If, as a short-handed cruising sailor, you use spinnakers at all, you would probably have been using a dousing sock. This takes the place of several long-armed crew members, but you still have to leave the cockpit to lower the sail. Here is a new tool that has been perfected to help cruising sailors control the cruising spinnaker from the safety of the cockpit.
Cruising spinnaker with top-down furling. The operator can furl and unfurl from the cockpit
The Top Drown Furling system rolls up a cruising spinnaker as if it was a roller furling jib. Once the sail is rolled up, all you need to do is drop the rolled up sail to the deck and stuff it in its bag. You can also leave it furled for a while if it is not appropriate to bag is immediately.
Cruising Spinnaker furler top down diagram
This system works differently from a jib furler, where the whole luff of the jib is attached to the luff extrusion. The only part of the cruising spinnaker that gets rotated by the top down furler is the head.
The tack of the chute is attached to the drum, but it is on a free-floating swivel that does not turn with the drum. Instead the drum turns a very stiff high-torque rope that acts as a drive-rod that turns the top swivel, which starts furling the spinnaker from the top to the bottom.
These furlers can be used on most existing cruising spinnakers.
Here is a feature comparison by Ronstan:
Cruising spinnaker furler systems comparison
Now here is this type of furler in action in this video by Euromarine Trading in Newport Rhode Island, showing the Karver Top Down Furling system, with hints about its use.
For complete information about these furlers, including prices, http://www.ronstan.us/furlers/!click_here.