Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

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Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Inquisitor » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:33 pm

I'd like to ask the experienced sailors in the forum.
There will probably be more questions, but for now...
  1. Seems like old whisker poles have just a rod that goes through the Clew's grommet. Newer ones have a capture so that it just doesn't slide off. I think most seem to have a spring loaded rod and line leading back to the boat-end that will pull the rod so the sail is released. What is the history behind this? Is this a convenience factor or is there condition(s) that I need to release this puppy RIGHT NOW?
  2. What happens if a crash jibe occurs and the winged-out Genoa or a poled Spinnaker tries to come over? Seems like it is coming over no matter what the pole trying to do.
  3. For variable length poles, it seems to be a pain to lengthen them once they're up. Disconnecting them off the mast so you can reach the "length adjuster" out in the middle seems to be a problem... or is it just a matter of experience and getting the length right the first time?
Thanks all.
Inq
Last edited by Inquisitor on Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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svscott
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by svscott » Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:50 am

My whisker pole is a homemade job done by my dad around year 2000. He modified an aluminum swimming pool skimmer pole and added spring loaded whisker pole ends on both sides. It works great!

I've never had an accidental gybe with any amount of force...just a little bit of back winding to the jib that didn't affect anything. Just correct course for downwind and carry on. I aaso almost always use a preventer from the boom to a lifeline stanchion when wing on wing. I know accidents can happen but I try to be super careful about when I set up for a dead downwind run. I've also never been in a situation that needed urgent releasing of the pole/jib. The jib sheet should not allow the clew of the sail and the pole to crash across... just like heaving to, it'll backwind.

When I set my whisker pole up, I always attach it to the clew of the sail first by bringing the sail onto the deck with the boat head to wind and then have the helmsman bear off one it's attached. I then clip the other end to the eye on the front of my mast and using the twist lock, I extend the pole out and have the helmsman adjust the sheet until I'm happy with sail shape and then retighten the twist lock. The twist lock obviously gets farther away from the mast as you extend out but on a boat our size, it's always within reach while standing on deck. I don't use the whisker pole if I'm sailing single handed. In fact, I try not to leave the cockpit and go up on deck any more than is necessary while alone... normally just to raise and lower the mainsail.


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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Inquisitor » Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:32 am

svscott wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:50 am
My whisker pole is a homemade job done by my dad around year 2000. He modified an aluminum swimming pool skimmer pole and added spring loaded whisker pole ends on both sides. It works great!

I've never had an accidental gybe with any amount of force...just a little bit of back winding to the jib that didn't affect anything. Just correct course for downwind and carry on. I aaso almost always use a preventer from the boom to a lifeline stanchion when wing on wing. I know accidents can happen but I try to be super careful about when I set up for a dead downwind run. I've also never been in a situation that needed urgent releasing of the pole/jib. The jib sheet should not allow the clew of the sail and the pole to crash across... just like heaving to, it'll backwind.

When I set my whisker pole up, I always attach it to the clew of the sail first by bringing the sail onto the deck with the boat head to wind and then have the helmsman bear off one it's attached. I then clip the other end to the eye on the front of my mast and using the twist lock, I extend the pole out and have the helmsman adjust the sheet until I'm happy with sail shape and then retighten the twist lock. The twist lock obviously gets farther away from the mast as you extend out but on a boat our size, it's always within reach while standing on deck. I don't use the whisker pole if I'm sailing single handed. In fact, I try not to leave the cockpit and go up on deck any more than is necessary while alone... normally just to raise and lower the mainsail.


Image
Your Dad's design... do you have any pictures of these end fittings? Are they DIY also? I can't find any fittings available on-line.

That's where I'm leading with these questions. Many years ago, I used a paint roller pole and it didn't last the first season. It folded up the moment I wasn't watching. Don't know if it merely buckled or it hit something to started the buckle process. It was the cheesiest, cheapest, lightest version... so no big surprise.

This season, I got a very sturdy painter's pole and curious about what end-fittings I should get/make???

Also... more a matter of usage technique... see if I can describe this...
  1. Say the max distance is around 15'...
  2. I pre-extend the pole to 18'.
  3. Mount to Genoa's Clew
  4. The other end has a line that goes through a single block at the mast.
  5. I can just use the line to pull the end toward the mast... and thus adjust/extend the sail out.
  6. Using this technique, I could adjust the sail-out position without having to mess with the friction couplings (which I can't reach).
  7. But... I'm concerned about the end pivoting into (through) the mainsail.
Image
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Be Free
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Be Free » Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:59 am

My whisker pole is a factory made version. It has a spring loaded rod that closes the opening on each end. The pole is made of much heavier aluminum than you would find in a pool accessory. Each of the ends is connected with a single line that runs the length of the pole. I can open either end by pulling on this line.

I also connect to the sail first and then to the ring on the mast. The only difference is that my pole does not change length. I run another line from the sail-end of the whisker pole through a pulley (near) the top of the mast and back to the cockpit. This allows me to adjust the shape or even tack the jib if needed by adjusting the jib sheets and raising or lowering the whisker pole without leaving the cockpit.

My only experience with an adjustable whisker pole was crewing on a Hunter 26 during a race from Green Cove Springs to Palatka (sort of a shortened, backwards Mug Race). The adjuster would not hold so we used duct tape to keep it from sliding back. I spent a lot of time sitting on that whisker pole to keep it from raising up. I can't recommend that as a very comfortable seat unless you have a lot more "padding" than I do.

