New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 18 Old 06-09-2018 Thread Starter
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New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole

The title says it all. How do you tell them apart?

I've seen alot of boats in the last few months while boat shopping and they all have poles on deck but when I ask the seller if it's a whisker or spin pole they always have the same confused look and don't know.
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post #2 of 18 Old 06-09-2018
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Re: New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole

When shopping for the two a spinnaker pole is significantly more expensive. Some of my trailerable boats have come with whisker poles, they are very very light. On a bigger boat they might have a spinnaker pole and use it for both.

If the boat is not equipped for spinnaker it might be just a whisker pole. For sure a spinnaker pole will have a place for topping lift and downhaul and an easy release in the middle of the pole to be able to trip the butt (mast side) or tip (sail side). A whisker pole will be much simpler, lighter. If the boat is not rigged for spinnaker it becomes mostly a moot point.

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Re: New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole

Spinnaker poles are usually approximately the dimension from the base of the mast to the attachment point of the forestay. Whisker poles are considerably longer. Spinnaker poles are larger diameter. Whisker poles are often adjustible in length. Whisker poles rarely have hooks with a pin that holds it to the sheet. Whisker poles are rarely set with a bridle for a lift or a foreguy. Spinnaker poles usually have hooks with pins (at least at one end, topping lift and foreguy attachment points. If the pole has.a. Hook with retainer pin and a 'bell fitting' or locking pin at the mast, you can be certain it's a Spinnaker poles.

Jeff
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Re: New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole

What is the FUNCTIONAL difference?

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Re: New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole

A whisker pole could snap under heavy Spin loads. Also from Jeff's post a whisker pole is longer, it's designed to hold a jib out for downwind sailing.

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Re: New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole

Thanks everyone, I have some things to use to identify them now lol. Most of the boats i have looked at were raced in their 1980's lives and used spinnakers. It's good to know and the last boat I saw definitely had a pole that had telescoping notches so that's a good clue for me.
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Re: New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole

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Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
Spinnaker poles are usually approximately the dimension from the base of the mast to the attachment point of the forestay. Whisker poles are considerably longer. Spinnaker poles are larger diameter. Whisker poles are often adjustible in length. Whisker poles rarely have hooks with a pin that holds it to the sheet. Whisker poles are rarely set with a bridle for a lift or a foreguy. Spinnaker poles usually have hooks with pins (at least at one end, topping lift and foreguy attachment points. If the pole has.a. Hook with retainer pin and a 'bell fitting' or locking pin at the mast, you can be certain it's a Spinnaker poles.Jeff
Interesting.
Our 4" pole has the locking pins and is rigged for a topping lift, fore and after guys, but it is a telescoping pole, with a cable to extend it. I'd like to use it for light air spin work, but wasn't sure if it would hold up. Your thoughts, please.

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Re: New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole

Here's the only clear picture I got of the pole on the boat we are taking over tomorrow. It's definitely telescoping:
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Re: New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
Interesting.
Our 4" pole has the locking pins and is rigged for a topping lift, fore and after guys, but it is a telescoping pole, with a cable to extend it. I'd like to use it for light air spin work, but wasn't sure if it would hold up. Your thoughts, please.
I am not sure what to say. The diameter sounds like a whisker pole for a boat your size, (my 38 footer has a 4" dia. spin pole.). But someone may have decided to build a telescoping dual purpose pole and so it may be your boat's spin pole.

When I go on the Forespar page, Forespar seems to be recommending a 4 1/2" diameter tube for a spinnaker pole for your boat (and seems to be recommending a 3 1/2" dia pole for my boat.) They show this for a whisker pole. https://www.forespar.com/product382.html

The odd part is that they are showing a 'bell fitting' for the whisker pole so they are assuming that the pole is being used on a spinnaker track. They also seem to be showing a lifting strop, so I guess that once the boat gets big enough they are recommending a pole lift.

Jeff
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Re: New guy question of the day: identifying a whikper pole vs. Spinnaker pole

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Originally Posted by Guyfromthenorth View Post
Here's the only clear picture I got of the pole on the boat we are taking over tomorrow. It's definitely telescoping:
That is a spinnaker pole end fitting, but it does not appear to be set up like a spinnaker pole, unless they were doing dip pole jibes.

Jeff


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