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Old 02-01-2016, 12:27   #1
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Rigging a Spinnaker

Hi folks,

I am back at it again, am looking at the way my boat is rigged, changing where my halyards run to the cockpit to make it safer for my family. Going to run main halyard, main reef point and boom vang to port side of boat on existing gear. Am contemplating running spin top lift, down haul and spin halyard on top of cabin through jam cleats. BIG QUESTION, not racing, will be running spin only when have light to med wind, can i run the spin halyard without help of winch? do not have winch on cabin middle, only have 1 for existing gear where i am running the other stuff. Does it matter? do i need the winch for the spin?

just trying to get my head into this so i am ready to rig this for spring launch

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Old 02-01-2016, 12:54   #2
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Re: rigging a spinnaker

Will you be sailing mostly with crew??? If so, running the head sail halyards and pole control lines aft has some merit. If sailing solo or sole sailor on board, better to have the control lines forward because that's where you'll have to be to handle the sails.

You should be able t vo handle the spinnaker halyard on a 27' boat without a winch though running lines aft causes increased friction/drag with the multiple turning blocks.

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Old 02-01-2016, 14:17   #3
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Re: Rigging a Spinnaker

I would also add that you should split the main halyard and reefing (if only on winch per side). You will need to operate both at the same time, and unloading, loading the winch takes time, although you may not need a winch on a 27 footer.

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Old 02-01-2016, 16:28   #4
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Re: Rigging a Spinnaker

Yes. You should have no trouble hoisting the spin halyard without a winch. Make sure the jam cleat is mounted fairly high so you will have room to pull the halyard down through the jam cleat.
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Old 02-01-2016, 19:02   #5
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Re: Rigging a Spinnaker

To offer up some feedback. (FAR) Less than 1 boat in 100, have their mainsail halyard on the port side. And so in an emergency, 99%+ of sailors out there wont make the transition immediately, to things being switched around.
So putting your main halyard there is a safety faux pau. In addition to a basic, commonality one. Thus I'd suggest that you simply move the deck hardware over to the other side. And run your gear that way.

On your kite setup, keeping the halyard & topping lift at the mast make sense for short handing. As then, one person can handle the sails controls solo. Or, a 2nd person can work at the mast, while you go forward to handle the sail or pole.

That said, while you don't need a winch, for a kite on a boat that size, you NEED to have something mounted on the mast, around which you can snub the spinnaker halyard.
Basically, in order to better control it's descent. Especially when it partially fills while you're dropping it, & are up forward, on the foredeck.
As it's a big enough sail, that when it fills, you need the extra friction of a winch, or cleat, etc. to snub the halyard on. Because the load on the halyard will be too high for you to hold with one hand, & sometimes even with your full body weight.

If you size a cleat right, you can mount a standard (horn type) one, firmly on the mast, at around waist height. And when I say size it right; you don't want the cleat so small that when you jerk on the halyard (which is only underneath one of the horns) that the halyard locks in place. But rather, you want the line to come close to stopping when you do this, but not fully.

So, yeah, the sizing is a little tricky. Plus, with a winch, even a tiny one, or one designed only for snubbing (a fixed winch, which doesn't rotate). If you mount it on the mast. Then you can vary the number of wraps of the halyard which you put around the drum, to tune the friction on things, based on the load in the sail, due to the wind strength that day.

Ergo, were it me, I'd go & pick up an $40, used winch, & mount it on the mast. It'll make life a lot simpler.

Regarding jam cleats on the mast. For kites, they're not necessarily the right call. As there will be times when the halyard has to run, with ZERO hinderance. Or, if not, at a minimum, your spreaders will be getting wet. And since you wont/can't have a crew member standing watch at that jammer all of the time, during every takedown...
As, what happens if, or rather, when the jammer closes, half way through a takedown, & then the kite refills?

I say this, having lived it. As, for example, one time on a J24, on the Chesapeake Bay, with a VERY experienced crew onboard. We had about 60sec warning before getting Nailed by a 45kt Line Squall. And when we saw it coming, we just let the spin sheets & guys run free. Turning the kite into a flag, basically. As there wasn't time to try to even try douse it via any of several conventional techniques.
Yet, despite the kite's being attached to the boat only by a halyard, we took a good 70 degree knock down... and yes, the main was eased fully.

Had any of our gear not been free to run, or had snagged, we'd have probably sunk the boat.
Not that spinnakers are to be feared, but if the above can transpire on a boat where half of the crew are pro's, & the other half are on the water 5 days/week. And in training to be pro's...
Well, it's why I always carry 2 knives when I'm on the water, & Never loan them out. As there are times when lines just need to be free to run, period.

And yes, like clutches/jammers are common on many boats, especially racers, with all of their halyards led back to a line bank at the companionway. But they also have a cool hand tending them full time, whenever any sail changing evoluction is going on.
In addition to a heap of experienced crew onboard as well, most to all, equipped with knives, needs be.

PS: A winch for the main halyard on a boat that size isn't mandatory. Especially if you have a good cunningham setup. Or a boom who's gooseneck slides vertically, on a track on the mast. As with the latter, you simply rig a cunningham for the boom, in lieu of a winch on the halyard.
But you should be able to get enough luff tension by hand, on a boat that size, regardless.

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