Iíve seen Santana 22ís out here that store their poles along side the boom, resting inside a couple of rings (some guys use slings made out of line). Very quick and easy to run it out and set for a spinnaker run. On the other hand, I used to keep mine in the cabin and Iíd just pass it forward to the bowman. Small poles are easy to ĒmanhandleĒ (Iím assuming this is for your 18 or 21 footer?). The up on the mast is usually for boats with heavier poles and uses a T-Track at least as long as the pole, sliding rings or cars, topping lifts and all the associated blocks and control lines. The setup on my 34 footer was mucho expensive. It might be over kill on your boat(s).
Thanks, George et al. It's a lightweight aluminum pole, only about 1.5" diameter, for our SJ21. It's too long to clip to the boom, really. To get it in and out of the tiny cabin, you literally have to shove it all the way into the forepeak, then weasel it sideways to the companionway. Heaven help you if you're loaded with cruising gear. The mast storage is purely to have it ready for use while being out of the way. The bottom would stay clipped to it's normal mast ring; the top pole end would clip to a similar ring or large eyestrap a fixed distance up the mast (no tracks or cars.) Snugging the topping lift would prevent pole-vaulting if the upper pole end came loose. When we want to fly the spi, we just ease the topping lift, pull the release cord, and the pole drops down either side, ready to use.
We want to practice dozens of hoists and douses this summer, until the motions are down pat. Since locally we sail on small lakes, it's unavoidable anyhow. That's a lot of pole handling. If it won't totally kill our upwind performance -- on-mast storage seems most popular with tradewind cruisers, who don't generally point -- it would be a handy $10 upgrade. I love the SJ21, but it is not a roomy vessel.