Double Spinnaker Pole Systems on the 505
from the e-mail list

Hi all,

three quickies:

Just been redoing my pole system slightly and was curious.


Dave Reekie
GBR 8006

No they are not illegal, least they didn't used to be.

We toyed with the idea twenty years ago but decided it was too much weight, too much string and too much expense to implement for too little gain.

Will Hartje
Arizona, USA

Twin poles were used by Allison Jolly and Mark Elliott the last time I saw her boat on the course.

The poles were led such that you never had to clip the guy onto the pole. Both guy and sheet ran freely through a thimble at the end of a line which ran through the pole. Both guy and sheet had their respective thimble, line and pole, as well as pole launcher hardware. When they gybed, the new windward pole launcher line was pulled and that thimble was pulled tight against the end of the pole as it extended. Coming into the gybe, the windward pole was released and the pole itself shot back along the boom, but the thimble on the line stayed out around the guy.

She sailed out of Long Beach up until 3 years ago or so. I haven't seen them since. Not sure how to contact them.

Bryan Largay

Hi Dave,

As inventor(*) of twin poles in May 1970, I can speak with some authority.

I used them throughout the 70s with success. Other classes like Merlin Rockets and Larks took to the idea strongly, but not many 505s used them. The Japanese Five-Oh fleet all used them! I used them on K3215 (the originals), K4021, K5021, K6021 and K6723.

I rigged them up again when I returned to the class in the mid-80s, but my (then) crew thought they were wimpish, so I took them off.

They are good, especially with an inexperienced crew. At times even now I wish I had them, such as reach-to-reach jybing when it is really honking. But they are a bit fiddly, with more string and more that can break. Improvements in pole fittings, rope materials, better blocks, etc, mean they are less advantageous than they were.

You must realise that when they were invented, hardly anybody in 505s even kept the pole on the boom!! That part of the concept was immediately and universally adopted. Spinnaker chutes had just come in; I retro-fitted K3215 with a 'chute, and set about improving the pole system.

(*) See my article in Yachts & Yachting (UK), July 30 1971, also reprinted in: Yachting, USA, May 1972
Sea Spray, NZ, Apr 1972
Sejl og Motor, Den, 1972
Yachting Segel und Moteur, Swi, Feb 1973
Seacraft Power & Sail, Aus, 1972
Yachting, Power Waterski & Sail, S.Africa, 1972
FD Class magazine (I think)

Rob Napier Ex: KH1910, K3215, K4021, K5021, K6021, K6723, K7189, and K8021. Now GBR8429

On my last Fourteen I bought from Dave Ovington, I had twin poles (I dating myself I'm afraid - this was in the last days of symmetrical chutes), and they were great if nothing broke. There were twice as many topping lifts, etc. One broken bit and you were out of business. The best part though was the automatic guy to pole connection, mentioned by Brian Largay. Essentially a messenger line exactly the length of the extended pole that rides along guy from a nylon ring or thimble. When extended, the messenger pulled the guy to the pole end and also served as a down haul, as it was led through the outboard end of the pole then down to the partners. When not in use, it just hung behind the jib, and was long enough not to interfere with the jib sheets. Gybing was simply a matter of letting one launcher line go and pulling the other. (With good timing you could get the skipper between the eyes with the retracting pole- all these helms after racing with 1,1/4" ringed contusions on their foreheads, looking like a third eye)

The pull to launch the pole became even mightier as now you pull the added friction of the messenger too. The helm could help by sailing deep while the crew launched the pole.

I'm not sure they are legal in the 505's
[Ed. I believe they are... the chairman of our International Rules Committee invented them!].
The racket from them banging on the boom while luffing was tremendous. A picture of the rig would be worth a thousand words.

Tom Price
USA 8351

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