Latest News: Forums Racing Twin spi poles

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  • #10876

    Time for the ExCom to consider the views expressed and give a considered response. This we will do.


    In my opinion the answers to Big Als questions are:
    Carbon Poles – not currently allowed.
    Rule 28.1 Materials shall be metal or wood

    Twin Poles – probably OK but could do with definitive clarification statement. You could argue that ‘the pole’ that you are using at any one time is compliant with class rules and nowhere does it say that you can only have a single pole on board. If you used both poles at once during a gybe then you would be in breach of the class rules so you would have to remove one before setting the other. All my own opinion FWIW.


    Does it say anywhere in the rules that one can’t carry two poles in the boat? Only one is out at any one time. One interpretation would be that the rules “define the pole that is being used at any one time”. I never have two poles out holding the spinnaker, at any one time. One is out whilst the other is retracted. The “not in use” pole returns to the side of the main boom, under elastic, in the place where everyone else normally carries their spnnaker pole anyway. Perhaps the correct terminology of the system I use should be “automatic pole launch system” [ note the use of the word pole in the singular!] rather than “twin pole system”. Anyway, I agree, a dispensation would help everyone considering such a system.


    Two rulings, Al but they don’t need to be related. Mike’s set up on Danegeld uses twin aluminium poles, not carbon.

    Having a relatively inexperienced crew who isn’t blessed with brute strength to compensate for the lack of perfect timing in gybing the spinnaker pole (I’m quite relieved really about this, really, ‘cos I’m married to her), I’ve spent the whole of the winter wondering whether to fit twin poles to my Wayfarer. Mike’s been very helpful in patiently answering my questions, and has sent me some photos. I’ve spent ages looking at 505 and Merlin Rocket websites, and also visited the Dinghy Show to examine first hand 505’s, Scorpions, Hornets and Merlins all fitted out with this twin pole arrangement (especially Jon Turner’s Merlin which has an extraordinary arrangement called the Musketeer…one string does all).

    However, I’ve been put off by the uncertainty, because I read the Class Rules as referring to “pole” singular, and I think I would want clarity before investing in a twin pole system. Also, I did mockup the system over the Easter weekend, to demonstrate the benefits to my crew/wife. She decided the danger of the retracting pole to eyes (the face generally) outweighed the benefits!

    Personally, I think a twin pole arrangement, even a manual one, would be better for my boat, but I suppose I’m still scarred by one race at Datchet last year where we reached the gybe mark in a strong position, but lost several places because we weren’t able to complete the gybe in the wind strength (and I couldn’t bear away to make it easier because another boat had gybed outside us and was immediately to leeward of us)…so a decision on whether “pole” means one or more would be good.

    Carbon is a different question. I can’t see a carbon pole is allowed under the Rules just now, but Colin pointed out the benefits a few months ago, and that might also be a solution for my boat…and less expensive than sending my crew to the gym every week to build up the muscles! (Oh, and time on the water might help…)


    Just to follow on from Geof’s point above and quoted below:

    “Twin Poles – probably OK but could do with definitive clarification statement. You could argue that ‘the pole’ that you are using at any one time is compliant with class rules and nowhere does it say that you can only have a single pole on board. If you used both poles at once during a gybe then you would be in breach of the class rules so you would have to remove one before setting the other”

    Unlike with use of the conventional pole, one has to remove/retract the ‘in-use’ pole before gyping. There would be an almighty tangle if one didn’t! So, the procedure before gybing is: release the cleat holding the ‘in-use’ pole out; the ‘in-use’ pole then shoots back under elastic and stows itself beside the main boom; gybe the boat around; pull out the new pole into position and cleat.; trim the guy and sheet.


    @bigal wrote:

    Could the Committee rule on this before the Championships as I believe this to be preferable to having a protest against Mike decided by the Medway YC protest committee . As i see it there are two impediments ;

    (1) do the rules permit carbon poles ?

    28.1 Materials shall be metal or wood.
    @bigal wrote:

    (2) do the rules permit more than one pole ?

    Though the rules state “Spinnaker pole”(singular), AFAIK it is permitted as the rules do not clearly forbid them.
    There is precedence (boats have sailed with dual. poles in the past) and nobody objected nor did anyone propose a rule change.
    Innocent until proven guilty applies here too. To condemn someone we first need clear rules. As long as the rules are unclear any sailor is in title of the benefit of the doubt.


