Fewer Fouled Sheets

Fewer Fouled Sheets
If there is a topping-lift bridle on your spinnaker pole, there’s a good chance—depending on how the spinnaker-pole uphaul is rigged—that the bridle could foul either the jib or spinnaker sheet. This happens often enough that foredeck crews on many raceboats—especially in one-design fleets—have changed their pole lifts to minimize the chance of fouling. Here’s how they do it.

First, remove the pole bridle completely and replace it with a longer wire or Kevlar tether that runs from the forward end of the pole to the aft end. When it’s time to raise the pole, attach the topping lift to a ring spliced into the aft end of the tether, and then hoist the pole to its proper setting.

When the pole is down and the tether isn’t being used, use a Velcro swatch to hold the tether flush along the pole. The swatch might be as long as 8 inches, depending on the size of the pole and the length of the tether. Secure an opposing piece of Velcro around the tether an inch or two ahead of the ring. Many crews wrap the tether with white Velcro to provide maximum visibility against a piece of black Velcro on the pole. For best results, sew the Velcro around the tether line.

With this setup, the bowman can secure the tether flush against the pole when it’s time to get things tied down and cleaned up for the upwind leg. There’s far less chance that a flying genoa sheet will become fouled in it. David Schmidt

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