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Why I want a Spinnaker Snuffer - Dave Proctor's wish list at

by Dave Proctor 8 Jul 12:00 BST
Black Box Snuffer © Oleu

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Dave Proctor. I am a freelance journalist and the proud owner of a classic 27 ft yacht. A 1971-built sloop rigged Albin Vega. I have been invited to write a series of articles on my wish list of the things that I would like to buy for my boat.

I have owned my boat for just over a year, but with a novice crew, we are gradually working through the range of foresails we were supplied with (jib, 120 Genoa and a 150 Genoa), so far, so good, and my crew has not screamed once.

I now want to use the symmetrical spinnaker that came with the boat. Although I am not interested in racing, where spinnakers really come into their own, I am envious of the cruising speeds attainable using such a sail and to be honest, flying a spinnaker looks pretty darn cool.

The spinnaker that I inherited looks brand new, and the spinnaker pole is in good condition, but I have to admit, I am nervous about using this giant and powerful sail, especially with a novice crew member on the foredeck.

I have seen numerous pictures and videos of what can happen if you drop a spinnaker off the side, the problems crews have handling this sail and the complications that the use of this sail can cause.

This is why the first thing that I am looking at buying is a spinnaker sock or snuffer, as it is sometimes called.

This great device is like a sausage skin that contains the spinnaker within it. Initially, you hoist the sail in its skin on a halyard then ingeniously there is a reinforced bottom ring that you raise up the halyard by means of an integral lightweight rope. As you hoist the ring, the outer skin furls up, releasing the spinnaker as it does so.

Have a look at a video, as it's easier to see than to explain...

To drop the spinnaker, you simply slide the ring and casing down over the sail then drop the encased sail onto the deck.

This is obviously so much safer and easier than trying to wrestle a huge and powerful sail up or down, and this system prevents the risk of the loose sail falling into the water, with potentially hazardous consequences.

Now, when I am buying items for my boat I have three considerations: safety, quality and price.

This is why, having spent hours looking at numerous websites and watching hours of videos, I am including an Oleu Black Box Snuffer on my wishlist.

Given that my headstay is just over 9 metres, I hope to buy the 8 metre snuffer. German-built, this fantastic design also happens to be really affordable and apart from a well-designed bottom ring, which will allow it to slide up and down the sail really easily, the main body of the casing is made of a resistant mesh, thus allowing the sail to breathe, even when stored, and so preventing the sail being subject to damp and consequent mould.

Eventually, I hope to purchase an asymmetric spinnaker and the beauty of this snuffer is that it can be used with either style of spinnaker and indeed a gennaker or other types of large foresail.

If you have any questions please feel free to email us at , or click the link below to see the range of snuffers stocked by Upffront:


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