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Howdy, all..

I'd like to get a whisker pole for our Pearson 26. There's a track and car for one on the mast. I'm assuming this is for a spin...Would something like this do the trick?

FORESPAR Twist Lock Telescoping Whisker Pole , Adjustable 6'-12' Latch Spike, 134"L | West Marine

EDIT: Ok, I just saw that the Sailnet store offers this pole, too, but includes more info than on the WestMarine site; it clearly states that this pole is meant for 16' or smaller boats, or up to a 22' max in light winds only. So much for that pipe dream..
I'm sure glad I didn't see the Sailnet store listing, because that pole is exactly what I have on my 25' boat, and I'm glad I bought it four years ago.

Ok... Ok... there it is again.. that "MAN, am I a bumbling idiot who can't understand anything" feeling... <grin>....Minnesail, the pole you linked to is the first one I mentioned in my original post; I think it's undersized for a 26' boat, per Forespar's and SailNet's sites. Too bad.. the price is right. Weinie, the one you suggested is the one Forespar recommends for my boat, but it's still well north of $400....
Don't sell yourself short. You're asking exactly the right questions.

I was thinking exactly the same way you are. I looked for a Craigslist bargain, but the fact is you can go a whole season before finding the right thing at a decent price. I refused to spend $400 new for something that I thought would likely be overkill. But I was willing to risk wasting $100 ($120 - $20 WM discount coupon) for the new medium duty pole that you linked on the off chance it might work. And it did! I recommend getting the one with latches on both ends, and attach a messenger line to the one the outboard one for easy detaching.

Some important points:

  • I don't go offshore, and sail in pretty moderate conditions. YMMV
  • I am very careful to avoid backwinding the jib, which could potentially buckle the pole.
  • I only have a 110 genoa, so that might reduce the length of pole that I need. But in my use, I've never come close to extending it the full 12' length. In fact, I only extend it by about a foot beyond the fully retracted 6' length.
  • Ulladh (a member here) showed me a neat trick where you adjust the pole just short enough to avoid hitting the furler and attach it to a loop on the clew (something else that people here will tell you never to do). Then you can move the headsail from side to side (or furl the sail) without going forward. You lose a little sail extension, but gain a lot of ease-of-use.
  • With this shorter length, sail trim is pretty good on a broad reach, so you can leave it there even when you aren't DDW.
  • The cheaper pole is light enough that you don't need a topping lift, which makes it much easier to deploy and retrieve.
  • The cheaper pole stores very easily on the aft berth right under my cockpit.
Someday my wimpy little pole might break in a heavy squall, but it's lasted four years, so I've gotten my money's worth out of it already. It's infinitely better than no pole at all, and very reasonable cost for a new one.

One of the things that I've learned on Sailnet is that these guys are really good at spending my money. Bigger/better anchor, more chain, fatter antenna wire, larger tanks, fancier halyards, etc... It never ends. Sometimes you just need to decide that you're going to limit your spending and settle for "good enough." That's what I did with the whisker pole.
 

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My boat came with a whisker pole and I have to confess I have never used it.

If you can't fly the jib wing-on-wing close to DDW, gybe the main and fly the jib on the other side. The jib will fly by itself on one side or the other...

I've sailed wing-on-wing with a full jib and without a pole for hours, you just need to be attentive to wind angle (and nobody stands aft of the boom, or rig a preventer if a heavy breeze).
Not offshore, in a seaway, would be my guess... :)

I've heard others make the claim, as well... But how anyone sails offshore in anything but the most placid of conditions, wing and wing without using a pole, to an AWA between 150-180 degrees, is completely beyond me... :)

A remarkable amount of the sailing I did this summer turned out to be wing & wing, and most of it right around that less than magic AWA of 150, where it can be a close call between flying the genoa conventionally, or getting it out from the shadow of the main by poling it out to windward. For example, I left Nantucket for Nova Scotia 2 days after Hurricane Arthur passed by. Sporty downwind sailing between 150 and DDW, with very confused seas in the wake of the storm for the first day or so... Without a pole, the only way I could have sailed would have been under either main alone, or jib alone... Yet under jib alone, I still would have had to deal with the genoa spilling air with the rolling, then filling again with a BANG! Which, of course, is extremely punishing to the rig, only a fool would subject his baby to such abuse...

How people go cruising any distance without a pole, it's a mystery to me... :)
 

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Alternatively, you could attach the pole to the bowline knot or cringle at the clew of the sail.
Sorry, I think that's a bad idea... And frankly, I don't see how it's possible on anything but smaller boats, in the most benign conditions...


