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Old 10-05-2021, 12:35   #1
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Spinnaker Pole Question

Our Warrior 40 came with a spindly telescopic pole that isn't up to the job, I've got a used aluminium pole that's 5m (16.5ft) long 99mm (4 inch) diameter which is the right length though probably slightly bigger diameter than really needed. The pole has a dip pole fitting on the inboard end but the mast currently only has a fixed ring. I'm trying to decide whether to go for the cheap option of changing the inboard end fitting to jaws that will fit the ring, or fitting a track to the front of the mast to allow vertical pole stowage and easier pole handling. We'll be mostly sailing short handed as a family of 4 with 2 young children. The pole will mostly be used for poling out the yankee, but potentially sometimes with our cruising chute when sailing deep, in which case any gybing would be done by snuffing it before gybing the pole, no plans to use a spinnaker where true dip pole gybing would be required. The boat is a cutter so if I stick with the ring I'm going to have to detach it from the mast when gybing to manoeuvre it past the staysail stay.

Does anyone have experience of handling a similar sized pole attached to a fixed mast ring, offshore, short handed? Is it manageable or really not a good idea? (Neither of us are especially big or strong!)

Thanks for any advice.

Bruce
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Old 10-05-2021, 17:57   #2
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

I have a lot of experience as a bowman from 40-80 foot ocean racers. If you have an intermediate stay for the staysail, you pretty much have to remove the pole from the mast no matter what. Therefore, the ring seems like the best way to go for your situation. As long as you have a topping lift with a centered bridle, the pole should be manageable even single handed.

A dip pole configuration really works better with one man on the bow, one at the mast and no stay between them.
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Old 12-05-2021, 07:45   #3
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

It doesn't sound like you'll be fiddling around much with the spinnaker pole. And when you do, it will be mostly poling out a jib for long stretches. As Pandor suggests, a bridle should make it easy enough to handle. The jib isn't going to be too picky about the position of the pole on the mast, so the ring should be sufficient. You can store it on deck, or even hooked up on stanchions. This is likely quieter than having it mounted on an expensive track on the mast, where it will be banging against the mast all the time.
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Old 12-05-2021, 08:30   #4
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

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Originally Posted by Brucekav View Post
...Does anyone have experience of handling a similar sized pole attached to a fixed mast ring, offshore, short handed? Is it manageable or really not a good idea? (Neither of us are especially big or strong!)...
I have used a spinnaker pole attached to the mast by a ring (on a previous boat).

The main problem is that the ring is not as strong as a normal pole fitting. The jaws and ring connection is not solid and does not hold the pole firmly in place and does not effectively transfer the load to the mast. Excessive force on the weak ring can break it. This happened to me on a windy day with serious consequences.

I recommend adding a track and a normal movable pole fitting to the mast and store the pole on the deck. In my opinion this does not really add more difficulty to foredeck operation. If the pole is on the deck one attaches a pole lift to help support the weight, then you lift up the inboard end and put it on the mast fitting. It's awkward in rolling seas but it can be done by one person with support from a second person (aft) who controls the pole lift and down haul.

I dislike the "vertical" pole storage for three reasons. One is that most pole fittings do not allow full articulation and if the lower end is moved athwartships while vertical it can bend the fittings holding the top. Secondly, it really is difficult in my view to move the end of the pole forward from its stored position while allowing a controlled lowering of the butt end. This seems like a two person operation with both persons forward.

Finally, I don't like more weight aloft.
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Old 12-05-2021, 08:39   #5
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

A mast track setup for vertical storage does make handling the pole easier. Only you can decide if it's worth the expense. On my 54' boat the pole is quite heavy and I'm glad to have the mast track. When stored, the pole is very secure and doesn't bang the mast ever, though I do have to bungee the control lines to prevent slapping.
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Old 12-05-2021, 08:51   #6
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

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Originally Posted by jt11791 View Post
A mast track setup for vertical storage does make handling the pole easier. Only you can decide if it's worth the expense. On my 54' boat the pole is quite heavy and I'm glad to have the mast track. When stored, the pole is very secure and doesn't bang the mast ever, though I do have to bungee the control lines to prevent slapping.
OK, I'd like to hear how you bring that pole down with only one person?

