Spinnaker Pole Up/Downhauls…….!!

We ran a small item a few days ago about the ten boat FF Classic/Silver Fleet at Ullapool.  By the way, google says the population of Ullapool is 1,300 people, so 10 FF’s makes them one of the densest concentrations of 2 person keelboat racing than anywhere in the UK, including Shetlands!!  
Adrian Morgan there asked recently how best to rig up a spinnaker up/down haul system and asked the question of Graham Lamond – Graham’s answer is below. It would be great though if someone in the National Fleet could send us explanatory photos, or a hand drawn diagram in jpeg of pdf format…. Can anyone help??
Adrian – you should also check out this very good FF 2663  Resoration Project
 I use a standard double ended pole, rather than a single end and launch roller on the mast. The pole uphaul downhaul has a loop through which the pole passes and there is a standard ‘ramp’ with a notch in the middle of the pole to hold the uphaul/downhaul in place.
The uphaul is rope, which goes up through a sheave below the spreaders and exits from the base of the mast on one of the sheaves in the mast base plug. The tail then goes on to a block through which a rope passes, going via turning blocks to the side deck cleats fitted midships between the helm and crew, so we can both make the adjustment on pole height. The length of the uphaul rope is set so that when released from either side deck cleat, the pole lies level when stowed along the boom. When the crew puts the pole on the mast ring prior to launching the kite, the pole will sit below the horizontal with the uphaul in the uncleated position and just resting on the rope end ball stops. The purpose of this is that when approaching the windward mark ready to bear onto the reach, the pole can be set ready (as long as you know you won’t have to tack again). Once round the mark, the helm hoists the kite, while all the crew has to do is ease the jib and raise the pole as the kite comes out of the chute/bags, then trim the sail. When dropping the spinnaker, the reverse is true. Releasing the pole uphaul allows the pole to drop to sufficient height to let the spinnaker be ‘flown’ into the chute, thus minimising the chances of it going under the boat. The pole can be stowed as soon as the sail is far enough in the chute to be under control. So you can see it is worth spending some time to get the length of the pole uphaul correct.
The downhaul is also a rope which passes through a small block on the front of the mast just above deck level and then to a double block mounted on the keel in front of the mast. The rope then goes forward round a turning block and back to the second sheave of the double block before coming up to a turning block and cleat on the vertical aft face of the foredeck. The turning block forward is anchored to a strong elastic which itself goes to a turning block on the forward deck beam and then aft to a convenient anchor point under the side deck. This way, the down haul is given tension to hold the pole down and also to take up the tension when the pole is stowed, but the length of travel is limited by the rope being adjusted by the cleat on the fordeck. I usually set this length so that the pole cannot rise by more than about 10 degrees above the horizontal, but the cleat allows adjustments if necessary. In truth, I rarely touch it once set. This system was copied from a GP 14, except that the elastic take up on the downhaul went sideways instead of forwards because of the bulkhead and I think they had to double the purchase because of the lack of length.

1 thought on “Spinnaker Pole Up/Downhauls…….!!

  1. We use a slight variation on this theme. double ended pole with same sprung downhaul and 2:1 uphaul but we have the up and downhaul connect to a rope loop that slide along the pole and locks on a ramp in the middle. This way you can put the pole back on the boom without having to release the uphaul.

    When doing a “normal” launch it’s really quick as the crew just shoves the pole on and the height retains its previous setting. During a drop the crew just feeds guy and sheet back as the kite goes back in the chute, then takes the pole in afterwards – a 90 degree twist releasing the loop from the centre of the pole so it can go back on the boom without losing the setting.

    When we set the pole before the windward mark we just feed some more guy out so the pole can be at the correct height, then on launch the crew just pulls it back to its correct spot and sheets in. Very quick and simple.

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