Cruising Chutes

Compared with other types of rig, the modern bermudan sail plan is highly efficient to windward. Downwind, though, it's a different story - and that's where spinnakers and cruising chutes come in. Not so long ago, lightweight downwind sails were regarded by many cruising sailors as the exclusive preserve of the racing fraternity, who employed vast crews to tussle with acres of unruly spinnaker nylon. But the reality is now very different. In the same way that upwind sailing has been made less strenuous by the increasing popularity of selftacking jibs, fully-battened mainsails and cockpit-controlled reefing systems, developments with spinnakers and cruising chutes have resulted in more stable, easily-managed sails which can be comfortably handled by smaller crews. 

KempSails Cruising Chute

Spinnaker or Cruising Chute?

For optimum efficiency, you need a spinnaker whose tack is projected from the end of a pole to bring it out from behind the mainsail on a broad reach or run.The drawback is that, since the sail is larger than a cruising chute and only firmly attached at one corner (the head), it needs more care in hoisting, trimming and dowsing. A cruising chute, on the other hand, is smaller and easier to manage, but less efficient as the wind comes further astern. The solution we often suggest is to have one of each: perhaps a 0.9oz spinnaker for racing, and lightweather running/broad reaching in cruising mode, plus a 1.5oz cruising chute. Not only can the chute be tacked to the stemhead when cruising but, flown from the pole as an asymmetric spinnaker, it will double as a highly effective reaching kite in breezy conditions.This way, you'll keep the family happy and have a 'secret weapon' on the race course!


Cruising Chute (Radial Head)

The most economical design of cruising chute (small boats only). Ideal for enhancing your offwind performance in light to moderate winds at minimal cost.

Cruising Chute (Tri-Radial)

Incorporates radial panels in Tack & Clew for greater shape stability.

Cruising Chute (Full Radial)

The No. 1 Cruising Chute choice for most situations. A Full-radial construction ensures panels are lined up with load patterns.


Flying Cruising Chutes

If you've been put off spinnakers by witnessing or experiencing wraps, broaches and assorted mishaps, take heart. By following a few simple rules and not trying anything too ambitious, you'll find it's all pretty simple! And you'll be amazed at how much faster, steadier and more enjoyable your downwind sailing becomes.

When hoisting a Cruising Chute (or Assymetric/Gennaker), you have a choice of launching it from the bow or the leeward side. As a rule, the second option is safer because you hoist in the lee of the genoa. We supply different types of bag according to your preference - a round one for attaching to the pulpit, or a rectangular sidelaunching bag.

As for the rest of the equipment, on most boats you just need a pair of sheets (ideally tied onto the Sail's Clew corner) and one Tack Line - with a substantial Block for turning each line (One on the Bow right forward and two on the aft Quarters).  The Tack Line ideally will have a Snap Shackle to attach to the Tack ring and allows easy release in an emergency, and of course the Halyard itself. Ensure the sheets are led outside everything and that the 'lazy' sheet goes around infront of the Forestay.

Put the boat onto a Broad Reach and with all the lines set up ready hoist the sail.  If you have a genoa set then roll it up afterwards - as the wind shadow will help you fully hoist the sail before it sets.  As soon as the halyard reaches the Top sheet on the Leeward sheet and check that the sail has filled correctly.  Roll away the Genoa (if necessary) and trim the sail essentially like a Genoa, but easing until the Luff just curls and the trimming back on.  

Deeper sailing angles can be achived by dropping the Mainsail or Goose-winging the Chute....If you are going to then don't forget to put a preventer on the Mainsail!

To drop the sail shorthanded and without a sock it is best to trip the Snap Shackle on the Tack and keep the Clew sheeted on.  This way you can ease the haylard down and gather the sail downwards by working up the Leech and dropping it into the companionway.  On most cruising boats over about 22ft then using a Snuffer makes this operation simpler.


No matter how experienced you are in handling spinnakers or cruising chutes, the combination of large sails, fresh winds and small crews sometimes calls for some extra help. This is where the snuffer comes in - a nylon sock which pulls down over your spinnaker and turns it in to a long sausage, with the head at the top and the tack and clew at the bottom. When you want to use the spinnaker, you start by hoisting the snuffer to the masthead with the sail bundled up inside.The spinnaker will only start to fill when you pull the snuffer up from the bottom using its own internal halyard - so you can make sure everything's totally under control before any wind gets into the sail.When you've finished spinnakering, you pull the snuffer down again and lower everything back on deck.

 Design your own Cruising Chute Colour layout, Here online & RIGHT NOW!

 Just use on our KEMP SPINNAKER WIZARD link below:

(Please note, the layouts are artistic impressions and may differ slightly from the actual finished sail panel layout)

CLICK HERE to use the Kemp Sails Spinnaker Wizard Designer

Alternatively, download our own

, from the  area on this website, and you can print and colour the sails yourself. If you fax this form back to us please remember to mark the colours on the panels by name / letter as fax's are only Black & White !!!!