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post #14 of Old 05-24-2007
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It's usually best to set a whisker pole when sailing wing 'n wing, as the others have suggested, but I often sail wung out without a whisker pole when I'm cruising shorthanded, and occasionally when racing. Sometimes in a race I want to head directly downwind on a puff for a short distance, so that, when I turn to head for the next mark, I'll be on a faster point of sail. In that case, we might not be sailing wung out for enough distance to justify setting the pole and taking it down. Setting the pole and preventer are good practices if you're going to be on that point of sail long enough, and especially if the wind is light, but you can also make small gains simply by jibing either the main or the jib and sailing wung out for shorter distances without a pole, especially in winds that are strong enough to keep the jib filled without a pole to hold it out.
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