Monday, September 21, 2009

A great innovation

Until last year the only flyaway jib pole on an Enterprise was when the crew lost the bloody thing over the side!! But last year the Enterprise Association permitted the use of flyaway jibpoles for all but national events and at the AGM it was adopted into the class rules. The flyaway jibpole is a great innovation. I was sceptical to begin with and resisted the move, primarily on the grounds of a big expense for little gain, but saw an opportunity to create a cheap home made version out of an old aluminium extending broom handle.

It was only 1.5M long but it proved the value of the system and this summer I bought the 2M carbon fibre kit from P&B and it works even better although I have modified the layout from their recommended layout.

These images show my configuration for the flyaway jibpole:

On the P&B layout they put the turning block and cleat on the deck next to the mast step. I think this is prone to the jib sheets catching on it during a tack so I have lead the rope down the mast into the boat to a turning pulley on the hog and then to a cleat under the thwart near the centreboard casing. This gives an added advantage that, when on Starboard, I can also reach the pole downhaul, and the being just that bit further back gives an added advantage in windy conditions because the crew doesn't even have to reach forward to the foredeck position to release the pole downhaul.

In addition they show the downhaul rope being tied onto the clew; I use a plastic bobble which I trap in the jib sheet loop through the clew (see picture).

So what does it do and just exactly what are the advantages?

  • It is much easier and faster to deploy and recover than the 'manual' jibstick

  • You cannot lose it over the side!

  • It can push the jib further out to windward when goosewinging so it catches more wind.

  • It tightens the leach of the jib making it more efficient

  • It means that the crew doesn't have to stand up to deploy and recover the pole, thus the boat is more stable.

  • The crew doesn't have to move forward to deploy and recover so the bows doesn't bury, a big issues in a blow!

These are the advantages I have experienced and they make a big difference. One other is that it makes it possible to use the jib pole when sailing single handed.

How does it work? Well there is a light weight rope that is connected to the clew of the job and passes through the end of the pole and exits through a pulley at the other end of the pole. The rope is fed down the side of the mast to a turning block and cleat. The pole is connected at one end to a line that runs up the front of the mast and has an elastic cord that pulls it up the mast such that when it is not deployed the pole dangles from the elastic cord. It is deployed by pulling the rope which pushes the pole down on to the jib clew and pushes the sail out from the mast as far as required. It is recovered by simply releasing the rope from the cleat and the elastic cord pulls the pole back up the mast.

How do you use it? When reaching the best way is for the jib to be pulled in so that the clew is near the fairlead and then to pull on the pole and easing the jib sheet to the best jib setting and tensioning the leach to get all three jib telltails flying correctly - ie streaming on the leeward side and slightly lifting on the windward side of the sail.

Here I am on a reach. Notice in the picture on the left, how the jib leach is not bar tight but curves gently, parallel to the mainsail leach, and the whole sail has the correct angle to the wind. Without the pole (and this picture shows my prototype home made one) the leach would twist such that the lower half of the sail would be oversheeted and the upper part undersheeted. Compared to the picture on the right taken in 2008 prior to having the flyaway jibpole where you can see how much the jib leach is twisting and the top of the sail is actually back winded.

Here we are goosewinged. The pole (and this one is the P&B 2M pole) could probably go out a little further.

Lastly why not check out the video of the NW Ent Championships and spot the boats on the reach using the flyaway jib pole - it makes interesting watching and you can see how well the system works.

More information can be found on the NW Enterprise association website under the 'news' section. There are 3 articles all of which are worth reading.

The Enterprise association website also has some info.


Sally said...

:-) even I got the hang of it yesterday, so it must be fairly simple!

Neil said...

I fitted a flyaway pole to my Entie earlier this year, based on reading this article- what a wonderful addition! Its first trial was in 25+kn here in Cape Town, and it performed flawlessly!

Tim said...

fantastic! I'm glad it work so well. Did you make your own or did you buy a kit?

Neil said...

I have friends who build masts, and I scored a 2m long piece of Ali tube like we use for whisker-poles. Into the end I fitted a specially-turned nylon fairlead, and the downhaul line exits through a Harken 16mm exit-block in the underside at the top end of the pole. The inboard connection is a modified whisker-pole "prod" with an Antal lo-friction-ring lashed into it in such a way that it pivots.

Tim said...

sounds great, do you have pictures?

How well does it work?