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Old 17-01-2022, 12:06   #16
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Not quite! The reason for the J length is that longer poles attract a rating penalty in the racing rules. Some boats (our previous boat for example) had a longer "penalty pole" fitted, feeling that the penalty was less than the gains in performance from longer poles and larger allowed headsails that came with them. Ours was about two feet longer than the J dimension and it was easy to dip-pole gybe. One could have managed an even longer pole without difficulty.

Jim
Jim, thank you for the correction. In my decades of racing I had never encountered a pole longer than the J measurement, but that may have been because of the limitations of racing PHRF here on the Great Lakes. I am curious though, how far up the mast do you have to slide the pole end in order to facilitate the dip gybe? Or do you perform and end-for-end gybe? With our typically shorter courses here on the lakes, frequent gybes may be one factor in limiting the pole length to the J measurement.

Anyhow, thank you for your many insights and lucid comments which I have benefitted from over so many different posts and topics.
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Old 17-01-2022, 12:06   #17
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

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I have done a lot of trade wind sailing with a poled out 110% jib using a spinnaker pole. I have never used a whisker pole so take my remarks with that caveat.

The spinnaker pole has attachment points at the outboard end to position the pole. I do not think I have ever seen a whisper pole with that feature. To me that is very important for short handed sailing. By locking the pole in place with a topping lift and two guys it can be set up before setting the jib. I run the jib sheet through the end of the pole. A roller furling jib can be set or furled from the cockpit without touching the pole. I have literally done tens of thousands of miles this way while barely touching the sails.

The big advantages of this set up are:
1) The pole can be set up well in advance of use.
2) The jib can be rapidly furled if a squall comes up from the safety of the cockpit.
3) By separating these two tasks one person can easily set up a downwind wing and wing arrangement and manage it.
This.
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Old 17-01-2022, 12:14   #18
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

The whisker poles which I have used over the years have all had a pole end which provided both a jaw for the genoa/spinnaker sheet and a mounting point on the jaw fitting for an uphaul (topping lift). There is no attachment for a foreguy (downhaul) because the pole is not intended to take those compressive loads. The uphaul is simply used to help position the clew of the sail at the desired height for optimal performance of the sail.
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Old 17-01-2022, 13:05   #19
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

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Originally Posted by PerfectPirate View Post
Jim, thank you for the correction. In my decades of racing I had never encountered a pole longer than the J measurement, but that may have been because of the limitations of racing PHRF here on the Great Lakes. I am curious though, how far up the mast do you have to slide the pole end in order to facilitate the dip gybe? Or do you perform and end-for-end gybe? With our typically shorter courses here on the lakes, frequent gybes may be one factor in limiting the pole length to the J measurement.

Anyhow, thank you for your many insights and lucid comments which I have benefitted from over so many different posts and topics.
PP, on that boat (and this one as well) we have stored the pole on the mast with the inboard end up. This of course requires the track to be quite long... easily long enough that we can make a dip pole gybe, and on the previous boat that's w hat we did when racing with a crew. Whilst cruising we pull down the snuffer to tame the sail during the gybe. This is slow, but that's not an issue cruising, and while cruising we have done far, far more miles with a poled out jib than with a kite, so gybing isn't a big factor to us.

It is IMO a good way for a short handed vessel to deal with the pole. Setting it it to pole out a jib is accomplished by unclipping the outboard (lower) end from its storage fitting, placing the unloaded jib sheet in the jaws and pulling the inboard (upper) end down the track. The geometry of the topping lift swings the outboard end out and up with no intervention from the crew person. When the inboard end reaches the approximate height of t he jib clew the inboard end is secured and the topping lift raises the outboard end till the pole is horizontal. At that point hte sail is ready to be unfurled at one's convenience. We do not normally set an after guy, but it can be done prior to raising the pole... just one more step in the process. It sounds a bit complicated, but in fact one person can set the pole in around a minute if in a hurry.

