I have a Catalina 27 that came with a spinnaker but no pole. I'm on the Columbia river. When we have a light westerly, we just manage to keep up with the current. I'm not experienced enough with spinnakers.
Can I try sailing purely down wind without a pole? If I can keep the spinnaker open, would I have and safety issues?
Spinnaker's can cause a lot of problems if you don't get them down soon enough. The problem with using a spin w/o a pole is that in order to go deeper down wind you need to get the tack of the sail to winward of the Main sail. I wouldn't put up a spin in anythign more than 10 knots w/o experience. They can lead to some real fire drills.
Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions.Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
We did have a proper spinnaker pole. I'm sure one could be made from some aluminium tube and fittings from your local chandler for a fraction of a boat buck. For the cost the enjoyment factor in light wind is large.
Have a look at other Catalina 27s and see how they are set up.
Its possible to fly a spinnaker without a pole BUT its tricky.. Did it while I was racingsingle handed (SSS).. you have to drive the boat under the sail instead of trimming the sail over the boat and once the wind moves around more than 10 degrees off DDW, you might want to get it down.. you ever seen a boat broach?
Pole it is then... From what I read, it should be <= J length, so for me ~11ft. I'll look around Craigslist or source a few parts myself.
I'm aware that you need to be carefull about broaching, so I'll only use in light air - all I want to do is beat the river current speed on light air days and on an almst dead run. Also, someone told me that you should not put a figure of 8 knot at the end of a spinnaker sheet.