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Old 21-07-2007, 07:40   #1
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Whisker/Spinnaker pole advise

Need some advise on Whisker/Spinnaker pole.

A 15-27 line control extendable pole weighing 58 lbs is what Forespar recommends for our boat. Carbon fiber is not in the budget and the next size down is the 13-24 line control pole. It weighs only 39 lbs but is slightly undersized for the 24' foot on our 135% genny. Our other headsails include a 100% and a storm jib that hanks on a removable inner forestay.

Iíve been told that many (some) offshore cruisers have switched from an extendable pole to a shorter spinnaker pole to ease handling requirements and to avoid the maintenance required to keep the extendable pole working. IE, frequent flushing with lots of fresh water, (Which, with tankage for only 95 gallons, I donít have lots of).

Anybody with offshore experience on have some thoughts on this?
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Old 21-07-2007, 08:19   #2
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On the advice of my rigger (with plenty of offshore experience) I drilled 2 holes through my expandable pole and bolted it at the right length.
No more screwing around with adjusting the pole.

For a budget pole you could buy an aluminium tube and attach the end pieces yourself.
It would be cheap, lightweight and the right length for your boat.

I have seen the end pieces sold at a discount here in Ft. Lauderdale.

Try Sailorman New & Used Marine: The World's Largest and Most Unique New & Used Marine Emporium
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Old 21-07-2007, 10:48   #3
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58 lbs. I hope you would have a crew to run that one. I have a solid 16' forespar that weights in at about 25 lbs. With the assistance of my Admiral on the cunninghan it's fairly EZ to set up and works for most applications........._/)
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Old 21-07-2007, 23:41   #4
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I made my own spinnaker poles in Fiji, and then sailed more than half way around the world using those poles. I purchased two inch diameter aluminum tubing, and used end fittings that I ordered from West Marine. The poles were each eighteen feet long, and they were used to pole out 500 square foot genoas when running downwind. I had 500 square feet of sail to port and 500 square feet to starboard with each eighteen foot pole going to its respective sail.

I used the poles when running downwind in up to 25 knots of wind, and occasionally I was caught running downwind in 30 knots using the poles, and we never broke a pole. So whatever it's worth, you can make up your own poles, and there is a good chance that they will survive extended offshore voyaging.

Here is a picture of my poles in action using double headsails with a total of 1000 square foot of sail running downwind in the trades.

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Old 22-07-2007, 14:30   #5
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CSY Man - Great tip on just bolting the two together. This opens up new options as there are some used poles around that would work well once bolted together Or, use them as is and bolt them together at some point down the road, or waterway, once they start to fail. Thanks for the link too.

delmarrey & maxinout - No crew, just the Admiral & me, so yeah, light weight is better, and it's good to know that the smaller poles will hold up under most conditions. Great pictures!

Wow! After looking at the prices of the end fittings I think another option would be to find a used pole, with end fittings in decent shape, and just buy aluminum tubing to replace the pole.

Thanks for the input and advise! (That's why I love this forum)
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Old 22-07-2007, 19:34   #6
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You can save a chunk of money by making one of the end fittings on each of the spinnaker poles. That's the way I did it in Fiji.

I simply put a block of wood on a lathe and rounded it out so that it fit inside the aluminum two inch pole. Then I drilled a hole through the end of the wood, and I put a long eye bolt through the wooden block. Next I slid the wooden end fitting into one end of the pole and put screws through the aluminum into the wood about an inch from the end of the pole.

Voila! I now had an large eyebolt coming out of the end of the pole, and I put my snap shackle from the topping lift and snap shackles from the foreguy and afterguy controlling the pole into the eyebolt as well.

This poor man's spinnaker pole lasted from Fiji the rest of the way around the world for the next eight years.

When I lathed the wooden spinnaker pole end fitting, I went ahead and constructed a spare end fitting in case one of them split or broke, but I never needed to use it.

So I only ended up buying two piston style end fittings from West Marine for one end of the poles, and I used the two homemade ones for the other ends. That probably saved two or three hundred dollars.

Good luck with you spinnaker poles. If you are sailing downwind in the trade winds, they are essential members of the crew. If you want to see the poles doing their thing while running downwind in 40 knots of wind, you can go to Welcoming to Maxing Out and click on the video called: Episode 4 - Gates of Sorrow. You will see the poles in action as we sail through the Bab Al Mandeb at the entrance to the Red Sea. Those poles took a licking and kept on ticking.
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Old 23-07-2007, 06:05   #7
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Dave

Great story. Excellent web page too. Looks like you really did have an adventure of a lifetime! I'm jealous.
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