Motorboating has spawned numerous new sports, many of which can now be done with sailing yachts as well. Wakeboarding, for example is possible behind a yacht – as long as you tow from the top of the mast, you don't need much more than 5 knots. And now parascending or parasailing, using a spinnaker swing! See below:
In fact, the spinnaker swing has been a staple entertainment for Mexican charterers for years, but the novelty factor is still in effect in Europe. Popularity in the UK is going to be a challenge thanks to the water temperature and the rather fast moving tides, but you never know, it could take off (pun intended).
So in case you're feeling adventurous, here's a short guide to spinnaker swinging, or as the French say: "le spi ascensionnel"
1. You need a yacht over 40ft (12m) in order to get enough height
2. A symmetrical masthead spinnaker - a snuffer is also useful
3. A swing seat of some sort rigged between the two flying corners - watch out for rope burn
4. Winds between 8 and 15 knots (or for the really adventurous – a few knots of boat speed into a very light breeze)
5. A control line attached to one of the flying corners. This can be used to deflate the sail as well as haul it back aboard the boat
6. Deep water in case the flyer jumps or falls from high up
Seat the flyer in the swing in clear water aft or ahead of the boat. Hoist the sail, or release the snuffer. The flyer can reduce altitude by pulling the corners together, or shifting weight to one side or the other. The control line can also help reduce height, as can a snuffer.
For a more thorough guide, see here.
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