Fly Away Jib Poles

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This topic contains 27 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Alex Baxter 4 years, 8 months ago.

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    Will Mason

    Hi Alex,
    Not 100% sure I follow what you are proposing.
    Are you trying to have a fly away jib/whisker pole to make it easier to launch/retrieve?
    Or to be able to use the jib pole on other points of sailing other than goose winging on a run?
    My personal view if the later then we all have to go and upgrade our boats, so I would be against as would be an advantage especially in light airs. I think it would require a few rule changes as it is defined what fixings are allowed on the mast also the definition of whisker pole etc.
    If the simpler launching and a better place to store the jib stick what rules do you think need changing?

    Am sure will be a good debate at the agm sadly I can


    Alex Baxter

    In Reply,
    My proposal is too allow a fly away jib stick.
    This would subsequently allow you to use a pole on any points of sailing if wished. But want I want everyone to understand is that the main purpose of my rule change proposal is so make it easier for the jib stick to be launch/retrieve.

    what the jib stick can also be used for is as you said “to be able to use the jib pole on other points of sailing other than goose winging on a run” BUT what I want everyone to understand is that it wouldn’t massively change how the Firefly is sailed downwind as the clew on the Firefly Jib is small and doesn’t need a “Kicker effect” which the jib stick can provide in other classes such as Enterprises. Also no serious alteration is needed, as shown here:

    I have worked out that to make my current jib stick and to drill a few hole and buy a few bits it would approximately cost around the 50-60 pound mark.

    It really isn’t an advantage in light wind as it stalls the jib, so in that case your wrong.

    But my main focus of this rule change is that I want an easier launching and recovering system. So the “Kicker effect” isn’t a massive thing and if necessary could be banned.


    Matthew Jones

    Despite liking the idea of fly away jib poles (they do have many advantages, pretty much all said above), I would however, like to re-emphasise a point made earlier about the use of fireflies for team racing.

    I highly doubt any team racing fireflies owned by universities, schools and other clubs would convert their boats to use fly away jib poles, purely because jib poles aren’t used in the state they are at the moment, simply as it detracts from the tactical nature of team racing (no one wants to worry about a jib pole in a gybing battle). Being vice-comm of the University of Birmingham sailing club, and therefore in-charge of our boats, I can personally say I would be against converting them.

    This would mean at fleet racing events any competitors using their team racing boats would be at a large disadvantage, which I think would lower the numbers of competitors coming from the team racing circuit.

    Having said that, storage of the jib pole somewhere else, rather than the floor would be nice, and help many an inexperienced helm-crew combo!


    Ben Green

    I have to say I agree with a lot of the other views on this.

    For me the one major USP our class has over competitors is that it is cheap, simple and competitive. Anyone know of another class where you could buy a boat that’s on weight and good enough to win events(in the right hands) be able to buy a new suit of sails AND still have change from


    chris guy

    a good comprimise would be a self-launching pole, many people have tried these

    as long as the pole end is attached, i.e. touching the ring on the mast (i.e not on a movable string up and down the mast like the enterprise) when it is launched then it is class legal already

    You could also have a shorter ‘reaching’ pole e.g. for the Marlow/Gore triangles race, within the current class rules as they only specify a maximum length

    once you start carrying more than one pole, or have it so the projection angle is adjustable then I think you would be looking at a rule change.

    good for you for coming up with an idea though, look forward to hearing more about it at the agm!



    i could certainly see the uses of the flyaway pole – i’m in favour.
    I’ll be fitting one straight after the Champs as it’ll be very handy for barts bash racing with my Freddie.
    Be much easier to ask him to “pull the white one” than to have anything to do with the pole and it’s one less thing to trip him up or get thrown over the side or get trashed or for him to beat up the boat with.
    Not sure i’d want the pole hanging around in my slot for championship racing though.
    We spend a lot of time going (very slowly) upwind and i’d have thought the upwind windage impact would be far too much a penalty for the launch / recovery gain.

    Good idea!


    Alex Baxter

    I have thought long and hard about the wind age in the slot, and came to the conclusion that if it made that large a difference would the whole of the Enterprise, Albacore, N12, Graduate fleet have used them ?


    Will Mason

    Hi Jono,
    Someone can correct me if I


    I’m with Will on this one, in fact I’d go further. I think the class missed a trick in not stamping down on spinnaker pole end fittings for jib-sticks when they first appeared. Nothing quite like trying to find the hole in the clew with a spike in a lumpy F5. And for those with long memories, what use is a spinnaker pole fitting when using a jib-stick for its secondary purpose as a harpoon? 😉



    As Firefly Technical Secretary I guess I am meant to know the process of considering rule changes for the class, as well as anyone. The process for considering a change in rule applying to jib sticks would involve the class at either an AGM or some other approved by RYA mass consultation exercise expressing a desire to have such change. The NFA would then determine the rule change and ask the RYA to allow us to experiment and report back to the class on its implementation in one or two dispensation approved boats. If the experiment then proved helpful, we’d report back as said to the class. Then a vote yea or nea, and if yea, we’d ask the RYA to consider approving the NFA wish. The RYA usually listen to a class’ needs and ratify it but they can refuse if there are perceived good grounds seen by their Dinghy sub committee of the great and the good. So if we want it at 2014 AGM, we are in for a 2 yr process of possible adoption. My crew would rather throw the bl–dy thing over the side early on the first run, problem solved. She’d have a sharp knife for anything controlled by string.


    Alex Baxter

    Thanks for that guy,
    I am fairly new to the process as it will be my first AGM, but my first intension was the get the ball rolling, and thought it would take some time for us to have an official vote on the matter. But as long as people are aware of whats going on and what my intension is.




    I love using the fly away poles on Applecores and the Icon, and would be happy to see the Firefly adopt it. I have thought about going out of class for handicap racing to try it out, but haven’t got around to it. With the high jib clew, I’m not sure it would be as effective to leeward on a reach as it is for some other classes.

    Having lost many a jibstick over the years, we now have a Ray special bamboo stick from 2009, with a string attached to hold onto. Further to that, we never take it out from under the foredeck, and so have kept it for longer than any other.


    Alex Baxter

    Resulted in me being given dispensation by the NFA and being given a year to trial it. I will keep everyone posted and will be showing it of at the Chipsted and West Oxford Open meetings

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