spinnaker w/o a topping lift for the pole? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-25-2009 Thread Starter
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spinnaker w/o a topping lift for the pole?

Can anyone advise me on whether or not there's a feasible method of flying a symmetrical spinnaker without a topping lift for the pole?

I don't have a topping lift for the spinnaker pole on my C&C 35, but I've only used a pole with the lift and have been told that it's necessary to have one.

My problem is that I would like to be able to both fly the kite, but I'm lazy so I'd like to avoid dropping the genoa to gain its halyard for use as a topping lift if at all possible.

Can anyone provide thoughts, advice, or confirm that dropping the genoa really is my only option?

Thanks!

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post #2 of 11 Old 06-25-2009
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You can fly a spinnaker using a pole without a lift but getting the sail full and gybing would be a bit messy. The lift's role obviously is to raise the pole to horizontal, however, once the spinnaker is set and pulling with any breeze, the spinnaker wants to raise the pole anyway...the fore and aft guys serve to keep the pole from rising above horizontal - when the spinnaker is pulling, the lift may only matter in lulls where it keeps the pole fromtrying to droop the luff.

That said, working without a lift will be messy, plus spinnaker poles can be subject to strong loads, and are best kept under tight control, not having a lift loses one of available control lines. I wouldn't do it on an ongoing basis.

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post #3 of 11 Old 06-25-2009 Thread Starter
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OK...so that sounds not entirely unlike what I was already thinking, which is basically that, "yeah, it's do-able, but probably not the best idea anyone has ever had."

thanks a lot.

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post #4 of 11 Old 06-25-2009
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It will also have a tendancy to deflate the chute when the wind is so light as to be overcome by the pole's weight. Heavy enough wind, and well, it'd be doable. I'd want two foredeck guys to manhandle it without a lift during a gybe though. So, consistant 10 kts wind or so, extra crewman very dialed gybing technique and I could see it working.

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post #5 of 11 Old 06-25-2009
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You need that topping lift to both hold the weight of the pole and to stabilize it as a spar. You need to be able to adjust the tip end for variations in wind speed. That is how you keep the clews level. Without the ability to stabilize the pole, you will not be able to effectively “choke down” the sail if the wind picks up too much. You will not be able to gybe the boat. The topping lift has to support the weight of the pole in both the dip-pole and the end-for-end gybes. Once you release the halyard for the douse, the pole tip will come crashing down to the forepeak or pulpit. You could go without a topping lift – it will be messy and you do run a real risk of seriously injuring your bowman. I suggest he wear a climbing helmet and you increase your insurance coverage.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-25-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone for their inputs. Given that I have neither a top-notch foredeck crew (sorry, guys, but I know you know it too ), a death wish, nor a desire to increase my insurance needs, I'll just stick with what I already knew suspected.

Like I said originally, I wanted to confirm my past experience and understanding that the pole is necessary, I was just hoping-against-hope that I might be able to avoid having to drop and then re-hoist the genoa if we want/need to fly the kite.

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post #7 of 11 Old 06-25-2009
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Do you only have one jib halyard ? If you have two jib halyards then use one of those for your topping lift, that is quite common. If you only have one there is going to be another sheeve for a second so maybe you should add one instead of the topper.

That way you have a spare jib of spin halyard if needed.

Now that I think about it perhaps your boat did not have factory spin gear so you are using the second jib halyard for the spin. In that case I think the spin halyard is run to a seperate block at the mast head on a bit of an extension. You may have to go that route.

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post #8 of 11 Old 06-25-2009 Thread Starter
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I've got two halyards, one for the jib and one for the spinnaker, so I have to drop the jib off the furler (big PITA) to free up its halyard to use for the lift.

I I have a spare sheave and mast opening which is intended to be for a spare main halyard (I assume--I've never gone up and checked) but which is currently un-rigged. Historically, I've used a combination of messenger lines and prayer to avoid either losing my halyard up the mast or a broken line. After all, it's only Lake Michigan, so worst-case scenario is losing my main 40 miles off shore.

Alternately, there's an opening on the front of the mast at about the right height for the topping lift block but which currently has a plate over it, and I haven't really taken a look at it yet, either.

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post #9 of 11 Old 06-26-2009
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It's not that difficult to rig a pole lift - esp if you're happy to have it all external. It could be mounted as low on the mast as the spreader height. In fact if you don't want to drill holes you could lash a block to the spreader roots.

Flying the spinnaker in light air will be virtually impossible without a easily workable pole lift (adjustable from the cockpit is best). In heavier air the sail will support the pole, but as suggested above gybing cleanly will be much more difficult.

Ron

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post #10 of 11 Old 06-26-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
It's not that difficult to rig a pole lift - esp if you're happy to have it all external. It could be mounted as low on the mast as the spreader height. In fact if you don't want to drill holes you could lash a block to the spreader roots.
Now that's a suggestion I can use. It also teaches me to quit over-engineering things.

I may even bite the bullet and pay West Marine prices to get it going ASAP since I've got a reasonable likelihood of needing it on a trip that kicks off tomorrow...

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