I grew up racing a Lightning (19' one-design) and the "chute" was a
regular part of the off-wind drill. Since the Lightning was a
fractional rig, the double-ended spinnaker halyard ran thru a block
on the mast just above the attachment point for the forestay.
Spinnaker sheets ran thru blocks mounted outboard at the aft end of
the quarterdecks (close to the transom). A lot of boats ran the
spinnaker sheets down thru the deck to blocks and cleats amidships.
I think on the Rhodes, I'd leave the sheets above deck, so they could
be run to the jib winches.
The spinnaker pole attached to one of two eye fittings on the mast.
(May have been dictated by the 1-design rules.) An adjustable car
would also work, but might be overkill. Then there was a topping
lift that attached to the mid-point of the pole. This allowed
adjustments to the luff and leach of the spinnaker. Raised for
reaching, lower for running downwind. The sheet that ran thru the
pole (the windward side) was led under a hook at the upper shroud's
chainplate. This acted as a "vang", keeping the pole from rising too
much. Flying a "cruising" spinnaker should be easier--may not even
require a pole.
Which sailmakers are you thinking about to build the sail?
The Sail is from "Hild Sails" which is a local loft for me. I
grabbed John from Hild at the Annapolis show last fall and had him
measure up the boat and give me his recommendation for the
Order the "cruising" spinnaker" with sock. Hild version can also be
flown like an 80% spinnaker. The cruising spinnaker does not need a
pole but it is nice to have and to pole out the jenny. The
adjustable car is so my mast does not become Swiss cheese finding the
right points during on the water testing. The project might be
delayed until the summer. We will see.
Regarding spinnaker rigging, take a look at: http://www.paw.com/sail/
neilpryde/cs_trim.htm for some helpful ideas and diagrams. They
suggest "Parrel Beads" around the furled jib.
Pineapple Sails at www.sailmaker.com also has some spinnaker rigging
Looking through the Dwyer Aluminum Mast Co. catalog, I found pictures
of masthead cranes similar to the ones used on our boats. Some had a
plate & ring bolted on, referred to as "spinnaker bail". It looked
like a fairly simple way to handle the spinnaker halyard issue--
attach a swivel block to the "bail" and run the halyard down the mast.
No welding. The "spinnaker bail" fitting extends an inch or so
forward of the attachment point for the forestay and the block and
clevis add another 2 or 3 inches for clearance. The part number is
DH3130, it is for the DM-500 masthead crane and the cost is $7.00
I drilled out the two mounting holes to 1/4" and used 1/4"x1/2" ss
hex head bolts and lock nuts. Dwyer's website is: http://www.
s/v Raven '88
I have my 1976 Rhodes 22 rigged for both an asymmetric cruising
spinnaker & a tri-radial spinnaker. I assume your boat has both main
& jib halyards, both run externally on the mast. I am also assuming
your boat has the genoa tracks which run the full length of the
cockpit. The cruising spinnaker will require a heavy-duty padeye to
be installed on the foredeck as far forward as possible. This padeye
needs to be thru bolted with a big backing plate inside the cabin up
in the V-berth area. When you purchase your cruising spinnaker, you
also need to purchase a single block with a snap shackle, like a
Ronstan RF1254 WM. Attach the snap shackle to the padeye you just
The head of the cruising spinnaker is hoisted on your jib halyard.
The tack is attached to a length of non-stretchy line & threaded
through the block. This line is the tack pennant & is used to adjust
the luff tension in the cruising spinnaker. You don't need any
mechanical advantage on the tack pennant to get enough tension on the
luff of a cruising spinnaker on a Rhodes 22. In the simplest
installation, simply cleat off the tack pennant on the bow cleat.
However, I like to be able to adjust my luff tension from the cockpit.
My boat has lifelines. I have installed Johnson 40-501 stanchion
mount bullseye fairleads on the lifeline stanchions & a clam cleat
back at the cockpit to lead the tack pennant to the cockpit. Under
some sailing conditions, it is desirable to attach the cruising
spinnaker's tack to the furled up genoa to prevent the cruising
spinnaker from bellying out too much. For this, I use a "furling
collar" which wraps around the furled up genoa & then attaches to the
tack of the cruising spinnaker. This furling collar is available
Kent Sail Co.
Mt. Clemens, MI 48045
In 1993, my furling collar cost $25.28 including UPS ground S&H.
Some people use a ring of beads around the furled up genoa to serve
the same purpose. I like the cloth furling collar better than the
ring of beads because I think the collar chafes less on the genoa.
