Re: Sizing a spinnaker pole
Poles are generally at least J length... often slightly longer despite the rating penalty one would take.
Problem with a short pole is that in light air when you are sailing pole down (esp if the butt end is not on a track) the end of the pole and the tack of the spoinnaker end up inside the headstay and if you're reaching the sail is 'wrapped' across the stay.
This leaves the possibility of the pole coming up on the wrong side of the forestay, and you can imagine what that might to to the sail if the crew on the pole lift is heads down and doesn't notice what's going on. With a proper length pole it always stays on the weather side of the forestay, giving you the projection you'll need/want.
A foot shorter would 'work'.... but not well - even running deep you'll lose 'girth' due to lack of projection.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)