Hello everyone,

So I've been learning to sail for a few months, and have been lucky enough to substitute in as crew (bowman) for three of the weekly races that my club and a neighboring one organize. They also have space during racing instruction for me, so I'm joining them since this past week.

I re-read Steve Colgate's Spinnaker Fundamentals and a question popped into my head again (couldn't get the original link to work no matter what I did, so

here's a tinyurl to it). Our

H-boats don't have a pole downhaul (foreguy?), and there is only a fixed point on the mast where the pole attaches. Steve notes:

- 2. Since the spinnaker is a symmetrical sail, it should look symmetrical. Neither corner should be higher than the other. If the clew is higher than the tack, the pole should be raised to even them out.
- 3. The pole should be perpendicular to the mast so it will hold the tack of the spinnaker as far away from the blanketing effect of the mainsail as possible. If the pole needs to be raised, as in rule 2, don't just pull the topping lift (which raises only the outboard end), but raise the inboard end also if it's adjustable.

My question then is: having only the topping lift to adjust the height of the pole, how should one balance the two objectives above? Go exclusively for equal height of clew and tack, or for a pole perpendicular to the mast? Try to do half-n-half? Does it depend on conditions?

Thanks in advance for your input...

And since I'm at it, how do you manage to bring the tack and clew together, lower the halyard, and dousing the spinnaker with two hands? Just uncleating the halyard and letting it go while doing the other two things will probably get it wet, won't it?