How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Moderator: GreenLake

Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby tomodda » Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:07 pm

Hi RobH:

Let me try and answer piece by piece, and I'm sure GL can expand upon and correct me as necessary. But first, I'll admit having no dinghy-sailing spinnaker experience, only on J-24's and only as crew.

Yes, topping lift = uphaul, foreguy = downhaul, interchangeable terms, potato, potahtoe, at least on a DS. Personally, I stick with uphaul/downhaul as the job description is in the name.

As for bungee cord, it boils down to a way to simplify the rig. Think, what is the purpose of the uphaul and downhaul? We generally want to keep the pole parallel to the water, with the chute as spread out (full) as possible. If the wind picks up, we'll have to pull the pole down a bit (spinnaker is ballooning up and out), if it dies down, the spinnaker deflates and we need to hoist the pole up. As we head up into a broad reach (hotter angles), we want to tighten the luff by pulling the pole down. At a beam reach, almost to the deck which also helps us avoid banging into the forestay. So, we probably wind up adjusting the up/downhaul about as much as we'd adjust the barber haulers on the jib... not constantly, but bears keeping an eye on it.

But... we're not a BIG boat, and our pole weighs a whopping 2.2 pounds/1 kilo. So we can simplify, we don't need BOTH an uphaul and a downhaul, one can be replaced with a bungee and the other "haul" works against it. The bungie goes to a fixed point (eyestrap) on the mast instead of being routed to a cleat. The stretchiness of the bungie will work just fine against a kilo! So the question is, which do you replace? Again, I'm approaching this with no prior chute experience on dinghies (even a big one like the DS), but I like GL's approach - let the bungee/uphaul pull the pole up and control the process with a regular rope downhaul. After all, most of the time we're pulling the pole down because of a puff (remember, the chute will balloon up and out) so we want the control and non-sketchiness of the downhaul. When we get a lull, we can let the bungee do the work and pull the pole back up as we slacken the downhaul. On the other hand, you can go the other way and have a bungee downhaul and a rope uphaul. Not sure of the advantage but it does eliminate a cleat. Either way, the "bungie haul" is going to actually be a combo (bungie+line) as pure bungie would stretch too much. As GL noted, I'll have to figure out the ration by trial and error, so some fun to be had!

And on the OTHER other hand, Phil Root on Lollipop, says replace the downhaul with a bungie and rope combo, but have it pull forward to a hole in the fore edge of the cuddy, and then route to a cleat. His idea is to have the downhaul pull for'd as well - the true meaning of foreguy. That will keep the jaws snug up against the tack of the chute, since it can slip back down the guy in a puff. The bungee part is just to keep the geometry straight, otherwise the pole would go down as you pull for'd. Me? I'm not racing, I'm not the North American DS champion - Phil is! If the jaws slip then I'll haul in on the guy a bit, problem solved. And the great thing about the DS is that it's so easy to tweak the running rigging. Want to change your setup? Spend a few bucks, instead of hundreds, for a new hardware or lines, fill in some screw holes, make some new ones, and off you go!

P.S. As I've noted elsewhere, check these guys out for hardware: http://www.racelitehardware.com/ Apologies for the shameless plug, I love them and hope they stay in business in these current tough times. Great to speak with too, really helpful on the phone.

Fair winds,

Tom
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby GreenLake » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:46 am

Nice summary, Tom.
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby RobH912 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:40 am

Tom - thanks for a great summary on using a bungee cord for a dinghy spinnaker set up and differences between bungee uphaul or downhaul.

My experience with flying a spinnaker is also either on a J-24 as crew, and then on a Sonar class boat (23') that I owned in the 80's... a long, long time ago.

Have yet to fly a spinnaker on a DS, but after re-reading this thread a couple more times I think what you and GL are saying is clearer to me.

The bungie goes to a fixed point (eyestrap) on the mast instead of being routed to a cleat. The stretchiness of the bungie will work just fine against a kilo! So the question is, which do you replace? Again, I'm approaching this with no prior chute experience on dinghies (even a big one like the DS), but I like GL's approach - let the bungee/uphaul pull the pole up and control the process with a regular rope downhaul.


So staying with the bungee uphaul thought...

Is the uphaul all bungee with swivel snap shackles on both ends or is the uphaul, a combo of bungee and line tied together and then using snap shackles at the ends? GL you mention "fixed part" and wasn't sure what that means.

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'.



