Whisker Pole vs Cruising Spinnaker - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 01-15-2002
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Whisker Pole vs Cruising Spinnaker

We have Pearson 35 that my wife and I weekend on in the Chesapeake. It came with a brand new symetrical chute that I have only used a few times. The boat has no spinnaker gear (no mast track, pole, blocks, or secondary winches) and the symetrical doesn''t seem to fly at all at deeper angles with the tack rigged to the bow and no pole.

I want to improve our lightair downwind performance and am considering either (a) installing mast track and buying a whisker pole, or (b) buying a cruising chute. (As much as I''d love to be able to fly the symetrical, I don''t see my wife and I doing that very often so I''ve ruled out a spinnaker pole as a first choice.)

I would appreciate feedback from other shorthanded cruisers regarding how much they use their whisker pole versus cruising chute. I realize it is ideal to have both, but need to make a choice here.

Finally, Forespar recommends a 28# LC 12- 22 for a 35'' boat, which seems like a lot to lug around for our use. Can anybody comment on how "stout" that pole is and whether I might get by with the lighter weight 17# LC 10 - 18. Has anybody used a whisker pole as a spinnaker pole in light air?

I appreciate any feedback.
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Old 01-15-2002
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Whisker Pole vs Cruising Spinnaker

If you need to buy a pole get the stongest that you can afford to be able to carry the sometimes high compressional loads that will buckle a weak pole, put a toping-lift bridle on it.
Honestly, after wrestling with an symetrical chute for 15 years while short handed or single handing a Pearson 30 and now having a much larger boat with only asymetricals... Id suggest to sell the Symetrical kite, buy an Asymetrical (or make your own .... Sailrite, etc. as spinnakers are relatively easy to make from kits). When you are single handing and just plain want to relax, using ANY pole is simply a big PITA. With an asymetrical: No more dip-pole, end-for-end, two pole gybes, no more foreguys, lazy guys, braces, topping lifts, downhauls, etc....... just 2 sheets and a tackline (and a chute scoop).

If you want to come dead down wind with an asymetrical you will still need a pole .... or sail with the rig on the lee (wing & wing) with a preventer, etc. on the boom.
In light winds, you can also take a symetrical (& without a pole) attach it to the forestay (ATN ''tacker'' is OK) and sail dead downwind while on the lee with the mainsail over trimmed - looks like hell but it works, otherwise when tacked to the forestay (just as with an asymetrical) you will be limited to broad reaching to beam reaching..... if you want a fly a kite with any stability.
Another consideration for your presnt symetrical is to fly it from a pole on one side/tack and then let the pole foreward and sail it like an asymetrical on the other tack - never disconnecting the sail from the pole and letting the symetrical loosely fly across the bow during the gybe - sheets are attached to the same clew - like with an asymetrical. Its all the damn pole manipulation that makes flying a symetrical a PITA.

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Old 01-15-2002
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Whisker Pole vs Cruising Spinnaker

I found that never use a whisker pole and have removed it from the 28 footer. My 38 footer only has a symetrical chute with a pole that can and is end for end jibed. I frequently use my symetrical spinacker which once you get used to it is really easier to fly than the assymmetrical chutes that I have flown.

Jibing without getting a wrap is much easier with a symetrical chute (than an assymetrical chuet) if your boat is small enough to end for end jib. I find this is especially true when single-handing or short handing when you can''t afford a wrap.

The problem that I have found with assymetrical chutes is that they have a very narrow range and tend to collapse and wrap way too easily. This is expecially true when you are short handed and can''t play the sheet all of the time and are trying to sail a deep angle or handle the lazy sheet as well as you need to during a jibe. You can use a stuffer to jibe but tossing a symmetrical pole set for an end for end jibe is far easier. The key to jibing a pole is to make sure to mark your sheets and guys for the correct jibe setting and to be close to dead downwind all the way through the jibe.

I have sailed close to dead downwind with an assymetrical chute (wing and wing) on a whisker pole. I found it very unstable and not a big gain over a genoa.

Jeff
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Old 01-15-2002
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Whisker Pole vs Cruising Spinnaker

I''m new to sailing, and my first sailboat came with new Asymetrical with a sock. It was so easy the very first time, I''ll probably never buy a symetrical (or learn how to use one, for that matter). The dousing sock is the best part!!!
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Old 01-16-2002
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Whisker Pole vs Cruising Spinnaker

I agree with the asymetric crowd. I singlehand a 37 foot sloop all the time, with an autopilot, and I love the asymetric with snuffer. It doesn''t do well dead downwind, but it''s more fun, more stable and faster to gybe downwind anyway. Once you get the hang of it, the opening and dousing is a piece of cake. You CAN, however, get into BIG trouble if your start rolling a lot, usually way off the wind, and the spinnaker starts oscillating back and forth, and then gets wrapped around the headstay/furler. No fun.
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Old 01-24-2002
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Whisker Pole vs Cruising Spinnaker

Be sure to get a snuffer. I have used ATN''s with joy, and others without. Snuff then jibe, is reliably no sweat.

If you go with the pole and symetrical you will go faster downwind (but use it much less often). Get a very stout pole, the wind comes up fast in your Chesapeake squalls. I found on my 37, short handed, the symetrical was good for a reach/run, but I would essentially never jibe it short handed (and I was young then).
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