The advantage of never having the pole "loose" and having to attach it to the mast fitting with the boat rolling about is (for us) worth having the more disturbed air flow around the mast and greater weight aloft when the pole is not in use.

And PP, thanks for the kind words!

Jim
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Old 24-01-2022, 08:27   #20
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

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There seem to be a few confused notions about the purpose and interchangeability of poles used on the foredeck. Please allow me to clarify . . .

The purpose of a spinnaker pole is to hold out the tack fitting on a symmetrical spinnaker. For that reason, it is of a fixed length equal to the 'J' measurement (distance from mast to forestay) of the boat which is using the pole. It cannot be of a greater length because it must be able to dip through the foretriangle during a gybe. The pole has thick, heavy-gauge walls in order to handle the heavy compressive load of the spinnaker guy, the foreguy and the luff edge of a symmetrical spinnaker. Typically, one end of the pole mounts to an adjustable ring on a track on the front of the mast. For asymmetric spinnakers, this role has generally been taken over by bowsprits (sometimes retractable) which anchor the tack of the asymmetric forward of the forestay.

A reaching strut is a short, fixed-length pole with heavy-gauge walls, of a length equivalent to about 1/2 of the beam of the boat. It gets mounted to the side of the mast and holds out the line of the spinnaker guy in order to provide a more optimal angle for trimming the spinnaker pole back, like your spreaders do for your cap shrouds. This is necessary when the spinnaker pole is well forward, close to the forestay, for beam- to close-reaching under spinnaker. The outboard end of the strut has an open-ended sheave fitting which rests on the guy line and will allow the spinnaker guy to pop out of the sheave and run free if the spinnaker pole is brought sufficiently far aft, opening up the angle of the guy. On many modern racing boats, reaching struts have been replaced by "tweaker" lines which are used to pull the spinnaker guy down to the toerail at the point of maximum beam, simulating the angle correction of a reaching strut.

A whisker pole is a light-gauge, light-weight adjustable pole whose sole purpose is to hold out the clew of a sail, either genoa or spinnaker, when running down-wind, especially in light airs. It is important for it to be adjustable so that it can be sized appropriately across a range of foresails. At its shortest setting, it will be well under the 'J' measurement, at it longest setting it will be well beyond the 'J', in order to hold out the clews of spinnakers and large genoas. It is not intended for, nor is it strong enough, to take the compressive loads of a spinnaker guy, foreguy and tack fitting. If you only have a spinnaker pole onboard, that can sometimes be used as an alternative to a whisker pole, but the reverse is definitely not true.

On my old 27, which we primarily raced, we had an old-style, symmetric spinnaker and therefore carried both a spinnaker pole and an adjustable whisker pole. We had tweaker lines rigged to the midships toerail, instead of a reaching strut. On my new (to us) 32, we use an asymmetric spinnaker which is tethered to a bowsprit and therefore only need to carry and use a whisker pole.

I hope that this helps to clarify things for some folks.

Hi all, CaptVR here, We have a winner. Perfect Pirate gave a perfect sumation of the Whisker pole vs. Spinnaker Pole. Thanks, Capt. Vince Rakstis, Ret.MS
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Old 24-01-2022, 08:39   #21
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Whether to use a whisker pole or a spinnaker pole depends on the type of sailing you are likely to do.

For light air sailing in gentle conditions a whisker pole will work fine to hold out the clew of a headsail and has the advantage of being adjustable to get good trim on a variety of headsail sizes. In my experience they are usually lighter than a regular spinnaker pole. They can be stored in the same ways as a spinnaker pole, on the mast or on the deck, some people even put them on the lifelines.

For heavier air or trade wind sailing the strength of a spinnaker pole is reassuring. Even a smaller jib polled out can develop be heavy loads on the pole during downwind passages, and shocks as the headsail collapses and fills when rolling in the waves also can put stress on the whisker pole tube and fittings. The disadvantage of course, include the extra weight and lack of adjustability.

