Spinnaker Pole Systems: From an E-mail List Discussion

T Brockenbrough, new owner of Parker 8316 asked the e-mail list about spinnaker pole systems..

If any one can help, once again it is greatly appreciated!.....

I am re-rigging my spin. pole which I received from Rondar without end fittings or rigging for Up/Down, or stowing system....

I understand the concept of using the bungie, have done it before, but I have never used the Proctor "tapered" pole.

Does anyone have a suggestion for "fittings" or "holders" that are used to keep the pole from rattleing or hanging off the boom? I know many use PVC end caps, some use hooks and eye straps, and some also use velcro.

I was really wondering if there is a panacea for the stowage of the Spin pole??? Someone surely has developed this and could save me a bunch of headaches.

Cheers and thanks again!

"T" Brockenbrough
GBR/USA 8316
Charleston, South Carolina/Norfolk, Virginia

There are about as many spinny pole systems as there are sailors. The two most common are "push out" or "fly away".

The Push Out System

This has your choice of outer end fitting (forks, fico or plunger), and a deck loop fitted fore-aft at the outer end. The deck loop is used to tie the uphaul and down haul lines. The take-off from the mast for the uphaul is positioned so that when the pole is at the correct height for sailing, it arc's back to boom height for storage. The down haul is usually rope going to a elastic take-upn system under the foredeck. At the inboard end there is a standard plunger fitting, often with the plunger removed, to locat on the spinnaker ring. Also at the inboard end, there is a small ring attached in a fore-aft plane. Elastic is passed through this ring, to the end of the boom and through the mainsail clew outhaul where it is tied to its self This allows the pole to be stored on either side of the boom, When sailing, the elastic is passed over the top of the spinnaker ring, this helps the pole slide back for stowage.

The Fly Away System

The outboard end is as above.
On the mast there is either a pulley attached to the spinnaker ring or a purpose designed fitting (Spiro). A rope is attached to the pole end and this is used to pull the aft end of the pole to the mast, the rope is lead to the foredeck to a cleat. There is also a piece of elastic attached to the pole end, which is lead down one side of the boom (usually port) and in through a pulley near the end of the boom where it passes up and down the inside of the boom untill there is enough tension to hold the pole end to the boom when stowed but not too much to prevent the pole from being launched. With this system the pole is always stowed on one side of the mast. The fly away name comes from the movement of the pole when its outhaul rope is released.

I hope this makes some kind of sense, please contact me if it doesn't.

BTW I use a weird permutation of the fly away system.


Simon J Lake
GBR8635 and GBR8494

As for fittings go with the standard hook (standard pole end with the piston removed) for the mast end and the fork fitting for the guy end. Both of these ar available from Waterat.

Ali explained some neat shock cord system he has on 8263. Maybe Ali or Allan (hint) could explain it to us. I think it runs from the boom near the vang attachment point, up to somewhere on the mast and down the other side. I think the pole rests against the shock cord. Not totally sure how it works, but it sounds cool.

Bill Green
Denver, Colorado
US 6491

I'm not exactly sure what you mean to do with the velcro, but Barney Harris and I worked on a system that I think will work well on 8643. The boat is a new Waterat and has a pole launcher system (Spiro fitting). To keep the pole tucked in near the boom when stowed, we use a simple shock cord system described below:

@1.5 foot section of 3/16" pre-stretch from the small hole in the mainsail tack (stopper knot on stbd side) then over the top of the pole (easily pictured with pole in launched position) and back down to a bungee chord running through a block near front of boom and back to aft end of boom where it is tied. The block simply attaches to a shackle on the underside of the boom via a small piece of line so that it essentially "floats" next to the boom. When the pole is launched, the bungee extends over the top of the pole and near the fitting at the mast. When the pole is retracted, slight tension on the prestretch from the bungee keeps the pole from falling to leeward and getting hooked on the jib sheets.

We just intalled this system and I will be trying it out for the first time tomorrow. I don't see why it shouldn't work, but who knows. One note - the long section of bungee is key here to keep the bungee from getting too tight when the pole is launched. If the bungee is too tight, the pole will be pulled aft when launched before the spinnaker can keep it forward.

Jesse Falsone
8643 crew
Annapolis, MD

Ali explained some neat shock cord system he has on 8263. Maybe Ali or Allan (hint) could explain it to us. I think it runs from the boom near the vang attachment point, up to somewhere on the mast and down the other side. I think the pole rests against the shock cord. Not totally sure how it works, but it sounds cool.

I think I have the same system. The shock cord passes through a hole in the boom about a foot (maybe a little more) aft of the gooseneck and is deadended with a knot on the inside of the boom (if you have a boom such that you can't accomplish this, a pair of padeyes might be a better solution). From here it goes up through the cunningham eye and back down to another hole located the same distance from the gooseneck, but on the other side of the foot of the mainsail. The holes should be on the top of the boom close to the sailtrack to keep the pole up on top of the boom. The shockcord runs at about a 45 degree angle to the mast and boom. The pole just comes back and drops inside the shockcord. The aft end of the trolly should be far enough forward that the forward end of the pole doesn't come any farther than an inch or two aft of the mast (otherwise this system doesn't work)

Andrew Cole
USA 4565

The key is to stow the pole high enough that it does not clobber the skipper during tacks. So the [trolley or carriage] bungie has to be just tight enough. Also, it must be attached to the boom a little farther forward than you would expect, so that when the pole is stowed, the 'carriage' pulley will be right back at the end of the bungie. Use a small pulley so the pole will ride higher.

You also need something to keep the pole all the way back when it is stowed. A second bungie, shorter than the carriage bungie, is tied at a 45 degree angle from the vang up to the pole fitting on the mast. Stow the pole beind this.

If you have a bare pole without fittings, you can mount them using little screws, but I prefer to use aluminum pop rivets. Much more secure, but you will need a drill to remove them.

cheers -- Rick Leir


Which system do you want to use?

There are others but those are the main alternatives.

I use the double sided trolley, but will probably try the pole launcher with shockcord retract single side later this year.

Ali Meller
7200 & 8263
USA Fleet 19, Northern Chesapeake Bay

A useful alternative to Shockcord is to use normal pre-stretch on fly away systems.

On my boat, the pole is held to the boom by a piece of 4mm Prestretch. This is exactly the same length as the distance from the rear of the boom to the mast. At one end it is attached to the stowed end of the pole. The other end passes directly through the aft end of the boom with a block on it inside the boom. Inside the boom is a piece of heavy shock cord (8mm) that attaches to the block on the prestretch at one end, and passes all the way down the boom round a fixed block and back to the rear. this pulls the prestretch double inside the boom and holds the pole tight against it. The advantage with this is that the heavier shockcord stops the pole bouncing and catching the helm around the neck on the tacks!!
Hope this makes sense!

Andy Williams

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