I agree with the school
of no real need for a pole while cruising, but we usually don't fly the main when far off the wind and we have a choice of head sails
. We have a smallish jib on a furler
for 25kts+, 100m2 reacher/code 0 on a sprit with a continuous line furler
for 15-25kts (not a perfect off wind sail, but works), and an assymetric spin in a sock for <15kts that we run the tack line to the windward bow (a symmetric would actually be better). All of these options end up giving us enough boat speed that it is usually sea-state that limits us.
But, this is on a relatively light catamaran
, with a wide beam, with a choice of head sails
. If you only had a big jib, then I can see the desire for a pole.
For the poster questioning the complexity of the bridle
between the bows, in our case it is very simple. We just run two tack lines, one down each side of the boat, through a block on the bow and up to the tack of the spinnaker
. By adjusting the length of the tack lines you can position the spinnaker tack anywhere from the windward bow to the leeward bow. In our case we have the jib winches free for that when running the spinnaker so it is very easy.