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Old 21-04-2015, 21:14   #1
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Whisker pole questions

Hi guys

What's the thought process when setting up a pole out system for your boat. I have a cutter ketch but no spinnaker or whisker poles. I am in the early stages of designing some sort of twin pole system but how do you know how long and best attachment systems and points? Any thoughts appreciated


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Old 22-04-2015, 15:48   #2
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Re: Whisker pole questions

Depends on the size of the headsail you'll be polling out. Our boat has a 13'8" 'J'. That pole length is too short for optimally poling out the genoa for optimum sail shape. Have a 15'6" 'penalty' spinnaker pole which is also to short. The telescoping 12'-22' spinaker extended out to about 19' seemed to be about right. Unfortunately it couldn't take the load and pretzeled the 2nd night of running wing and wing DDW in 12-14 mph winds. The shorter pole winged the sail out well but because of the short length didn't flatten the sail for optimum DDW sail configuration. The sail still set okay but was better with a longer pole.

Don't know of any formula for the pole but the length should be less than the length of the foot of the sail that it will be used with by a little. Personally, wouldn't spend the money for a dedicated twin headsail down wind rig. Have spent little time far enough off the wind with a sail poled out. Got lucky on the sail to Hawaii and ended up DDW most of the way but normally that sail would be a reach. Wing and wing worked just fine for that sail.
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Old 22-04-2015, 16:38   #3
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Re: Whisker pole questions

^^ Exactly. I like a single, non-adjustable J + a foot or two, spin pole.

Works pretty good. Won't break.
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Old 22-04-2015, 22:20   #4
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Re: Whisker pole questions

The normal advice is to have a wisker pole equal to the foot leingth of the headsail. The problem is that as you extend a telescoping pole it gets progressively weaker and the forces climb linearly with the length. This means a long wisker pole needs to be pretty beefy to handle the loads, and most people want a cheaper and lighter but thinner pole.

Carbon poles are starting to change this, but the price is still pretty high.
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