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.
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.
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 carbon, aluminum, 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.