Latest News: Forums Technical Spinnaker running rigging

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  • #21856

    I am finally getting around to rigging the spinnaker on my Mk 2, Kez.  When I bought her as a fixer-upper it seemed that the previous owners had read all the books and fitted every combination of cleat, fairlead, block, Barber Hauler, etc and an early stage of restoration was to remove all the tat and start again.  I have cruised her very happily without a spinnaker for a few years but when sailing in company we get left behind as soon as the rest of the fleet breaks out an extra sail.

    May I confess to never having sailed any dinghy, let alone a Wayfarer under spinnaker so I have no experience to draw on. On the plus side that frees me to be innovative as I am not tempted to copy others.

    The pole uphaul is causing me to scratch my head somewhat at the moment, I have read versions where a length of shock cord goes up the mast but that doesn’t seem a very good idea, too much potential for wrapping around halyards.

    I am playing with the idea if running the shock cord element (to lift the pole) under the fore deck, so the route us (wait for it…) from the loop on the pole, up to the pole uphaul sheave into the mast, down to the mast heel exiting on one of the forward sheaves.  Thence up to adiverter block on the front of the mast, level with the pivot hole and then forward under the fore-deck.  An Inglefield clip allows the transition to shock cord which passes forward to a block right up in the bows and back to be tied off to a lacing eye under the breakwater.

    The whole piece would need to be adjusted to achieve the correct tension but essentially after that would not need to be tweaked.  An advantage would be that the shockcord (under the deck)  is protected from UV but can be replaced easily when it eventually loses its twang.

    The downhaul would commence from the pole-loop, passing through the deck in front of the mast and diverted through blocks to a clam-cleat beside the centreboard.

    So (bracing myself for the torrent of replies and alternatives) what’s wrong with that? What have I missed? Has it been done before and has anyone got any advice?



    Dave Barker

    Hi Mike – We have a similar setup to the one you’re describing, but with some important differences. (I should also just mention that the shockcord is actually part of the downhaul, not the uphaul.)

    I didn’t worry too much about having the perfect system but wanted to have something simple and easy to rig when trailing the boat for weekends away etc.

    Briefly, the downhaul shockcord runs to and fro under the foredeck between 2-sheave blocks, the end of this is tied to a line which comes up through the deck just in front of the mast gate, ending with a clip (to attach to the uphaul. A stopper knot prevents excessive rise of the pole.

    The uphaul stays on the mast when trailing. One end has a loop for the spinnaker pole (this loop is also where the downhaul clips on). The line then runs up through a block attached to the front of the mast, then back down to the cockpit. This end has two loops tied into it positioned so that when one loop or the other is clipped onto a hook the spinnaker pole is either suspended in its sailing position (short uphaul) or free to be parked on the boom (longer uphaul).

    In summary, the elasticated downhaul stays with the boat, the uphaul stays with the mast, and the only rigging activity required after trailing to a new launch site is to clip the downhaul onto the uphaul. Dead simple.

    If you wanted more scope for adjusting the uphaul this could easily be accommodated, but we’ve found the two position adjustment to be perfectly adequate.

    It would be interesting to read about other solutions…


    Thanks Dave, I noted a version of the rig on a website with the shock cord on the downhaul.

    I have a mate helping me who sailed a Flying Fifteen and it was his advice to put the shock cord on the uphaul, perhaps the arrangement on a FF is different from a Wayfarer.

    I will look at your arrangement and meanwhile invite others to join in with their preferred arrangements.




    Ok so let’s challenge conventional thinking, why have the shock-cord on the down-haul rather than the uphaul? That means when tension comes off the uphaul (slack sheet) the pole bonks down on the foredeck, also when the sail pulls, the pole will tend to rise as it strains against the shock-cord. Surely we need to have more control of the height of the pole.

    I have already said I have not sailed with a spinnaker in a dinghy, so forgive my ignorance/ lack of experience but it makes more sense to me to have the shock-cord on the uphaul, so that the pole rises when the sheets slacken while I control the height of the pole with the solid ( not shock-cord damped) downhaul.

    What’s wrong with my version of Wayfarer spinnaker rigging?

    Dave Barker

    Briefly, the uphaul supports the weight of the pole, thus controlling its height. The elastic in the downhaul allows the uphaul to be eased slightly without introducing slack (which would risk releasing the loop from the pole ramp). The pole will not “sky” because the freedom of movement in the elastic is limited by the stopper knot, but in generally light airs the pole will indeed rise slightly in a gust if the stopper knot has not previously been at its limit, although the sheets will tend to counteract this upward movement. Neither will the pole bonk down onto the foredeck – there is never any need to slacken the uphaul that much, even to park the pole; just a few inches easing is sufficient for this. (I’m not quite sure what you mean about slack sheets in the first paragraph?)

    For the pole height to be controlled by an inelastic downhaul working against an elastic uphaul the shock-cord would need to be strong enough to support the pole weight. It would then be difficult for the crew to lower, never mind park the pole – the uphaul would become tighter and tighter as the pole was pulled downwards, making it very hard to release the pole from the mast. Or the uphaul would also have to be made adjustable, introducing added complexity – two controls instead of one. (Conversely when the uphaul is the source of adjustment it can be slackened at will to free the pole, while the downhaul elastic neatly takes up any slack.)

    I’m sure it is possible to rig such a system, but there must be a reason that it’s usually done the opposite way. Give it a try…

    James Grigor


    What type of clip do you use to attach the down haul to the up haul, mine is just tide off, which is a pain as I have to de rig all of this when trailing the boat. I like your idea of leaving the down haul attached to the boat. My uphaul is led aft so I can adjust the pole height.

    Also do you use barbour haulers on your spinnaker sheets. I have reaching hooks at the moment and want to rig some barbour haulers instead. If you had any photos that would be brilliant.



    Dave Barker

    Hi Jamie,

    I should probably sort out some clips, but in fact I still use the temporary arrangement that I cobbled together several years ago. Basically I tie the uphaul onto the downhaul, which has a loop at the end for the pole. Maybe Inglefield clips would work?

    For the last couple of years we have simplified the uphaul by having a loop in the cockpit end of it, which hooks over a cleat neat the foot of the mast. Very quick to deploy! No fine adjustment, but none needed for our kind of sailing 🙂

    We did try barber-haulers but got fed up with the extra string, so now we’re using reaching hooks (clamcleats).

    P.S. – I haven’t forgotten the tiller…

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