Latest News: Forums Technical spinnaker to pump or not ?

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  • #4300
    Jim Briggs

    Can someone help me please.
    I want to modify my spinnaker hoisting system. At present its just a straight forward heave on the halyard 1:1 my problem is I’m a very large man 6’8’’ and 23 stone, so nimbly standing up whilst holding the tiller between my knees while my crew at 12st also standing up to rig the pole doesn’t make for the most stable boat condition, nor am I really that nimble. Is it ok for me to install either a pup action spinnaker system or a simplified version there of.
    I can’t see anything in the class rules pertaining to this

    Many thanks Jim


    Purchases and pump action systems are class legal in the Wayfarer class and many of the top boats have such systems in use. But a pump action system works only when it is carefully adjusted and very well maintained. I know several good sailors that got rid of it after their pump action system failed at the least expected moment. The most reliable 2:1 system I have seen so far was a simple purchase using a singe sheave block inside the mast.

    I don’t bother with spi-halyard purchases because my problem is not the hoisting speed but basically everything else. 😥
    Helm and crew should master all other spi-procedures first before a hoisting purchase starts to pay off IMHO.


    I am only 6′ and 14sts but equally , if not more clumsy , than you Jim . Just dried out from a capsize yesterday caused by a fall whilst tacking .

    Ian Porter had Kevin Gibb fit a pump action spi hoist for me some years ago . It took Kevin so long to get it right that Ian refused to fit anymore . Mine was ditched quite quickly as it only worked for the first hoist despite my efforts gear up the process by fitting more purchases .

    Having the helmsman pull up the spi can be a precarious process for a 77 year old on top of a wave at Shoreham so recently I have reverted to the system I used when I sailed merlins – let the crew do it !! We put the pole up as we near the windward mark and Philip pulls the halyard up as we round while I concentrate on trimming the main , catching a wave and adjusting the height and angle of the pole The pole height control line is also led back to the thwart to avoid having the helmsman’s head in the bottom of the boat . The cleat for the spi halyard is a Seasure flat one slightly offset from the direct line from the mast to the cleat at the back of the C/B case and in a quiet moment I cleat the halyard in this cleat – a little tug releases the halyard from the forward cleat so that I can help getting the spi down into the shute .

    Jim Briggs

    Thanks Swiebertje and Bigal. This is the first time I have posted a question on this Forum and I’m getting some really useful information so many thanks to you both
    Swiebertje I am fascinated by the idea of putting a block inside the mast. I presume you mean a purchase of 1:2 ie for every foot of halyard you pull, the spinnaker actually rises 2 feet ? Also, what is the best way to gain access the inside of the mast to install a block inside it?

    Bigal, to be honest my crew and I have only been sailing for less than 2 years, it is only this season when we feel we are beginning to get to grips with the spinnaker. I am impressed that your crew can manage to hoist and fly virtually simultaneously, I would love to see this in action. My crew really dose seem to have her hands full from the moment she starts to rig the pole until the end of the run

    Many thanks again to you both


    @Jim Briggs wrote:

    I presume you mean a purchase of 1:2 ie for every foot of halyard you pull, the spinnaker actually rises 2 feet ? Also, what is the best way to gain access the inside of the mast to install a block inside it?

    Indeed a purchase that allows you to pull only half the length. I have made a quick sketch that (hopefully) shows how its done.
    The knot (dot in the sketch) is outside the mast. The halyard goes from the knot through a small hole with a diameter slightly larger then the halyard diameter, down to a block and back up to the spi-sheave. Then a new line goes from the block down to the foot, over the sheave where the halyard used to be. Then you need to tweak the length of the halyard in such a way that the spinnaker can be hoisted fully with the block just above the sheave in the foot. This maximizes the halyard length and ensures the halyard is long enough to store the spinnaker and cleat the halyard near one of the shrouds. Provided the new control line has some excess length, maximizing the halyard length also allows it to be shortened when it starts to shows wear marks.

