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  • #4068

    Dummy question I suspect but will someone please state the obvious for me?

    Various expert texts refer to the benefits of pre-cleating the guy (not the sheet) at the reaching setting prior to launching. How does that happen with the kite still largely in the leeward bag and the pole requiring fitment? Surely the thing must be launched and the tack pulled round the forestay to the pole end and then cleated? Have I got this right? I suspect the sources come from the same origin so it could be an error. Similar thoughts are troubling me as I read up on barber hauler systems and the “balls” method, to which we’d like to convert.

    I look forward to the embarrassing simplicity of the answer.
    David 😳


    We do not use the balls system, I’ll let someone else explain that.

    I use a simple side entry clamcleat mounted on the side deck, just aft of the shroud. The spinnaker sheet/guy is marked with a felt tip (one could wip this for pemanancy) at the optimum reaching position with the pole just clear of the forestay.

    So, assuming a bear away set to a reach (with spinnaker on leeward side), our procedure is: approaching the mark on starboard, cleat the guy with the mark at the cleat (this might have the effect of pulling the kite out of the bag slightly; round the mark – helm hoists while the crew attaches the pole to the guy in front of the cleat, then pushes the pole forward and clips it onto the mast ring; in meantime helm has taken kite sheet to stop it flapping around and twisting and once pole is clipped, sets kite and passes sheet to crew. Well that is the theory, but it is not always as simple as that, particularly in windier conditions where it is really important that the first action is to cleat the guy as described to stop the kite filling at the top of the mast and causing a capsize.


    Thanks John. I get it. On our measurements I reckon there would be about 3 feet of kite out on the foredeck pre-launch. I can see how the act of pushing the pole out against a sheeted guy helps get the pole end tight to the tack, and the tack round the forestay to windward. We also have the side entry cleat system but just forward of the shroud. I guess to fit the pole you dip it down and clip it on to the tight guy at deck level, lifting and pushing as the helm hoists and slack becomes available.

    Colin Parkstone

    David, i do it a bit differently,

    I like the crew who is on the smaller side to have control of the guy when the spi is hoisted and as the wind goes up the more the better.

    We pull some of the guy forward when on the approach to the buoy, and if room and time put the pole out with guy clipped in.

    Then as the spi is hoisted the crew pulls the spi tack to the pole end through the cleat to the reach or run position.

    Then the sheet is pulled in by me or crew if the wind is high.

    the thinking is this, I am the weight in the boat so do not want to be away from the gunwhale to long, the guy needs to be under control in the high winds I tend to carry the spi and only pull the sheet in when ready to do so. (High winds that is)

    The spi is up safely, it can sit and flog as long as you like and it does not pull you over when hoisting.

    In light winds with the spi to leeward I do cleat the sheet when its in its stowed position and as we hoist as above and the tack is pulled to the pole end the sail fills and pulls me away from the rest of the fleet ? 😉

    C P 🙂


    Thanks Colin,
    I also have a lightweight crew. Clearly one method does not necessarily suit all conditions/crew combinations. We need to get out and practice different options.

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