Do you walk forward with the end and allow the butt to simply slide down or do you use a second person to help control it as it comes down. At what point do you attach a pole lift and foreguy, assuming you have these? Don't they need minding by another hand?

And in the opposite case, how do you get the pole up the mast? You don't really just drag the tip along the deck as you raise the butt.

And are you confident that when you have disconnected the lower end in a seaway that it won't swing out away from the mast and stress the pole fitting aloft?

I have the probably cynical view that storing the pole on the mast is excellent for storing it, but not so useful for deployment and use.
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Old 13-05-2021, 14:15   #7
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

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Originally Posted by jt11791 View Post
A mast track setup for vertical storage does make handling the pole easier. Only you can decide if it's worth the expense. On my 54' boat the pole is quite heavy and I'm glad to have the mast track. When stored, the pole is very secure and doesn't bang the mast ever, though I do have to bungee the control lines to prevent slapping.
Jt11791 thanks for the info. I'd also like to understand the best way to deploy and recover the pole form the vertical storage with only one person on the foredeck without dragging it along the deck or having it swing around out of control. Many thanks.
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Old 13-05-2021, 15:08   #8
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

I used deck storage for the pole, and just a topping lift. To set the pole single handed

furl the genoa
set the topping lift so the outer end of the pole will clear the life lines
take the topping lift to the forward end of the pole
lift forward end of the pole up and hook on the topping lift
take the genoa sheet and lead it through the forward end of the pole
take the aft end of the pole and put it on the ring
pull the topping lift up until the forward end of the pole is about at clew height
unfurl the genoa and pull in the sheet-- do it in small steps

Stowing the pole is the reverse, except when the genoa is furled you lower the topping lift until the forward end of the pole is on deck

Gybing means
furling the genoa
dropping the pole to life line level
gybing the main
taking the aft end of the pole around the inner forestay and reattaching
changing sheets on the outer end of the pole
lift the pole
unfurl and sheet as before.

With a large pole, you learn to use the roll of the boat to assist you
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Old 13-05-2021, 16:01   #9
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
OK, I'd like to hear how you bring that pole down with only one person?

Do you walk forward with the end and allow the butt to simply slide down or do you use a second person to help control it as it comes down. At what point do you attach a pole lift and foreguy, assuming you have these? Don't they need minding by another hand?

And in the opposite case, how do you get the pole up the mast? You don't really just drag the tip along the deck as you raise the butt.

And are you confident that when you have disconnected the lower end in a seaway that it won't swing out away from the mast and stress the pole fitting aloft?

I have the probably cynical view that storing the pole on the mast is excellent for storing it, but not so useful for deployment and use.
Okay, my boat is rigged to be sailed by two people, not one, but in most cases I can deploy the whisker pole without help. Here's how I do it.

The pole starts in its stored position, vertical on the mast. I often leave the pole lift attached to the bridle, but if it isn't attached, the first step is to clip it on and tension it (the pole lift line is lead to the cockpit). I then go to the mast and open the jaw on the pole, which releases the outboard end from a fitting on the deck. It doesn't go swinging free, because I am standing there holding it. While standing at the mast, I can then lower the car on the track, which brings the inboard end of the pole down. As the inboard end comes down, the pole lift holds the outboard end of the pole off the deck and lifts it so that the pole moves from vertical to horizontal without the outboard end touching anything. Once horizontal, I keep a hand on the pole to hold it against the furled head sail and I go forward to clip on the foreguy and put the genoa sheet in the jaw. In a big sea it can be tough to maintain my balance and control of the pole, but in a big sea everything is harder. I then return to the mast and extend the telescoping pole by pulling the control line before returning to the cockpit to unroll the genoa.

Putting it away is just the reverse, retract (telescope) the pole, trip the jaw to release the sheet, leave the pole lift set and raise the car on the mast. The lift keeps the outboard end just above the deck until it clicks into the deck fitting. Done. I can do it alone, but I don't solo this boat often as my wife is nearly always with me. When setting the pole, she is in the cockpit to handle the helm and adjust lines as needed.

