Whisker Pole tips (and/or asymmetrical spinnaker info)

  • April 25, 2012 9:00 AM
    Message # 901538
    Deleted user

    I am researching attaching a whisker pole for my foresail.

    From what I have read, that is the way to go as opposed to a spinnaker pole - for ease of setup and cruising short-handed, and budget reasons - I don't have a spinnaker, and have no plans to get one any time soon.

    Does anyone have any suggestions along those lines, regarding install, tried and true solutions, options to consider? I have read all former posts with the words "Whisker" in them.

    For ease of stowage I am thinking about mounting a track on the front of the mast.

    For strength, I am thinking a non-adjustable length. The 'J' is about 18.3' so the pole would be close to that. Somewhere I read the length should be the foot of the foresail?

    For materials and install - how hard would it be to do it myself (with my  minimal experience and tools)? What size/OD pipe should be used? Would it be that difficult to fabricate my own?

    Thanks for any suggestions,

    Stephen Wylie




    Last modified: May 04, 2012 10:04 AM | Deleted user
  • April 25, 2012 1:56 PM
    Reply # 901777 on 901538
    Deleted user


    I recently picked up a used whisker pole at a nautical flea market. The pole is only about 11' and I got it more for the end fittings and using it to launch my inflatable than anything else. It is mounted on one end to a teak cradle on the caprail and a fitting on the bow pulpit which I made from teak and a stainless steel U-Bolt, actually a bow fitting for pulling a power boat onto a trailer. I had some 1" track on hand which I screwed to the mast in the standard position usin 10 by 24 machine screws.The track is about 24" long. which was mounted according to how far I could reach from the deck to adjust the slide. ( I used to be about 5' 9" but gravity has shrunk me an inch or so). My general philosophy is if I can't do it alone, it doesn't belong on the boat, so everything is installed and purchased accordingly. I have yet to try a downwind run with the shorter than spec pole but I did once successfully use a boathook on a downwind run from Bimini to West Palm which is shorter than the whisker pole I got. I'll try and get some photos of the mount etc. posted when I get back into town next week. In the meantime, here are some photos of the whisker pole dinghy launch method using the staysail halyard and winch.



    If you need to see them bigger, I just posted on my Picasa site under Whisker Pole Project. Your port light visor will be in there one of these days.

  • April 25, 2012 3:58 PM
    Reply # 901861 on 901538
    Deleted user
    it looks like one of your portlights is cracked!
  • April 25, 2012 7:00 PM
    Reply # 902360 on 901538
    Deleted user

    Ya try and dazzle 'em with the details and they only notice the defects!

    Good one Stephen. LOL

  • April 26, 2012 7:18 AM
    Reply # 902696 on 901538
    Deleted user
    Well, after a bit more research it seems a lot of cruisers go with an asymmetrical cruising spinnaker. Less hardware & weight, simpler/easier to use. I'm going to look into going that route. 
    Last modified: May 01, 2012 11:15 AM | Deleted user
  • April 26, 2012 1:45 PM
    Reply # 903078 on 901538
    There is an article in the recent "Good Old Boat" that deals with making a whisker pole from a telescoping painting pole. Relatively cheap.
  • May 01, 2012 10:29 AM
    Reply # 907697 on 901538
    Deleted user
    One other note:

    On the large asymmetrical, go light on the sheets, switch to poly's from the normal sheets = 1/3 the weight and thus 1/2 of the collapses from lack of wind.+/- (the sheet weight matters if you don't use a pole) the poly's don't have the load cap. So when the wind kicks up take the spin down with the light lines and bag it, sail and lines.

    Last modified: May 01, 2012 10:30 AM | Deleted user
  • May 04, 2012 10:12 AM
    Reply # 911794 on 901538
    Deleted user

    So now I have a line (get it, have a line? Hyuck, hyuck) on a used but in excellent shape cruising spinnaker. The price is about 1/10 of new but it's a full day (ferries and a three hour drive twice) to go get it, so I want to do a little research first. What better place than wikiwestsail.org?

    So the sail: 

    Luff = 44' 2 1/2"
    Leach = 39' 10"
    Foot = 25' 1 1/2"

    Somewhat of a flatter cut, Carole Hasse saw it and called it a code zero. Not sure of weight of fabric. Seller says it looks almost un-used. It was used on a 37ft Seacraft.

    The luff is on the outer limits of size, but I saw in the sail plan table (http://www.westsail.org/sailplanforum?mode=MessageList&eid=564930#564930) that Nevermind has an assym that has  a 47ft luff.

    Thanks for any suggestions,



  • May 04, 2012 12:35 PM
    Reply # 911907 on 901538
    Deleted user

    Two thoughts.
    1.) How are you going to fly it (Not on the furrler right?) If it has a wire luft you can do the free fly thing, just watch for chafe at exit of the top shive. 
    2.) If it did not have a wire luff then you could have a sailmaker, for not to much $$$ recut it 1' to 1.5' shorter and install the wire.  ( I did this "less the wire" on my old sewing machine for the 300' I have; = it was not to bad, as I only had to resew the foot from the extra layers at the clew forward and then reinforced the tack at the new spot) The wire might be a bit more work, but Hey Maybe you can have the sailmaker pick it up, resew it, and when he is done, drop it off to you??? saving $$ which you could then give to the sail maker. Just a thought.

    In any case best of luck


    Ps. You may be able to get by without the recut (I see you have the smaller bow pulpit) but I would not Know (You could measure your current jib and estimate) ????   I know with mine boat you would need to lose the 1.5'.  Also it is better to be 3/4oz +  (one or 1.25) would be real nice. mine is nylon and 3/4 oz and I am careful not to over load it 8Kts and it comes down.  If your new sail is a code 0 then on a beam reach of 6kt true you should cook along above 4Kts.  Down wind is another story 2 +/- .   
    Last modified: May 04, 2012 12:45 PM | Deleted user
  • May 04, 2012 1:27 PM
    Reply # 911953 on 901538
    Deleted user

    Thanks for the info Norm.

    I am going to contact the seller this afternoon, if it is still available I am heading down tomorrow morning to get a better look and probably snatch it up. The cost is too good to pass up, and I am in the mood for a road trip.

    The seller mentioned that it did not have a wire luff, so there's one less thing to worry about.

    I recently bought a skookum genoa which fits like a yankee since it was on a boat where the mast was further forward. It is in better shape than the rest of my sails, and it cost all of CAD$ 120. The sheets were more than that. It seemed to work and fit very well. I am hoping my luck holds out for this spinnaker, if not I can get it altered and still come out ahead.

    The next time I have a zero wind day I'll hoist them up and take some pics and get some more input.



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