Symmetrical spinnaker pole setup

  • May 07, 2012 8:42 PM
    Message # 914281
    I spent all of yesterday up my mast drilling and tapping 32 holes for a track long enough to raise a pole 18'3" long, all the way up. My intention is to store the pole on the mast, and use the track to dip gybe the sail. Has anyone else gone through rigging this arrangement? If so, did you use a 2:1 or 3:1 arrangement to raise and lower the pole?
    This is sort of what I'm thinking:

    2:1 Spinnaker Pole 
    Questions: Will storing the pole on the mast cause undesirable things to happen (interference with wind flow,weight aloft, etc?)
    Where do you have your foreguy turning block mounted on the deck?
    Is it kosher to use the staysail halyard as a topping lift?

    Yes I probably should have asked these questions before going up and down the mast 68 times. (A slight exaggeration)

  • May 09, 2012 8:42 AM
    Reply # 915617 on 914281
    Hey Gary!

    Congrats on adding a super valuable piece of hardware to your sailing folio. I have not used the towing setup specifically as pictured, and I can see a couple potential problems with it.

    First, I think you might be very frustrated with the cam cleats - they're great on paper, and in dinghies and small boats, but I would probably be annoyed by the line HAVING to stay against the mast to be worked. Also, I think it's smart to have a positive-locking cleat (so a regular horn) rather than something that could be just jerked out of place. As an extension of that, I doubt you'll ever use the pole in any position other than all the way up (storage) or down (use).

    Second, make sure to get a towable spinnaker car with cheeks on the bail like the following. A simple ring-style towable car WILL be a problem - the pole will rotate and jam itself sideways. We have a regular ring and this happens frequently - at some point I'll replace it:

    For FC-125

    Our setup uses a single cheek block above the track, and a single below. The towing line is totally free and the lower bite is long enough to touch the cabin top - this way I can stand with my legs apart or in the side deck and still be able to run the pole up and down. Also, this lets me make the line off to the pinrail when not in use to keep it from slapping the mast. When in use, I make the line off to a cleat at the base of the mast.

    Sorry I don't have any good photos of the pole in use. I keep meaning to take a few, but I don't seem to remember at the time - something about sailing...

    I've never found it necessary to have more than the 2:1 purchase of the single cheek. If the pole won't slide then there is something wrong, 1) too much pressure sideways from the sail 2) the pole is torquing the bail 3) the sliders inside the car are jammed or worn (get a ball bearing car if you can!)

    For the topping lift, we use either the stays'l halyard our gantline (just a spare halyard from the masthead. I've used the stays'l poled out opposite our assym with some benefit, which ties up that halyard.

    If I had a symmetric and needed a forward guy, I would probably replace the clevis pins on the cranse iron's whisker stay's toggles with shackles, then use a small block with a carabiner or pelican clip to  move it from port/starboard. An after guy, if you wanted the pole to be setup with three independent guys, would probably work through a block or something led around the after lower chianplate - maybe a stainless ring seized to the lower toggle or something (we use that for our preventers, storing the running backstays, and as a good fairlead for the dinghy painter when alongside:

    As for weight/windage - well, yeah, it probably affects it somehow, but in the grand scheme of things I think it's worth it to keep the pole up and out of the way. Ours was originally the top of the cabin and it made that entire side of the boat a PITA to maneuver around.

    Last modified: May 09, 2012 9:04 AM | Anonymous member
  • May 10, 2012 6:24 AM
    Reply # 916464 on 914281
    Aaron, thanks a ton for that well thought detailed reply.
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