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Old 08-03-2013, 07:04   #1
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Telescoping Whisker Pole

I am stumped trying to source a telescoping whisker pole for my boat in the UK.

The Forespar Line Control 15-27 pole is just right for my needs. But it is not sold in the UK, it seems. It's a massive PITA (and expense) to ship such a beast from the U.S., and stupid since they are made in France. I have been trying to get Forespar to figure out whether they can drop-ship it to me (maybe in Guernsey where I won't pay any VAT ), without result so far.

I have found a company who will make suitable telescoping poles out of carbon fiber for about 1000 pounds in diameters 100/95 and 90/85, but I have no idea how to source and install the necessary fittings. Oddly, my riggers don't have any idea, either. Doesn't anyone use telescoping whisker poles in the UK??

Anyone have any tips?
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Old 08-03-2013, 07:09   #2
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

I believe Forespar sells the end fittings separately as well as complete poles. Have you tried that? If I'm correct it would be a lot less expensive just shipping the end pieces and fitting to the pole in the UK.
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Old 08-03-2013, 07:12   #3
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

Just went to the Forespar web site and confirmed that my memory is still working. At least over here, they sell end fittings by themselves.

Sail Pole End Fittings Collars

I'm sure Forespar does this as service to potential customers who live in small, out of the way locations like the UK.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:07   #4
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Just went to the Forespar web site and confirmed that my memory is still working. At least over here, they sell end fittings by themselves.

Sail Pole End Fittings Collars

I'm sure Forespar does this as service to potential customers who live in small, out of the way locations like the UK.
Those are regular spin pole end fittings, which are not hard to get anywhere. What I need is the line control mechanism. I am trying to get an answer from Forespar.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:15   #5
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

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Anyone have any tips?
You're within 100nm of France, eh? Guernsey? And you have a lovely sailboat? Why not bop on over there and pick one up?
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:22   #6
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

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You're within 100nm of France, eh? Guernsey? And you have a lovely sailboat? Why not bop on over there and pick one up?
Absolutely -- picking it up in Guernsey would save me 20% VAT. But although they're made in France, they do not seem to be sold there (or in the Channel Islands)!
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Old 08-03-2013, 10:53   #7
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

I'd be very leery of line control pole working with your boat. The 12/22 pole that I had for my 35' boat had the smaller section bend in 10k relative wind poling out the 135 genoa running DDW. The pole was extended about 2/3rd and was flexing a little under the load before it pretzeled in the middle of the night.

The poles aren't designed to take high compressive loads. When I disassembled the pole found the control line's bitter end was secured by a rather miimal stamped eye held on by SS pop rivets. The strap padeye had been torqued out of shape and the pop rivets distorted. To be fair, I bought the pole 2nd hand so don't know how the PO abused the pole. Forespar doesn't advertise them as replacements for spinnaker poles and they shouldn't be used as such. My pole couldn't be extended with any load on the pole. Had to disconnect it from the sail and take the tension off the topping lift to extend it out.

The poles are heavy for their collapsed length because they are two poles in one p;us the small diameter inner spreader pole that makes the line control possible. It's much easier to maneuver my 15', 3.5" diameter spinnaker pole than the line control pole. The L/C pole is even heavier since I've rebuilt it with a thicker wall smaller section. A topping lift is almost a must when flying the pole. If you've got the funds, the aluminum/carbon fiber composite pole would be a good investment.

Having said the above, the whisker pole extended out to about 18' made for a much better setting poled out genoa. The sail was flatter and offered more area to the wind than when poled out with the 15' spinnaker that replaced it. Boat has a 13'6" 'J' measurement.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:04   #8
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

In view of all that, I wonder if it makes sense to have two simple carbon poles of different, fixed lengths? One 27 feet long for the fully unfurled yankee, and the other like a spin pole (20 feet long, my "J" dimension), to use in case the the yankee is furled somewhat?

