If you’ve ever tried to sail a beam-reach course with a kite up on standard spinnaker-pole rigged boat, you have undoubtedly had to deal with the difficulty of tight sheeting angles on the guy when the pole is eased forward to the forestay. Traditionally, this is alleviated with reaching struts. While these work well, they represent another spar that must be clipped in place (usually to either the cabin house or the base of the mast) and then removed if the wind should move aft.
The hyper-competitive TP52 class has found a new solution: wings. Imagine a device that resembles a spreader. One end is attached to the deck, via a bolt, so that it can rotate from its resting position (parallel with the hull) to its active position (perpendicular to the hull); the other end features a fitting that houses the guy. When the wind moves forward of the beam (often, on boats as hopped up as a TP52), the wing is swung out, and proper sheeting angle is achieved. When the wind moves aft, the wing is simply swung inboard. Simple, yet elegant.
Posted: November 29, 2007