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Fitting out for spinnaker

  • Bluebelle
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07 Mar 2009 07:35 #20474 by Bluebelle
Fitting out for spinnaker was created by Bluebelle
I am looking to fit my tired old mirror( still raced weekly at club level)out with a spinnaker to take my sailing that one step further and save me from out growing it.(I mean from a technical view - I suppose I out grew it size wise years ago - I'm 36!!

I would be grateful if anyone has any old spinnaker equipment they no longer use or have spare. Condition is not that important, as this is my first forray into spinnakers - and I'm sure i'll have some mishaps along the way.Any advice would be greatly appreciated, including how to fit the running rigging (blocks etc). I can be contacted by e-mail at

Many thanks for your time,

Kev Harris

Mirror 50761

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10 Mar 2009 11:40 #16470 by Martin Egan
Hi Kev,

Assuming there are no Mirrors with a modern setup at your club (?), I think your best bet would be to look at either Guy Wilkins book "Mirror Racing" published by Fernhurst (out of print, but you can probably loan it for a few weeks through your public library for a small charge) or Peter Aitken's "The Mirror Book" which is published by Wiley Nautical. Guy's book describes the "end to end" pole system (but uses an "Sidey rigid pole" for the uphaul/downhaul which has rather fallen out of favour). Peter's book describes the "fly away" pole sytem and has loads of colour photos. The MCA have a stock of these for sale and I'm hoping you will be able to buy them via the web site soon. Both these books describe the current "preferred" system regarding halyard, sheets and spinnaker chute. The system shown in Roy Partridge's book "Sailing the Mirror" is now outdated. Other non-class specific books on dinghy racing will also describe the spinnaker system in an general terms (probably "end to end" pole system) and this can be helpful

There is a description of the "fly away" pole system by Stephen Heppell on the website here ... Spinny.htm

The pros and cons of the the two pole systems have been debated at length on this post ... IC_ID=4165 and this will help you decide which would suit you better. You can also look at some excellent RYA videos of Mirror spinnaker handling here and this might help you understand how the rigging is used.

You can look at the photos in the gallery on the website and pick up a lot from these. I suggest starting with the 2004 Nationals at Plymouth as the Race Officer took these photos and the course took boats right past the committee boat on the run, so you get some good close ups. There are also photos of Mirrors on some of the commercial photo sites such as

There are no end of posts about spinnakers on the web site and you can search forums via the "search" link at the top righthand corner of all the forum pages. Just don't expect everyone to agree about everything.

Other than that I think visiting a club with an acive Mirror fleet, a Mirror Open or Championship or Zone or National or Youth squad session would help. Look at the events list of the web site to see when things are happening. It would give you the chance to speak to the sailors, look at the boats and you might be able to pick up some gear cheaply. The rules on spinnaker shapes have changed recently, so there will be people selling 2nd hand "old style" (two flat halves) spinnakers which will be fine for your purposes.

Edited by - MartinEgan on 10 March 2009 11:42:53

Edited by - MartinEgan on 10 March 2009 11:43:33

Edited by - MartinEgan on 10 March 2009 11:44:54

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  • Roger Clark
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10 Mar 2009 14:25 #16471 by Roger Clark
Replied by Roger Clark on topic Fitting out for spinnaker
I have just emailed a copy of the original Bell instructions for fitting a spinnaker. They might be of some help.

Roger Clark

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  • Bluebelle
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22 Mar 2009 14:37 #16477 by Bluebelle
Replied by Bluebelle on topic Fitting out for spinnaker

Many thanks for your help Martin and Roger - the 2 different types were the real issue. I will start once I have the last few bits and pieces, and maybe nip on down to Looe soon - far easier when you see it in front of you!


Kev harris

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