Measurers Corner

Measurer’s Interpretations and Recommendations

Topic:Control Lines
Question:Can the spinnaker pole taper be less then 2 inches?
ID Number:000032
Date:2009-11-06
Short Answer:No 
Answer:The motivation here is to use an Etchells tapered pole cut down to 9 ft 4 in. The problem is that the taper is less than the required 2 in. There really is no reason why the Class Rules should require this minimum taper as long as the length is as required. 
Section:§IV 8.12 
Status:Tabled
Action Date:2010-02-10
Fri Nov 15 05:54:19 2019
DateNameComment
2009-11-06Kristian MartincicI sell Etchells tapered poles (2895mm = ~9' 6") to our local E22 fleet for $440 complete, compared to $375 for the "normal" Shields pole (9' 4"), or $525 for the deluxe pole. Perhaps the more telling fact is that I have never, ever, sold the same Etchells 2 poles unless they sink, whereas fleet 3 replaces at least 2 broken Shields poles every year. The tapered Etchells pole is significantly stronger, and stiffer, but heavier. The extra stiffness to me seems like the only performance advantage, and is a minor gain at best. Since we don't allow carbon (and in my opinion this is a good thing for us) it would be nicer to have a stronger pole, and the tapered does that, and you could argue that any stiffness advantage is negated by the weight on the bow.
2009-11-06Richard RobbinsCurrent Class Rule: Spinnaker poles may be built by any person. The pole must conform to this Specification and Official Plans 1 and 2. The length of the spinnaker pole shall not exceed 9 feet 4 inches including fittings. It shall have a minimum diameter of 2 inches and excluding fittings shall be aluminum. Poles with a diameter in excess of 2 inches may be tapered to 2 inches at the ends.
2009-11-08Kristian MartincicFor what it's worth, a tapered aluminum pole as described in current class rules doesn't exist; all the available tapered sections go to smalled than 2" on the ends.
2009-11-13Andy BurtonKristian, I'm sure the Etchells pole is stronger, but I doubt that's the reason you sell more Shields poles. Etchells are more stable downwind and don't put their poles in the water as we sometimes do. Pole in the water=slow. FWIW, I made my pole 15 years ago and in spite of being used in a fair bit of breeze over the years, it's still straight.
2009-11-16Bam MillerI can not remember having a pole fail from bending in the Oyster Bay area, but I have seen it flexing like crazy. We use a center point topping lift attachment, except when it get windy and we add a topping lift and foreguy bridle made from 1/8" spectra.
2009-11-16Andy BurtonKristian, Could you post a photograph of what you propose, please? I am very much against changing the class rules to make it easier for one person to sell the class members a piece of equipment or to make an improvement on what we've been using over the years.
2009-11-16Kristian MartincicThe black pole in this photo is a Selden section: http://shieldsclass.com/images/Shields_Natls_2004_EYC/pages/100_8133%20-%20sail%20220.htm I am not trying to sell anybody anything Andy, however the current rule allows for a tapered section that doesn't exist in reality. If we're going to allow tapered poles in the rules, the selden section used on j24's and etchells is a good fit. If we're not going to allow this section, we should clean up the rules and get rid of the the tapered pole part of the rule--since there is no such thing as described--to avoid confusion. Why have a rule allowing equipment if the equipment isn't available? My thinking is that we should allow it, based partly on the fact that people already own this pole, probably having though it was legal. We've grandfathered in other things like the backstay sheaves and 8:1 mainsheets. If we're not going to do that we should it make it clear that tapered poles arent allowed and clean up the language of the rule.
2009-11-20Kristian MartincicThe rule as stands is: "Spinnaker poles may be built by any person. The pole must conform to this Specification and Official Plans 1 and 2. The length of the spinnaker pole shall not exceed 9 feet 4 inches including fittings. It shall have a minimum diameter of 2 inches and excluding fittings shall be aluminum. Poles with a diameter in excess of 2 inches may be tapered to 2 inches at the ends." So it should be obvious that the intent was to only aluminum poles of sufficient strength, but explicitly allows tapered sections. The only problem with this rule is it specs out a tapered aluminum pole that has never been made! Saying tapered poles of a smaller than 2" ends lead the way to carbon doesn't follow, as the pole in question (and in use) is all aluminum. I can't imagine anyone making an argument for carbon based on the rules allowing only aluminum. Not sure what advantage could be claimed from a tapered pole, as the tapered pole in questions is actually heavier than a 2" straight pole by over a pound. The only arguable advantage is that using a bridle-less setup, with the topping lift and downhaul attaching to rings in the center of the pole, is far safer on a 63mm tapered pole than on a 2" (50mm~) pole, as it's stronger and stiffer. Many foredeck crews coming from other 1d keelboats prefer center point pickups. Some people have 2.5" poles with center point pickups, but that pole is over $600. Again, I feel the rule here is misleading, and was probably made without first considering what was actually available. Either we should allow tapered poles that actually exist, or get rid of the tapered language before someone else buys a pole thats technically illegal.
2009-12-26Andy Burton"The only arguable advantage is that using a bridle-less setup, with the topping lift and downhaul attaching to rings in the center of the pole, is far safer on a 63mm tapered pole than on a 2" (50mm~) pole, as it's stronger and stiffer." There's the advantage. I believe it was originally thought the the taper would be made from wood. At least I've seen those. What you propose offers a definite advantage so those of us who want our boats optimized would be forced to purchase a new piece of equipment. In other words there is no benefit to the class as a whole by allowing the poles you describe. As for the safety aspect you mention, we've been dealing with bridles on poles for some decades, now. I think we can continue to safely use them.
2010-01-02Kristian MartincicThe rule says the pole itself must be aluminum, so it doesn't follow that it was to allow wood tapers. This issue shouldn't be that big a deal to address! We don't even need to change anything funadmental with the rules, since they already allow tapered poles all we'd need to do is allow available sections. If for some reason that isn't acceptable we should take the tapered language out of the rule. The benefit to the class is cleaning up the rules.
2010-01-24Andy BurtonThere is no benefit to the class to changing this rule. The current rule has been working for a few decades and the result has been that all the boats sail with a similar setup. This proves that the rule is working as intended. However, changing the rule may open the door for something different that we may see as better and all the top boats will adopt it once again widening the gap between the front and the back of the fleet as we did with the TackTick compass.
2010-02-12Richard RobbinsThis was again discussed at the Technical Committee meeting on 2/10/2010. A vote was taken on whether to eliminate the diameter requirements. The vote was split and the issue will be tabled with no further action planned.