To twing or not to twing....that is the question

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Postby Guest » Thu Nov 01, 2001 1:07 pm

rookie question: what is a spinnaker twing? what is it used for? pro and cons of having one or not would be helpful.

Also, as per Klingler's purchase project, there are 2 types of Tylaska T5 shackels, standard and large bail. What is the bail, which ones should I get and does the extra weight of these shackels hurt performance?

Thanks in advance...

Postby Guest » Fri Nov 02, 2001 10:00 am


A twing line is used to adjust the lead angle of the spinnaker sheet by pulling it forward. Many of the older boats came equipped with eyes and cam cleats on the rail aft of the chainplates for this purpose. Most of the recent spinnaker designs have low clews, removing the need for twings. The newer boats do not come equipped with twings and many owners of older boats (like myself) have removed them. That said, the twing can be useful in retrieving the clew in preparation for dousing the spinnaker.
The bail is the "ring" to which the line attaches to the shackle. I use bowlines instead of shackles to attach all lines to my spinnaker (saves weight and money), so I cannot comment on which shackle to buy, if any.

Postby Guest » Fri Nov 02, 2001 11:19 am

NOT TO TWING. That is the answer.

Jay Lutz

Postby Guest » Wed Dec 05, 2001 6:22 pm

I use twings for two reasons. First it allows the main to be trimmed in and out without the spinnakersheet from stopping it. In light medium wind without a twing the crew would have to hold out the boom. Secondly it gives the crew pulling in the spinnaker fast access to the sheet on a leeward takedown. I use Big Harken bullet blocks on the twings, they work well.

good luck,
Kerry Klingler

Postby Guest » Thu Dec 06, 2001 6:06 pm

Kerry, thanks for the response

Follow up questions:

if the twing is part of the spinnaker rigging, how does it affect the main trimming?

does the low clew of the spinnaker remove the need for a twing?


Postby Guest » Thu Dec 06, 2001 6:37 pm

Twings… The first time I set foot on a sprit boat I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want a twing. So I can see why this is such a common question. Kerry brings up a good point. A twing will pull the spin sheet down and out of the way of the boom. Otherwise the angel of the sheet against the boom in certain conditions will tend to trim the boom towards centerline. But equally important is how the twing acts on the leach of the sail in very light air. In light air when the boat is sailing high angles the spinnaker acts more like a big Genoa than a kite. Without a twing the foot of the spinnaker could be pulled too flat because the spinnaker lead is way aft in the boat. Sometimes a little twing will add a little belly to the foot of the spinnaker. However nothing is as simple as it appears. Although the total area of the J/80 spinnaker is strictly controlled there is tremendous flexibility in the length of the three sides of the sail. If your spinnaker is designed with a clew that is very high, or a relatively short leach then you may not have to twing at all because the higher the clew the further aft the lead needs to be. A long leach or low clew on the other hand will need more twing. So it is very possible that two boats could be performing exactly the same, but one may need a little more twing than the other. Once the wind is strong enough to sail deeper angles the twing looses its affect on the sail because the boom limits the sheeting angle.

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