Originally Posted by Crak
It looks like the symmetrical Spinnaker would be much easier to set, but has a very limited apparent wind angle in operation, while the Asymmetrical Spinnaker would be a lot more versatile, but require more complex sheet and tack lines, but would also operate in a broader apparent wind angle. (am I correct here ?)
Hi Crak - not entirely correct.
I have a HUGE symmetrical chute and can carry it as high as about 85 degrees apparent, as long as it's not too windy. If I know I'm going to carry it this high before setting it I attach both guys to one tack and attach one sheet to the clew. Then I use the guys to position the tack near the centerline, sorta making a virtual bow sprit (if I had a real bow sprit, I'd use that). When sheeted in tight it acts just like an asymmetrical, although I can't go as high. Even if I don't set it with both guys on one clew, I can get a little above 90 degrees apparent.
The beauty of the symmetrical, though, is when you sail deeper. Dern thing gybes itself. Very, very easy to control - just adjust the guys/sheets as you go. If needed I can raise, adjust, and douse the spi all by myself, as long as the AP is working.
That said, dousing it when the wind is up can be, er, exciting.
I've used an asymmetrical chute on a friend's cat and it's also easy and straightforward. Similarly to "forcing" my chute to act like an asymmetrical, I bet an asymmetrical could be rigged as a symmetrical for deeper angles if you know you're gooing to do this from the beginning of the set, e.g., don't use your bow sprit and rig it like a symmetrical.
for a symmetrical chute is a guy at each bow and a sheet running back to a turning block on both sides aft. Use one guy and the opposite side sheet at a time. The others are "lazy". If you're dead down wind, both guys can come into use. As the wind angle moves from side to side or the boat gybes, just swap sheets
and guys - the lazy ones become active and vice versa. This is all very, very easy. Even I can do it.
I guess a sock is not a must, but using one is all I know. No reason to not use one a cruising boat, IMHO.
Because I already have a symmetrical, I'm planning to get a bow sprit and a Code Zero
on a continuous furler
for those broader angles. This would round out my sail plan nicely.
If you can have only one chute, I guess I'd recommend the symmetrical, especially if you don't already have a bow sprit, but this may be because this is what I've used most. Asymmetrical folks might recommend the opposite.