Thanks!
Rob


DS1 #2444
Cape Cod
Eastham, MA
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby GreenLake » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:22 pm

As Tom tried to explain, I'm using a combination bungee/rope for the uphaul, so that I can dial in the amount of stretch. There's a maximum length for the rope part, it follows from the requirement to be able to have the pole reach the stemhead fitting without overstretching the bungee (~50% total stretch). You can use less.

My setup came together from a jury rig. I had 3/16" bungee cord and found it too weak. So I tripled it. Now it was a bit short, so I added the rope. After trying it out, I like the way this setup feels. With hindsight, I realized that there's a maximum length for the rope part; I had been nearly spot on by accident more or less. That's all there is is to it.

The nice thing about the DS is that everything's so cheap. You can try different types of bungee cord, different ratios of rope (=fixed part) to bungee (= stretchy part), all for less than the price of dinner.
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby GreenLake » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:48 pm

Tom, my bamboo spinnaker pole should come in at less than a kilo (2.2.1lbs). However, it's big enough that even at a kilo it would feel light. I tried to weigh it, but don't really have a scale that's precise in that range. Best estimate I can get is 1.5lbs with gigantic error bars.
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby RobH912 » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:21 pm

GL - thanks for the further information on how you developed the rope and bungee combo for your spinnaker uphaul. Creative, makes sense.

Tom mentioned that for his uphaul...
The bungie goes to a fixed point (eyestrap) on the mast instead of being routed to a cleat.
and not sure if your set up is similar or not ?

I am still trying to visualize this set up and also how it works in practice.

- Does the approximately 5 1/2 foot bungee/rope uphaul have swivel snap shackles (or some type of shackle) on both ends, one attached to the eyestrap on the mast, the other end attached to the pole bridle?

- Fixed point height for eyestrap on mast is h2 in your diagram?

- Do you leave your the uphaul connected to the pole bridle and then just attach other end to the mast eyestrap when you are setting up the pole?

- Attach foreguy to pole, then tighten foreguy to bring pole down parallel to water?

Haven't worked with bungee cord and have done some internet searches looking for knots to be used in a bungee / rope combo like you have used, but didn't find any. Assuming you have knotted the uphaul rope & bungee?

I did find this link on knots for bungee cords and thought I'd share it https://smallboatsmonthly.com/article/t ... -zeppelin/

Thanks
Rob


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Cape Cod
Eastham, MA
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby GreenLake » Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:55 pm

You can infer (but not quite see) the location of the eyestrap on this photo. (What would be h2)
2131
The rope part is on top and tied to the eye-strap.
It has a snap shackle at the end.

Normally, one would fit two eyes on the pole, one on top, one below. I cheated and am using a single eye, strapped to the pole with velcro.

For that reason, my downhaul ties into the same snap shackle and I only have to connect one shackle when rigging the pole.

Also, for that reason, up and downhaul are effectively continuous, so when I take the shackle off the pole I connect it to the mast ring and the pull tight the downhaul: stowed.

The eyestrap on the mast is out effectively out of reach when you sail, so really my up/downhaul lives on the mast, always. (With the tail of the downhaul tiedied away a bit when I lower the mast).

Note there's no "bridle" for my pole (refer to picture). This is something you might consider for a larger boat, but I've not seen anyone put bridles on spinnaker poles for dinghies.

For knots, I'm using buntline hitches on the free ends of the bungee cord. They cinch tight and work well in bungee.
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby tomodda » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:19 pm

Question about turning blocks......

Folks, I'm busy rigging the spinnaker on my DS1 (finally). I have a nice set of spin sheet turning blocks to place on the side decks somewhere, to lead the sheet coming from the clew of the chute back forward to whoever is tending the sheet. From what I've read here on the forum, this block should ideally be placed as far aft and outboard as possible - far back corner of the boat. Why? I suppose to give the chute as much scope to open up/outwards as possible.

So my question - does it matter if I place the turning block a little bit further forward of the transom, about 10 inches? Reason why I'd want to is that there is already a set of cleats 10 inches fwd of the transom on both sides, which I never use and frankly will be in the way of the spin sheet. I was thinking rather than drill new holes for the turning block and have to fill the superfluous cleats, why not just put the turning blocks where these cleats are? On the side deck, but about 10 inches forward of the transom. Will this really change anything? Maybe I'm overthinking this, but I'd appreciate another opinion before i start screwing and gluing....

