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Old 24-09-2010, 13:22   #1
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Carbon Fiber Whisker Pole on a Cruiser ?

I am getting ready to buy a whisker pole, most likely line control 13'-24' but maybe 15'-27'

Is anyone using a carbon fiber pole on a cruising boat? It's double the cost, and obviously not necessary, but it sure would be nice. Is it worth it?

Any opinions?



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Old 24-09-2010, 14:13   #2
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VALIS has a CF Forespar Line Control whisker pole, as well as a CF spin pole. The spin pole is roughly 19 feet. I don't remember the whisker length, but it can collapse to a few feet less than 19, and extends far beyond.

I don't know if they're worth it, but they are much lighter than similar Al poles, and certainly easier to handle. You really should find a way to handle each type before deciding.

The CF pole is very strong, but when they break it can be pretty exciting! The ends are quite splintered and there are cracks that extent for about a foot. I suppose it depends on how you break it -- ours broke (two different times) in a violent round-down. If we had been cruising we wouldn't have been flying the spinnaker under those conditions, but we were racing. It's a good thing the pole broke, and not the mast. We repaired the pole with an internal CF insert and building up the broken-area gap.

The line-control pole is heavier, as it has an internal aluminum rod inside the telescoping CF pole sections. I think my whisker pole isn't strong enough, or I push it too hard, as it has broken under pretty heavy load. One time the control line internal attachment padeye pulled out of the CF tube, and the second time the mast-end end cap twisted out of the tube. Both times the repair was with stronger stuff, so perhaps they have been improving the pole design over the years.
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Old 24-09-2010, 14:26   #3
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Originally Posted by PamlicoTraveler View Post
obviously not necessary, but it sure would be nice. Is it worth it?


I bought a full length of 60mm alauminum tube, anodised, cut the bugger to size and put parrot beaks in each end held in by silicon sealer and the line between the 2 beaks. Not even a pop rivet.

Works as it should and was cheep as chips
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Old 24-09-2010, 19:09   #4
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Carbon is light, but expensive - if you can handle the alloy thing, probably stay with alloy.

b.
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Old 24-09-2010, 19:32   #5
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Flying a spinnaker on a Whisker Pole, Paul? Naughty. Whisker poles are not meant for any significant load. The name Whisker should suggest that. They are for simply holding the headsail clew out in fair weather.

If you have the money, carbon is the way to go. But aluminium is just fine.

Or just skip it and head up a few degrees. I don't like carrying the poles around as deck cargo all the time.
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Old 24-09-2010, 20:02   #6
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Flying a spinnaker on a Whisker Pole, Paul? Naughty. Whisker poles are not meant for any significant load. The name Whisker should suggest that. They are for simply holding the headsail clew out in fair weather.
I must have been unclear. I was whiskering out the clew of the genny, running wing and wing in 25-30 Kts of wind. It was really too much strain on the pole. You would think I'd learn, but I broke the thing twice, in 2003 and in 2010. When the wind is light the poled-out genoa is really a thing of beauty:



I agree, a whisker pole is no match for a spinnaker. That's why we have the spin poles. Of course I broke two of those too, in 2008 and 2010 during the Pacific Cup race. Big wind and seas, and a boat that only goes so fast.

And the CF poles are pretty stupid expensive. I just appreciate the light weight when it's me that's horsing the pole around on the foredeck (and it usually is me up there).
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Old 24-09-2010, 20:13   #7
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Paul - ...and I mis-read your post too. That's a beautiful picture. Nice sails, nice trim, getting dusted by a Moore 24.
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Old 24-09-2010, 21:06   #8
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WOW... What a picture Paul... Thanks all. I'm trying to psyched up and do the CF. I probably wouldn't regret it, but it sure is costly..
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