GP14 Sailing Forums Forum Whisker Pole

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    • #21621

      On a small would a whisker pole be a better option than a spinnaker. Whisker poles seem to have gone out of favour, has anyone got any experience?

    • #21622
      Oliver Shaw

      It depends on what you want to use it for.

      The maximum length of a whisker pole (a.k.a. jibstick) is identical with that of the spinnaker boom,  6-ft including fittings,  now metricated to 1829 mm.

      If you carry a spinnaker,  even if you use it only occasionally,  you require a spinnaker boom.

      The full length is a fundamental requirement for the spinnaker pole,  which also needs to be stronger than is required for only a whisker pole,  and it also needs to have fittings which are properly enclosed at both ends (because it can sometimes be under tension rather than compression).   The whisker pole can afford to be of lighter construction,  and because it is never under tension it can get away with just a spike at the outboard end (rather than a properly enclosed fitting as found on a spinnaker pole).

      For booming out the genoa,  the spinnaker boom which you require anyway will serve perfectly adequately as a whisker pole,  and the full length is just about right.    Using the spar that you are carrying anyway saves the need to also carry a separate whisker pole,  even though the spinnaker boom is slightly heavier than would be a whisker pole.

      If you sail with the original standard jib,  or any other smaller headsail,  you may then find that the full length pole is too long for poling out the smaller headsail,  in which case you will need a correspondingly shorter one,  and in that case it won’t double for use as a spinnaker pole,  so it might as well be only a whisker pole.

      Photo shows a whisker pole in use on my vintage boat,  no. 64 no less,  setting cotton sails and with the original standard jib.

      Hope this helps,



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    • #21624

      Thanks Oliver I new that you would have the answers. I will try it next week, I sail at Trimpley sailing club and it’s quite a small water with very flukey winds. On many occasions I have been stop dead by the spinney.

      Thanks once again Oliver

    • #21664

      I have mine handy if you need closer pictures of the ends.  You will have to forgive the condition,  I have yet to refinish it.

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