Downwind sailing with a Parachute – lightwind trials in Platypus Bay

Setting off from the anchorage the wind was light and right behind us, the sun was setting gloriously in front of us – what better time to trial the new parachute sail?
We obtained a standard 28ft ex-army parachute from the US and set it up for the first trial sailing by dividing the lines equally and tying them off onto two steel rings.
One ring was attached and raised on the spinnaker line towards the top of the mast. The lower end was attached to a line and ran it through a shackle on the bowsprit then back to the cockpit.

The results were fantastic! Without a breeze to mention we were being gently pulled along at just under 3 knots. The type of breeze from behind and changing direction that would require lots of work using a spinnaker or any other poled sail was a wonderfully relaxing event with the parachute. We both lay on the foredeck with our arms folded behind our heads, looking up as the parachute changed direction with the wind as required – and it looks so peaceful.

The current setup which requires some tweaking causes it to manoeuvre with a jelly fish like motion. Meaning the vertical sides accordion in and out and a bit of maths is required to calculate how to alter the various cord lengths between the top and bottom sections of the chute.

We will adjust as we go to see the best setup – but a wonderful result for first trial.

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