Spinnaker Foreguy (Downhaul) Location/Rigging


1990 Ericson 28-2
On Danu we typically sail with a jib as our headsail or run the asymmetrical spinnaker with a sock - on our boat we are cruisers. I have been racing more the past few years on other boats and when replacing the running rigging this Spring I had the previously removed spinnaker pole topping lift replaced/returned. I cannot figure out how the previous, previous owner (he was an avid racer) had the boat rigged for running a symmetrical spinnaker as there is not a pad eye in middle of the deck forward of the mast to which (typical to me) a block would be attached, and the foreguy would run from the pole to the cockpit. There's always been a box of additional blocks/hardware that I have not looked in for years... any thoughts?

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
If your model is, as I suspect, a fractional rig, the spinnaker not all that huge. On our prior fractional rig Niagara 26, we raced with a pole downhaul. This was rigged from the bottom bridle on the pole, back to a swivel block on the front of the base of the mast, and from there back to a cam cleat on the rear of the housetop.
It's more of a "small boat" system, but has noticeable advantages over the fore guy that might be led to the center of the foredeck like it is our on our present 34 footer. The main 'plus' is that you set the pole height and the pole can then rotate fore n aft, controlled by the force of the spinnaker and the after guy. This much reduces line tweaking when adjusting between a run and a reach.
However you accomplish it, that line to the bottom bridle on the pole will resist the potential lifting force that might "sky" the pole on a reach.
The tack of the spinnaker is controlled by the after guy, the toppling lift, and the downhaul.
Note that either system for holding the pole down (and level) works fine. I only suggest a "small boat" system because it's simpler to rig and to use.
I just found a good basic diagram from a UK yachting web site. The line I am referring to in labeled Spinnaker Pole Downhaul, and while their diagram shows it led to a little forward of the mast, I would lead it to the base of the spar. You have an SS plate with holes to shackle a block to right there already, I believe.


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1990 Ericson 28-2
@Loren Beach, you are consistently a source of great knowledge. And at times it seems like you know my boat like you have sailed her for years. Many thanks (as always). Next up will be how we will organize the cabin housetop…


E27 Roxanne
Thanks for the diagram Loren. I have the unreasonable dislike of something I've never tried ie. a spinnaker, and the diagram explains to me what many well intentioned people have been unable to make clear. Cheers.