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Old 01-08-2017, 13:19   #1
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Whisker Pole

We are considering a mast mounted telescoping whisker pole for our IP 370. We are hoping to improve our ability to sail down wind.

We are cruisers, cruising from Florida to Bahamas and next plan on Caribbean.

Have heard mixed reviews from folks using whisker poles. Especially on the 40 ft plus boats some have said its hard for a cruising couple to set the pole.The equipment e are looking at is the Forespar line control units.

Any input from those that have used similar setups would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-08-2017, 14:34   #2
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Whisker Pole

I have a mast mounted pole on a track, it's easy to set up and use on our IP 38, it is a forespar line control, I do it single handed, It does help downwind, mostly in keeping the Genoa from collapsing.
My plan was to run dual headsails, my 110 Genoa and my 135, but I have been talked into a cruising code zero, but don't even have it yet.
However I have learned that downwind sailing is to be avoided whenever possible in my opinion, as it slow and hot
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Old 01-08-2017, 15:08   #3
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Re: Whisker Pole

Quick disclaimer: My "formative" sailing background (childhood aside) is offshore racing, including professionally.

That said, I'm a big fan of regular spinnaker poles, "over length"/"penalty" poles at that. Meaning ones longer than the J dimension on the boat.

I like spin poles as they're fixed length units, with little to fail. And the male to female, or bayonet connections on the mast are much more solid, & long lived than poles which clip on to rings on the mast. The reason being is that with each wave, the motion of the boat slams the jaws of a clip on pole against the ring. Each cycle taking a bit off of the pole jaws' life.

Also, longer, penalty poles, project the sail out further, to better catch the wind, if you're at all sailing deep angles. And when saiing hotter ones, they move the center of effort of the spinnaker forward, thus reducing weather helm & increasing speed.
And the mast tracks for their butt ends let you tailor the height of the pole to the sail it's being used with, along with wind speed, etc.

Plus the jaws on them are quite stout & long lived. Unlike some clip on poles. But regardless of type, get the stoutest one with the beefiest hardware that you can find. And get one that's easy to connect a topping lift & foreguy to.

In terms of handling, you can locate the pole on the deck so that once the topping lift is connected to the outboard end, via a witness mark on the T-lift. All you need do is push the pole forward, & it'll rise to the proper height on it's own. And then lock the butt into it's socket on the mast. From there, the forguy & sheet (or afterguy) easily keep it under control.

They really make a world of difference in terms of keeping the sail full, & on the correct side, when saiing downwind. Particularly when sailing deep angles. And act as a boom (with a built in "preventer") for the jib.
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Old 01-08-2017, 16:00   #4
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Re: Whisker Pole

The Forespar line control poles aren't especially heavy duty and shouldn't be used on a spinnaker except very broad reaching or DDW. They just can't take the compression. I was surprized at how light the adjusting hardware was when I rebuilt my pole. Also don't play around the edges of the boat size chart for the poles. Get one that is well within the size envelope for your boat. Pretzeled the 12/22 pole on a genoa on my 35' boat. Fortunately had a robust penalty length spinnaker pole to finish the passage to Hawaii. Not sure I'd go with an adjustable length pole again. It was nice having that 12/22 extended out to about 18' which made a much better setting sail than the 16' fixed length pole that finished the passage. Not that the shorter pole didn't work, just that the longer pole extended out the projected area of the sail going DDW. If you go fixed length pole, would go with one at least 2' longer than the 'J' of the boat.
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Old 01-08-2017, 16:16   #5
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Re: Whisker Pole

The problem with collapsing whisker poles is that they get tired and collapse when you aren't expecting it. Get a proper, strong spinnaker pole, and it can be rigged up the mast (you may have to add some track), and either one of you will be able to set the pole.

Ann
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Old 01-08-2017, 16:51   #6
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Re: Whisker Pole

I thought the question was whisker pole, where did spinnakers come from?
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Old 01-08-2017, 16:59   #7
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Re: Whisker Pole

Spin poles are FAR better for poling out any kind of headsail. Anything else is sub-standard, & pretty much for light duty weekend use.
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Old 01-08-2017, 17:18   #8
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Re: Whisker Pole

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Spin poles are FAR better for poling out any kind of headsail. Anything else is sub-standard, & pretty much for light duty weekend use.
Completely agree! We've seen a lot of failed adjustable poles on cruising boats, and not very many failed proper spinnaker poles. The performance loss from a J length pole when DDW is not all t hat great... not worth consideration in a cruising situation.

Mounting the pole up the mast when not in use adds to windage a bit and some weight aloft, but means that the pole is easily managed by one person... a pretty important factor in couple cruising IMO.

