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Old 14-09-2015, 17:28   #1
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Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

Hello CF,

As I reinstall deck hardware and gear after a complete refit I have now dragged my 25' spinnaker pole out of storage and it is laying on the forward deck. I have no idea how the PO stored it but I believe I recall it laying on the deck and lashed to a couple of safety stantions. I was looking thru previous posts about how most cruisers store them and the options range from leaving in their garage until needed, on the deck, hanging from life line stantions, and vertical on the mast.

My overwhelming choice would be vertical on the main mast. I would need to add track and fit the necessary car and misc hardware but in the end it would be out of the way.

My question.............is there any downside to storing it vertical besides the added up front cost? I am most interested if there are any safety concerns that can't be overcome by quality hardware and common sense and care in raising and lowering the post. The only issue I could think of was adding a bit of weight high up but my boat is big and heavy with 18000 lbs of ballast in the keel so I can't imagine this added weight would amount to much.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!!

Jeff
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Old 14-09-2015, 18:56   #2
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

As you suspected, the main issue with mast-storage is weight aloft. If it doesn't make a difference to you (and it doesn't to me, much), that's probably the cleanest way to store the pole. Good hardware will do the job. If you have external halyards, topping lifts, etc, make sure they won't get tangled on the pole or mast hardware.

If you hang the pole on the stanchions, make sure that an errant jibsheet can't get snagged on the pole ends.

When I carry two poles I have one on the mast and the other one stored on deck-mounted chocks. These are toe-breakers, and the pole clutters the side deck, but it works well enough.
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Old 15-09-2015, 10:45   #3
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

Hi Paul,

Do you store the spinnaker pole on the mast when racing as well? I checked out the link to your website and saw that you have raced in the Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Hawaii the past several years. 1st in your class in 2012 and 4th in 2014 after stopping to aid another boat in distress.........outstanding!!

When I get Solace to SF this is something I would definitely like to participate in. Hopefully we will get to meet.

Thanks for your advice!

Jeff
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Old 15-09-2015, 13:06   #4
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

I am partial to on the mast storage for cruising boats, its just nice to have it out of the way. But the caveat is that the storage system needs to be professionally done, I have never seen any cobbled together up the mast system work. Its a false economy driven by the fact that the parts to do it right can be pretty expensive.
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Old 15-09-2015, 13:41   #5
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

On the mast storage not only keeps it out of the way, but when properly designed makes deployment an easy one man job. This requires a track that goes high enough that the pole's inner end may be lifted high enough for the lower end to be clear of the deck, any hardware at the mast collar and able to swing athwartships cleanly. There must be a topping lift high above the end of the pole as well, and of course, some form of tackle to drive the car up and down the track.

When set up this way, deployment is simple: unhook the lower end from its mount, snap the sheet (if poling our a genoa) or guy (if setting a kite) into the outboard end fitting, and pull the upper end down the track. The topping lift forces the pole to swing outboard and when the inner end is at the right height, you cleat off the lifting tackle and set the outboard end with the topping lift. Really easy for one person to do, even if things are a bit lively at the time. At no time is the pole out of control.

Besides weight aloft, and I agree that this is pretty inconsequential on most cruising boats, the stored pole does interfere with airflow around the mast, especially when going to windward. A certain performance hit, but for most cruisers, the trade off is worthwhile. We've done a lot of miles with this setup and like it.

Jim
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Old 15-09-2015, 21:10   #6
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikado View Post
Hi Paul,

Do you store the spinnaker pole on the mast when racing as well? I checked out the link to your website and saw that you have raced in the Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Hawaii the past several years. 1st in your class in 2012 and 4th in 2014 after stopping to aid another boat in distress.........outstanding!!
Jeff
Yes, I store the pole on the mast when racing. However, I am not really a hardcore racer, and my mast is more like a telephone pole than the flimsy noodles that the "real" racers use. For that matter, I race with my dodger, usually the anchor stays on the bow, and I've been known to keep the outboard aboard and hanging on the stern rail.

What I am saying is I'm perhaps not the best one to ask about race-optimized rigging! Anyway, the Pacific Cup is primarily a downwind race, so the windage might even be helping me! The hard part is getting out to the Farallones, the rest is beam-reach or running. Usually. Or drifting.

