Cruisers Forum
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 16-01-2022, 09:03   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
Boat: Downeaster 38
Posts: 137
whisker pole or spinnaker pole

All:
I've read the threads and none seem to address the choice between whisker poles and spinnaker poles. There are many opinions regarding how to mount each and the relative merits but not actual comparisons.
I have a 38' ketch and would like to be able to pole out the 100 percent genny as well as the assymetrical but to date have not been able to compare the two options. The boat is too big to single hand so I believe I'll always have crew, if not experienced then willing so handling a large pole would fall to me.
There was a string on mast mount compared to railing mounted but I'm thinking mast mount as my side decks are too narrow as it is.
I'm driving a Downeaster 38 ketch: 16,000 gross. Heavy and ungainly in reverse but the apple of my eye.
Thanks for the input!
I saw where one of the posters requested those opinions based on ACTUAL EXPERIENCE which I would have thought was a given but something I'd appreciate here.
Rick Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2022, 10:10   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Some times in Colorado. Generally live-aboard. FL and Bahamas this winter.
Boat: Antares 44i
Posts: 661
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

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.
dougweibel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2022, 16:50   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Boat: Swarbrick S-80
Posts: 496
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

The only real difference that Iím aware of is in size.
Spinnaker poles tend to be thicker and more robust and can handle a greater range of situations.

Whisker poles are thinner and more fragile (and therefore lighter).
Really only used in light winds or when the sail requires a different length to your spinnaker pole.

E.g. you may find that your spinnaker pole is too long to effectively pole out your #3 jib so you could use a shorter whisker pole.
ChrisJHC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2022, 17:41   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: PNW
Boat: 35 Ft. cutter, custom
Posts: 458
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Whisker poles were generally used to widen the sheeting base for symmetrical spinnakers, whisker pole on one side, spinnaker pole on the other side.
Also, for poling-out a jib.
These days, with asymmetrical chutes being so common the role of a whisker pole is somewhat diminished.
They were also commonly used in situations where the spinnaker pole is right up next to the headstay, and the whisker pole was/is used to keep the guy off of the shrouds and give a better angle of pull.
Bowdrie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2022, 19:55   #5
Moderator
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 19,562
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowdrie View Post
Whisker poles were generally used to widen the sheeting base for symmetrical spinnakers, whisker pole on one side, spinnaker pole on the other side.
Also, for poling-out a jib.
These days, with asymmetrical chutes being so common the role of a whisker pole is somewhat diminished.
They were also commonly used in situations where the spinnaker pole is right up next to the headstay, and the whisker pole was/is used to keep the guy off of the shrouds and give a better angle of pull.
I think you are confusing whisker poles with reaching struts (also known as jockey poles). These are indeed used to keep the spinny guy off the shrouds and with a better angle when close reaching. However, I've never heard of using whisker poles to "widen the sheeting base" for symmetrical kites nor as a reaching strut. They would be far too long as a strut and likely nowhere near stiff enough.

The primary use of a whisker pole is to hold the clew of a genoa out to windward. They are often telescoping so the length can be adjusted. This is a useful feature, but unfortunately weakens the pole considerably, adds weight and considerable cost, to say nothing of a common failure point. We've seen a lot of destroyed collapsible poles over the years.

Spinnaker poles are normally sized to equal the J dimension of a boat (to meet racing rules) and are a bit too short for optimally poling out a 150 genoa. None the less, we've successfully used them in that role for years now. Our current genoa is a 120 and it works quite well with that sail.

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II, still hanging out in Port Cygnet. Summer was nice... it was on a Tuesday... and now autumn is here and being pretty nice so far!
Jim Cate is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2022, 20:04   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: PNW
Boat: 35 Ft. cutter, custom
Posts: 458
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I think you are confusing whisker poles with reaching struts (also known as jockey poles). These are indeed used to keep the spinny guy off the shrouds and with a better angle when close reaching. However, I've never heard of using whisker poles to "widen the sheeting base" for symmetrical kites nor as a reaching strut. They would be far too long as a strut and likely nowhere near stiff enough.
The primary use of a whisker pole is to hold the clew of a genoa out to windward. Jim
You're right, on the "low bucks" racing I did, we used what we had, to do what we needed, and we did use it to pole-out a genny.
Bowdrie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2022, 20:32   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Fiji Airways/ Lake Ontario
Boat: Legend 37.5, 1968 Alcort Sunfish, Avon 310
Posts: 2,395
Images: 11
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Oddly enough, I started typing a search and up came the answer.

We use an extendable spin pole
__________________
There are too many gaviiformes here!
Tetepare is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2022, 20:38   #8
Registered User
 
PerfectPirate's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: GTA, Ontario
Boat: Ontario 32
Posts: 95
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

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.
__________________
The Dread Pirate Marcus
I roam the sweetwater seas on a vessel made from spun glass, dinosaur bones and exotic woods from far-off jungles.
PerfectPirate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2022, 21:27   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Norfolk, Virginia
Boat: 1984 Passport 42 pilothouse cutter
Posts: 374
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

The spinnaker pole is the same or just less than the J measurement. For me that's ~19'. Stronger and heavier.

