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Re: How to Rig a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:49 pm
by GreenLake

there's a lot in your questions and I think it lends itself to a thorough discussion of the details which would fit the general nature of the discussion in this thread. It will take a number of separate posts to get to all the issues, I think, so I'm starting with this aspect: Where to put the aft spinnaker sheet blocks?

RobH912 wrote:The other thought I've had is that maybe I can put the rear spinnaker blocks where the two rear cleats are now. The cleats are both coming off.
It is forward of where I think the spinnaker blocks would normally be placed, but the block would help cover up the cleat holes / also be mounted on the raised part of the deck.

My first reaction has nothing to do with the spinnaker setup: "why on earth would you remove the stern cleats?" I use them all the time. I guess, if you sure your boat isn't ever going to be used near any dock whatsoever, then, perhaps, but I've even used them for other purposes. If they snag the main during gybes, you can make a set of cleat protectors that block the openings. Mine do, but only if I forget to bring in the main before the gybe.

Now, the cheapest way to mount stern blocks for the spinnaker is to simply lash them to the cleats:
I've been sailing with that setup for multiple seasons now, and the only reason I would make any changes is if I wanted to lead the sheets below deck. (As I'm sure I've written elsewhere, the blocks do not interfere with using the cleats for their intended purpose when docking).

You asked whether leading the sheets below deck is "preferred".

The benefit of that is that the sheets run free past the helm. We sometimes get them pinned between coaming and the helm's life jacket, which is annoying especially in light winds where the tension isn't enough to overcome the friction. On the plus side, having the sheets free makes it super easy to pass them between helm and crew as needed (e.g. while the crew is busy fixing something). I tend to favor flexible setups for that reason (I also single-hand and wouldn't be able to use a setup that can only be operated from the full forward crew position.)

We do run the sheet forward on the inside of the coamings underneath the jib cars until they are put in use. And we generally only use the spinnaker "single shot", that is, when we put it away we (normally) don't use it again the same day. That may impact the way we think about the rigging.

Seems like if I go the newer Harken 110 through deck blocks I end up needing to have the next set of blocks internal, if I go with the older H082 rigging set up I can keep the cockpit cleaner. I will be doing a lot of sailing without the spinnaker and don't want to have a block in someone's back when we are just out for a sail.

Right. Those are precisely the kinds of considerations that decide which of the setups is "preferred".

Re: How to Rig a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:19 pm
by GreenLake
RobH912 wrote:- Spinnaker lines run forward then pass through another block directing line back aft for crew or skipper to control spinnaker. Hard to see but in the 2001 diagram it looks like a H113 cheek block mounted on the deck aft of spreaders. Harken diagram calls for using 110 through deck block then forward to a 57 mm Cheek Ratchet Block. Also hard to see from Harken diagram but looks like their block is mounted on the inside of cockpit/on side of wood trim) rather than on the deck. I'd prefer deck mounted rather than side of cockpit from primarily a seating POV but don't know if functionally it would be better to have this block inside the cockpit of not?.

The Harken diagram shows a DSII (or modern DS1) with the full cockpit molding. The older diagram shows a DS1 with wood trim.

The Harken setup puts the spinnaker block on the seat where it is not in the way of the crew hiking. Using a ratchet block is clever; standard cleats can be in the way of the constant adjustments you have to make.

Now, we don't have any cleats in our spinnaker setup. First, we generally don't fly spinnakers in stronger winds. Those are rare for the evening races we do and it also means we don't have the experience in those conditions. But when the wind shifts to where a run becomes a reach, it does become hard to impossible to hold the guy. At that point, we improvise. I may take a half turn around one of the horn cleats on the cuddy deck. That increases what I can hold. Or, depending on conditions, I scavenge one of the existing blocks like the CB cleat for the jib.

What I don't have (and perhaps should) is any hook near the shrouds to catch the guy (windward sheet). The Harken setup shows that (but they make it looks like an eye strap and they show both sheet and guy hooked in, which is wrong, the sheet (leeward) needs to run free to the aft block, so on a gybe, you need to be able to unhook). But for the guy, they also show a cam cleat. That's not a bad location, if you sail with crew. For single-handing, I would want to convince myself that I could release the guy (and unhook it for a gybe) from my seating position.

Unlike the other differences in setup, being able to hook the guy may actually make a difference in flying the spinnaker by improving the working angle of the guy. (Bigger boats have a line called "twing" for that purpose).