A PITA to store such a long pole, but I think I might have barely enough room under my radar (10 meters up; the first spreader is 8 1/2). Would be lighter and stronger than a collapsible pole. Hmmm. I just wonder how often I will need the various intermediate lengths?
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:09   #9
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I just wonder how often I will need the various intermediate lengths?
I suppose it depends on the headsails you will be wanting to pole out.

I carry two J-length spin poles, or a single spin pole and a forespar line-control pole. All of these are carbon fiber. The spin pole does an OK job of holding out my 120% genoa, but sometimes I roll up the genoa a bit to make it less baggy. The extended whisker pole definitely gives me better sail shape.

I've not used the whisker pole with the genoa roller-reefed, but I probably should have a few times when I broke the pole. The first time it broke, that riveted inner pad-eye for the control line pulled out. Forespar sent me a replacement eye and a carbon insert, which has held up very well since then. As I recall, the new eye was stronger than the original.

The second time I broke it, the through-pole pulley for the control line broke, and so did the control-line cleat.

The third time I broke the pole, somehow the mast-end fitting levered itself off.

The common denominator here is that I was using the pole in fairly high wind (mid-high 20's). The apparent wind was perhaps 8kts less. My spin poles are much fatter and stronger than the whisker pole. My whisker pole is definitely the weak link. It might be a bit undersized, or perhaps I should just not use it (or reef the genoa) in those conditions.

A well-sized spin pole is much harder to break, although I've done that a couple of times too! That's one of the differences between cruising and racing -- how hard you push the boat and crew.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:23   #10
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

Hmm, well maybe I should just do a 110% of "J" carbon spin pole and have done with it. I sure don't need all those busted poles, and this is not the first case I've heard of busted line control poles.

I don't mind rolling up the yankee a bit when going DDW (I do that anyway), and 110% of "J" is going to be ok for a regular spinnaker, too (even if it's not legal for racing). I suppose that won't be too long for the (120%) yankee on the first reef mark, so will be ok up to 25 knots or so.

If the wind is up more than that, then I don't need a pole anyway -- once the yankee is down to the second reef mark, its shape is fine DDW without any kind of pole.

Hmmmm.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:28   #11
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

Just out of curiosity, what is the 'J' measurement on your 54' boat?? Somehow have a hard time getting my mind around setting a 27' aluminum pole by myself.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:32   #12
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

One advantage of a pole (any type) is if you are running DW and the seas are up, you can keep the headsail filled much better. In these conditions you probably have the wind on the quarter instead of DDW, since you don't want to accidentally jibe the main (even if it's prevented) as you corkscrew through the waves. This means that the headsail occasionally backwinds. With the pole, the headsail recovers with no fuss. So, even if the sails fly well in flatter water, I've found that the pole helps a lot in bigger seas.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:49   #13
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Just out of curiosity, what is the 'J' measurement on your 54' boat?? Somehow have a hard time getting my mind around setting a 27' aluminum pole by myself.
6 meters or about 20 feet.

A whisker pole should be the same length as the foot of the sail being poled out. My 120% yankee's foot is about 24', which would be long enough, but that size Forespar pole goes up to 27'. Yes, it's a long one!!

I think it will not be very easy to set even at 24'. Topping lift, guys, and a minimum number of skilled hands would be necessary.

But a pole is really necessary for all the reasons Paul mentioned, plus sailing DDW (as we sometimes do) is much simpler if the headsail can tolerate at least a few degrees of sailing by the lee, which it otherwise cannot, plus you get a much better shape.
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Old 08-03-2013, 13:16   #14
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

I dont rate whisker poles and especially telescoping ones, too weak. Get a good spinnaker pole and then strap it fore and aft then you can reef downwind without the need to change the pole length.

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Old 08-03-2013, 13:23   #15
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Re: Telescoping Whisker Pole

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I dont rate whisker poles and especially telescoping ones, too weak. Get a good spinnaker pole and then strap it fore and aft then you can reef downwind without the need to change the pole length.

Dave
Thanks for that.

What do you mean "strap it fore and aft"?
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