Showing posts with label Parasailor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parasailor. Show all posts

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Like Flying a Kite

A first look at our new parasailor.
When Martin and I bought Amara, it was evident that we were going to need to buy a few new sails for her—especially a new spinnaker.  A spinnaker is a special type of sail designed to sail off the wind from a reaching course to a downwind, with the wind 90° — 180° off the bow .  For you non-sailors, it's usually the big, fancy, colorful sail that gives your boat a bit of personality.

When Martin and I were doing our research on catamarans, we had heard a lot of opinions about using a parasailor in place of a spinnaker.  A parasailor is lighter in weight (made out of similar material to a parachute) and known to be able to take on more wind.  It is also a lot more stable and easier for a smaller crew to handle than a heavier spinnaker.  What makes a parasailor unique is that towards the upper part of the sail, there is a hole.  This helps prevent the parasailor from collapsing or rolling and lets the wind pass through and fill up more easily with less stress on it (unlike the big "bang" that you hear when the wind fills up a spinnaker).

Doing our research on the pros and cons of a parasailor, Martin and I put out feelers and went into online forums asking other cruisers their opinions between a spinnaker versus a parasailor.  After receiving lots of positive responses on the pluses of sailing with a parasailor (Jimmy Cornell swears by his)—we decided to get our feet wet and purchase one.

In the process of purchasing a parasailor—the purchaser can choose from the manufacturer's (ISTEC) designs, or pay a little more and submit their own design.  Since I always love the idea of being unique, Martin told me that I had complete creative license to come up with my own design.  I knew that I wanted ours to look like the stars in the night while sailing against the sky.  I also added the red to the lip (below the opening in the sail) to give it some depth.  Then I showed my final design to Martin.  Of course, he loved it and submitted the design to the manufacturer.

After much anticipation on my part, I give you our end product...
Since Amara is on the bigger end for catamarans, the parasailor ended up being 252 sq meters.  It's interesting to note that I thought our mainsail was huge!  Check out this post showing it's size.  Now look at how much bigger the parasailor is compared to the mainsail in the photo above.  That's one big sail!

These are the first photos of Martin sailing with our new parasailor.  I think it definitely gives Amara some "personality" and really "classes up the joint."  I can't wait to sail on Amara and see her sailing with the parasailor for myself.

Martin checking out the parasailor in full bloom.
If you are a fellow cruiser, here is more information on ISTEC—the company that manufactured our parasailor.