Rolly Tasker Sails, Australian sailmaker since 1949 - Servicing Australia,NZ and the South Pacific

Custom and Performance Spinnakers

We all know that the large, colourful sails seen on boats sailing downwind are called spinnakers, but few know where the name comes from. One story says the word is derived from the name of the first yacht to use such a sail, the "Sphinx". The sail was so much larger than any other sail previously seen that it became known as "Sphinx's acre", hence the term spinnacre or spinnaker.

Because of the sail's rounded shape and colourful material, most sails have a resemblance to a parachute and therefore are often called a "chute". In Australia, they are also often referred to as a "kite" because of the way they fly out in front of the boat.

Although some older spinnakers are of crosscut construction, most modern spinnakers use radial or tri-radial construction.

Because the spinnaker is only attached to the boat at three corners, all the stress radiates into the sail at these points. With a tri-radial sail, the stress is along the seams instead of across them, making a stronger sail and minimizing stretch and distortion.

Our one-off design spinnakers use a multi-panel tri-radial or full-radial design, allowing for more precise alignment of loads, while the increased number of panels enables the use of three dimensional shaping, creating the optimum flying shape with reduced seam loads. At the corners of the sail we use fanned radial patches, which minimise weight,and increase strength. Naturally, they come standard with stainless steel rings, large sail bags and your choice of colours and designs. We can supply your new spinnaker in a comprehensive range of exciting colours and designs.

We also offer a comprehensive range of options for all of our spinnakers including sail numbers, racing box bags and spinnaker socks.

We got a Rolly Tasker MPS made for our Catalina 320 a few weeks back. We are very impressed with the Sail and with the customer service we received. Good to see old fashion quality business is still alive. I know where we buy our next sail
Thank you guys heaps, Cheers

- Reiner Gudd - Brisbane - May 2021

Got to use my new Spinnaker on my trip Mooloolaba to Gladstone and was very happy how easy to put up and down. I was really impressed with its performance we were making 5.4kts in 8kts of breeze.

- Rowan Bunyard


Rolly Tasker Asymmetrical Spinnakers are easy to use and optimise sailing performance in light winds on courses from 75 to 160 degrees. They combine the characteristics of a reaching genoa with a spinnaker and therefore might fill a gap in your sail inventory. The typical characteristic is a longer luff than the leech.

The sail tack will be fixed at the bow, anchor roller or bow sprite and is thereby flown without a spinnaker pole: hence they are much easier to handle than a Symmetrical Spinnaker. For this reason they are widely used on cruising boats, though they are also an important sail in a racer’s wardrobe to maximise reaching performance. When combined with a spinnaker sock the Asymmetrical Spinnaker becomes a sail that can be used by single or short-handed crews under all conditions.


With a luff that is longer than the leech, the asymmetrical spinnaker is designed to sail with the apparent wind on the beam of the boat rather than from directly behind, as is the case with a symmetrical spinnaker. With a round entry, the maximum beam being forward of the midpoint and a flatter exit, the Asymmetrical Spinnaker directs the power forward instead of sideways – hence creating boat speed rather than heeling.

At Rolly Tasker Sails we design your asymmetrical spinnaker according to the characteristics of your boat and the conditions under which it sails. A very fast racer uses a rather flat sail with smaller shoulders for high speed and tight apparent wind angels. A cruiser, or for a boat that doesn’t build that much apparent wind, would use a fuller sail with larger shoulders and wider mid girth, which in turn is more forgiving, allowing the luff to curl quite a bit before collapsing.

In addition to taking into account your halyard exit to deck and J measurements, our Asymmetrical Spinnakers are designed around a measurement of sail midgirth as a % of footgirth and typically range from around 70% for high speed to 90% for ultimate cruising.


Symmetrical Spinnakers are built to our top end radial-cut specification and come in a wide range of sizes at very competitive prices to suit the full range of yachts and catamarans.  The spinnaker cloth, sail design and finish are to the same high quality as our individual ‘one-off’ symmetrical spinnaker production and it is ideal in wind ranges from around 110 to 180 degrees.

The Symmetrical Spinnaker has equal length luffs so the clew and tack are interchangeable, unlike the Asymmetrical Spinnaker.  The tack is usually fitted to a spinnaker pole, the inboard end of which is attached to the mast.  A control line called a brace is attached to the tack and led back through a turning block to a winch to control the fore and aft movement of the pole to ensure optimal angle to the wind.  A sheet is then fitted to the clew and led back through a turning block to a winch to be trimmed.

If you are a cruiser, then this is the ideal downwind sail for you.  Combine it with one of our proven and trusted spinnaker socks and it’s a one-man operation.