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Old 09-10-2016, 17:50   #1
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DIY whisker pole

A whisker pole costs about $900 for my boat. A buddy and I are discussing creating one with PVC pipe and appropriate end pieces. It should cost less than $300. Is this a reasonable idea?

Has anyone else done this?

This is a cruising boat. I don't race.

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Old 09-10-2016, 19:16   #2
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Re: DIY whisker pole

If there was a dead simple, cost efficient, and safe method of creating a whisker pole I'd be willing to bet an investment cast headsail shackle that most of the cruisers would be equipped with one rather than keeping Forespar in business.
I'd never wish to hamper innovation so give it a try and keep us informed. Sometimes you luck out. Whisker poles were constructed of Douglas fir long before aluminum and now are available in carbon fiber but I'm sure further innovations will present themselves.

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Old 09-10-2016, 19:25   #3
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Re: DIY whisker pole

No, dont use pvc unless it is a very small boat, the loads are significant in any sort of wind/sea, and when they buckle they can do a lot of damage.

I have made my own from 6061 t6 alloy tube (not pipe). Worked fine and cheap enough. Its the end fittings that cost the big money, not the tube. Bamboo or strong clear wood can also work on smaller boats.

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Old 09-10-2016, 19:40   #4
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Re: DIY whisker pole

Of course you can make your own whisker pole. It isn't rocket science. PVC isn't a very good material for the purpose. It's heavy and not strong compared to other materials. Aluminum tubing would probably work better. Fill it with a hard polyurethane foam or a dowel wrapped in fiberglass (to make a tight fit) to improve its rigidity. If you have to buy end fittings made for whisker poles that may offset some of your cost savings but I don't think it would be too difficult to fabricate something suitable. Even if you had a machine shop fabricate the ends from stainless steel I think you could bring the project in for less than $900.

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Old 09-10-2016, 20:03   #5
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Re: DIY whisker pole

Check with your local metal supplier. 4" aluminum tubing is way stronger than PVC and should cost around ~$6/foot. As others have said, the end fittings are the expensive parts-- to me it'd be worth it to check sailing swap meets or used boat part places like Minnie's in Los Angeles.
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Old 09-10-2016, 21:32   #6
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Re: DIY whisker pole

Geeez...the simple answer is to buy a used one. I bought my first one for $200. In La Paz, a neighbor got tired of having two and gave me one. I sold it later at a swap meet for $200.
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Old 09-10-2016, 21:45   #7
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Re: DIY whisker pole

I am guessing you are thinking of schedule 80? I still wouldn't bet on it. This is for the Beneteau right? How long does it need to be? My first thought was, believe it or not, a heavy duty aluminum Carlisle oar shaft that you attach fittings onto. They are really strong and maybe you could buy the blade too and it could double as a sweep if you were so inclined. I am experimenting with the oars on my boat, and I too need a whisker pole so I have been pondering it.
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