Jim
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Old 01-08-2017, 17:26   #9
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Re: Whisker Pole

How does the pole collapse? Does the tube actually bend, or the extension mechanism fail?
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Old 01-08-2017, 17:35   #10
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Re: Whisker Pole

maybe they are for "light duty weekend use" but somehow I sailed from St. Martin to Marsh Harbour with a pole like that on my Caliber 33 for about 4 days. was I just lucky? I have no idea. But it worked for me. That one was not mast mounted. On my current Caliber 40 I have another telescoping pole on the mast that hasnt collapsed yet either. (boat currently on the hard in Antigua waiting for hurricane season to end)

As for ease of deployment, it is all me doing it alone since my wife is usually the only other person on the boat and doesnt go out on the foredeck in the open water if she can avoid it. A bit of fussing the first time till I found out which hole it wanted to telescope to and after that it was easy.

Maybe I will pretzel it next season and start agreeing with everyone else here. But until then I guess I am a "light duty weekend sailor"
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Old 01-08-2017, 17:53   #11
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Re: Whisker Pole

Quote:
But until then I guess I am a "light duty weekend sailor"
That is certainly one conclusion that could be reached.

Jim
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Old 01-08-2017, 18:01   #12
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Re: Whisker Pole

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
How does the pole collapse? Does the tube actually bend, or the extension mechanism fail?
I've seen both failure modes. As mentioned up thread, the line drive mechanisms are not robust, the "push button" adjustments have collapsed and distorted the tubes, and the inner tubes have been known to simply kink and bend over.

If all you use it for is to pole out a jib when DDW and in light airs, they will do fine... usually. But if a squall should catch you unawares, or if you choose to experiment with carrying the pole when reaching a bit further up, the loads increase dramatically with failure an increasing probability.

And I bet if you had asked the owners of the destroyed poles that I've seen how they worked, they all would have said "really good", right up to the day when they failed!

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Old 01-08-2017, 18:54   #13
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Whisker Pole

My pole extends with a line, then you wrap the line around a cleat to keep it from collapsing, as long as the line and cleat hold it can't.
Plus a real significant portion of the pole is double thickness cause I guess maybe I should have gotten a shorter one cause extending it only a couple of feet seems to be the correct length.
So I kind of think it's heavier than it could be as I did not pop for the Carbon one, but it ought to be very strong. If I had to guess I'd guess the track is the weak link in my set up
I can see how the ones with the little buttons would fail as of course they buttons are taking 100% of the load.

Maybe this is a better mouse trap?
http://www.forespar.com/products/lin...aluminum.shtml
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Old 01-08-2017, 19:02   #14
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Re: Whisker Pole

My boat came with an extendable pole, I some how managed to bend it the first time I used it. Now poleless with 2500nm ddw sail coming up. I to are exploring light wind furler sails.
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Old 02-08-2017, 04:28   #15
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Re: Whisker Pole

Like Jim says, the loads on the pole go up geometrically, the closer to the headstay it gets. Due to the forces generated by the sail, & the force vectors imparted on the pole by the sail, & the pole's positioning control lines.

Also, sometimes it's unavoidable that the pole will hit a stay while a sail's up. Be it the babystay, shroud, or headstay. And if a pole's going to kink, that's often when it happens.

Spinnaker poles are fairly resilient when it comes to this. I can't say as to whether or not Whisker poles are, but I have my doubts. Particularly about the ones which have series of holes in them to adjust the pole's length, since each hole is a stress riser (weak point). As is the juncture where one part of the pole slides into the larger diameter section.

Also, I don't know how tough it is to repair a Whisker Pole. But to some degree, in the cruising context, Spin Poles can be fixed by cropping out the dinged/bent section. And either then splicing it back together, though it'll be a bit shorter. Or getting another section of tubing, & splicing the pole back to the proper length, or even longer.

You just use the same techniques as assembling a 2-part mast, or adding a vang doubler to the boom. Primarily bolting & bonding the pieces together, with a sleeve with tapered ends inside of the 2 pole sections.

And this is an educated guess, but I'm thinking that there are quite a lot of Spinnaker Poles out there. More than Whisker Poles. So that sourcing spare parts for it on those rare occasions that something on a pole needs replacing, is much easier for a standard dimension Spin Pole. Particularly as there's quite a variety of types & diameters of Whisker Poles out there, so the parts for them are less standardized.

Plus, with a standard Spin Pole, odds are you can hit up a racing boat & ask if they have the part you need. Since most racing boats still carry regular Spin Poles.
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