Re: Where to put the aft spinnaker sheet blocks?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:27 am
by RobH912
GL - good thought on trying to breakdown the spinnaker topic, and I like "Where to put the aft spinnaker sheet blocks?" as I'll have other rigging questions as I move forward in the boat.

Yes Harken picture is for a newer boat, all very similar to existing spinnaker rigging layout on my SLI boat... so trying to figure out what to do to rig the older DS1... the solution may be closer to the 2001 DS rigging article.

Back to your response; thank you for the details, thoughts, and questions. Always thoughtful and informative. I've been thinking a lot about #2444, your comments, these changes and started to think of a couple of "guiding principles" I've come up with for this project fo far: a) make the solution functional, but don't make it too complicated, and b) not to drill a lot of new holes / remove a lot of existing hardware (requires patching), just to "upgrade." This is a wonderfully restored boat that looks just like it would have been in 1966, I'm just looking to add a spinnaker set up, not make her a "racing queen."

To your question "
My first reaction has nothing to do with the spinnaker setup: "why on earth would you remove the stern cleats?" I use them all the time."
... it was the first things that other DS1 owners said to me looking at #2444 boat... they didn't use the stern cleats, main sheet can get tangled, and spinnaker guy / sheet also gets tangled. My SLI boat just has a bow cleat, launch the boat from the trailer, tie up the bow, rig sails, and sail. Don't carry a bumper, nor stern line so yesterday it didn't seem like a bad idea to remove them

I however really like your idea of lashing the aft spinnaker spinnaker block to the rear cleat and leaving it there more from keeping DS originality than anything else. Lashing the block to a cleat also supports one my guiding principles, leave the original cleat, just re-purpose it.

What size block is that tied to the cleat? I have tried to Zoom in on the picture but not able to read the harken number off of it.

Good thoughts on running sheet / guy lines either above or below deck running forward, based on your comments, my preference ( I think) would be to run them above deck so not to have the forward cockpit block not on the wood trim but on the deck. What do you use for this block, where is it mounted, do you have a picture?

The DS Rigging Article says to use a Harken H113 block You commented that you thought the ratchet block idea was "clever" and from other posts of yours I know you are a fan of Ronstan Orbit Ratchet Blocks, is there a Ronstan block for the deck that may work here?

I still need to re-read and try to understand your comments on cleats for guy and sheet as proposed in the harken article. Looking at the 2001 rigging picture, there also does not look like any cleats in that solution. The SLI DS does have cleats and also "twings" set up for spinnaker lines. I don't think I am going to be flying a spinnaker in heavy wind either so maybe don't need any of that hardware (back to guiding principles).

Thanks again for these thoughts. Need to start thinking through hardware for spinnaker pole... I'll post that separately.

Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:32 pm
by GreenLake
I think we see eye-to-eye on being conservative with drilling/patching holes. I always want to be sure that I really know what I'm doing - having been burned a few times when some addition didn't work out as envisaged. For the back blocks I use something small, perhaps the 29mm size? They say "29C".

I don't actually have forward blocks for the spinnaker sheets. For the sheet (leeward), simply pulling forward has so far not been a problem. I've never sailed this in strong enough winds where the force would be hard to counter on the sheet. For the guy (windward) that is a different matter. If I had forward ratchet blocks, there were times when that would have been welcome added holding power. On an "auto" setting, they would smoothly release even in lighter winds.That's why I call them "clever". However, it means you have to install the pair of them and also have your sheets run through them ready to use.

As I don't have anything set up, I simply improvise. It's usually an issue on a broad reach where the pole is forward. Mostly, I half-loop the guy around one of the horn cleats on the cuddy deck (which I am facing when running the spinnaker) and keep tension on it by pulling back. The added friction helps, and I can still adjust the guy. If conditions indicate that we'll stay on a reach, I may instead cleat the guy somewhere handy. My jib cleats are non-captive (no built-in fairlead) and one is always unoccupied, so I might use that one. The other one would be used for the jib on a reach.

So far, I haven't felt a big urge to install additional hardware; I might consider a hook for the guy (to change the angle) and if I do that, perhaps a cleat right there (as shown in the Harken diagram). The change in angle might reduce the load on the downhaul and perhaps also help with a tendency of the pole to slide along the guy and away from the tack of the sail.

Where to put aft spinnaker blocks

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:30 am
by RobH912
GL - thanks for letting me know the size, 29C, of the aft spinnaker block. I like the lashing of the block to the cleat idea. It looks pretty simple, what type of line & knot are you using for the lashing? I had searched YouTube for lashing of blocks, fell down a "rabbit hole" of Dyneema and Soft Shackle knots videos. Looked very interesting, something I would like to learn to do, but your lashing looked a little simpler and a good starting point.

