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    We’re spec-ing a new boat and would like advice on the spiro-launched fly-away spinnaker pole system. We’ve only used conventional poles before.

    What are the advantages and disadvantages? Should we have a single pole or two?

    To start the ball rolling my guess is that the advantages are:
    – a short crew can launch the pole at the highest legal point on the mast, allowing the pole to be horizontal at working level and its outer end to be that little bit further forward, freeing the slot.
    – launch and retrieval are both quicker.
    – gybing with twin poles is more controlled, particularly in stronger winds.
    – the stowed poles don’t potrude below boom, reducing snagging risk

    and the disadvantages:
    – complexity, more to go wrong, weight and expense.

    Your comments please!

    Colin Parkstone


    I have never used and have never been asked by a crew to use a twin pole or the meger bucks spiro pole system.

    I think its alot of cash for what it does and is very noisy in the boat against the mast.

    Lots of rope and friction and if you use differing crews each week,most have never used it before so are starting from scratch each time they get into your boat.

    The idea came from trapeze boats so the crew did not have to leave the wire before kite hoisting,not a problem we have.

    You will also have to have the uphaul going into the mast at a much higher postion so that the pole end comes to the mast level with the boom.
    Another hole in the mast ????

    All this is non standard so no chance of a quick and cheap replacement at that inconvenient time!!

    As for mast end pole height,is it really needed just to get to the high ring,have two so the crew can make the instant decision at the time to which they can reach and not faf around with the one they cannot reach.

    Just My View SWD,as you may have worked out its not for my boat thanks,

    C P 😕


    Where do you sail? Do you sail predominantly in light or heavy winds?

    As a bit of a “fiddler” I’ve tried all sorts of pole systems over the years. I would say the pros and cons are as follows:

    A full-blown “flyaway” twin pole system is good for gybing in heavy winds, especially with a less experienced crew. Dead simple to use, and crew doesn’t have to go as far forward at a time when keeping the boat up on the plane is perhaps critical. Also there is a slight plus in that you never have to set the pole from “behind” the boom if it was last used on the other tack.

    But set against this is the increased complexity – it has to be very carefully designed, fitted and adjusted if it is to work properly – and consequent increased risk of breakages. Also beware how much ferocity an elastic propelled pole can return into the boat with if the launch rope is let fly. Also can be difficult to gybe cleanly in light airs, and as mentioned above they can make a shocking din rattling on the boom in heavy airs.

    After all the years of experiment we ended up going full circle, and I favour the simplest possible single pole system, with a permanently attached elasticated downhaul (with a non elasticated upper limit stop) and an uphaul led to the middle of the boat where helm and crew can reach it. Worth spending a bit of time making sure the release sleeves or handles for the pole ends are dead easy to trip from either end.

    I like the permanently attached uphaul, becuase although you have to undo it when you put the pole away it saves having to faff about with rings or hooks when putting the pole out, and as long as it is led to the centre of the boat then one of you can always let it go if you forget to uncleat it before dropping the kite. The only real headache is gybing when it’s really blowing, as it gets a bit hairy with the crew all the way forward swapping the pole round, while the unsupported kite rolls the boat all over the place. Character building! 😉

    Colin Parkstone


    Do you use twinning lines on the spi sheets.

    I use them and one thing we do in a blow when gybying from run to run is to pull down both twin lines before the gybe.

    Gybe, then put out the pole on the new guy and when settled release the twin line on the old guy.

    This keeps the pull from the spinnaker to the middle of the boat,not from the rear one side and middle from the other.

    C P


    @Colin Parkstone wrote:


    Do you use twinning lines on the spi sheets.

    I use them and one thing we do in a blow when gybying from run to run is to pull down both twin lines before the gybe.

    Gybe, then put out the pole on the new guy and when settled release the twin line on the old guy.

    This keeps the pull from the spinnaker to the middle of the boat,not from the rear one side and middle from the other.

    C P

    Again this is a tricky compromise.

    As we sail on a lake with predominantly light / shifty conditions I’m not a huge fan of twinning lines, as the weight hanging on the sheet makes the sail harder to set, so we just have a side entry clam cleat on each side deck to hook the guy into.

    So our drill is actually to release the guy from the cleat and leave both sheets flying from the back of the boat during the gybe, which is fine in light airs but hair-raising to say the least in a blow!

    In the past I’ve taken the line that we sail so little in strong winds that it isn’t worth worrying about, but then again these days we tend to search out what windy days we do have, as they are the days we most enjoy sailing. Getting reckless in my old age perhaps!

    So I’m actually pondering about some sort of compromise solution, perhaps having a lightweight snap shackle on the end of the twinning line so it can be quickly taken off the sheet when the weather is light and just snapped onto the guy as needed.

    I agree that being able to “barber haul” both sheet and guy when gybing makes things a lot easier in strong winds.


    From the above the big advantage of twin self-launching poles seems to be stability in a blowy gybe but the majority verdict so far seems to be for a simple conventional single pole with elasticated downhaul with positive stop and adjustable twinning line – which is what we’ve been using up until now.

    We use a single twinning line (from port side to starboard side via a loop back to a single adjuster at the helmsmans position to remove length and avoid some of the skying during a strong wind gybe). Spi sheet and guy pass through lightweight plastic rings on the end of the twinning line and are renewed each year.

    But keep the opinions coming – thanks so far.


    Hi Steve,

    Following this with some interest. I’ve thought about using a twin pole system both on the W and on my current boat (er….not a W). Decided against it as the costs do not outweigh the perceived benefits. A well practised crew and the gybing advice as given by Colin is just as good IMHO.

    My class allows carbon poles – got a chipstow one that weighs under a kilo and is 8 foot long. Makes life easier…..

    Colin Parkstone

    Now that would be a good improvement ,a carbon spi pole.

    How my or any other small but perfect crew would find a very light pole so much easier to handle !!

    Also it would not hurt so much when it came the way of the helm in times of stress.

    Think I will go and try one and see how it goes.

    Anyone else think this would be a good move for the crews??? Or Not ?

    C P 😀

    Progress ! Wayfarers Moving Forward for another 50yrs.

    Colin Parkstone

    Having looked at the class rules on spi poles for another thread, it stuck me that the rule on poles is a bit ludicrous.

    The rule states that it should be made from wood or metal.

    So I can chop down trees from a forest or make a very light pole from the most expensive metals like titanium ect, ???

    We have cleats and pulleys made from carbon that go unnoticed yet we have yet to embrace Carbon spi poles with all the advantages.

    Yes they maybe about £125.00 but that would be a better price to pay than the above don’t you think ?? Or don’t you??

    No, I am not looking at masts and booms,they are at this time not needed in the Wayfarer fleet.

    C P 🙂

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