A Whisker Pole System

Forespar Whisker Pole

Using a whisker pole that is sized and configured properly, can make sailing by the lee stable and comfortable. Usually downwind sailing, specifically in light air, can feel a bit sluggish and sloppy. Some of us feel that flying a spinnaker is too much work and that a lot can go wrong quickly.  So what can we do when we have to do the inevitable, and turn the bow down wind? One option is to try and fly the head sail wing-on-wing with mainsail.

Forespar Whisker Pole On-the-mast System by The Rigging Company. Peterson 44.

Flying the headsail downwind with the mainsail can be a bit tricky without a very important tool, a properly rigged whisker pole.  Bracing the fore sail out to weather with the whisker pole, and the boom out to leeward, preferably via a preventer (a.k.a wing-on-wing), can allow for hours of adjustment free downwind sailing, even in moderately heavy conditions. Taking the time to ensure that the system is strong enough to manage various wind conditions;  is rigged properly for ease of use, and is easily stowed while not in use, is of utmost importance and well worth the extra effort. There are a good bit of details to ensure that a system like this is set up in a dependable and functional manner. Make sure you seek the assistance of a professional rigger for this.

New Lewmar Evo Halyard Winches, Winch Bases. Track System for a On-the-mast Whisker Pole. Peterson 44

Forespar is definitely the only choice when it comes to whisker poles of any kind. For boats over 30′ we always recommend on of our “On-the-mast Whisker Pole Systems” for ease of use (see image below). Forespar’s whisker poles come in a few different sizes, materials, and configurations: twist lock, line control and pin lock (completely collapsible for easy storage below decks). Tubing materials can be chosen between carbonaluminum, and hybrid (half carbon, half aluminum). Finishes can be satin, gloss or painted for carbon fiber options. Aluminum poles are available in painted or anodized clear finishes.

Forepsar’s latest product, The Velocity Series, is an all carbon fiber pole at a budget price. They’ve been able to drive the weight AND the price down by utilizing an external line control system and keeping the carbon finish without gloss…storage bag recommended.


Execution is also a BIG portion of keeping this effortless. Above is a video I found online so that you can get the gist of how the system is intended to be used……. Very Helpful.

See what we have to say about even more downwind sail options for cruisers, here.

….and please let us know if you have any questions for us below. Thanks for reading.


Posted in Annapolis Sailing, Cruisers, Modern Yachts, Product Review, Rigging, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Schaefer Furlers, Quality…..

Schaefer Marine headsail furlers

……and reliability, that has withstood the test of time. Schaefer Headsail Furlers are definitely in a class of their own. Boasting some of the similar features of the Harken units, but to only improve upon them (see our archives). Don’t get me wrong I love Harken furlers, but if you want to spend some extra bucks for heavy duty quality that you can rely on time and time again, look no further. Schaefer delivers a strong and robust design that will meet the requirements of any blue water cruiser. Although, these furlers may not be for the ‘weight wienies’ out there .

Schaefer furlers have been around for a long time (30+ years) and the design has been relatively unchanged. For all of you that own older models, Schaefer continues to prove their “stand behind our products” mentality by offering an upgrade to the drum hub itself…

 This upgrade promises improved bearing races and  flushing holes in order to make servicing the furler easier, which should be done every few years depending on conditions and use. The upgrade addresses the issue of a sticky or a frozen furler drum (usually caused by lack of use). The replacement drum hubs are available for a very low price directly from Schaefer Marine. I think you’ll find this a worthy upgrade that you won’t want to pass up given the great price. If you own an older Schaefer unit (it is probably time to give it some attention anyways), take advantage of this great offer and call Schaefer directly.

Schaefer headsail furler, Jimmie Cockerill early days

I’ve personally never seen a Schaefer Furler that was no longer serviceable, unless it was badly damaged of course. If you look at any older unit, the sticker will have worn and faded away a bit, but you will not find neither old grease, u.v. degraded plastics (there is a plastic swivel bearing inside the halyard swivel that will need to be replaced every 7 or 8 years or so), nor any cheap plated metals. Schaefer headsail furlers are made of anodized, high quality, aircraft aluminum and 316 grade stainless. The only real ‘tiff’ I have is that the connections along the foils are made using rivets. This isn’t the end of the world but from an installers point of view; in order to break the unit down or make any repairs to the connectors or foils it requires a bit more tooling then if they just used regular screws. If you’re interested or even just curious about what is the best line drive furler, you can read more on that here.