For what it's worth, I have a second pole stored on the deck and setting that one up isn't much different, it just takes a bit more strength as I have to lift the inboard end to attach it to the mast. On a 54' boat these poles are heavy. One of the ways that a telescoping whisker pole differs from a standard spin pole is that the pole lift bridle isn't centered on the pole, rather it attaches to the end of the first section (roughly the middle of the total extended length) and the outboard end.
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Old 13-05-2021, 17:52   #10
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jt11791 View Post
Okay, my boat is rigged to be sailed by two people, not one, but in most cases I can deploy the whisker pole without help. Here's how I do it.

The pole starts in its stored position, vertical on the mast. I often leave the pole lift attached to the bridle, but if it isn't attached, the first step is to clip it on and tension it (the pole lift line is lead to the cockpit). I then go to the mast and open the jaw on the pole, which releases the outboard end from a fitting on the deck. It doesn't go swinging free, because I am standing there holding it. While standing at the mast, I can then lower the car on the track, which brings the inboard end of the pole down. As the inboard end comes down, the pole lift holds the outboard end of the pole off the deck and lifts it so that the pole moves from vertical to horizontal without the outboard end touching anything. Once horizontal, I keep a hand on the pole to hold it against the furled head sail and I go forward to clip on the foreguy and put the genoa sheet in the jaw. In a big sea it can be tough to maintain my balance and control of the pole, but in a big sea everything is harder. I then return to the mast and extend the telescoping pole by pulling the control line before returning to the cockpit to unroll the genoa.

Putting it away is just the reverse, retract (telescope) the pole, trip the jaw to release the sheet, leave the pole lift set and raise the car on the mast. The lift keeps the outboard end just above the deck until it clicks into the deck fitting. Done. I can do it alone, but I don't solo this boat often as my wife is nearly always with me. When setting the pole, she is in the cockpit to handle the helm and adjust lines as needed.

For what it's worth, I have a second pole stored on the deck and setting that one up isn't much different, it just takes a bit more strength as I have to lift the inboard end to attach it to the mast. On a 54' boat these poles are heavy. One of the ways that a telescoping whisker pole differs from a standard spin pole is that the pole lift bridle isn't centered on the pole, rather it attaches to the end of the first section (roughly the middle of the total extended length) and the outboard end.
Good, I get it. The key is that the pole lift keeps the tip from touching the deck as you lower (or raise) the butt end, and you control the pole while standing at the mast.

This is not too different than how we manage ours which is stowed on the deck.
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Old 13-05-2021, 18:29   #11
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
OK, I'd like to hear how you bring that pole down with only one person?



Do you walk forward with the end and allow the butt to simply slide down or do you use a second person to help control it as it comes down. At what point do you attach a pole lift and foreguy, assuming you have these? Don't they need minding by another hand?



And in the opposite case, how do you get the pole up the mast? You don't really just drag the tip along the deck as you raise the butt.



And are you confident that when you have disconnected the lower end in a seaway that it won't swing out away from the mast and stress the pole fitting aloft?



I have the probably cynical view that storing the pole on the mast is excellent for storing it, but not so useful for deployment and use.


Pole lift goes on before I move the pole. Itís tight enough that the pole outboard end cannot hit the deck. It stays on.
As the inboard end is lowered the tip moves forward and up. No risk to the deck.
The butt end fitting on the mast is fully articulating. When the pole is level the shrouds and forestay limit the movement.
Iím trying to remember struggles with the pole up the mast.
I usually put the pole on a lazy sheet, not a lifeís sheet. Walk forward. Topping lift and foreguy on the pole. Lower inboard end a few feet while clipping lazy sheet in the jaw. Jaw down! Lower inboard end while holding pole upwind of the forestay. Now go back to the cockpit and jibe the jib/chute or whatever it is.
Topping lift and pole control lines are on the mast.
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Old 13-05-2021, 18:51   #12
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