We have a standard length spinnaker pole, stored on deck, which we use for polling out any of our jibs and genoas (on a big genoa it does not hold them very far out but does keep them on a good "wing on wing" position) and it is great for a 100% headsail (see photo). We also use it for symmetrical spinnakers and even to pull back the tack on our asymmetrical spinnakers. We have used our 17' spinnaker pole for 35 years and it has taken a real beating and it is still usable.

There is little more satisfying than a full headsail or spinnaker pulling strongly on a heavy air downwind run and knowing the gear forward can take it.

Note: A ring on the mast for the inboard end in not suitable for heavy air sailing. On a previous boat that ring broke and we suffered a broken mast as a consequence. Use a ring only for whisker poles or smaller boats.
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Old 24-01-2022, 08:58   #22
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

A mast mounted telescopic whisker pole rigged with a fore and after guy is the way to go for a yacht of your length. The two lines should be led back to the cockpit. That way, with you at the mast deploying the pole, assistance from the cockpit with the guys is available if needed. Otherwise the guys can be handled at the mast. Ensure you install a couple of line clutches on the mast to allow incremental adjustment without too much hand holding. Yeah, the whisker pole is much lighter than a spinnaker pole.

Then, if you want to fly a free flying DWS from a sock you can go wing on wing. Tip: always try to rig the pole and genoa into the wind ten or fifteen degrees with the DWS downwind



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Old 24-01-2022, 09:34   #23
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

We started out with a whisker pole and a spinnaker pole to hold out twin jobs while running in the trades on our Albert 30. The whisker pole bent and collapsed in a gust one night.
I replaced it with a second spinner pole made from thick walled alum water pipe, and both did the job til the.end of the trip.

We now have twin spinnaker poles mounted on tracks on the mast of our Landfall '39. The short one reaches the clue of the furling staysail, the long one is for the Genoa. I just loosen the continuous hauls on the mast, unclip the bases and walk the pole ends forward to the furled clues, close the haul clutches when in position and unfurl the sails from the cockpit. The lengths can be somewhat adjusted at the mast tracks, but length is important...I had.to shorten one to work properly with the staysail.
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Old 24-01-2022, 13:19   #24
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

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I am no expert but it appears to me that a lot of the difference between "whisker" and "spinnaker" poles revolves around racing rules versus the hardware itself. When we wanted to add a pole on our previous boat the discussion with the sailmaker/rigger revolved around what sort of sails we planned to use and how we sailed the boat. That resulted in the spec'ing of a certain length and strength pole, attachment method, etc. We never discussed a spinnaker pole versus a whisker pole.

Talk with a rigger and/or sailmaker about how you sail the boat and what sort of sails you want to carry and get a recommendation about specific hardware.
It has nothing to do with racing. A Whistler Pole is much lighter and often adjustable in length. Itís purpose is to hold out a sail with very little load. A Spinnaker pole is much heavier as it needs to take huge loads as it holds the tack out to weather.

As to the person with the Downeaster a Whisker Pole will work much easier. Once you learn how to deploy it it is a no brained in setting it. No big loads on it as it is deployed on the clue when go off the wind.
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Old 25-01-2022, 03:50   #25
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Whisker pole is longer. Iíve never used one that was not telescoping. The boats Iíve operated that had a spinnaker pole for an asymmetrical did not work well. The only thing a spinnaker pole is good for is having a mobile tack: too short to adequately hold the clew out far enough.
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Old 25-01-2022, 09:45   #26
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Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

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Whisker pole is longer. Iíve never used one that was not telescoping. The boats Iíve operated that had a spinnaker pole for an asymmetrical did not work well. The only thing a spinnaker pole is good for is having a mobile tack: too short to adequately hold the clew out far enough.
For a 100% or 110% jib spinnaker pole works fine. In Trade Wind downwind that is plenty of sail forward. For a 135% Genoa a spinnaker pole would not be long enough.
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