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I'm very cautious about spinnaker use

.... Especially in a narrow passage where other boat traffic might require us to round up to avoid a collision.

Relating this to Craig's post a few days ago about wanting a less powerful rig, we don't fly the spinnaker much anymore. I didn't even use it once this season. I admit I find it intimidating in all but the lightest breezes. It's about 955 square feet and I have had 2 harrowing experiences: Once had the halyard snag at the top swivel of the jib furler (a few years ago) so it wouldn't come up or down. I was able to free it from below (with some clever strategy) but it was under mild conditions. It might not have been possible in building/overpowering winds. (We're a short-handed couple and neither one of us is up to going aloft under sail.) The other time (in my prior boat) we were running in a building wind at 12+ knots boat speed. While we were feeling it was OK in the apparent winds, I didn't consider a change in course, and a gust overpowered the rudder (centerboard was raised for reduced drag -- further reducing steering control) and caused us round up to a beam reach which also caused an even greater increase in apparent wind... I tried to release the sheet which was cleated (yes I know, my bad) and a tangle caused it to jam under load so it wouldn't run out. That time we came very close to a capsize moment.

Lessons learned, but stuff happens.

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