Cheap spinnaker pole: bamboo

Moderator: GreenLake

Cheap spinnaker pole: bamboo

Postby GreenLake » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:11 pm

Prompted by a request in the WTB section, here's a recap of my bamboo spinnaker pole project:

The cheapest spinnaker pole kit offered online runs about $120 + shipping currently. (There's a slightly cheaper one, but unless the diameter given is the ID, that one seems too thin)

Cheapest is to make one on your own, if you can source the end fittings.

(Nobody seems to offer a pair of brackets online, currently, perhaps eBay. However, even purchased one at a time they are less than half of the price for the whole kit).

For the pole, use bamboo. I spent less than $10.00 on a 80" length of bamboo. I selected 74" from that, so that the openings at each end had an ID of 1" to match the fittings I got.

To assemble: tape up the fitting so no glue can get into the works, and then use MarineTex or similar epoxy paste to seat them. (If you buy a kit, you have to cut the pole to length and glue in one of the fittings yourself, so at this point the bamboo pole isn't really any more work).

Attach a thin trip cord between the rings on the fittings. To attach up/down haul I didn't want to drill the pole, so I used a velcro strap with a single D ring to attach both. (Secured with an additional layer of electrical tape for UV protection and security against accidental release).

Here comes the one step different from a kit: to preserve the bamboo, seal it with epoxy and wrap it with strips of very light woven fiberglass cloth (like with a bandage, in a spiral). Then cover with paint or varnish for UV protection. Even with the glass the pole is no heavier than metal ones, lighter than some I've used, and the glass will prevent the bamboo from splitting, making the pole very durable.

I've sailed with this for 6 seasons now, and it's worked fine.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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