i copyed this from there webpage
Article in Yachting World 07/2003 page 90
"Whatīs new" edited by Tim Thomas
Tested: Parasail - a "more stable" spinnaker
It looks like a torn spinnaker
, a flap of loose sail billowing away off the front, but the design of the Parasail spinnaker is no accident
. And when we first wrote about it in April 2003, interest was already strong, not least because a racing
version of the sail, which will be used by some competitors in the Daimler-Chrysler transatlantic challenge, was nearly finished.
The reason for all this excitement is the sailīs design. Manufacturers Parasail say that by adding parafoil technology to a standard spinnaker, they have made a sail that is more stable, thanks to the foil stretching the belly of the spinnaker, and creates lift
, pulling up the bow when speed increases rather than trying to bury it in the water
. They also say their spinnaker can be flown in true wind speeds from 6 knots to Force 10 - although they recommend it should only be flown up to a Force 6, that is more for rig security
than anything else. Yes, the Parasail is more expensive than your average spinnaker by about 30 per cent, but it is made from top-notch components and just one sail will cope with all wind strengths. So much for theory. Only a test sail could prove the Parasailīs worth.
Unfortunately, the racing
version of the sail was only 98 per cent complete, but the cruising version was available for us to try. Flying it on a Grand Soleil 40 Race
(see below), the sail was simplicity itself to hoist, being housed in its own sock. Released by a simple pull on the strings, the Parasail filled instantly in the 8-10 knots of true wind, which was just enough to get the foil at the front flying.
The manufacturers claim that at low wind speeds the sail is only 1,5 per cent less efficient than a conventional sail and our boat
speed seemed to reflect this as we cruised ar around 5 knots with no main up.
We crept to 80° to the apparent wind to see how shy the sail would fly and while we didnīt push it any further due to the guy lead putting pressure on the stanchions, we could have come up another 10° and kept the sail flying. Whatīs more, when we tried to collapse the Parasail on purpose, it simply snapped full again as soon as we were back on course - with this sail, there are no wraps around the forestay nor any sheet/guy manipulation needed to recover it.
Heading for the gybe, the foredeck was a little disorganized, which meant we had to float the spinnaker on its sheets
for longer than I liked. But the sail remained full and steady, with the foil pushing the sides out and preventing the collapse. Dowsing the sail was just as easy thanks to the specially designed snuffer and the problem that I had envisaged with getting the snuffer over the parafoil proved to be no problem at all.
The first racing version of the Parasail - all 146mē of it - has been built, tested and redesigned and should be flying by the time you read this. It is not too different from the current
model, but has its foil taken all the way to the edges and integrated more with the leech as well as made rounder. Parasailor claim this will make the sail stronger and faster. Certainly the sail is generating interest. RORC technical manager Mike Urwin has cleared it for racing and it will incur no penalty over a conventional spinnaker under IRC. Volvo
Race organisers are also in talks to see what it can offer round the world
Parasailor have now built 1,500 Parasails and have yet to receive a complaint or a claim of damage. Having seen the sail and flown it, I can say that once you have got over its unusual styling and concept
, it is a joy to use and appears to do exactly what its makers claim. Indeed, some boatbuilders are so confident in it they are ordering Parasails for particular boats in their range; Hanse is one of the first.