the spinnaker
The spinnaker is a challenging and exciting sail.  The vast majority of hairy sailing stories in most repertoires revolve around the spinnaker.  This underscores the need for good functional gear as follows:

Spinnaker Pole:
A good spinnaker pole with sturdy, easy-to-use end fittings is essential.  There are a number of pole systems in use in Wayfarers, (almost) all of which have the following in common:
1. a positive, easily adjustable uphaul (topping lift) leading aft to the helm
2. permanent attachment to the uphaul to facilitate storage along the boom
3. a downhaul that is at least partially shock-corded to retract excess downhaul while the pole is stored along the boom

A continuous spinnaker sheet
about 55-58’ long which on most boats hits the deck just forward of the back tank - further aft is possible but has yet to show racing advantages.
The one crucial spi sheet cleating need is just aft of each shroud although many boats have a second set of cleats on or near the centre thwart.

Guy Hook:
To keep the pole from skying and the guy (=windward sheet) off the crew’s neck, a guy hook is essential.

The halyard should also lead aft to the helm.

Connecting sheets and halyard to the spi:
A Bowline (or other even fancier knot) is perfectly adequate to tie sheets and halyards to the spi.  To save weight and avoid various potential breakdowns, assorted metal connectors (especially snap hooks) should be avoided.

1) pre-cleat the spi sheet for the first reach before the start
2) just before mark, crew releases halyard from stowed position (and often sets pole).  Helm (pre-)sets topping lift for “ball park” pole height.

The Reach Set:
1) Helm stands and steers with his knees as he hoists while crew hikes and plays main if
necessary.  Usually, the crew also has to briefly strap the jib in tight to free spi which gets caught under jib foot.
2) Helm hikes and plays main while crew fixes pole.
3) Crew takes sheet.

The Run Set:
Helm hoists, then plays both sheets til crew has set pole.

The Windward Set can be tricky, especially on a reach.  Those who try a windward set, usually opt for the “chucker”: the crew bundles the spi and on the count of three, the crews throws while the skipper QUICKLY hoists.

Playing the spi:
Pole height:  The outboard pole end should be just high enough to give the spi luff a nice fair vertical curve - lower than that if, on a close reach, we want to loosen the spi leech to reduce
backwind in main.   Pole much lower than normal if the wind is too weak to lift spi cloth easily.
Pole fore/aft angle:  Bring pole aft until spi shows that it needs to be further forward, i.e. the angle made by luff and foot gets down near or,  God forbid, below 90º  (see diagram below)

The Gybe:
Ideally, the crew does all the sheet work on a reach-to-reach gybe, especially in a blow where the helm is busy steering through the gybe.  see also the “balls system” which permits us to easily pre-set the new windward sheet for a reach.
Then the crew’s only other duty just prior to the gybe is to bring (most of) the spi to the side that’s about to become leeward.
During and right after the gybe, our first priorities are
1) keep the boat under control, and
2) keep the boat tracking away from the mark and protect our wind by ensuring that both main and jib are played properly.
The spi is ignored until that is taken care of.
Lastly, the crew switches the pole and sheets in.
On a run-to-run gybe, helm takes both sheets and steers through gybe with his knees while trying to keep spi flying until crew is ready to take the sheet. Unless it's survival time, in which case, I concentrate on gybing with my hand on the tiller and let the crew do the rest!

The Take-Down:
Always to windward!!
Helm checks that the halyard is not tangled by holding it up over his head while standing up, as the crew steps in front of the windward jib sheet and stows the pole.
We do this early unless severely pressed to maintain buoy room, etc.  On a run, the pole comes down really early, as the helm can easily take the sheets and keep the spi flying without the pole.  At word from helm, crew quickly drags spi down while helm exerts gentle resistance by holding halyard (and in wild weather, the sheet!) in one hand, i.e. crew has to pull these away from helm so the spi and/or sheet cannot accidentally get under the bow by simply being let go.
To help us to keep from sailing over the sheet we also have a little 4” stainless steel wire loop sticking out from bow at deck level.

The Spi is very quickly dumped into its bag or onto the floor as it comes down - make sure
it stows in front of windward jib sheet by having the crew step in front of that jib sheet before the take-down!!
The Pole goes along the boom, being supported at its aft end by a loop about 5’6” aft along the boom, and at its forward end, by its permanent residence in the topping lift.
After the pole comes in, the bow end will be angled up.  If desired, this can be adjusted by the helm as time permits.  We have the correct spot for level pole stowage marked on the topping lift.
To keep the halyard out of the crew’s face, we run it around a hook near the shroud and then into a small black clam-cleat near the mast which keeps most of the halyard alongside the shroud.

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