Spinnaker pole position

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Nick H

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Aug 11, 2005
5
Yamaha 30 Eagle Harbour, West Vancouver
I am having trouble setting my spinnaker pole when on a run. I usually end up with it resting against the forestay. Are there any good rules on where to set the pole?
 

Alan

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Jun 2, 2004
4,174
Hunter 35.5 LI, NY
Basic rule....

for your pole. It should be set perpendicular to the apparent wind. If the wind is off your stbd quarter (AWA 135) then the pole should be set at 045 relative to the bow. Only on a beam reach do you want the pole near the headstay and then with a reaching strut to give you the ability to trim back if needed.
 
May 17, 2004
2,032
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Basic rule

Alan; How about doing a step by step on jibing a spinnaker for beginners to intermediates? I'm really interested in how it is done correctly because spinnakers are not my bag as most of the folks I deal with are just learing the jib. I normally race in non spin. I do have a couple of tips that I picked up from some spin boats I've been on and they apply to how the pole is attached to the mast and sail. Apparently, it is a good idea to hook the pole to the mast with the jaws up so it just falls when released. Also, I've seen a lot of guys try to hook the pole to the sheet clew loop instead of hooking it to the sheet itself with the jaws up. Am I saying the correct skinny here? On spin boats I do go on I never say anything about the spin pole because I don't want them to get any ideas and put me up there on the foredeck!! The last spin boat I was on had a fore deck person that looked like "man mountain dean" but was he ever nimble. It was like watching a ballet. He handled the pole like it was a baton. He really knew what he was doing.
 
May 10, 2004
22
Catalina 27 San Francisco Bay.
Fly'in the Kite.

The pole should also be positioned on the mast track so that it is parallel with the horizon and not pointing up or down. It is not a good idea to put the jaws in the loop at the clews but it is good to have the jaws pointing up. When trimming the chute, have the pole perpendicular to the wind using the fore-guy and ease the sheet till the luff just starts to fold/luff. That is optimum. Most begining trimmers have the spin trimmed in too tight. Spin sheet should be trimmed constantly to coarse and wind angle for best results. Never cleat the sheet. Also, On the set, make sure the pole is already perpendicular to the wind and make sure it is hoisted as fast as possible all the way till the shackle hits the crane. Have fun. Dave.
 

Alan

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Jun 2, 2004
4,174
Hunter 35.5 LI, NY
Now that we've ....

...dealt with the pole fore and aft position, it's time to deal with pole height. There are a few misconceptions that we need to deal with. 1. The pole position largely affects sail shape - True. 2. The height of the pole is strictly determined by the height of the leeward clew - False. 3. The pole height controls the break of the leech, which helps induce the correct, designed sail shape when set right - True. Let's analyze some different pole height settings. With the pole too low, you'll be trying to pull that curve too straight. Instead of billowing away from the boat, the shoulders will curl over, causing the top of the spinnaker to break early, which causes the trimmer to tighten the sheet prematurely. The end result is an over-trimmed (and over-flattened) spinnaker, which is choking off flow of air around the main as well - all bad things. As you raise the outboard end of the pole, you see the break change - instead of the breaking at the top, it moves down and evens out along the luff, as the top of the sail opens up. The break becomes even, indicating a properly shaped sail - at least in the front. The easy way to remember this is "move the pole to the break." If the sail breaks high, raise the pole. What about the inboard end? Well, that's easy. One of the pole's jobs is to extend the sail as far away from the rig as possible. The inboard end is adjusted to match the outboard end, strictly to keep the pole perpendicular to the rig, therefore keeping it as extended as much as possible.
 

Joe

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Jun 1, 2004
7,452
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Pole height and draft depth...

Sorry, Alan, but I must take exception on the comment you made regarding pole height and the fullness of the spinnaker. The basic rule regarding draft depth in spinnakers is that the closer the leeches are to each other the fuller the sail. Lowering the pole height essentially causes the clews to move closer together, which would result in a deeper draft. Raising the pole allows the clews to move farther apart, thus flattening the sail. "Pole Down, Sail Gets Fuller" "Pole Up, Sail Gets Flatter" Credit Tom Whidden's "The Art and Science of Sails" for the simple rules above. I highly recommend this book for all sailors.
 

Joe

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Jun 1, 2004
7,452
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Pole position...

another way to set the pole's fore and aft position is to line it up with the boom or slightly behind it. (you are easing out the main on a run, aren't you?) Also, double check your rigging to make sure you've got the pole set up correctly. And...do not over trim the sheet.
 
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