Tying a Sunfish Sail Using a Chain Sinnet

Sunfish sails and spars are typically stowed together. Using the halyard and mainsheet to bundle the sail and spars is a handy way of keeping everything together.

By using a knot known as a "Chain Sinnet" - tied around the sails and spars - it is easy to create this bundle. An important bonus is that this knot becomes undone by simply pulling the line.

Note: in this example, we are using an optimist sail and spars, but the description is for use with a Sunfish.

With a stopper knot or clip in the transom end of the mainsheet to prevent it from running through the block, pull the mainsheet through the blocks on the lower boom until all the slack is taken up.

Form a loop on the left with the loose end of the mainsheet to the right.

Reach through the loop and underneath the sail/spars to grab the loose end of the mainsheet and pull it back through the first loop to form a second loop.

Reach through the second loop and over the sail/spars to grab the loose end of the mainsheet and pull it back through the second loop to form a third loop.

As you do this, snug up the chain you are creating so the bundle is tight.

Notice that we first went under the sail/spars to form a loop, then over the sail/spars. This alternating under-over-under-over technique encircles the bundle.

Reach through the third loop and under the sail/spars to grab the loose end of the mainsheet and pull it back through the third loop to form a fourth loop.

Continue to snug up the chain you are creating, keeping a tight bundle.

Reach through the fourth loop and over the sail/spars to grab the loose end of the mainsheet and pull it back through the fourth loop to form a fifth loop.

Continue to keep a tight bundle.

Continue this under-over-under-over pattern until almost all the mainsheet is used up.

Keep your bundle tight.

Now treat the loop as if it were a single line and tie it to the loose end of the mainsheet.

Tie a square knot. Here is the first half of the square knot.

Here is the completed square knot. Make sure it is a square knot - not a granny knot. The granny knot can be very difficult to untie while the square knot is strong but easy to untie.

Now take up all the slack in the halyard and tie another chain sinnet using the halyard.

When complete, the sail-spars-mainsheet-halyard form a tightly wound bundle that is easily carried and stowed.

To undo, take out the square knot and pull the loose end of the sheet or halyard. All of the loops will come undone.