You can get away with no pole with a cruising spinnaker. However,
the performance when running & reaching will be better with a whisker
pole, particularly in light air. I use a Forespar HD-6-12-DL heavy-
duty twist lock whisker pole. I have my spinnaker mast car mounted
on a 3' long piece of the same 1" Schaffer genoa T track as the genoa
tracks in the cockpit. The lower end of the track is mounted so the
whisker pole can be stowed just off the deck. The outboard end of
the whisker pole is snapped onto the bow padeye.
The spinnaker mast car is lowered to its lowest point & the mast end
of the whisker pole is snapped onto the mast car's ring. The whisker
pole just barely clears the upper front corner of the cabin roof.
You could get away with a single spinnaker pole fitting; but you
won't be able to adjust the angle of the whisker pole. Your downwind
& reaching performance will suffer slightly.
In light air, it is helpful to have a spinnaker pole topping lift to
take the weight of the whisker pole off the clew of the cruising
spinnaker. The sail shape will be better. I have my spinnaker pole
topping lift rigged to a heavy-duty eyestrap & block rigged at 3/4 of
the length of the mast from the deck. I have my eyestrap drilled &
tapped into the mast with four 10-32 UNF stainless machine screws &
locked together with epoxy. My installation is overkill for a
spinnaker pole topping lift. However, I also use my topping lift as
a halyard for a storm jib. The HD bow padeye is used for the storm
jib's tack pennant. My spinnaker pole topping lift is led back to
the cockpit along the starboard side of the cabin roof.
In heavy air, the outboard end of spinnaker pole will tend to rise up.
This does bad things for sail shape & tends to make the spinnaker
unstable. To prevent this, you need a spinnaker pole downhaul. My
downhaul is also led back to the cockpit right next to the spinnaker
pole topping lift. By the way, this is a great place to use colored
lines. For instance, my topping lift is green
& my downhaul is red.
You will probably want to get another set of genoa track cars for
your cockpit. This way, you don't have to unthread your genoa sheets
when you fly your spinnaker. The spinnaker generally flies best when
the sheets are led near the aft end of the cockpit. Spinnaker
trimming is an art unto itself & we won't get into that.
O.K., if you're still with me; then, the only remaining pieces of
gear you need, in addition to the above, in order to fly a tri-radial
spinnaker are a mast head spinnaker crane, spinnaker pole, &
spinnaker halyard. The maximum race legal spinnaker pole length is
106" for a Rhodes 22.
My spinnaker pole has a double bridle for the
topping lift & downhaul because you can always reach them from the
foredeck unlike when they are led to the end of the pole. You need a
spinnaker pole because they are built much stronger than the whisker
The tri-radial spinnaker will fold your whisker pole in half!
You need a spinnaker crane because the head of a tri-radial spinnaker
must be out in front of the genoa & you can't get there from here
with the jib halyard.
I built my own spinnaker crane by welding 2
pieces of 1" X 1/8" X 12" aluminum bar stock to the cast aluminum
masthead fitting. (All the nylon sheaves must be removed 1st or you
will fry them!) Weld a piece of bar stock along each side of the
masthead such that 6" protrudes from the front. Then, bend the bar
stock so they meet for the last 2". Weld around the perimeter of
this joint & then grind off the square edges so everything is smooth &
rounded off. Drill a 1/2" diameter hole thru the end of the spinner
crane to mount a block for the spinnaker halyard. Drill out the
holes in the bar stock back of the masthead fitting so you can
remount the masthead sheaves. You will need 1/4" long 1/4-20 UNC
stainless steel bolts & Nylock nuts for the masthead halyard sheaves
because of the extra thickness with the 2 pieces of bar stock. Don't
forget to use Lock Tight on every threaded connection & peen over the
threads so nothing comes loose. Drill & tap for a turning block on
the top of the mast just below the masthead casting. (Again, I used
epoxy on the threads) This is where the spinnaker halyard will make
its turn to go down the mast. Finally, you must decide if you want
to lead the spinnaker halyard back to the cockpit. My spinnaker
halyard is cleated of
The cruising spinnaker is primarily a downwind sail. The tri-radial
spinnaker can also be used as a reaching sail & it is also much
bigger in area than the cruising spinnaker for more performance. My
favorite use for my cruising spinnaker is when sailing dead downwind.
I set the genoa out on one side poled with the spinnaker pole & the
cruising spinnaker on the other side poled out with whisker pole with
no main sail. Together, the sail area approaches the area of the tri-
radial spinnaker; but with much more control. In fact, the rig is
basically self-steering (The ultimate in lee helm!) If you've never
sailed a Rhodes 22 with a tri-radial spinnaker; then, you really need
to try it. The big sail absolutely transforms the boat for sailing
downwind & reaching. With a good crew, it's possible to keep up with
commercial towboats & actually surf their "half pipe" wake. The
crews of the towboats seem to get a big kick out of this as they
usually come out on the fantail to watch as we jibe back & forth
across their wake. The tri-radial spinnaker must also be respected,
as it is more than large enough to cause a knockdown or broach if you
lose control of it. You can also get surfing fast enough to
pitchpole if you don't steer properly. I give Stan a lot of credit
for building a tough little boat. I sail mine pretty hard & it's
been darn near bullet proof.