    The hole that holds the bitter end is located a few inches above the hounds to avoid weakening the mast any further. There are enough holes as it is at the hounds. To mount the halyard it needs some diddling after the foot has been removed. Use the existing halyard to pull in a helper line. Other tools are an electricians spring or a bowden cable to thread a line through the mast. Some say a nylon fishing line with fishing lead attached works just as well, but I never mastered that technique. Use tape to connect the halyard to the fishing line, spring or bowden cable.


    Hopefully my crew will never get to know how impressed you are with him ! In truth after he has hoisted he turns his attention to the sheet ;I have already sheeted the guy to roughly the correct position .

    Jim Briggs

    Thanks Swiebertje that looks like a good system that will suit our style of sailing well many thanks.
    Also, when pulling new halliards into a mast is there a technique for avoiding getting the new lines twisted around the old ones, or is it more hit or miss?

    Thanks Bigal, now it makes a little more since but still seems to require a lot of coordination on the part of the crew. I suggest you keep hold of that one and buy him a beer occasionally ?

    While I have you both on the subject of spinnakers, We fly a full Spinny with no chute. Our launch technique is;
    1 As we round the windward mark, crew clips guy into pole, (which is stored on the boom in wire loops) and clips pole onto mast.
    2 As soon as pole is rigged, Helm hoists Spinny. While helm is hoisting, crew is ensuring it doesn’t get fouled as it comes out of its stowage.
    3 Crew clips guy line into guy cleat while helm holds sheet and starts to fly spinny

    We find using this method we can lose many seconds while crew is rigging guy and pole

    Ok, with all that in hand I have been thinking is there any reason why we can’t just hoist Spinny first and then let crew rig pole and guy while helm pulls in spinny sheet. I think we might be able to save several seconds and quite a few yards because spinny might fly much earlier. Can you think of any reason why not ?

    Thanks again to you both.


    @Jim Briggs wrote:

    when pulling new halliards into a mast is there a technique for avoiding getting the new lines twisted around the old ones, or is it more hit or miss?

    Keep the other lines taut and check with a flashlight. Also use the flash through the Gib sheave while looking up the mast from the foot. If it is not to your liking try again. Removing the Gib sheave may help, it gives access to the inside of the mast with tweezers or long and narrow pliers or even a bent knitting needle or a bicycle wheel spoke. It takes some tweaking, I never said it was an easy job. (And if all else fails, try cursing :mrgreen: )

    Here is brief description of our routine:

      1. Helm hoists the spinnaker and tries to fly if. The guy and sheet are led through two through-deck sheaves in the thwart so both crew members can reach for it. (We use continuous sheeting).
      2. The crew sets the pole while the helm is trying to fly the kite.
      3. If the crew is done the helm passes the guy and sheet over to the crew.
      4. The helm adjusts the pole height and crew cleats the Guy .

    Meanwhile someone has to look after the centerboard, the barber haulers, the Genoa and Main sheeting while keeping an eye on the compass and the rest of the fleet…….

    Currently we are practicing another routine similar to yours but we try to set the pole before the buoy. Then, after rounding the mark, all that needs to be done is hoist the kite and raise the CB. Obviously this can’t be done if we are both hiking out, but in light conditions it may be faster. We agree on the routine to use well before we reach the mark.

    A similar discussion can be held about dropping the kite: Pole first or pole last?

    The important thing is to find a routine that works for you and your crew. We got our routine down by practicing several hours on sunny Sunday afternoons and during club races and we are still changing and improving our act. The best routine is what ever works best for you and your crew.


    Well Jim I think hoisting first might work in light airs but in a breeze the flapping of the sail might make it very difficult and time-consuming for the crew to attach the pole to the mast as it does sometimes after a gybe when the wind is force 4 and above .

    I don’t many Wayfarer sailors use my method to be fair but not many sail in Shoreham conditions !

    Colin Parkstone

    I have seen the 1.2 halyard on a boat get in a right old mess inside the mast and the owner never useing it again!
    Its the pulley inside the mast and the twist in the rope that does the damage.
    If you can get it to work, great but I have to say to you I have yet to see one on a Wayfarer mast that has worked!!.
    Maybe you would like to think about going to one of the training days this year to pick up some help with spinaker work and other usefull things, I am sure you could go for the day without a boat if that would better and learn from the good guys.

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