Posted in Cruisers, Modern Yachts, Multihulls, Product Review, Rigging, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Authorized Harken Hydraulics Service Center

Harken Hydraulics at The Rigging Company

Back in April 2016, The Rigging Company attended a week long certification to become an Authorized Harken Hydraulics Service Center. WE PASSED!!!

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You can now bring your Harken hydraulic units or systems to The Rigging Company (or we can bring The Rigging Company to you) to have them serviced, repaired, and even replaced.

We not only sell, service, and repair the entire line of Harken’s hydraulic line up but our staff is now very well versed with the manufacturer specific product knowledge. If for some reason we don’t have the answer, we have the resources to find out quickly. Harken and The Rigging Company do one thing very well, and that’s customer service.


Hydraulic service center, authorized Harken


So what makes Harken’s hydraulic line-up a notch above the rest? Well, let’s start with they have probably the coolest and most innovative multi-speed rotary pumps on the market. There’s lots to talk about in regards to these pumps, so for the sake of keeping things short, I’ll spare you the details. If you want to know more give us a call and/ or read more on their site.
Harken's Hydraulic panel system, double acting pumpHere are some of my favorite innovations that we learned about while at their class… First and foremost has to be the double acting (manual) pumps in both their integral adjusters as well as the their panel units. This nifty innovation allows the user to move almost twice as much oil as the competitors designs, with the same amount of effort. Panel units also offer splined drives for the pump handle to mount at any angle. The handles themselves come in various materials and designs to give the user and installer an endless supply of options, ensuring the the right fit. This too is something the competition just doesn’t offer.


Hydraulic cylinders, grand prix the rigging companyThinking about making the switch from one of the other leading manufacturers? Harken has designed their hydraulic lineup to be adaptable in almost every conceivable way. Cylinders (integrals included) have the exact same stroke options as the others manufacturers. This makes for an easy swap out whenever you are ready to make the switch. All fittings and thread sizes are imperial not metric (well the screws are still metric…). Just want to replace the valves and the panel for now and do the cylinders and hoses later (or visa versa)?  Not a problem, it is all made to fit without much fuss. Harken’s new lineup of single, double, even three speed pumps (Grand Prix), available with single or multi functions, are lighter, pump oil faster, and easier to mount. Not to mention they come with various looks to choose from: black anodized aluminum, clear coated carbon fiber, or polished 316 grade stainless steel…SHARP!


Hydraulic systems from Harken

Comanche the Record Smashing 100 Footer!!


‘Ever think about adding a dump valve? Don’t know what that is? Well you may not need one then, but I’ll tell you anyways ;-0). It is a nifty release switch that can be installed in-line to a hydraulic vang (for instance). This valve gives access to release the vang in a jiffy. A handy device should you find yourself “on your ear in a blow”. Now listen up all you racers out there, while in Pewauke, WI, I learned about this NEW “string pull dump valve”. This version of the dump valve allows you to releaseString Dump Valve, HArken Hydraulics,  the vang from the rail by yes, pulling a line. This is the alternative to the dump button usually centrally located in the middle of the boat (Not where you want to go when the boat is wiping out). The last feature of their dump valve is that it utilizes what is called a “Flow Control Valve” which allows you to (VERY) finely control the severity of the dump action. This can be handy if you intend to use it for a more controlled ease, say around mark roundings. I know it’s geeky, but I’m just saying……SUPER COOL!


There’s one last thing that should be mentioned about Harken’s new range of hydraulic products….they are as well assembled as they are designed. All screws are dipped in Tefgel and all seals get lithium grease. This is ensures that their products won’t seize up and can be easily serviced, time and time again. Something we at The Rigging Company can really appreciate.

As always these guys are staying true to their motto “Innovative Sailing Solutions”. Thanks Harken for giving the hydraulic sailboat market some options.

Feel like some of this talk is just too techy? I know what you mean. No worries, just give us a call or send us an email and we can discuss your options in more layman terms. Remember, at the end of the day we sell all of the products from all of the various manufacturers. So you can always count on us to point you in the direction of quality and reliability based on our experience….

Have a question or a comment, just click the title and write us below, we will reply.



Posted in Americas Cup, Annapolis Sailing, Around the World, Baltimore Sailing, Classic Yachts, Cruisers, Extreme Sailing Series, Maritime News, Modern Yachts, Multihulls, Product Review, Racers, Rigging, Tech Tips, The Biz!, Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, Yachting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment