Spinnaker rigging for cruising

It's too cold for skiing today, so I'm dreaming sailing! I'm especially interested in opinions on rigging for spinnaker usage for cruising the Flying Scot with 2 persons. I have the standard, factory rigging which seems simple, and straight forward which I like, but I wonder how the "crew" (my wife) pulls in the spinnaker while also lowering the halyard when dousing the spinnaker with this rigging! We didn't use the spinnaker last year which was our first year in our Flying Scot, but we're (at least I'm) looking forward to flying the spinnaker this summer. My wife had a bad experience with the spinnaker on our Lightning so is a little anxious, and I want the rigging to be as safe and easy as possible.

Are the pole downhaul, separate guy hooks and cleating system near the chain plate, and aft led spinnaker halyard (like I see on many of the Flying Scots used for racing) of value for the cruising sailor? Do they make raising, flying, or dousing the spinnaker safer or significantly easier? My old Lightning (last sailed over 20 years ago) was basically rigged this way so I'm familiar with this rigging's usage, but then we always had 3 people when flying the spinnaker on the Lightning.



Hello. I think the aft led spinnaker halyard will make the operation much easier on your wife. As skipper I have been using the aft led halyard and hoisting and lowering the spinnaker while the crew ( various level of experience) handles the pole and the sail .
I generally also assist with the spinnaker sheet, especially if the crew is not very experienced.

For purposes of cruising I would consider raising the spinnaker and then setting the pole. This avoids the most common foul ups in spinnaker setting, and since you are cruising you can always head nearly downwind for the setting of the chute and pole.

I keep the spinnaker always on the port side. If the pole is set first then there are two options, set the chute on port and set the chute on stbd. With the pole on the opposite side of the spinnaker storage there is usually no problem in setting the chute. Problems most frequently arise when the pole is on the same side as the spinnaker storage location ( also the side of the mast where the halyard is led down to the deck). The problems are that the sometimes the part of the halyard attached to the spinnaker is passed behind the pole , not in front of as it should be. Pulling up the spinnaker first will avoid this foul up.

You do need a pole downhaul. The seperate guy hooks and cleating near the chain plate are a matter of preferance. The guy hook that comes with the boat is fine and I used it for years racing. You can adjust the width of the huuk with a pair of pliers so that your spinnaker sheets will need a little pressure to enter the hook, but will not fall out when the line goes slack. Or you can tape a the tongue depressor splint on the hook to keep the line from falling out.

My spinnaker sheet is led to a block back aft then forward to the side deck to a ratchet block and cleat. Even for cruising I recommend the ratchet block. The only drawback to this system is that you sometimes end up sitting on a sheet or the ratchet block, but now there are some pretty small ratchet blocks on the market. I do not like sheeting arrangements where the simple vee jamb cleat is on the aft deck behind the skipper. The skipper needs to face forward and keep ,an eye on the spinnaker.

One last word, I have a pair of 3/8 dia spinnaker sheets that are comfortable on the hands and are a traditional dacron. Because of the diameter, it does not stretch any more than the small diameter light air racing sheets made of a "super low stretch" fiber.

Sail in Comfort FS3512

Thanks, Karafiath.

I really appreciate your comments and am planning on setting up the aft lead spinnaker haylard using the kit as sold by the Flying Scot Association. Would you recommend any additional modifications to this set up? What about the take up reel? Is the take up reel worth getting to keep the cockpit clear of additional lines or is that an additional, unnecessary "complication?" I do trailer my boat a lot. Should this influence my decision about a take up reel?

Do you store your spinnaker pole in any special way? Elsewhere on the forum, PVC pipe under the foredeck, loose in the cockpit or under the foredeck, and fastened along side the centerboard trunk are all mentioned. I do like to keep the cockpit as clear as possible so lines don't tangle, and prefer not to have "loose" equipment. Any recommendations?

Thanks again.


I have never used the take up reel. I have probably the thickest spinnaker halyard in the fleet,3/8/ dacron. It rarely if ever tangles.
I also have a Laser sailboat and have switched to a special mainsheet ( rooster brand?) non tangling main sheet. It really works, and tangless much less if you want a non tangling smaller diameter halyard.

On my Scot we keep the starboard side under the deck clear of equipment and that is where the pole goes to get stored. Always.
I am not sure how this will work with the bow flotation bag.

I have a pair of Rubbermaid laundry buckets under the seat for storing other stuff including the anchor. I keep the buckets secured with plastic snaphooks on a short lanyard attached to plastic eye straps thru screwed to the very bottom edge of the seat lip. The eye straps do not jut into the space between the seat and centerboard because they are fastened to the lowest edge of the seat lip and point mostly downward.They do not cause any scrapes on the legs of the crew. Others use long lengths of shockord to keep the buckets in place. The cross rod on the anchor pokes out of the bucket on the far side towards the hull, not on the centerboard side.

Gabor Karafiath

My wife and I have been sailing for only two years, and only last year using the Spinnaker. Although I have started to enter a few races, our primary sailing enjoyment will still be on a recreational level! Our main objective last year was to gain more experience with the Spinnaker. However, we also wanted to start using a "Whisker Pole," on those occasion that didn't warranty the use of a Spnnaker, or those days that I just didn't have the energy to mess with the Spinnaker. I can tell you that its the best thing we ever tried. We use the Whisker Pole, on a Wing-on Wing situation, and really like it!! Of couse, we have also enjoyed the Spinnaker, but found it a lot more work, etc.

Additionally, I like everything in its place on the boat, so the idea of poles rolling around on the floor, jusr doesn't sit well with me. I made a custome mahogany wood bracket, that screws the side of the tabernacle, with PVC tubes running forward under the front deck, to store both the Whisker/Spinnaker poles. Several of the guys, in our club, have seen this method and like it well enough to ask me to make this bracket for them to use.