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Old 24-01-2016, 07:32   #1
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Whisker pole - How long & thick?

I have a 35 foot cutter with a bow sprit, 40 ft overall. Is there a formula, or formulas to help me determine the length of a whisker pole? I think it has an 130% rollerfurling Genoa.

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Old 24-01-2016, 13:10   #2
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Re: Whisker pole - How long & thick?

For length a common rule of thumb is to be equal to the LP dimension of the sail to be poled out. On racing boats, the spinnaker pole is limited to the J dimension of the boat, or else rating penalties are applied, so that is what many folks use as a whisker pole (because they already have it). For a big genoa, it isn't ideal but will work ok... not stretching the sail completely out. We've done this for thousands of miles...

Diameter is dependent upon the wall thickness and length of the tube that you use. Have a look at the Forespar (or other mfg) catalogs, and see what combinations they use for poles of the length that you need. This will give you a good idea of requirements.

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Old 24-01-2016, 13:40   #3
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Re: Whisker pole - How long & thick?

+1 with a bowsprit and a Yankee or with minimal overlap on your headsail a "J" length pole is about right. Overlapping genoas really need longer than "J" poles to work well.

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Old 24-01-2016, 19:31   #4
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Re: Whisker pole - How long & thick?

A longer pole makes for a better setting genoa when running wing and wing. Variable length whisker poles are not built all that strong and really really poor in compression. Pretzeled my 12/22 Forespar Pole in moderate conditions on a passage. Would go up one size on what is recommended for a boat your size. They are not a substitute for a real spinnaker pole. Get a longer than 'J' spinnaker pole as a backup. Having a backup pole was a godsend after the whisker pole bent.
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Old 24-01-2016, 20:27   #5
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Re: Whisker pole - How long & thick?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
A longer pole makes for a better setting genoa when running wing and wing. Variable length whisker poles are not built all that strong and really really poor in compression. Pretzeled my 12/22 Forespar Pole in moderate conditions on a passage. Would go up one size on what is recommended for a boat your size. They are not a substitute for a real spinnaker pole. Get a longer than 'J' spinnaker pole as a backup. Having a backup pole was a godsend after the whisker pole bent.
Aahhhh! The collapsing (ie adjustable length) whisker pole! Another boat-show whiz-bang that does not seem to work out well in the real world of cruising! We've sure seen a lot of bent ones over the years, and heard lots of complaints (some here on CF) that the adjustments don't work all that well after the shine wears off. The "real" spinnaker pole, of whatever length you can manage, is a far better choice in the long run, and you'll have a hard time busting it. And, of course, someday you might just want to fly a kite!

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Old 25-01-2016, 20:29   #6
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Re: Whisker pole - How long & thick?

This is really helpful, I am planning on pulling my genoa down because I have to replace the UV strip, so I will have a chance to measure it. What I don't know is is what percent Genoa it is. it might be a 130 or it might be more or less it is pretty big but the boat is new to me and I haven't actually sailed much with it. So if I measure along the foot of the sale how does that differ from the LP? I'm not planning on buying a new whisker pole, or spinnaker pole, but unless I know what I'm looking for there's no point looking for a used one. The boat is new to me about 3 weeks, & I have lots more important things to spend big bucks on at the moment. But if the right deal came up, or someone locally was thinking of getting rid of one they don't use I would like to know whether I could use it.

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Old 25-01-2016, 20:31   #7
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Re: Whisker pole - How long & thick?

In my younger days Jim I did sail kites we used to race on Long Island Sound. The wife and I are getting up in years and probably only asymmetrical is in our future.

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Old 25-01-2016, 21:38   #8
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Re: Whisker pole - How long & thick?

When you have the sail spread out, measure foot, leech and luff, and the LP, which is a line perpendicular to the luff and going through the clew. Then, divide that LP length by the J dimension of your boat: the resulting ratio times 100 is the "per cent" of a genoa.

It is a good thing to measure all your sails when convenient, for you never know when a real bargain will show up, and it may not be so convenient to do the measuring then!

And I hear you about flying the kite. I shamefacedly admit that Ann and I use ours less and less... only when conditions are really good, or when we have more crew on board (which is seldom). Getting old is the shits...

Jim
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Old 25-01-2016, 22:09   #9
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Re: Whisker pole - How long & thick?

Thanks, Jim, yes, I was once fearless about the chute, and Mary was a great trimmer, but that was back in the 80s, and we have lived inland, sans boat since 86. We are now just 12 miles from Birch Bay and 15 minutes to the boat, and we are hoping for some good years on the water. Wouldn't want any broken bones, caused by acting like we are still in our 40s.

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