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Old 21-09-2014, 15:51   #1
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Whisker Poles Set-up

Hi,

In the five years I've been sailing my boat I have never once used the whisker poles and now I'm trying to figure out how to set them up to help improve downwind performance.

I have two forespar 1" diameter aluminum twist lock whisker poles. One with jaws on both ends and the other with a jaw and a "spike" for a lack of a better word. Just like in the link below:

Twist Lock Whisker Poles

I couldn't find much info on the dealers page, except general info. So I'm guessing that you only need to use one pole, unless you want to be flying two headsails at the same time. And that you don't need a topping lift for these ones?? because they are super light. But then how do you ensure that the pole is horizontal? And finally, you just clip one of the jaws to a ring on the mast and depending on which pole you use either the working jib sheet goes through the other jaw or the "spike" just goes through the clew of the headsail? Can someone please confirm my understanding and let me know of anything I need to watch out for.

Also from my understanding you furl the headsail first then attach the pole then unfurl again. And I guess you don't want to be trying to adjust the length of the pole while it is loaded up.

Thanks for any help in advance.
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Old 21-09-2014, 16:27   #2
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Re: Whisker Poles Set-up

couldn't find much info on the dealers page, except general info.
Might check catalinadirect or the catalina class association. Then if you race your pole will be within specs.

guessing that you only need to use one pole, unless you want to be flying two headsails at the same time.
Yes
And that you don't need a topping lift for these ones??
Right
But then how do you ensure that the pole is horizontal?
The jib/jenny will hold it up

how to set the pole?
Set the jib/jenny.
Extend the pole and lock at full length.
Put the pole end on the jibsheet or through the foresail clew,
then attach the other end to a padeye on the mast.
Use the jibsheet to set the sail about perpendicular to the wind.
When jibing, remove pole end from the mast first, then the jib, then jibe.
Watch out for the boom.
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Old 21-09-2014, 22:34   #3
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Re: Whisker Poles Set-up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buchido View Post
I have two forespar 1" diameter aluminum twist lock whisker poles. One with jaws on both ends and the other with a jaw and a "spike" for a lack of a better word. Just like in the link below:

Twist Lock Whisker Poles

I couldn't find much info on the dealers page, except general info. So I'm guessing that you only need to use one pole, unless you want to be flying two headsails at the same time. And that you don't need a topping lift for these ones?? because they are super light. But then how do you ensure that the pole is horizontal? And finally, you just clip one of the jaws to a ring on the mast and depending on which pole you use either the working jib sheet goes through the other jaw or the "spike" just goes through the clew of the headsail? Can someone please confirm my understanding and let me know of anything I need to watch out for.
You pretty much have it there but no need to furl/unfurl.
Whisker poles are mostly small boat gear. Or for maybe for an inner jib on a cruiser. Boom lifts are to assist a sailor on the install but usually needing a down haul for spinnakers. When running before the wind with a jib/Genoa one moves the car forward on the track which helps keep the clew down.
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Old 21-09-2014, 22:51   #4
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Re: Whisker Poles Set-up

Bushido, I agree with much of what the previous poster said about not needing topping lift, etc., but I would think long and hard about attaching the pole to the sail before the pole is attached to the mast. If you get a gust , or any fluttering of the sail, the inboard end can become a battering ram that can do major, painful damage. I would also not attach to the clew itself. Attach to the sheet. I sailed many thousands of miles in a 26 foot boat, and always used a pole if running downwind. It made life much easier. I also made up a simple preventer for the main, from 2 snatch blocks( one on each rail) and a line on each side back to cleats. The Catalina group is probably a very good resource, but remember that racers may do things that a short handed crew would not do. Having a good crew at the helm can make foredeck work easy. Go out there and do it. ______Grant.
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Old 22-09-2014, 01:53   #5
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Re: Whisker Poles Set-up

If you do some research on the internet there is a great video from John K something that shows exactly how to deploy and use a whisker pole. And he uses not just for small boats.

Homewhiskerpoles.htm
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Old 22-09-2014, 11:03   #6
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Re: Whisker Poles Set-up

Thanks everyone for your advice. It's nice to get the advice from some experience sailors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
If you do some research on the internet there is a great video from John K something that shows exactly how to deploy and use a whisker pole. And he uses not just for small boats.

Homewhiskerpoles.htm
Thanks chuckr, it is a great video and I'm actually reading John K's book Sailing a Serious Ocean at the moment which inspired me to actually use the whisker poles when sailing downwind. I had always thought that they would be more trouble then they were worth before. But it seems that they have a substantial benefit and it sounds like they are pretty easy to use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
I agree with much of what the previous poster said about not needing topping lift, etc., but I would think long and hard about attaching the pole to the sail before the pole is attached to the mast. If you get a gust , or any fluttering of the sail, the inboard end can become a battering ram that can do major, painful damage. I would also not attach to the clew itself. Attach to the sheet.
gjordan, I definitely can see your point about attaching to the sail first. I presume it would only be a problem in strong or gusty winds though. In which case I don't think I would be using the pole to begin with. I plan to use a whisker pole for light air sailing only. Is it possible/recommended to use it in heavier winds? If you attach it to the mast first, I'm guessing this is when you would need to furl the head sail to get the other end attached?

I also agree that attaching to the sheet is a better idea. But I was confused why I would have 2 whisker poles which were different types, especially when I only have one head sail. At first I was thinking maybe you needed to use both of them at the same time (i.e. one through the clew and the other on a jib sheet) as a back-up or something since they are fairly tiny. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

Anyway thanks everyone again for all your help.
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Old 22-09-2014, 14:51   #7
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Re: Whisker Poles Set-up

Bushido,

Is is possible that what you describe as a "whisker pole with a spike" is in fact a reaching strut? If so, its use is to keep the spinnaker sheet from bearing on the shrouds when reaching up with a spinnaker. The jaws clip onto some kind of pad eye or -ring on the mast, and the sheet bears on the other end.

Ann
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Old 23-09-2014, 13:20   #8
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Re: Whisker Poles Set-up

Buchido,
IME, it is for running in strong or gusty wind that a whisker pole is the most useful. The reason is that it keeps the jib or genoa full, preventing flogging and keeping the sail force steady. This makes helming much easier. You just need a good helmsman for keeping a steady course while you are rigging the pole.

With a whisker pole on the jib and a preventer on the main, I managed to run safely at 10kts average (surfing up to 13.4kts) with Beaufort 6 and moderate sea, on a 30' boat (hull speed approx 7kts).

Alain
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