Originally Posted by MedSailor
Really? It sounds like you're flying a symmetrical spinnaker like an asymmetric. I tried that once with a $50 used spinnaker and ended up "roller furling" it all over the headstay. Took an hour in the bosun's chair to fix it.
What keeps the "tack side luff" of the spinnaker from collapsing up top?
If the shoulder of the "luff" edge of the sail collapsed, you likely had the head too close to the masthead with the luff a bit too tight such that the directional gradient of the wind between the deck level and masthead twisted around to leeward when the sail itself should have just been able to rotate. Frankly it really isn't that difficult. If we (a late 60's guy and a 4'-11" 105# old lady) can do it with a 1300 SF sail, anyone can with a little patience and practice. knuterikt, above, has some good information. I would have recommended the ATN Tacker (which we have) but making a parrel bead collar is less costly and works as well or better (I have made several for slip neighbors in our marina).
An image of how they work:
We have ATN Spinnaker sleeves on both our asymmetric and symmetric spinnakers, which makes setting and recovering them somewhat easier, but beforehand simply ran the sails through a bottomless bucket and pulled light weight rubber bands over the sail every 5 feet or so. With that method, the sail looks like a string of sausages when its hoisted yet when you've got you lines set, a tug on the sheet pops the bottom rubber band and the sail breaks out from the bottom up. Recovery involved merely heading off until the sail collapsed behind the main and then hauling it down under the boom through the deck hatch as the halyard is eased (although wet it can make a heck of a mess in an accommodation and leave one's wife madder than a "wet hen" which she was/will be). The sleeve alleviates all of that ensuring domestic bliss (kind'a).
The only thing a pole does is give one the ability to rotate the tack/luff of the sail away from the headstay so one can carry the sail deeper than one can with the tack and "luff" edge of the sail "tacked" to the headstay. (However, heading off 15º to 25º really is a somewhat faster point of sail then DDW and while one might sail somewhat further than DDW, one's VMG is generally higher hence one's passages tend to be somewhat faster.) The only thing the asymmetric has over the symmetric sail is that it's a little easier to manage (less sail area) and behaves a bit more like a traditional head sail (asymmetrics are really an evolution of the old nylon drifters of the 1960's that some guy's learned to set free flying).
N'any case, there is a video of the use ATN Tacker at ATN Sailing
that applies equally to the parrel bead collar.
PS: The foregoing not withstanding, if you simply want to discard the sail, you might contact Atlantic Sail Traders