    Interesting comments all .

    But for the record I am in favour of both carbon poles and two of them having seen how slight young ladies in Merlins gybe the spinnaker so smoothly . I hope EXCOM allow them for Medway at least but I won’t be fitting them until the rules are changed !


    As a result of questions arising related to the carriage on board of two spinnaker poles for racing when the rules refer to a spinnaker pole in the singular, the UKWA Executive Committee have met and agreed a dispensation for the National Championships 2012, which are due to be held at the Medway YC from the 19th to 22nd July 2012. Custom and practice has seen the use of twin spinnaker pole systems within the UKWA for many years. The UKWA therefore gives the following dispensation:

    “Boats are allowed to carry two poles for the spinnaker. A boat that has two spinnaker poles on board may not carry a jib stick”.

    This dispensation is given in order to clear up confusion prior to the National Championships this year. A formal rule change will be proposed in time for next year’s AGM.


    Mike – as we did not get the demo at Medway (hope you are back racing soon) could you give some more details about your system.
    Do you use a single piece of elastic or one for each side?
    What purchase is on the elastic inside the boom?
    I assume that the overall length of the pole is from the mast end fitting on the pole to the outside of the ring where the sheet runs.
    I have had a quick look at the P&B catalogue in the National pack and I think a twin pole manual system can be done for less than the price of a new pole until you add in the boom blocks and replacement strings. I intend to have a play with this set up as soon as I can get my head around all the details.


    Dear Geoff,
    Yes, sorry I never made it to Medway. A knee op stopped that. Basically I use a single piece of elastic which runs from the outer ends of each pole, down through the centre of each pole, into the main boom at two points half way down the main boom, then each strand of bungee runs around its own pulley at the stern-most (outermost point) of the Main Boom and around one pulley at the mast end of the Main Boom (if you follow all that – draw it all out on a piece of paper).
    There are two small pulley blocks hanging off the normal spinnaker pole ring on the mast and I pull the poles out to these small blocks using a fixed length cord running through two cleats on the mast, fixed just above the boom (I am sure you know what I mean here). Running through the centre of each pole is also a fixed length of dyneema (non-stretchy) which is fixed at one end just behind the place where the bungees enter the main boom and the other end has rings (at the outermost pole end) through which each spinnaker sheets passes. When the pole that is needed is pulled out in position the dyneema becomes taught and the ring is located firmly at the pole end thus locating the spinnaker sheet (which is now the guy) at that point as well. You’re brilliant if you manage to follow all this!
    I will try and take some photos and display.


    Seems to make sense except why is the dyneema terminated on the boom? On the merlins they use this to become the downhaul.
    How are you dealing with uphaul/downhaul in your setup?


    I tried that and it may work well on a Merlin and is a good idea, but I couldn’t get it to work in an unencumbered way with my Wayfarer when tacking upwind. That dyneema has to stay well out of the way when going upwind in strong winds and the jib on a Wayfarer is quite large compared to a Merlins. But you try it, if you can and report back. It is probably a better way from the downhaul point of view if you can get it to work when tacking upwind. I have fitted conventional uphaul downhauls on a single bungee and single uphaul on both poles ( a V coming from the top of the mast just below the spinnaker halyard). When I pull the pole higher to raise the ‘in-use’ pole the other pole goes up as well but that doesn’t matter, it’s just sitting close to the mast in the lee, and not in use.


    First trial today of my twin poles – 2 poles/fittings and replacement string have come in at about £115.
    The downhaul stays out of the way upwind (max 4 knots so not heavy weather Mike had issues with) I have bodged the downhaul to only use the last 4 inches of bungee travel – the downhaul dyneema seems like it will be fine in any weather once I sort out the issues with the poles.
    I am using jib stick fittings on the inboard end and stainless rings on the outboard end. I have cut a slot near the outboard end for the downhaul to run through. I have fitted split uphaul and a stopper about 2/3rds along the boom from the mast to keep the uphaul in place.
    We discovered the slot in the pole needs to be bigger as the splice on the ring is jamming.
    We also need to stop the uphaul moving over the downhaul when not in use so jamming the downhaul from running out freely. so a forward stopper will be needed.
    Pole stowage is manual at present because I want to make sure it all works sailing upwind before drilling holes to provide self stow arrangement.

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