You also asked some questions regarding racing the Rhodes 22. I have
raced our Rhodes 22 in PHRF handicapped races at a local club. With
the standard Cruising Designs roller furling genoa & the conventional
mainsail with jiffy reefing, the boat could be sailed equal to or
better than her rating in winds up to about 15 mph. i.e., in light to
moderate winds, we were competitive with other boats like the
MacGregor 25, Glouster 23, Sirius 21, Tanzer 22, Spindrift 22,
Catalina 22, Catalina 25, Hunter 23, Hunter 26, S-2 7.5 etc. The
Rhodes gets into trouble sailing up to her race rating when the wind
speed gets high enough to require reducing sail area. Ideally, you'd
like to use the roller furling genoa to reduce headsail area. Then
you'd play with the roller furling to take advantage of the puffs &
lulls in the wind speed in order to keep maximum possible sail area
flying. The problem with the standard Cruising Designs roller
furling is that the furled genoa sail shape is aerodynamically
TERRIBLE & you lose much of your ability to go to windward!!! I am
speaking in terms of going from 80 deg tacking angles to 90+ deg
tacking angles - a crippling loss in a sailboat race. The furled
genoa sail shape is so aerodynamically inefficient that one is forced
to take a reef in the mainsail instead. With the standard jiffy
reefing, this is such a large reduction in sail area that the boat no
longer has sufficient horsepower to keep up with the fleet. The
other problem is that the center of effort of the sail plan moves
forward & you have to contend with lee helm. Counteracting the lee
helm with the rudder causes additional drag, which further slows you
down. At the same time that you are having all these problems, your
competitors have simply changed their big 150% genoa down to a 100%
working jib & are sailing happily away from you.
I solved all these problems by pitching my Cruising Designs roller
furler and standard genoa into the garbage dumpster. I replaced them
with a Harken roller furler with upper and lower swivels & a Bi-
Radial 150% genoa with a foam luff pad. This genoa maintains
reasonably good sail shape down to about 120% or wind speed of about
20-25 mph. Above that wind speed, I change the headsail to a similar
design 110% roller furling working jib. I also upgraded my mainsail
to a fully battened design with 2 jiffy reef points, spaced more
closely together to allow a little more fine tuning of mainsail area.
Basically, these upgrades have solved the boat's heavy air problems.
However, the local PHRF race committee simply changed my rating to
reflect the new performance and I haven't been winning any more races
than before. The boat is a lot crisper and more fun to sail with
this setup. There is one downside...With the old sails you could
afford to be complacent when sailing in heavy air. If a gust hit,
the boat simply heeled over until the leeward rail dipped into the
water. By then, the old sails were distorted enough and spilling
enough wind that the extra buoyancy from the reverse shear touching
the water was sufficient to prevent her from heeling any further.
The new composite construction sails are rock hard & hold their shape
no matter what. If a gust hits and you aren't quick about dumping
the traveler and letting the genoa sheet off; then, you'll quickly
find yourself standing in a cockpit full of water!
I live on Sanford Lake in the middle of the Michigan's Lower Peninsula. My house sits on a
high bluff shoreline on the western side of the lake. Like most manmade lakes, Sanford Lake
is long & skinny with many curves as the lake follows the old Tittabawasse River channel.
The long axis of the lake lies basically north/south & my house is located approximately 7 nm
north of the Sanford Dam on the southern end & about 2 nm south of the Curtis Rd. bridge,
the official northern end of the lake. In between are approximately 2000 acres of navigable
water. Since prevailing winds are commonly out of the west around here in the summer & the
lake is only 200 yards wide in front of my house, most of the lake off my dock lies in the
wind shadow of the high bluff shoreline. When the wind is out of the west, we must motor
approximately 1/2 nm south to where the lake widens out & the shoreline drops down to lake
level before hoisting sail. We have the option of preparing the spinnaker for launch either
at the dock or during the trip under power. During the trip back under power to our dock, we
will usually bag up all the sails & lines, flake the mainsail over the boom, put the mainsail
cover on, etc. This way, when we reach our dock, only personal gear must be taken off the
boat, & the boat is ready to be locked up. If the wind is out of the north or south or east,
we've had some exciting spinnaker runs right down the narrow part of our lake. People come
out with their cameras when we do that & there is, of course, much more clean-up to be done
when we get back to the dock
The common stand-by condition for the spinnaker is hoisted in the snuffer sock & tied back to
the mast with a single sail tie. The spinnaker pole is usually left in position on the
spinnaker ring on the T-track with the outboard end allowed to droop down to deck level &
secured to the bow pulpit with a sail tie. The spinnaker pole topping lift & downhaul are
left rigged but slack & tied back out of the way at the mast with the same sail tie as the
snuffer sock. If we know which side the next spinnaker hoist is going to be on, then the
outboard end of the spinnaker pole will be clipped onto the appropriate corner of the sail.