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Originally Posted by jt11791 View Post
A mast track setup for vertical storage does make handling the pole easier. Only you can decide if it's worth the expense. On my 54' boat the pole is quite heavy and I'm glad to have the mast track. When stored, the pole is very secure and doesn't bang the mast ever, though I do have to bungee the control lines to prevent slapping.
👍👍. Trying to manhandle a 15í pole singlehanded in any kind of a seaway is asking for trouble. With it stored on the mast it canít get away when youíre trying to set it or stow it. Gybing with a cutter rig is simple, especially if you rig a set of lazy sheets on the sail. You can then gybe just like you would dip pole a spinnaker except you have to lift the inboard end high enough to clear the inner forestay. Then clip in the lazy sheet, swing the pole out and transfer the load once itís in position. Much safer than trying to end for end the pole or clip it onto the mast under load.
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Old 13-05-2021, 19:14   #13
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

And as far as weight aloft the pole is not significant compared to the mast which has a much higher cross section at several times the height.
And itís the height squared that counts.
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Old 13-05-2021, 20:51   #14
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jt11791 View Post
Okay, my boat is rigged to be sailed by two people, not one, but in most cases I can deploy the whisker pole without help. Here's how I do it.

The pole starts in its stored position, vertical on the mast. I often leave the pole lift attached to the bridle, but if it isn't attached, the first step is to clip it on and tension it (the pole lift line is lead to the cockpit). I then go to the mast and open the jaw on the pole, which releases the outboard end from a fitting on the deck. It doesn't go swinging free, because I am standing there holding it. While standing at the mast, I can then lower the car on the track, which brings the inboard end of the pole down. As the inboard end comes down, the pole lift holds the outboard end of the pole off the deck and lifts it so that the pole moves from vertical to horizontal without the outboard end touching anything. Once horizontal, I keep a hand on the pole to hold it against the furled head sail and I go forward to clip on the foreguy and put the genoa sheet in the jaw. In a big sea it can be tough to maintain my balance and control of the pole, but in a big sea everything is harder. I then return to the mast and extend the telescoping pole by pulling the control line before returning to the cockpit to unroll the genoa.

Putting it away is just the reverse, retract (telescope) the pole, trip the jaw to release the sheet, leave the pole lift set and raise the car on the mast. The lift keeps the outboard end just above the deck until it clicks into the deck fitting. Done. I can do it alone, but I don't solo this boat often as my wife is nearly always with me. When setting the pole, she is in the cockpit to handle the helm and adjust lines as needed.

For what it's worth, I have a second pole stored on the deck and setting that one up isn't much different, it just takes a bit more strength as I have to lift the inboard end to attach it to the mast. On a 54' boat these poles are heavy. One of the ways that a telescoping whisker pole differs from a standard spin pole is that the pole lift bridle isn't centered on the pole, rather it attaches to the end of the first section (roughly the middle of the total extended length) and the outboard end.
We use a pretty much identical setup. Previously we stored the pole on deck and lifted it into place, put it back, etc. In big seas, it is easier to use the above set up and it is always done by one person.

When offshore that person is tethered. So there are lots of lines to deal with but comparing our old way to the stored on the mast way, I much prefer the latter. The only issue we have encountered is the wire bail to which the topping lift is attached broke. It was one of the few things that broke crossing the Pacific. Newer poles from Forespar now seem to use Dyneema or something similar.

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Old 13-05-2021, 23:29   #15
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Re: Spinnaker Pole Question

I single hand all the time and years ago gave up on conventional spinaker poles and went to two permanently mast attached poles with outhauls passing down the centre of the poles. Both the outhauls and the pole topping lifts go back to the cockpit.

To jibe I release the sheet and outhaul and use the topping lift to drop the pole end on the deck then haul in the other outhaul and the sheet to pull the for sail back then adjust the topping lift to hold the pole at the right height.

When not in use I use the topping lifts to raise the poles snug against the mast. The poles also have a telescoping section to allow their length to be adjusted.

The system works well and allows me to go downwind with two foresails poled out and I very seldom sail downwind without the foresail being poled out.
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