VIDEO: Different dousing techniques

Published on February 5th, 2020

UK Sailmakers uploaded this video and commentary on Feb 5, 2020:

When executed properly, spinnaker takedowns are arguably the most satisfying and most fun maneuvers to be part of. When they are done properly, they’re great. When they go left on you, however, a bad douse can create chaos on the bow as well as cost you time or damage the sail.

Here’s some video of two well-executed yet totally different spinnaker douses captured by Lindsay Preece during the Pot of Gold regatta off Fremantle, Western Australia. The wind is in the mid-teens, the water is flat, and the boats aren’t overlapped so they could use whichever spinnaker drop techniques they wanted.

One chose a string drop using a retrieval line, the other a letterbox. In this video you will see these two techniques compared and contrasted.

While the Letterbox is the safest spinnaker takedown method for ocean racing, it is not the quickest. This video details the methods of a “String” or “Belly Button” takedown, which is a very quick method for buoy racing.

Other techniques that work well for short course races are the “Mexican” or “jibe-drop” and the leeward stretch and blow. Oh yes, once you get a grand prix racer with coffee grinder pedestals you can grind the spinnaker down in 3-5 seconds. But that’s something totally different.

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