I also don't use the whisker pole while single-handing (usually). If the wind is steady and not too strong I've been known to take a chance but it is not really safe to go up on the fore-deck and wrestle with a whisker pole without someone controlling the boat.

I don't have any type of preventer set up. I probably should do that but the few times I've had an accidental gybe I've just put my hand in the middle of the mainsheet and used it to absorb the shock. I haven't broken anything yet. :)
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Be Free » Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:15 am

Image

This end attaches to the sail, the other end looks just like it but does not have the hole for another line. The other end clips onto a ring at the base of the mast.

Forespar sells replacement ends. They are not inexpensive.
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Inquisitor » Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:22 am

Be Free wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:15 am
Image

This end attaches to the sail, the other end looks just like it but does not have the hole for another line. The other end clips onto a ring at the base of the mast.

Forespar sells replacement ends. They are not inexpensive.
Good God... is that like... bronze? Wow! I was hoping to 3D print these end pieces... ABS if possible, Nylon if I needed more strength.
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Tomfoolery » Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:24 am

Take a look at line control whisker pole prices at WM or other sources. Twist-locks ain’t cheap either, but nothing like line control. I bought a well used one for my keel boat and only paid a couple of hundred. Only. Sold it with the boat, which is just as well as it was too heavy for a Mac.
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Inquisitor » Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:38 am

Tomfoolery wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:24 am
Take a look at line control whisker pole prices at WM or other sources. Twist-locks ain’t cheap either, but nothing like line control. I bought a well used one for my keel boat and only paid a couple of hundred. Only. Sold it with the boat, which is just as well as it was too heavy for a Mac.
I was looking at the one BWY recommends for Mac's. Forespar (the manufacturer) says its too small for our Mac's. It's over $200! :o If I go with what Forespar says I need... I need to get the $500 one. :?

I may be deluding myself, but I thought I'd burn another $40 to see if I could make an acceptable substitute. :|
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by svscott » Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:56 am

Inquisitor, I'll head out to the boat this afternoon and update here with some pics of my homemade pole. The end fittings are definitely store bought. Maybe dad can give me more info but it's been a long time since he made this... I haven't had any issues whatsoever, even using it on my 150 genoa and assymetric spinnaker.

I saw a painters pole just like your pic at Lowes and thought of making a 2nd pole for boat 2.
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Tomfoolery » Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:05 am

Many folks here have used telescopic boat hooks as whisker poles. Highlander I believe sort of led the charge on that.

WM has an extra-long, heavy-duty book hook (that floats) that I bought on sale to use for a whisker pole, but just never got around to it. I do use it as a boat hook, though it’s longer than I really need on the rare occasion I actually need a boat hook.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-mar ... ecordNum=3

Oh, and I would listen to BWY before the manufacturers, as the manufacturers are trying to sell you a more expensive pole that may be overkill (with reduced risk to them), whereas BWY is the go-to place for advice specific to these boats. 8)
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Inquisitor » Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:49 am

Tomfoolery wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:05 am
Many folks here have used telescopic boat hooks as whisker poles. Highlander I believe sort of led the charge on that.

...
Well then... gives me hope. I think this 23' painter pole is stronger stuff than that $89 boat hook. But that gives me an idea... I can 3D print a boat hook and screw on as necessary. :D
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by svscott » Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:40 am

I talked to dad and he didn't remember exactly where he bought the ends but they were ordered from a marine store.
The pool skimmer is 6' to 12' telescoping pole. The outer pole may be fiberglass but it's been wrapped in fashionable blue electrical tape. The inner tube is aluminum.
Without taking it apart, I can't tell exactly how the ends were adapted to fit into the pole but I can definitively say that there are aluminum sleeves, pan head machine screws, and epoxy involved.

Edit: dad just texted me the store he bought the spinnaker pole ends from. The company used to be called Layline.

https://www.mauriprosailing.com/us/cate ... tings.html

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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by chipveres » Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:28 am

At one time in the dark ages of sailing, the whisker pole and the spinnaker pole were two different objects. The whisker pole was a light rod whose only duty was to hold out the clew of the working jib while sailing wing-and-wing. This bodes well for being able to home-make one from wood or fiberglass.

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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Inquisitor » Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:34 am

svscott wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:40 am
I talked to dad and he didn't remember exactly where he bought the ends but they were ordered from a marine store.
The pool skimmer is 6' to 12' telescoping pole. The outer pole may be fiberglass but it's been wrapped in fashionable blue electrical tape. The inner tube is aluminum.
Without taking it apart, I can't tell exactly how the ends were adapted to fit into the pole but I can definitively say that there are aluminum sleeves, pan head machine screws, and epoxy involved.

Edit: dad just texted me the store he bought the spinnaker pole ends from. The company used to be called Layline.

https://www.mauriprosailing.com/us/cate ... tings.html
Thanks for getting those pictures. Like Be Free's pole, the end fittings are metal. May be a problem...

But you've all give me something to shoot for...
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=28257
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Re: Spinnaker / Whisker Pole Question(s)

Post by Inquisitor » Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:57 am

For a boat hook...
Image
I can see what the "hook" part is for... picking up a line in the water, etc.
What is the pointy end with sphere on the end for?
Last edited by Inquisitor on Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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