Poling out the jib - sailing downwind - YouTube

It's long, and probably painfully slow for anybody with more experience than I (meaning, everyone pretty much), but it helped.
Well, I just watched the first couple of minutes, but that was enough to see he's making it way more complicated than it need be... :) (You might try watching Kretschmer's FORESPAR video again, it's pretty good, although I'm very surprised he doesn't recommend, or at least mention, the use of fore & after guys)

Obviously, on smaller boats in protected waters, one can get away without resorting to some of what I'm going to describe... But here's the approach I've settled on, which works best for me whether sailing in flat water or offshore, shorthanded or with crew, on boats from the size of my own (30'), up to 50' or more, with roller furling headsails...

First, i consider a pole lift and fore & afterguys to be essential, both for safety, and ease of use. On my boat, my guys are fixed to a snap shackle, the foreguy run up to a turning block clipped to the rail a few feet aft of the stem, then back to rope clutches mounted outside the cockpit coaming. They're stowed permanently along the rail, outside the stanchions/lifelines of course, with the snap shackle near midships. When sailing wing & wing, one set gets clipped to the pole end, the opposite set gets clipped to one of the preventer lines stowed on the boom...

I have a line-control whisker pole, marked for varying degrees of extension. Run the genoa sheet thru the jaw end, then set the pole in the position anticipated... Back to the cockpit, snug the guys tight, and unfurl the sail... Easy as pie, you're now in control of everything from the cockpit (with the exception of the pole lift on my boat, which can only be adjusted at the mast)...

Once the sail is unfurled, and the clew butted up against the pole, the genoa sheet is now carrying the load, and the after guy becomes somewhat superfluous. But the clew needs to be hard on the jaw of the pole to eliminate chafe, and that's one reason I don't care for bowlines on genoa sheets, they're prone to get wedged or caught in the fitting... Again, I find this setup works well for me, you have both your preventer and guys always ready to go with minimum fuss...

Finally, there's one other good reason for always creating this sort of bridle to fix the pole in position... Many times, if you're sailing in confined waters, or a twisting channel, or have to alter course to avoid other traffic, whatever... you can simply furl the headsail, but leave the pole in place until it's time to resume sailing wing & wing... Without the pole stabilized in such a fashion, you're gonna have to go forward to strike or secure it momentarily, then go forward again with it's time to re-deploy... This can be especially critical when sailing at night amid a lot of squall activity, the ability to furl the sail at a moment's notice without worrying about the pole, or having to call the off watch on deck to assist, can be huge...

I love sailing wing & wing, and I'll never get why I don't see more cruisers doing so... btw, my pole IS horizontal, there's just some major wide angle distortion going on here...

:))


 

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Sorry, I think that's a bad idea... And frankly, I don't see how it's possible on anything but smaller boats, in the most benign conditions...
Agreed. But OP said he has a Pearson 26 and I'd say it a good assumption he's not sailing in the roaring forties just yet.;)
 

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JonEisberg, that's great info.

for the OP, I'd certainly just go with the pole you are looking at. It has a straight spike at the end which you just run through the clew, no clipping in necessary. With a lighter pole you don't necessarily need the topping lift, you lose a little sail shape but on a downwind run it's not a big deal. you can use the lazy sheet as a lazy man's fore guy. Again you don't get the security of having the pole fully stabilized which I would certainly want to do if I was sailing for long periods of time in shifting conditions with potentially heavy winds.

But JonEisberg has another great point which may be overlooked, if you are sailing wing on wing, rigging a preventer is a really, really good idea. It can be as simple as hooking the vang forward to a stantion base in which case you can still sort of use it for its intended purpose as a vang to keep the boom from lifting.

And to reiterate, my thoughts are for lighter conditions, protected waters, etc. YMMV. FWIW, my whisker pole (that came with the 23' boat) is an extendable painters pole the PO rigged with a snap hook on one end and a hook on the other!!!

(Ignore the fact that I don't have my preventer rigged, I did move it later!)

 

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I do this regularly. Not awkward at all. It does mean dumping the chute and relaunching to gybe. No other issues.
Do you have a picture? My imagination does not seem to be imagining right now.
Sorry, no picture and certainly no video.

My cruising chute is a heavy asymmetric. When poled out (tack line is the foreguy, lazy sheet is hooked to the tack as after guy, sheet to clew) and preparing to gybe I ease the pole forward to the forestay, pull the sock down over the sail (still not a fan of the sock, but that is a different matter), dip the pole, swap the old after guy to be the new sheet and the old sheet to be the new after guy. Tighten everything down. Drop the preventer and grind the main into centerline, gybe the boat, ease the main, rig the preventer. Raise the spinnaker sock, pull the pole back, and trim. It takes a while, but one step at a time avoids risk. I generally only do this offshore when course changes are in days, not hours or minutes.

Inshore I generally fly the spinnaker off my bowsprit with no main and do outside gybes.

He says keep the pole horizontal.
I agree.

