Jib Luff Wire/Line

Published in the Snipe Bulletin (2010 Winter issue)-

Rules Interpretation by the Rules Committee:

In the Winter 2010 Issue of the Snipe Bulletin we came across an article on a Single Line Jib Halyard System. Unfortunately the article is based on some incorrect assumptions regarding recent changes to rule 51. The rule mentions the jib luff wire specifically and in no way can this be interpreted as a continuation of the jib halyard. The jib halyard and jib luff wire or rope must be two separate items. Not only is this in keeping with the  rule and tradition of the class but it allows to quickly connect or disconnect the jib to the jib halyard which is good seamanship.

We have traditionally sailed with a jib luff wire and the change in the rule was brought in to allow the use of a fiber (rope) luff “wire”. The rationale behind the change is that it may be more convenient to buy a section of Vectran or Dyneema and splice or tie terminations into it rather than making one up from  steel wire and swages, which requires special tools. Dyneema and Vectran are becoming more and more available at chandlers while dinghy size wire and tooling for swaging it less and less, so allowing both made sense. Note that Carbon and PBO were not allowed as these require special tooling to terminate and indeed must come from the factory at the appropriate length – a jib luff wire of carbon or PBO for a Snipe would cost somewhere close to USD 150 – definitely not appropriate for our class.

If you did go ahead and build yourself a halyard system as suggested by the article there is no need to panic as all that needs to be done to legalise the system is to separate the halyard from the jib wire (rope). That will require one cut and two splices with perhaps a shackle thrown in as well. But please read on for an important warning:

Rope halyards are allowed by our rules. However rope halyards are usually substantially lighter than wire halyards and if one were to make the conversion to rope one would have to be careful about meeting minimum weight requirements and CG requirements (Rule 30) for the mast. Some but not all masts are very close to minimum weight. One would also have to check that the entire boat remains within the weight limit (Rule 37).

Good sailing to all in 2010,

Giovanni Galeotti, Vice Chairman – Rules




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