The whisker pole is the same length as the foot of the Job/Genoa. So if you have a 100% jib you can use the spinnaker pole (if you have the right ends). if you have an overlapping sail than it will be the same 130% of J or whatever your sail is. My big Genoa is a 150% so that's a 27' whisker pole. While lighter 27' is not nessarily fun when handling it yourself.

They make an adjustable whisker pole, which is good if you run different sails forward. It should adjust from 100% of J to the length of the foot of your biggest sail. That's 19'-27' for me. That is easier to handle setting up. Unfortunately there is a lot of squawk about these breaking a lot. So buyer beware, or upsize at least. I seen more recommendations for a solid pole than for adjustable poles.

Either way you can save a lot of money by buying the ends from the chandlery, and the pole from the local metal tube/pipe supplier. Carbon is expensive but those that have it say it's worth it for the long or heavy poles. You can make your own carbon poles. Doesn't look too difficult for this size of a pole, but you need some epoxy/fiberglass experience.

Sounds like you need a whiskerpole from your description. Unless you have a 100% than it doesn't matter.
alaskanviking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2022, 22:20   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 193
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Whisker poles are not lighter than spinnaker poles.

This is because they are constructed with a pole inside a pole.
Journeyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2022, 01:06   #11
Moderator
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 19,562
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Quote:
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.
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 and Ann s/v Insatiable II, still hanging out in Port Cygnet. Summer was nice... it was on a Tuesday... and now autumn is here and being pretty nice so far!
Jim Cate is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2022, 11:02   #12
MJH
Registered User
 
MJH's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Boat: Tayana Vancouver 42ac
Posts: 1,012
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Williams View Post
All:
I've read the threads and none seem to address the choice between whisker poles and spinnaker poles. There are many opinions regarding how to mount each and the relative merits but not actual comparisons.
I have a 38' ketch and would like to be able to pole out the 100 percent genny as well as the assymetrical but to date have not been able to compare the two options. The boat is too big to single hand so I believe I'll always have crew, if not experienced then willing so handling a large pole would fall to me.
There was a string on mast mount compared to railing mounted but I'm thinking mast mount as my side decks are too narrow as it is.
I'm driving a Downeaster 38 ketch: 16,000 gross. Heavy and ungainly in reverse but the apple of my eye.
Thanks for the input!
I saw where one of the posters requested those opinions based on ACTUAL EXPERIENCE which I would have thought was a given but something I'd appreciate here.
I purchased a Forespar whisker pole for the genoa on my boat. Before ordering I went to their web site and read their directions/options for mounting. While it can be mounted on either the mast or deck they recommended the deck mount if you are going to sail offshore, so I ordered those accessories with the pole. The pole is aluminum, heavy, and awkward for just one man to handle. We used two crew to install it on my roundtrip to Hawaii.

My previous boat (28') came with a triradial spinnaker and pole and I used that pole for the genoa as well. But spinnaker poles are heavier and limited for use with a genoa. Not a bad option for smaller boats and solo crew. It was stored fixed to the stanchions and worked well.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
MJH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2022, 11:31   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Langley, WA
Boat: Nordic 44
Posts: 2,036
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

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.
stormalong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2022, 11:43   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hawaii
Boat: Jeanneau SO DS 49
Posts: 343
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Whatever you want to call it, most people set a topping lift, fore, and after guy, then set the genoa. A lot of rigging. We clip the pole onto a short loop on the clue, then clip the pole to the mast car, and roll out the genoa. The angle of the pole controls the leech tension. Storing the pole on the mast would make it even easier.
SteveSadler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2022, 12:03   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 193
Re: whisker pole or spinnaker pole

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJH View Post
I purchased a Forespar whisker pole for the genoa on my boat. Before ordering I went to their web site and read their directions/options for mounting. While it can be mounted on either the mast or deck they recommended the deck mount if you are going to sail offshore, so I ordered those accessories with the pole. The pole is aluminum, heavy, and awkward for just one man to handle. We used two crew to install it on my roundtrip to Hawaii.

My previous boat (28') came with a triradial spinnaker and pole and I used that pole for the genoa as well. But spinnaker poles are heavier and limited for use with a genoa. Not a bad option for smaller boats and solo crew. It was stored fixed to the stanchions and worked well.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
Forespar told me a whiskerpole is heavier than a spinnaker pole.
Journeyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
spinnaker

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Want To Buy: Whisker pole or Spinnaker pole 12' FLAlliedCruiser General Classifieds (no boats) 1 26-09-2018 15:51
Want To Buy: whisker pole Australia Wanted a whisker pole timjf Classifieds Archive 0 18-04-2016 21:24
For Sale: Whisker/Spinnaker Pole BozSail Classifieds Archive 0 22-11-2015 11:45
For Sale: NEW Forespar Marelon Chocks for Spinnaker or Whisker Pole petedd Classifieds Archive 0 20-09-2015 12:06
Whisker/Spinnaker pole advise Greg S Seamanship & Boat Handling 6 23-07-2007 05:05

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 13:30.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.