Skip to content

OpenAI’s ChatGPT Instructions on How To Jibe a Spinnaker

Sailing instructors, you can relax for a while longer. ChatGPT AI is not going to take your job teaching people how to jibe a spinnaker. Everyone is chatting about this new AI-powered chatbot, so we thought we’d ask it a sailing question, like, how do you jibe a spinnaker? The first answer was rather rudimentary and missed some key points. The answer from ChatGPT follows.

“Jibing a spinnaker is a sailing maneuver that involves turning the boat downwind and switching the spinnaker from one side of the boat to the other. It can be a challenging maneuver to execute properly, but with practice and the right techniques, it can be mastered.

“Here is a step-by-step guide on how to jibe a spinnaker:

  1. Begin by sailing with the wind on your starboard (right) side and the spinnaker flying on the port (left) side of the boat.
  2. As you approach the point where you want to jibe, start to bear away (turn the boat downwind) and at the same time, trim the mainsail so that it is tight and pulling the boat down.
  3. As the boat begins to bear away, the spinnaker will start to fill with wind on the opposite side of the boat.
  4. As the spinnaker fills, the crew should be ready to release the sheet (the line controlling the spinnaker) on the old side of the boat and quickly trim the sheet on the new side of the boat. This should be done smoothly and quickly to avoid the spinnaker collapsing or wrapping around the boat.
  5. As the spinnaker fills on the new side of the boat, the boat should continue to bear away and the mainsail should be trimmed to keep the boat balanced and on course.
  6. Once the spinnaker is fully filled on the new side of the boat, the crew can adjust the sheets and trim the sail to the desired position.
  7. The boat can then continue sailing downwind with the spinnaker flying on the opposite side from where it was before the jibe.

“Remember, jibing a spinnaker is a challenging maneuver and should be practiced under the supervision of an experienced sailor until you feel comfortable and confident in your ability to execute it safely.”

Spinnaker Wrap
Since ChatGPT didn’t mention anything about a spinnaker pole, we’re assuming it “thought” it was asymmetrical. It still has some things to work on.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Following our first, more generic question, we tried clarifying with, “How do you jibe a symmetrical spinnaker?” It did include a pole in these instructions but claimed it was similar to a “traditional spinnaker.” We have to assume ChatGPT’s limited sailing experience leads it to think a traditional spinnaker is asymmetrical. ChatGPT describes jibing a symmetrical spinnaker below.

“Jibing a symmetrical spinnaker is similar to jibing a traditional spinnaker, but with a few key differences. A symmetrical spinnaker is shaped differently and is designed to be flown on either side of the boat, so the jibe maneuver is slightly different.

“Here is a step-by-step guide on how to jibe a symmetrical spinnaker:

  1. Begin by sailing with the wind on your starboard (right) side and the spinnaker flying on the port (left) side of the boat.
  2. As you approach the point where you want to jibe, start to bear away (turn the boat downwind) and at the same time, trim the mainsail so that it is tight and pulling the boat down.
  3. As the boat begins to bear away, the spinnaker will start to fill with wind on the opposite side of the boat.
  4. As the spinnaker fills, the crew should be ready to release the sheet (the line controlling the spinnaker) on the old side of the boat and quickly trim the sheet on the new side of the boat. This should be done smoothly and quickly to avoid the spinnaker collapsing or wrapping around the boat.
  5. At the same time, the pole (the long, telescoping pole used to support the spinnaker) should be shifted from the old side of the boat to the new side of the boat, in order to support the spinnaker as it fills on the new side.
  6. As the spinnaker fills on the new side of the boat, the boat should continue to bear away and the mainsail should be trimmed to keep the boat balanced and on course.
  7. Once the spinnaker is fully filled on the new side of the boat, the crew can adjust the sheets and trim the sail to the desired position.
  8. The boat can then continue sailing downwind with the spinnaker flying on the opposite side from where it was before the jibe.”

Immediately after giving us the instructions above it defaulted to “network error.” It may have been questioning its own instructions.

Spinnaker wrap
ChatGPT has instructions for both symmetrical and asymmetrical chutes. The results are similar.
© 2022 Robbie Gabriel

We went back to ask ChatGPT to explain barging at the starting line but got this message:

“Write an acrostic poem about the status of ChatGPT.

“C: ChatGPT is currently down H: Huge demand has caused the site to crash A: All users will have to wait T: Time is needed for the servers to catch up G: Go grab a coffee and check back soon P: Patience is key in this situation T: Trust that the team is working hard to fix it up.”

Apparently, so many people were trying to use AI to learn to sail that the system crashed. It’s now back up and running, but it’s going to be a while before ChatGPT is successfully giving sailing instructions. One thing we know about technology is it only gets better over time. Just like your foredeck crew.

 

1 Comment

  1. Ben Shaw 3 months ago

    That’s funny, one of the first things I asked ChatGPT was how to perform a man overboard drill from a sailboat. It didn’t do a whole lot better at that than jibing. No worry in the near future that the robot sailboats are going to be winning the regattas – but don’t tell Saildrone.

Leave a Comment




Advocating for the Waterfront
For years now, we've heard that Ayala Cove has become too shallow for many sailboats. Readers have asked us what we've heard about dredging around Angel Island, which is part of the California State Parks system.