OK I think I understand not having the second set of blocks, the forward set of spinnaker blocks, so at this point I'll leave them out of the solution. Without them, deck will be cleaner and they certainly could be add later.

Looking at my SLI DS deck layout (similar to the Harken deck layout) and see that there is a cam cleat for the guy. I think at this time will not be adding a "dedicated" cleat for the guy and see how that goes.

Going to start a new sub thread Spinnaker Halyard as I will need a halyard :D

Re: Forward Spinnaker Cleats and Blocks

PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:24 am
by RobH912
Moving up toward the front of the boat there has been some discussion on the need for forward cleats and blocks for spinnaker sheet & guy lines.

Have looked at several of the DS boats I sail with, at my current SLI DS, and the previously posted 2001 spinnaker rigging drawing and now think that I will add forward cleats and blocks for spinnaker sheet & guy lines.

Something like the picture blow from a friends boat.

GL Instead of a "regular" cheek I have also been looking at the Ronstan 40 Orbit Ratchet cheek blocks you thought would be "interesting", but think it maybe "over kill" (not going to be flying a spinnaker in high winds) so back to a basic cheek block. WDYT?

Going to meet with a sail boat rigger tomorrow and get some of his thoughts as well.

Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:06 pm
by GreenLake
That hook that you show in the photos allows the line to be inserted sideways, I believe; it's not fully explicit in the photos. You definitely don't want a simple eyestrap there.

the cheek block/cleat arrangement is probably fine, or you could put an eyestrap there and hang a ratchet block. Given the space 40mm is probably best. If you don't have a cleat, it's easier to run the spinnaker when single-handing (as you will sit a bit further back and will need to run the sheets back to where you are sitting).

As shown, I would be a bit leery of the spinnaker self-cleating when you want to throw it loose. Something to definitely avoid.

Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:42 pm
by RobH912
GL - yes not the best of pictures of the hook “fairlead (for lack of a better name) as you need to zoom in to see the black rubber piece on the inside of the hook that keeps the line inside.

I also wondered about proximity of cheek block and cam cleat...

Maybe a 40mm ratchet

Some good thoughts.

Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:52 pm
by tomodda
I very much appreciate this thread, one of my winter projects is to finally rig my spinnaker. To questions, please excuse me if already answered somewhere:

-What kind of line (width,weight , make?) should I use for the spinnaker sheet? I presume something relatively light, low-stretch, and maybe 1/4 or 5/16 diameter. What do you guys use?

-Why cleat the working sheet at all? I see where you'd want to cleat the lazy sheet - because we are using it as the guy - but why the active sheet? After all, you should be continuously playing it to keep the right curl on the 'chute. That being said, I've never sailed a chute, I'm basing this on my experiences when running the jib wing-on-wing... in low winds, I play it by hand. For that matter, usually don't cleat the jib when close hauled either, just hold it with my non-steering hand or give it to my crew.

Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:22 pm
by GreenLake
I have documented my personal choices of rope for various lines on my boat elsewhere. You definitely want something thin and light, especially if you sail in light airs. What I chose has a diameter of 3/16". For the wind range that I feel comfortable flying a spinnaker, it's not too thin to grip. The rope I ended up using is very grippy and a bit stiff. The former is definitely a good quality, whether the latter is ideal, I haven't worked out. Details in that other thread.

The main advantage of low stretch is that the guy can keep the pole off the forestay when broad reaching in gusty air. Unlike bigger boats, that might perhaps not be the biggest worry on a DS (our poles don't pack a lot of momentum, and mine isn't even metal).

About cleating the working sheet, I'm totally with you. I have the same question. If you fly the spinnaker in stronger winds and have forward turning blocks, you could rig ratchet blocks on automatic setting, so that you get some help holding the sheet as it becomes harder. Don't see the sense in anything more (except, possibly, very briefly if you are single handing and need a free hand for a moment; if I need that, I momentarily repurpose one of the jib cleats).

Good luck with your winter project

Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:31 pm
by tomodda
Single handed, I wind up holding lines with my teeth (momentarily), more times than my wife would be happy about! Thanks for your reply, I had scanned your "ropes for various lines thread" looking for an answer re: sheet, appreciate you pointing it out.

Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:01 pm
by GreenLake
Not sure whether I mentioned that above already, but I often grab both spinnaker sheets in one hand when singlehanding. Moving my hand along an arc will adjust the sheet without changing the guy. Moving in some other directions I can rotate the spinnaker as a whole without changing the sheet tension. Works well in light airs.

Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:12 pm
by tomodda

Question for you: About how long is the bungee-cord section for your spinnaker pole uphaul?

Reason that I'm asking is that RWRope, my favorite chandlery here on the east coast, is having a 20% off sale (yay!) for Thanksgiving. So now seems as good a time as any to get the parts to rig my chute. Not that getting bungee cord is a big deal, but they sell UV/abrasion resistant bungee that is better than your average hardware store stuff. I'll buy a double length, just need a rough idea of how much to get. 3 feet? 4 feet?

In the meantime, I'm getting a 2 x (twice the length of the boat) for the sheets/guys, and 20 feet each for the spinnaker halyard and the pole downhaul/foreguy. Does that sound about right? The associated hardware I already have in my "bits and bobs drawer" and I'll put in an order to racelite for anything I'm missing. Although, one last question - why sister clips instead of snap shackles for attaching the sheets to the tack/clew of the chute? Weight/cost or am I missing something?

Thank you in advance,


Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:32 am
by GreenLake
Last time I purchased replacement cord (and I wish I could get that high quality stuff...) I purchased 15'. I know, because it's sitting right here on my desk, ready to go on to the boat next time I re-rig it. The way I run my setup, the bungee portion is tripled (3/16"). I find that gave me the right tension with the materials I had at hand when I first set up the uphaul. Now, like you, I believe, I purchased a two-year supply . . so the answer would be 2 1/2" per leg (unstretched). The fixed part is 3'.

The long answer is that you can calculate with a bit of elementary geometry (just Pythagoras, no trig), what the longest extension would be on the uphaul (when the pole is touching the deck near the forestay). That's a position that you should need only in a broad reach and in conditions when you need to stretch the luff of the sail to make it set. I believe, bungee cord shouldn't be stretched much beyond 50%. In practice it only approximately works out and there may be a bit more stretch on the bungee than healthy. For that reason, if anything, I'd make the bungee section a tad longer (and then make the fixed section shorter until you get max stretch at that extreme downward position).

I went through all the trouble once of doing the calculations (but didn't keep them). But then, as far as I remember, I decided to simply replace the bungee like for like. But, as I have the extra, I can revisit that decision before I have to commit.

Here's a copy of the sketch I made to work this problem. U(1) is the fixed uphaul, or 3' in my case, U(2) and U(3) are lengths of bungee at different pole positions. They should both be > 2.5' because the uphaul should be able to pull the pole just a bit above horizontal (not shown: U(0) is the unstretched length). U(2) should be the max design stretched length for your bungee. Have fun.

Sketch to show how variable portion of uphaul length changes with pole position. Formulas left to the reader.
Uphaul.JPG (25.11 KiB) Viewed 4531 times

Edited: when I replaced the worn-out bungee for the season just now I made the non-stretchable part U(1) quite a bit shorter, and the U(2) a bit longer at 42". The actual length of U(1) works out so that when the uphaul is stored at the mast U(0) (no tension) is just slightly less than the distance h2-h1 leaving a bit of tension. Compared to 30"+30" the bungee doesn't reach or exceed its design stretch maximum (of about 50%) but in dry testing it felt there was enough lift still in the upper range. Will know better at the end of the season.

Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:17 pm
by RobH912
Ok have started to look through some posts on rigging the spinnaker pole... the topping lift (uphaul?) and the foreguy (downhaul?) and getting a little confused on the terms used across posts on this site, and on other internet sites as well. I get one is for lifting the pole up, one for holding it down, but are they interchangeable terms? I think I learned it as topping lift and foreguy.

Had been planning to use 3/16 line for both pole lines in my set up.

I have never sailed a boat that uses bungee cord as part of the spinnaker pole control lines. What is the benefit for the DS?

Seems like there are some different ways to rig pole this with bungee cord...

Reading set up for Lollypop here, seems like for the foreguy he uses a combo of bungee and line
The pole down haul is about 2' of 1/4" bungee cord (the good stuff) and the rest is 3/16" line.
and from the description of the topping lift seems like just all line (no bungee).

GL & Tom - above on this thread I think you are both talking about the length of the bungee cord for the uphaul. The Uphaul described seems to be made up of both bungee cord and line.

so the answer would be 2 1/2" per leg (unstretched). The fixed part is 3'.

Does your foreguy also use bungee cord?