Originally Posted by Steve in Idaho
I should have been reading this thread before today....
Yesterday, we used the genoa on our Ranger 20 for the first time. As we eased into a broad reach, I attached the whisker pole - but in my ignorance, I hooked it to the loop of the bowline at the clew rather than allowing it to slide on the sheet itself. It worked fine - but as I now read here that it should be allowed to slide on the sheet, I am wondering if it would be better to let it slide and what keeps it in the preferred location on the sheet? The topping lift (which I don't have yet)?
Steve, each of us contributes our opinions based on our own experiences. You don't have to do anything the way that any of us recommends. You should treat the recommendations of each of us as a mere suggestion. Try it, and then, in the end, do what works best for you. Often, there's no single correct way to do something. There is the way that works for you, and the way that doesn't.
I raced a 25' boat for 23 years, and won lots of races and regattas with it, and I set my whisker pole exactly the way you do, by attaching it to the loop of the bowline at the clew rather than allowing it to slide on the sheet itself. It also worked fine for me for 23 years. On my present boat, I don't attach it to the loop of the bowline. I let it slide on the sheet. Why? No particular reason. I tried it that way on my present boat, and it worked ok, so I'll continue doing it that way until I find a way that I like better.
I also never used a topping lift on the whisker pole on my 25' boat. I do use one on my present boat, which is much bigger and heavier, because it makes it easier for me to control that heavy pole while setting it. You are the best judge of what you need for your boat. Unless you need a topping lift for some specific reason, then rigging one that is unnecessary just adds extra hardware and extra lines that are apt to get tangled. Only use one if you think you need it. When you set the pole without a topping lift, did the sail take a good shape? Was the pole so heavy that you needed a topping lift to help support it?
Also - after watching the videos....what is the best method for deploying the whisker pole if one does not have a furler?
The genoa on my 25' boat was hanked-on (no furler). I reached out and grasped the clew of the genoa and clipped the pole end to the loop of the bowline. Then I clipped the other end to the ring on the mast. My mast ring was not on a slide, and I never saw a reason to add one.
Would I be better off clipping the other end to the toe rail instead of the ring (no track) on the mast?
If the pole is too short, then you could clip one end to the toe rail, but, if it is long enough to spread the sail while clipped to the mast ring, then, IMO, that's the preferred way to attach it.