And while the race winners usually sail hard and smart, a big part of our own success (when we have it) is weather-routing strategy and luck. I don't usually push quite as hard as most of the others. In a mixed-fleet race such as this, where we have a single PHRF-style rating that has to apply to all different kinds of conditions, it can be a real crapshoot. On a beam reach I can usually outsail the (say) Cal-40's, but let them get enough wind behind them and they take off surfing, leaving me in the mist.

So I guess the pole mount depends on your boat and your priorities. Hard-core racers want to keep the weight low and the windage to a minimum.
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Old 15-09-2015, 21:16   #7
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

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Originally Posted by Mikado View Post
When I get Solace to SF this is something I would definitely like to participate in. Hopefully we will get to meet.
I can't recommend this race more highly. The people are great, the passage is fun and something you always remember, and the welcome at Kaneohe is wonderful. I'm probably not doing the race next year (I've done five in a row, and I want to explore closer to home), but I will likely continue to be involved in one way or another. I hope to see you there!
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Old 15-09-2015, 22:32   #8
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

Jim,

The easier/safer deployment factor is something I had not considered. Thanks for the step by step details.

There is no question that I am going to store my pole on the mast now. Safer and easier to deploy, no trip hazard, no chance of getting washed overboard by large seas, no sheets getting hung up on........no downside that anyone has pointed out, which leads me to wonder why so very few store their spinnaker pole vertically on the mast?

Thanks everyone for your feedback!!

Jeff
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Old 16-09-2015, 00:03   #9
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

Quote:
which leads me to wonder why so very few store their spinnaker pole vertically on the mast?
Jeff, if you look around anchorages where long range cruisers convene, you will see a lot of poles stuck up masts. Not all use the system I describe, but that's where they will have them one way or another... if they have a pole at all!

Racers, at least those with crew, tend to kkeep them on deck for all the reasons folks have mentioned: weight aloft, windage, doesn't look cool, etc. But they have foredeck monkeys to deal with them, something most cruising couples lack!

Anyhow, I think you will find it practicable.

Jim
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Old 16-09-2015, 02:58   #10
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

If you're crossing oceans and you loose your mast, your spinnaker pole is a good alternative jury-rig ... unfortunately if it is stored against the mast it is likely to go with it. Just saying!
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Old 16-09-2015, 03:29   #11
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

Our pole is stored vertical on the mast. Like you, I have enough weight in the keel that the weight aloft doesn't concern me.

One issue I do have is noise while sailing. As the boat moves, especially any small amount of roll, the pole rotates slightly on its pin, causing a lot of noise down below as the pole rocks side to side. Since it is attached directly to our mast, the noise is transmitted directly down below into the salon. I haven't found a good way to quieten it, yet.

Cheers!

Steve
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Old 16-09-2015, 09:33   #12
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

Good point. I will look at high density rubber insulators of some type as part of the installation.
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Old 16-09-2015, 09:44   #13
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

Forespar makes several different types of pole-chocks that help heep the pole secure and quiet. I have one that rides on the mast track, just below my two pins:


They also make chocks you can mount on the deck, or stanchions.
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Old 16-09-2015, 10:02   #14
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

If storing on the mast and your pole is really 25 ft long I would get an adjustable pole that you can collapse shorter. Although on a couple boats I just abandoned the pole entirely and went for a different spinnaker that didn't need a pole.
But you sound like you want to drive the boat hard and I'm a lazy cruiser!
Setup with a long track, good easy moving cars on the track, etc it's pretty easy to deploy the pole when stored on the mast. Between big socket/pins, cars and track etc, pretty good weight aloft though. 50# at average 10ft above deck/16+ feet above CG is about 800 lbs lever arm.
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Old 16-09-2015, 10:12   #15
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Re: Best option overall for storing spinnaker pole

It might actually be closer to 20'. 25' was from memory. I had it stored in a 15' storage unit with one end on the ground and the other up in the ceiling corner.

To be honest I have never deployed the spinnaker but I'm now down to details like this on the refit so as everything I have done so far I am trying to put a lot of thought and research on how to proceed.

This forum is such a wealth of knowledge with so many different opinions that it is my primary source of information. Almost every decision I have made has trade-offs.........pros and cons. It's great to hear both sides prior to making a choice.

Thanks all!!
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