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Old 04-23-2012
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Whisker Pole Sticker Shock

I thought it would be handy to be able to pole out my headsail on light wind/downwind sailing days. That was until I saw how much a whisker pole costs:


Telescoping Whisker Pole

Are you kidding me?! $1275 for an aluminum tube?!?! Oh wait, no it's been marked down to a cool, thrifty $1,000. I could see a grand if it ws designed to survive atmospheric re-entry, was made of machined titanium or something, but good lord. I'm by no means a penny pincher, and actually enjoy spending money on the boat, but I don't think I can be convinced that there is a thousand dollars worth of value in an aluminum stick.

Oh, as I'm reading down the write-up..."The system is simple, and makes the extension and retraction of poles quick and easy. And most amazing of all...the entire operation can be executed while being positioned at the mast. It is no longer necessary to go forward to adjust buttons of any kind - simply uncleat the line and extend or retract"

So it's not an aluminum tube at all, its a tube with strings attached! Who do I make the check out to
jrd22, ehmanta, AdamLein and 3 others like this.
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Old 04-23-2012
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Whisker Pole Sticker Shock

Good to hear these sentiments from another rational person. I am assuming we are rational? If not, folie ŗ deux. I have been looking into a spinnaker for the boat, but the whisker pole prices have steered me toward assemetrical spinnaker research as a compromise.
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Old 04-23-2012
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Re: Whisker Pole Sticker Shock

I have a modest collection of nice watches, and I've noticed that each watch manufacturer has their own little story to justify why they're so expensive.

Breitling: Used by aviators who demand absolute precision from their timepieces lest they fall from the sky due to some critical navigational error caused by a misguided trust in a lesser brand of watch.

Rolex: (this should ring true to everyone here) Used by the discerning yachtsman who demands the best performance from his/her timepice (they're never just called a watch by the way) so they can secure their position on the start line, and bring home the pickle dish.

Panerai: Used by Italian naval divers in WWII to conduct underwater demolition of submarines or something like that (I never bothered to wrap my head around the full story on that one)

Omega: Something about James Bond and the moon.

At the end of the day they're just watches, but their clever marketing and little back stories keep customers smiling as they walk out the door with their MASSIVELY overpriced precision timepieces. That brings me back to the whisker pole. There is no clever backstory, no emphasis on precision engineering, no real benefit other than the fact that it's an aluminum tube with some strings on it.

I've become calloused to the prices of most marine hardware and electronics, but I still can't swallow the justification on this one.
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Old 04-23-2012
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Re: Whisker Pole Sticker Shock

I agree with Creedance and for that reason have never had a whisker pole. In heavy air, who needs it. In light air, I have made do with a telescoping boat hook and the last time I needed one I tied the dinghy oars together and used a hose clamp to fasten hooks to either end from carabiners.
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Old 04-23-2012
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Re: Whisker Pole Sticker Shock

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogwatch View Post
I agree with Creedance and for that reason have never had a whisker pole. In heavy air, who needs it. In light air, I have made do with a telescoping boat hook and the last time I needed one I tied the dinghy oars together and used a hose clamp to fasten hooks to either end from carabiners.
Nice workaround! I may have to put some time into working out something like that. Good call.
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Old 04-23-2012
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Re: Whisker Pole Sticker Shock

There's a nice article in the May/June issue of Good Old Boat that shows you how to make your own whisker pole for about $50. I'm going to adapt the idea to use for awning poles.
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Old 04-23-2012
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Re: Whisker Pole Sticker Shock

I'm with you man, 100%. I'm going to make mine from something, or get it at a swap meet. NOT GOING TO PAY that much for a %&$^ing aluminum tube.

See the "death by chopsticks" post (and the video!) here:
The physics of a whisker pole....

MedSailor

PS Love your avatar, love the Murray. Life Aquatic was another gem.
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Old 04-23-2012
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Re: Whisker Pole Sticker Shock

I also got sticker shock when I looked into spin/whisker poles. I didn't have the benefit of that GOB article, but I figured I could build my own for a lot less than Forespar so I ordered 2 aluminum tubes (2" and 3" diameter) from a local metal supplier and bought the Forespar end fittings from West Marine.

I saved some money, but there was a substantial hassle factor to be considered. First there was the 100 mile trip to pick up the tubes, then another 80 mile trip to drop them off at the anodizing shop and yet another to pick them up. In between I found out that the maximum length the shop could anodize was 12', so I ended up with shorter poles than optimum. After all was said and done, I ended up with two fixed length 12' poles that cost about $350 each. I still look longingly at the retractable ones that Forespar makes because it would be nice to have that extra couple of feet that I could get when they are extended.
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Re: Whisker Pole Sticker Shock

I have access to a complete machine shop with CNC and even electroplating and anodizing so I have considered making my own telescoping line control whisker pole. However, it would be a waste to make just one so I considered the possibility of making many and selling them. Then you get to thinking about liability........
When you buy a pole, that is what you are paying for, liability insurance for Forespar.
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Old 04-23-2012
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Re: Whisker Pole Sticker Shock

Quote:
Originally Posted by creedence623 View Post
Rolex: (this should ring true to everyone here) Used by the discerning yachtsman who demands the best performance from his/her timepice (they're never just called a watch by the way) so they can secure their position on the start line, and bring home the pickle dish
Rolex watches have to be one of the biggest nouveau riche sucker games going - like marketing a brand new 1955 Bentley as being superior to a contemporary car.

Clockwork mechanism? Spare me - a $30 digital keeps better time.
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