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post #1 of 17 Old 10-30-2012 Thread Starter
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Rigging for a Spinnaker

I'm thinking of adding a spinnaker next sailing season and I figure over the winter is a good time to begin to build the list of things I'll need to rig it. I know/assume I'll need to put a block at or near the top of the mast. The halyard will need to be lead to the cabin top and presumably to a clutch. Then, I reckon I'd need some blocks aft for the sheets. And, of course a spinnaker and pole.

What have I overlooked?; It would be great to see pictures or more detail about how the block on the mast should be rigged.
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Re: Rigging for a Spinnaker

First questions

What size of boat?

Dip pole or end-for-end gybe?

The spinnaker halyard has to be above all of the standing and running rigging. On a fractional rig, it could be lower than the top of the mast. But it must be above the forestay. The halyard can terminate at the mast, if you have a winch there.

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Re: Rigging for a Spinnaker

What type of boat do you have?
Don't forget the sheets!
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Re: Rigging for a Spinnaker

You'll probably need a pole lift and a pole downhaul too. Oh, and an eyelet or fitting to attach the pole to the mast too. Sorry If I used the wrong terms, internet sailing experts, I suck.


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Re: Rigging for a Spinnaker

A lot depends on the type of spinnaker you are thinking of, and how big your boat is.

I assume since you are talking about a pole you want a traditional symetric spinnaker. In that case you will need a topping lift aka an "uphaul" to lift the pole. It is like a halyard that exits the front of the mast part way up. You will also need a foreguy, aka a downhaul to brace the pole down. This is a line that runs to a block in the middle of the foredeck. (Some boats run the downhaul to the base of the mast, which has pluses and minuses!) You will also need a mast ring that the inboard end of the pole clips to. Ideally a section of T-track down the front of the mast with the ring on a car. This allows better pole adjustment for different conditions. There are a few other things to consider depending on the boat size and what you intend to do with it.

The other option to consider is an asymetric or "cruising chute". They are much easier to rig. You just need a halyard and sheets, and the only decision is whether to tack it to the stem, or install a bowsprit. The downside is they don't work very well for downwind, they are best suited to reaching.

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Re: Rigging for a Spinnaker

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Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post
I'm thinking of adding a spinnaker next sailing season ... And, of course a spinnaker and pole.

What have I overlooked?; It would be great to see pictures or more detail about how the block on the mast should be rigged.
Two things - a spinnaker sock/sleeve and an ATN tacker (for an asymmetrical spinnaker). I added an assym. spinnaker this summer. I don't use a spinnaker pole . FX sails made my spinnaker and included a sleeve or sock - you really want one of these, and an ATN tacker. I put two blocks as far AFT as I could get them and a single block on the deck below the jib furler that allows the ATN device to ride up and down the furled headsail for trimming. Attached are a few blurry pictures of the spinnaker flying one evening on the way back home.

Good luck - ARRRRR!
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Spinnaker1.jpg   Spinnaker2.jpg   Spinnaker3.jpg  
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Re: Rigging for a Spinnaker

Thanks for all the great information and follow on questions. My boat is a Quickstep 24'. It's a masthead rig, so I'm going to have to see what my options are up there to get above the headstay. I had planned on a symmetrical chute, largely because I had imagined that sailing an asymmetrical was challenging without a sprit, but cookwithgas has sort of disproven that, so I guess I should include requests for opinions for symmetrical versus asymmetrical.
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Re: Rigging for a Spinnaker

What are your typical sailing conditions? If you do a lot of upwind/downwind as opposed to mostly reaching back and forth then a symmetrical spinnaker will be the better bet. Also once you've got it sorted I think it's easier to gibe than an assym.

Suggest you look around/talk to similar sized boats/owners to spec out the gear you'll need. Pole,(if symm.) downhaul, pole lift, halyard, sheets and turning blocks, maybe twingers if you get some real breeze now and then.. the list goes on.

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Re: Rigging for a Spinnaker

How many people do you normally sail with? You need crew who know what they are doing with a symmetrical spinnaker. If you are shorthanded then an assymetrical will get far more use. No, you can't go dead downwind with one but you can get pretty far off the wind in pretty light air with a properly sized and cut assymmetrical. And you can do without the ATN tacker at first (or altogether) Most of the time you can get away with a fixed length tack pendant that will be adequate under most conditions and will greatly reduce the rigging you need to deal with. If shorthanded this is a very good thing. I am a cruiser, not a racer so I am not trying to get every last tenth of a knot. I just want to keep the boat moving in light air so I am more inclined to go for ease of handling than the ability to control sail shape perfectly.

By the way, the North sails website has a video that will help you see what you will need and how it is used. Or you can just google it and find lots of youtubes about this
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Re: Rigging for a Spinnaker

Re: tack pennants

I would really recommend a line back to the cockpit (preferably 2:1 purchase) to control the tack. Close / beam reaching you want to bring the tack down close to pulpit. Broad reaching you want to ease the tack up. The tack strap keeps the tack pennant off the pulpit. You can attach the clew to the snap shackle and blow the tack, if necessary.

Also - when you fly chutes ensure that you keep the main. If you need to get the sail down using the dousing bag, you need to blanket the chute with the main. Also better balance. If you are in light air, center the main to get more air to the chute.

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