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post #1 of 34 Old 08-23-2016 Thread Starter
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Spinnaker without a pole

My boat came with a spinnaker and all the rigging the boat to fly it except the pole.

However I do have a collapsable whisker pole. I realize it's much more lightly built and doesn't have quite the correct fittings, but I think I could get it rigged in a kind of a half-axed way. As long as I'm doing this on a very calm day, like 5 knot winds, I should be OK, right?

This is a small boat on a small lake, if things go pear shaped I figure it shouldn't be that hard to just muscle the sail down or let it fly into the water.

Alternately, what happens if you fly a symmetric like an asymmetric? Is it completely the wrong shape, would it work at all?

I'm not trying to do anything productive here, I'm just playing around and want to see the big pretty sail fly.

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post #2 of 34 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Spinnaker without a pole

Yes, in a gentle breeze under the conditions you describe, you could probably get away with using the whisker pole. If the breeze pipes up, you'd better douse quickly.
No, you can't (with any reasonable success) fly a symmetric like an assym. You can however, do it the other way- You can use an assym with a pole.

I had a friend with a Precision 21 who make a spinnaker pole from a piece of spruce and bought the end fittings online and stuck 'em on there. If you can't find a used pole somewhere, you could make one.
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post #3 of 34 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Spinnaker without a pole

A symmetrical can indeed be flown without a pole. On a 'lake' you can fly it with just two sheets. It is great practice for boat handling. Normally done with the main down. Alternatively it can be flown with a short line to the stem, perhaps 10% of the hoist height. Looks a bit goofy, but works just fine. Again good practice.

I would not use the whisker pole. Far too weak. Perhaps possible if it the collapsable type and used fully shortened. Sounds like a possibly expensive folly.

Nothing about sailing is "productive".
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post #4 of 34 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Spinnaker without a pole

I'm a bit leery of the idea of using a whisker pole as a spinn pole. Asking for trouble at some point. Plus the Whisker probably isn't rigged with good attachments for the pole downhaul and lift... pretty important parts of the picture.

Start browsing craigslists for a used pole.. one that's too long can be cut down, for that matter you could lengthen one too if necessary and possibly cheaper than buying a new one.

But trying to learn how to fly one without the proper setup is asking for frustration or worse...

I'm also not a fan of flying any kite without a mainsail up.. if things go pear-shaped there's no 'lee' to hide the chute behind for a controllable takedown (can you say 'rope burn'?).. and esp on a lake 5 knots can turn to 25 in a heartbeat.
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Last edited by Faster; 08-23-2016 at 05:06 PM.
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post #5 of 34 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Spinnaker without a pole

Whisker poles aren't capable of handling the compression loads of a spinnaker close reaching. Have taken a line control pole apart and the internals are a joke when it comes to handling compression loads. In the conditions you outline, a whisker pole would probably work just fine but take it down right quick if the wind comes up. Haunt Ebay and Craig's List for a proper spinnaker pole. You can sheet the spinnaker to the main boom but would have to drop the main to do it with efficiency.

Last edited by roverhi; 08-23-2016 at 05:23 PM.
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post #6 of 34 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Spinnaker without a pole

I've done it, but only dead downwind or nearly so. If you head up onto a broad reach (please don't) or higher (really really please don't) the load may be too much and you'll have a v-shaped ex-whisker pole.

Also you lack anywhere to put a pole downhaul, so lead the guy fairly far forward so it sort of downhauls the pole.

And your whisker pole may be too short compared to a conventional spin pole. I have clipped one onto the weather shroud to make it longer when on a dead run. This is semi-dangerous if the wind gets above six knots or so for several reasons in addition to the ones mentioned above about too much load.

Best result is you have fun, and nothing bad happens.

Second best, you prang the pole and have to buy a new one, which may get you into the market for a used spinny pole (there are many) as well, which is what you needed to do all along. Third best, you break something other than just the pole (or the weather shroud). Fourth best, someone gets hurt.
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Re: Spinnaker without a pole

I am interested in aloof's idea of flying it pole-free with just two sheets. It seems like it would just collapse, but if it works it'd be kinda cool and it seems like it'd be hard to get into too much trouble that way.

I've looked on Craigslist occasionally, but I haven't found anything. I don't have any compelling reason to fly my spinnaker, other than that I have it and it would look cool, so I don't want to spend a ton of money on this. I need a new main before I need a spinnaker pole.

I am tempted to try it with my whisker pole, despite all the wise advice against it… I think I could rig a couple bridles on it for attachment points, and as long as the wind was really low… And doesn't suddenly change from 5 to 15 knots, and doesn't suddenly clock 120º…

What got me thinking on this was a couple Sundays ago there was only the barest hint of a breeze. Just to keep movement on when on a very broad reach I ended up poling out my 170 nylon drifter opposite the main to windward. Someone took a picture of me and uploaded it to the lake page with the caption "Tag You're It rocking a spinnaker" even though I wasn't. But afterwards I was thinking that maybe I should have been.

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post #8 of 34 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Spinnaker without a pole

If you do decide to go for/find a spinnaker pole, get one that's longer than your 'J' measurement. Spinnaker poles limited to 'J' measurement are rating rules dictated, not best performance. A genoa winged out will set better with a longer pole and a spinnaker will be out in cleaner air. My boat has a 13'9" 'J' measurement but 135% genoa sets best with a pole about 18' long. Have a 12/22 line control whisker pole that worked really well set at about 18' until it pretzeled on the sail to Hawaii. Switched over to the 16' spinnaker pole which worked okay but not as good a set as I got with the longer pole. Would not get a pole shorter than 'J'. The problem with a proper diameter whisker pole is not bending it but that the line control mechanism just isn't designed to take the compression loads. On the 12/22 pole, the line that controls extension/resists compression is anchored to a flimsy stamped SS eye strap riveted internally to the pole end. When I took it apart to replace the bent section discovered the SS eye strap badly distorted and the pop rivets nearly ready to pop off. The pole bent because the diameter on the extension part wasn't up to the load possibly because it dipped into the ocean. It happened at 0 dark:30 on a moonless night while I was asleep so don't know what caused it. Did note that the pole was flexing a bit under the load which was moderate trade winds running DDW before I sacked out. I was pushing the mfg. recommended boat size limit on the pole.
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Last edited by roverhi; 08-23-2016 at 07:38 PM.
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post #9 of 34 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Spinnaker without a pole

Whatever you do don't use a symmetrical spinnaker like an asym, you may never use a pole (ever).

Don't use a whisker pole... use it like an asym... works fine until winds are up so much you likely won't wanna run the spin short handed anyway.

Just remember to jibe the sheets on the OUTSIDE (run them around the forestay).
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post #10 of 34 Old 08-23-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Spinnaker without a pole

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
Don't use a whisker pole... use it like an asym... works fine until winds are up so much you likely won't wanna run the spin short handed anyway.
So that looks like you ran a short tack line to get the foot of the spinnaker up a bit? About 10% like aloof said?

Sure looks like an easy way to use the sail.

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