Christopher‘s spinnaker by Nick Bailey

10 images

10 of the coolest superyacht spinnakers

15 June 2023 • Written by Holly Overton

For many owners, superyacht sails are a blank canvas for creating truly spectacular designs that catch the eye wherever you cruise. With the Mediterranean regatta season in full swing, we look at some of the most memorable spinnakers on the water...

Mari-Cha III

Super Maxi Mari-Cha III is a speed demon that has claimed many a racing title since her launch in 1997. The Philippe Briand-designed sailing yacht is perhaps best known for smashing multiple records in her first few years on the water, including the fastest transatlantic crossing in 1998 and a new Sydney Hobart record the following year. Downwind she flies 1,680 square metres of sail, including a spinnaker with a cartoon dragon, and canters along at 17 knots in just 14 knots of wind.


The Code 1 sail on 66-metre Vitters Anatta (previously known as Aglaia) was designed by Norwegian artist Magne Furuholmen, the former keyboardist for 1980s band A-ha. The original owners had a series of Furuholmen pieces on board and after the christening chose to make this art a more integral part of the boat's DNA. The 3,600-square-metre artwork (both sides of the 1,787m2 Cuben Fiber sail) is one of the largest fabric paintings in the world and is attached to an 83-metre carbon mast, one of the largest ever produced by Southern Spars. The mainsail can be hoisted in less than two minutes and tacking the boat takes a mere 30 seconds.


Credit: Ryan Borne

Perini Navi's 58.6-metre Perseus3 is home to the world's largest sail. Her North Sails A2 spinnaker offers 2,604 square metres of pure power downwind and is about equivalent in size to 10 tennis courts. In fact, this one sail alone is bigger than all of Maltese Falcon’s 15 sails combined. It took five days to cut the 850 sailcloth panels and a further 10 days to construct the sail and apply her namesake constellation detail. The fabric is specifically engineered so that there is a little bit of elasticity built into it. That way, big shock loads don’t run back through the rigging and the boat itself – the kite absorbs some of it. It weighs 550 kilos and takes 10-15 people to heave it across the deck. In total, her sail inventory comprises over 10,000 square metres.


Credit: Nick Bailey

Christopher is the largest ketch to be built at British shipyard Pendennis and made her racing debut at the St Barth’s Bucket Regatta shortly after her delivery in 2011. The 46-metre may not have won her class, but she certainly wins the award for the coolest spinnaker with its bright red hot chilli pepper.


The 30.5-metre Supermaxi Comanche has picked up a trove of silverware since her launch in 2014, having won the Sydney Hobart in 2015, 2017 and 2019 under skipper Ken Read and setting a record that remains to this day. Comanche also holds the Monohull Transatlantic sailing record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic and set a new Transpac record in 2017, covering 484 nautical miles in 24 hours, and averaging 20 knots. Comanche has an air draught of 48 metres that allows her to fly a whopping 1,100-square-metre spinnaker with the face of a Native American Comanche warrior.


Credit: Sailing Energy

The 46-metre Vitters sailing yacht Ganesha was the owner’s second sailing superyacht to bear the name of the Indian deity, but the first that he commissioned as a new build. Ganesha's lines were inspired by the beam-to-length ratio and the low freeboard of the J Class yachts and she has joined them on the racecourse on numerous occasions including the Superyacht Cup in 2022, which she won. Her scarlet spinnaker has a massive depiction of the Hindu god, and the spirit of Ganesha continues throughout the interior with water-cut open bronze latticework inspired by historical Indian architecture.


Whimsea (formerly Chrisco) is one of the largest sailing yachts built by French shipyard CNB, but is cut from a different cloth than her siblings. Minimalism is at the heart of her design with winches hidden below the decking and an awesome carbon and axial-glazed coachroof comprised of 78 individual panels of laminated glass. But her downwind sails are elaborate works of art with a loud 900-square-metre multi-coloured North Sails A2.5 (pictured) – the largest in her wardrobe.


Vivid is a 27-metre semi-custom model built by Jongert for an adventurous owner looking to travel the world. She completed two circumnavigations and racked up well-over 130,000-plus miles in 12 years with stop-offs in Svalbard, Raja Ampat, Mexico, Antarctica, New York and Papua New Guinea. Her 400 square metres of sail can be handled by a small crew with the help of hydraulic winches and furling systems, and no matter where her travels take her, her vivid yellow kite helps her stand out. 


The brief for Sojana was to build the longest and fastest yacht capable of being handled by the owner and friends with minimal crew. Her main mast stands 41.8 metres tall, with a smaller 33.9-metre mizzen mast aft, and she flies over 1,000 square metres of sail downwind. In racing mode, she can reach in excess of 15-20 knots in 10-15 knots of breeze. Besides the mainsail and forward spinnakers and genoas, there is also a mizzen mainsail and two mizzen foresails which go by the names of Black Betty and Big Jonny, and additional reachers on the forward inner forestay. When racing in a five-sail mode, her kite leads the way with its double-headed eagle motif. 


Credit: Carlo Borlenghi

Svea is the newest and longest member of the J Class fleet, launched by Vitters in February 2017 and measuring 43.6 metres. Her design is based on the original 1937 drawings of Thore Holm, and the team at Hoek Design Naval Architects brought the 75-year-old drawings up to date with an aluminium hull, carbon fibre mast and furling head sails. Unlike most of her fellow Js, sporting traditional white headsails, Svea has a bright red 950-square-metre kite with a symbol depicting an ancient Nordic compass rose. 

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More about this yacht

Fast Cruising   34.96 m •  2003
Pendennis   46 m •  2011

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