R 22

Rhodes 22



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?

Gary Sanford
s/v "Raven"

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 installation.

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 information.

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 plus shipping.

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. dwyermast.com/.

Gary Sanford
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 installed.

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 from:

Kent Sail Co.
35942 Jefferson
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 pole.

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!

Roger Pihlaja

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.

Roger Pihlaja
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.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
13 Jan 2002

Take a good close look at the following photo for masthead rigging/snuffer sock questions:


Take a good close look at the following photos for spinnaker pole track/bow rigging details:


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 barber hauler!

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
28 Feb 2002

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