to play with all watch... but doon't expect your partner to be the same. Therefore pull it down at the end of your watch or risk having it ripped while wifey is reading Days of our Lives, Mills&Boone and lusting after leonado De Caprio in some star magazine.


Notes on a Circumnavigation.

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote

asa, spinnaker

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Anyone Using a Parasailor-Spi Ram General Sailing Forum 15 08-04-2013 18:38
WTB: Parasailor II or Cruising Chute redbreast Classifieds Archive 0 19-06-2009 11:13
Do I Really Need My Spinnaker? Sailabel General Sailing Forum 11 29-05-2009 22:21
Cruising Spinnaker Acadia Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 3 05-11-2008 18:13
Spinnaker/Gennaker ilikeraresteak Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 10 28-10-2008 08:07

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:07.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.