Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Foreguy at Mast Base
With all due respect, Walt, you are not quite remembering this correctly. Smaller boats generally have the pole downhaul mounted at the base of the mast. Under about 22 feet you will often see the pole without a downhaul (J-22''s for example do not have a pole downhaul). If the bridle is properly sized so that the bridle and down haul form a straight line between the pole end and the base of the mast, it actually requires less load on the downhaul to keep the pole down. People will often move the downhaul block some distance in front of the mast to keep the pole from bouncing around in a chop.
It sounds to me like he is end for end jibing, which as you note really makes sense for boats up to somewhere in the 30 foot range. (My 38 footer is end for ended in light to moderate winds.)
You typically start adding lazy sheets at some point around 30 feet in higher winds. Adding lazy sheets typically means adding one more crewperson over single sheets. And you typically start dip pole jibing a boat around 33 to 35 feet or so because using lazy sheets and dip pole jibing add two crew over end for ending and means more crew weight on the bow.
When you dip pole jibe, the fore guy is typically mounted as close to the bow as possible and typically the bridles are removed from the pole.