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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 03-28-2014
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Whisker Pole Questions

I have a whisker pole, but no spinnaker. It is about 9 feet long when telescoped out. Can I use it with a 150 genoa, or does it need to be used with a shorter footed sail? Is an extra guy line needed to run back to the cockpit for pulling the trigger where it attaches to the clew? Do I need to roll up the furler prior to pulling the trigger?
I am singlehanding, and only planning to use it in light air.
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Whisker Pole Questions

I don't have too much experience with these, but, a spinnaker pole is usually much beefier than a whisker pole. The Whisker pole should be about 100% of the foot of the sail. So, for a C&C 27 that would be about 12' long for a 100% jib. You could use a shorter one, it just won't present as much sail area. You can just connect the thing by hand (you should be clipped in). I would imagine sophisticated set-ups would have some control lines.
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Whisker Pole Questions

I don't know anything, but I sail with an instructor a few times a month and last time out we deployed the whisker pole on a light air day and it worked great.

We furled the 150 about 1/2 way in on a beam reach, hooked the pole to the clew, then to the mast and turned down wind where we let the rest of the 150 out. Worked pretty good.

Single handed, you'd need to be real careful about ending up in the drink...
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Whisker Pole Questions

Ideally should have topping lift, fore and after guys as well as way to position height of pole ( slide on mast). However, when reaching forces on pole are nothing like forces when DDW with spinnaker. Given size of boat any simple way to deploy should be fine. See people just clip them to toe rail. Advantage of three lines to pole is it stays in one place. Often can roll genny on furler and just leave pole out if not needed or when singling need some time before you go forward to get rid of it when you have a way to keep it still by using the three control lines. Personally won't put a pole out by myself but I'm a wimp and need more experience with my boat. Have done it past and in light air if well thought out quite doable.
Release is usually brought back to boat along the pole so tricky to release sheet if singling and at helm. Need the AP. Some just fly the genny without the main and no pole. Easier to keep genny full.
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Last edited by outbound; 03-28-2014 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Whisker Pole Questions

The best info I have seen for use of a whisker pole is this video by John Kretschmer.

Usually you only need a whisker pole in light air, or when doing long distance downwind sailing. Stronger winds will hold the sail out reasonably well without need for a pole, if you trim the jibsheet correctly.

Kretschmer is using a whisker pole of proper length. You won't be able to use yours that way. You might be able to use yours by clipping one end to the toe rail as outbound suggests. I believe a good whisker pole for a 150% genoa on your boat would be a Forespar ADJ 7-17. One would need a topping lift for the heavy pole that would be used on a bigger boat, but you shouldn't need a topping lift for a small pole like the ADJ 7-17. For singlehanding, you'll need some kind of self steerer to hold the course while you set the pole, but, if you have a proper pole and can do it as Kretschmer recommends, you might be able to get by without a steering aid.
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Whisker Pole Questions

Watch the video. It is great. You do want a topping lift - it just makes it easier to get the pole in the right position. The most important thing after not clipping the end of the whisker pole to the sail (it slides along the jib sheet) is watch for chafe on the jib sheet. Even the smallest little thing will chafe your sheets as the pole slides back and forth on them.

Fair winds and following seas.
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Old 03-29-2014
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Re: Whisker Pole Questions

Your whisker pole is too short for your boat. Buy a used forespar 8-15' or longer. Use it for a broad reach to leeward or running downwind wing and wing. You usually do not need a topping lift (I have one and rarely use it for the whisker pole; always with spinnaker pole). Here is how it is done:


and wing and wing down the Bay:

oysterman23 likes this.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 03-29-2014 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 06-02-2014
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Re: Whisker Pole Questions

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)?

Also - after watching the videos....what is the best method for deploying the whisker pole if one does not have a furler?



Would I be better off clipping the other end to the toe rail instead of the ring (no track) on the mast?
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Old 06-02-2014
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Re: Whisker Pole Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Idaho View Post
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?

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
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Old 06-02-2014
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Re: Whisker Pole Questions

Thank you Sailormon6! I guess this was one of those times that my "educated guess" worked out. I did it pretty much the same as you described for your hanked-on sail, except I attach the pole to the mast first, thinking that I would be less likely to drop it overboard.

So now I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to adjust the pole to fit the clew end easily behind the forestay with the other end remaining attached to the mast ( I think it is longer at max), so it could be jibed without detaching anything?

Something to try the next time out, I guess.
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