If not, then both clews are simply left loose where they stick out of the snuffer sock.
The unused spinnaker sheets are left rigged, but pulled inside the railings & allowed to
run along the side decks.
Yes, it's a lot of lines, but we have them color coded for quick ID & you get used to it.
Extra line is kept neatly coiled up & hung in the handrail loops on the cabin at the front
of the cockpit. I believe that part of good seamanship is to always be punctual about coiling
up a line & properly stow it as soon as the maneuver is finished. I passed this trait onto
my whole family, none of us can hardly pass by a piece of rope on the ground without stopping
to coil it up! You'll very rarely see a mess of spaghetti lines in the bottom of Dynamic
Equilibrium's cockpit! The boost in performance from flying a spinnaker is quite additive &
so is the satisfaction of a well-executed spinnaker gibe. My sons & I are hopelessly hooked,
so we put up with all the rigging, unrigging, & all the lines which are involved with flying
these fluky parachutes.
All my halyards are 3/8" OD StaSet X.
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
12 Jan 2002
A cruising spinnaker & whisker pole work well for points of sail from 180 deg up to
approximately 90 deg apparent wind angle - i.e. running dead downwind up to a broad reach.
A tri-radial spinnaker & spinnaker pole are a little more close-winded than the cruising
spinnaker, it's good for points of sail from 180 deg up to about 70 deg apparent wind
angle - i.e. running dead downwind up to a close reach. Any point of sail closer to the
eye of the wind than about 70 deg apparent & you're better off with your genoa. Therefore,
anytime the wind is light enough to permit flying the spinnaker without being overpowered &
the point of sail is anything from a downwind run to a close reach, the tri-radial spinnaker
is a good choice for a headsail. The genoa is really more of a sail used for getting back
upwind, the spinnakers are for having fun almost any other time!
So, we leave the spinnaker rigged while we slog back upwind with the genoa. You have to be
careful not to get any lines fouled, but that's all part of the acquired skill.
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
13 Jan 2002
Take a good close look at the following photo for masthead rigging/snuffer
Take a good close look at the following photos for spinnaker pole track/bow
Heavy Air Sheets: 30' 3/8 OD Staset X color coded red & green - 2 reqd. + 2
snap shackles + 2 plastic shackle guards
Light Air Sheets: 30' 1/4" OD Staset X color coded red & green - 2 reqd. + 2
snap shackles + 2 plastic shackle guards
My spinnaker pole is rigged with a double bridle for the pole topping lift &
downhaul. The spinnaker pole downhaul & topping lift control lines are led
back to the cockpit along the cabin top on the starboard side of the
companionway. These control lines are 1/4" OD Staset X color coded
red/white & green/white & each has a snap shackle for quick release
attachment to the bridles on the spinnaker pole. The downhaul is rigged to
the base at the front of the mast, "boom vang style". The topping lift is
rigged to a HD padeye & single block about 75% up the front of the mast.
This pad eye is attached with four 10-32UNF X 3/4" long SS machine screws +
epoxied to the mast. Having the symmetrical double bridle for both topping
lift & downhaul enables us to do the faster end-for-end pole swap when we do
a spinnaker gybe. There is also room on the foredeck to do the
intrinsically safer "dip pole gybe", but we normally don't mess with this
slower technique. A tri-radial spinnaker on a 22 foot boat is small enough
to safely handle with the end-for-end pole gybe under any conditions in
which you are likely to flying a tri-radial spinnaker. Rigging the
spinnaker pole topping lift & pole downhaul back to the front of the mast
puts the geometry of these two control lines on the same vertical axis as
the spinnaker pole pivot point on the mast. Having these elements on the
same vertical axis makes the tri-radial spinnaker shape & trim less
sensitive to pole position & minor shifts in wind speed/direction, thus
greatly simplifying the job of the spinnaker sheet trimmers.
We don't normally mess with any sort of "barber hauler" rigging. You will
find the trimming of the spinnaker sheet & guy will require someone's
constant attention as it is. You will find you can obtain good sail shape
by sliding the spinnaker sheet blocks fore & aft on the genoa tracks. You
did get track-mounted spinnaker sheet blocks, right? Don't make your
spinnaker trimmer's life any more complicated than necessary by adding a
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
28 Feb 2002