the basic system:
27 Jan 2011 addition!
Picture of Uncle Al's spi halyard stowage system
that keeps the not-in-use halyard tensioned and out of the crew's face.

Rationale: I recommend one long spinnaker sheet - 58' of 5 mil. soft-braid. Continuous sheeting is neater and assures that you never lose a sheet for any reason. The lighter, thinner sheets are a must since they keep the chute flying in lighter airs and cleat much more securely in the clam cleats at the shrouds than does the more commonly used ¼" line. (This is important!)  Our sheets and halyard are attached to the spinnaker with small bowlines (which are very easy to do with a bit of practice). This saves weight on the sheets as well as potential mast top foul-ups that result from using snaphooks on the halyard. The two black clam cleats mounted to resist outward tension on the aft part of the foredeck (see diagram) and the two silver clam cleats at the shrouds (CL 217&218 Mk. 1) are a big help in two ways.

Once the spinny is packed in its bucket and the sheets and halyard are attached you will note that the halyard hangs all over the jib sheet if the spi is on the leeward side and flops around the mast, into the mainsail or the crew’s face if the spinny is to windward. By taking some slack in the halyard and passing it in front of the shroud and then hooking it over the hook at the front of the silver cleat and finally laying it into the black clam cleat and putting the whole thing under tension the spinny halyard effectively runs up along the shroud and is out of the way until you take it from cleat and hook just before hoisting.
    The silver cleats are a must for fore-and-aft pole adjustment. The windward sheet is passed under the hook and then cleated when the pole is in the desired position. By having this cleat at the shroud, it is easily adjusted by skipper or crew (while hiking if necessary!)
    The HA 4077 cam cleats are useful if you intend to pre-cleat your spi and if you want to keep slack out of the system when the spi is not in use.
    Note: In recent years, we have also added one CL204, mounted to resist forward tension in the rope to be cleated, (see attempted addition to diagram above) on the deck beside each side of the mast. Here we can cleat the sheet of a stowed spinnaker that leads up to the bow. In this way we can tension that sheet to remove excessive slack without pulling the corner of the spi onto the foredeck.

Installation: The above diagram shows locations of necessary fittings. You should note the following, however:

  • the outside CL 204's shown should be mounted to cleat under outward pull, the inside pair, under forward pull
  • CL 217 & 218 need the longest, strongest possible screws and should be in from the edge of the deck far enough to ensure that screw ends don’t end up outside the topsides
  • the through-deck blocks will require rectangular deck cuts far enough from the rubrail that you don't interfere with the topsides which angle inwards.
Threading one continuous sheet: Assuming that the spinny is in its bucket on the port side under the foredeck, tie one end of sheet to the port clew of spinny. Then feed the loose end in front of the port shroud then turm aft and feed into port through-deck block, return through port cheek block on thwart, go across thwart (in front of the mainsheet!) into other cheek block and aft where you come up through the deck block, forward outside of starboard shroud, around forestay and back into the bucket, attaching the lose end to the starboard clew. The halyard is then attached with a bowline as described under "Rationale" (and the port jib sheet passes over all three spinny ropes.)

Addendum: The photo below shows one other useful item - installation of a spinnaker sheet catcher to help prevent the sheet from going under the boat. Ours is simply thin stainless steel wire the ends of which are wrapped around the two front screws under our forestay plate. You'll note that it gets a lot of abuse:

la crème de la crème: the “balls” system

Subject: the matter of the not-in-use spi hal stowage raises its cute little head
----- Original Message -----
From: richard watterson
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 1:07 PM
Subject: hook for spi halyard stowing

Hi Uncle Al;

I've been going through the WIT trying to find a picture that shows your hook and V-cleat arrangement for the spi halyard.  I can't remember exactly how you placed them.  I just ordered the stuff for it from APS hoping it gets here in the snow before I leave for FL on Friday.

Richard W

On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 10:14 PM, Al Schonborn <> wrote:
Hi, Richard:
I have no such pic but have left myself a note to take one tomorrow morning and email it to you. In essence, we want a hook of some sort near and just forward of the chain plate for the shroud on each side. That way the spi hal can be led more or less along the shroud, go around the hook from outside to inside towards the CL 204 clam cleat which sits about half way towards the mast near the aft edge of the foredeck (on both sides too obviously. As I recall, I screwed in the inside screw of the 204 first so that I could run the hal around the hook and into the 204 which I then pivoted until the hal ran on a straight line through the CL204.
Will try for pic tomorrow.
Have a great trip, Richard. See you next Thursday - if not sooner.
Best regards,
Uncle Al  (W3854)

----- Original Message -----
From: richard watterson
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 10:19 PM

Weather looks excellent for great practice this weekend in charlotte, we will then head to eustis on tuesday. Richard J is chomping at the bit to try and make my foils prettier.  Probably not the edges but just smoothing it out overall.  Thanks for the picture.

On Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 11:27 AM, Al Schonborn <> wrote:

Hope you get decent weather. Have attached pics taken in my driveway a few minutes ago. Please note that this set-up was my first attempt and that the CL 204 is not properly lined up the way I mentioned last night (see also the email above) - something that I learned in many subsequent attempts when I still had my mini boat-rig business, Uncle Al's Corner.
See you in Eustis.
Best regards,
Uncle Al  (W3854)