But JonEisberg has another great point which may be overlooked, if you are sailing wing on wing, rigging a preventer is a really, really good idea. It can be as simple as hooking the vang forward to a stantion base in which case you can still sort of use it for its intended purpose as a vang to keep the boom from lifting.
That really is not a preventer, regardless of conventional "wisdom." The principle function of a preventer is to hold the boom forward. A little high school geometry and trigonometry makes it clear that tackle from the forward portion of the boom to the deck edge is marginally effective. The best rigging of a preventer is from the aft end of the boom to a fitting on the bow and back to the stern or cockpit. Anything else is a shortcut that reduces effectiveness and increases risk.

Period dot.
 

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Oh, I make no claim as to the "wisdom" of it, and nothing about my post was intended to demonstrate the best way to do anything! Just 'good enough' for a smaller boat in lighter conditions.

But in addition, basic geometry and common sense also suggests a line from the boom (ie, vang) down to a stantion base will hold the boom forward, minus the inch or two of arc that would be involved as it moved down also. So it will be sufficient to prevent an accidental gybe. Is it as good as the method you detail, absolutely not! And I wouldn't do it in higher winds since I wouldn't want the force from the gybe on the midpoint of my boom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
...

My cruising chute is a heavy asymmetric. When poled out (tack line is the foreguy, lazy sheet is hooked to the tack as after guy, sheet to clew) and preparing to gybe I ease the pole forward to the forestay, pull the sock down over the sail (still not a fan of the sock, but that is a different matter), dip the pole, swap the old after guy to be the new sheet and the old sheet to be the new after guy. Tighten everything down. Drop the preventer and grind the main into centerline, gybe the boat, ease the main, rig the preventer. Raise the spinnaker sock, pull the pole back, and trim. It takes a while, but one step at a time avoids risk. I generally only do this offshore when course changes are in days, not hours or minutes.

Inshore I generally fly the spinnaker off my bowsprit with no main and do outside gybes.


.....

That really is not a preventer, regardless of conventional "wisdom." The principle function of a preventer is to hold the boom forward. A little high school geometry and trigonometry makes it clear that tackle from the forward portion of the boom to the deck edge is marginally effective. The best rigging of a preventer is from the aft end of the boom to a fitting on the bow and back to the stern or cockpit. Anything else is a shortcut that reduces effectiveness and increases risk.

Period dot.
I UNDERSTOOD all of that!!!! (I think). OK.. not QUITE all of it, but it's probably just a glitch in my mental picturing abilities. It has to do with your description of the inside gybe procedure above, after the initial steps where you've brought your pole forward to the forestay and socked your sail. When you say you "swap" the old after guy for the new sheet and the old sheet for the new after guy, are you PHYSICALLY changing any attachments to the sail itself, or are the lines just performing new duties due to the changed location of the pole? The doused sail itself stays forward of the forestay the entire time, and it's just the pole that's brought inboard for the swap, correct?

Thank, Auspicious and everyone else. I really appreciate your help and patience.

Barry
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
...

FWIW, my vang (that came with the 23' boat) is an extendable painters pole the PO rigged with a snap hook on one end and a hook on the other!!!

(Ignore the fact that I don't have my preventer rigged, I did move it later!)
Thanks for your help, Schmidty. Points well taken on the preventer. That would certainly dial the nerves down a bit while steering downwind... I'll definitely start doing that, although maybe from the end of the boom as suggested and keep my vang where it is.

Speaking of vang, when you used that term above referencing the painter's pole, did you really mean "whisker pole?" I'm not sure how a pole could function as a vang... but I'm all ears if I'm missing something.

Thanks again..

BArry
 

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I UNDERSTOOD all of that!!!! (I think).
Good. That was the intent.

It has to do with your description of the inside gybe procedure above, after the initial steps where you've brought your pole forward to the forestay and socked your sail. When you say you "swap" the old after guy for the new sheet and the old sheet for the new after guy, are you PHYSICALLY changing any attachments to the sail itself, or are the lines just performing new duties due to the changed location of the pole? The doused sail itself stays forward of the forestay the entire time, and it's just the pole that's brought inboard for the swap, correct?
In my case I physically swap attachments.

The sail stays forward of the forestay the entire time.

Now, lets ignore using a pole entirely for a moment and consider an asymmetric. An inside gybe pulls the chute between the chute luff and the forestay. An outside gybe pulls the chute around forward of the sail luff.
 

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On this subject I just wanted to put a good word in for forespar.

My boat came with a whisker pole, probably late 70's era, that had pretty well ceased up. I found no markings on it whatsoever but the dimensions matched newer forspar's so I emailed them asking about a repair kit. They responded on a Sunday confirming that it was their pole and providing the part number of the repair kit.

After a good cleaning and replacement of the rubber locking mechanism ($35) the pole is good as new. Great service.

I use the pole just for pushing out my genny which is pretty quick and easy going downwind. It increases speed and prevents flopping around. Definitely worth having.
 
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