Thanks!

Tom
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby GreenLake » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:50 am

You know my answer:
2142

Those few inches won't matter, I'm pretty sure; I've never noticed any ill effects of my setup (and I get to keep the cleats for docking). I chose it because I didn't want to commit to drilling holes before I know the (hand-me-down) spinnaker would work and that I would want to keep flying it. Worked so well, I kept it unchanged for many seasons now.

Some vastly more experienced sailors who've joined me on my boat for various fun races and who were never shy to suggest all sorts of different ways of rigging, never batted an eye at my setup. I'm happy to consider their lack of mention a tacit approval.

If I were to do anything different, I might try to find a way to route the sheets forward in a way that nobody can sit on them. That could be on deck (nobody hikes downwind, at least not around here) or below deck. That same would come with dedicated cleats in front. However, I've not come up with a design I like (and one that is as easy to single hand as it is to use with crew).

Of course, some people may never dock their boats, but I'm generally cautious about removing things for which I don't have a functional / better replacement. As it turns out, the majority of my trips involved docks in some form, whether at the launch or at a destination; although some do not, including the maiden voyage.
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby tomodda » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:01 am

GL:

Thanks for the reassurance. I was pretty sure you had rigged simple blocks to those same cleats, so having an actual turning block will perform about the same. And the reason I never use the same cleats on my boat is that I have another, beefier, set right around the corner above the transom of my boat - about 4 inches in, parallel to the transom. I use those for my dock lines. The side cleats would be good if I ever used my fenders, but I don't, rubrail is quite enough. If - one day - I raft with another boat, then I'll figure something out, otherwise I really don't need cleats on my side-decks.
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby tomodda » Sat May 16, 2020 11:48 pm

One more question for GreenLake and anyone else who's rigged a spinnaker pole downhaul....

Following GL, I am rigging a fixed bungeee cord fro my pole uphaul and controlling pole up/down angle with the downhaul. Where do you lead your downhaul line to? In other words, where do you cleat it off? I see three choices:

-Somewhere in the plane of the back lip of the cuddy, either on a console of underneath the cuddy lip.
-Underneath the thwart
-Somewhere on the side of the centerboard, presumable screwed to piece of wood which is epoxied to the CB trunk.

Any other ideas and what is "best". If I lived in a high-wind area, and was ballz-to-thewallz planing all the time, I supposed I'd be positioning my self as far aft as possible and therefore want the downhaul cleat towards the back of the CB trunk. But over here in reality, I don't get that much wind and I'm not really interested in heroics. So? What makes sense?

Thank you in advance!
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby GreenLake » Sun May 17, 2020 7:05 am

I use a spinnaker in very controlled conditions. Don't find the need to adjust DH very frequently. I have a fairlead mounted on the boat's centerline, a bit before the mast. From there, the DH is lead to a cleat on the edge of the cuddy opening. Easy and quick to rig after raising the mast (remember, my UH and DH are tied to the same shackle, therefore continuous: to rig the pole, I only need to uncleat the DH and then attach the one shackle to the pole - then, after the pole is in position, I re-cleat the DH).

Location of the fairlead may make more of a difference. If a bit forward it helps make sure the pole is pulled against the spinnaker and doesn't slide back along the guy on its own. I have some constraints in placement not applicable to every boat, so may have ended up too close to the mast.
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby tomodda » Sun May 17, 2020 8:51 am

Thank you, GL! Define "a bit forward," please? In an ideal world, how far fwd of the mast would you place it? I believe Phil Root places his on the forward face of the cuddy, seems a bit much...
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby GreenLake » Sun May 17, 2020 2:21 pm

Why does that seem too far forward to you? I have a small disk mounted around my mast partners (some PO did that) and it's a convenient place to put things w/o drilling into the deck proper. That's why mine ended up there initially - had forgotten to double-check St. Root. From there to the forward edge of the raised portion of the deck is what, about a foot? The geometry on bigger boats w/ symmetric spinnakers might have an even more forward position (if memory serves).
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Re: How to Rig and Fly a Spinnaker

Postby tomodda » Sun May 17, 2020 4:39 pm

Ahn.. I thought "St Root" puts his DH on the forward face of the cuddy. Re-reading the article, I see that he indeed puts it at the forward EDGE of the cuddy, that makes sense. However he also puts a bungee on the downhaul to "help the geometry," looks like I will have to experiment and see.
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