How to Rig the Spinnaker on a Launcher 505

Doug Kidder asks....

Well, I bought an old abused Ballenger that will likely never be more than a quick daysailer.... I've sailed lots of boats with bags, but never a launcher boat. Could someone give me a run down on how to run the lines for the launcher chute? (So far I've figured out that you feed it down the tube...)

Doug Kidder
US 6492


On a launcher boat (by far the most common in 505s), the spinnaker halyard goes from the head of the sail, up through the sheave in the mast, down the mast, out the starboard side of the mast below deck level. It is turned aft and lead along the base of the centerboard trunk to a cleat at the back of the centerboard trunk. A number of variations on the cleat and lead blocks are in use. The line continues past the cleat to a turning block (some people shackle a bullet block to the transom -eye strap on inside of rudder fittings), through that turning block back forward through another cleat and then into the launcher sock (if you have a sock, Rondars do not have a sock) then into the launcher tube, out the front of the tube, and to a patch in the middle of the sail. This end of the line goes in front of the spinnaker.

You need enough slack in this line that the spinnaker does not get "elephant's ass". You probably also want enough slack that the skipper can hand the spinnaker halyard to the crew while the crew is on the trapeze, so the crew can douse the chute from the trapeze (not everyone does this).

The first cleat is to cleat the spinnaker halyard, the second is to cleat the other end when you have retrieved the spinnaker. Some boats use a "Buchan string", which is a short piece of line or wire going between two floating bullet blocks. When you pull on the halyard it automatically pulls the retrieval line out of the cleat, and vice versa..

Good Luck...

Ali Meller

P.S. Of course, I have not raced a launcher boat since 1982.....