The Whisker Pole


Whisker pole mounting bracketIt took me a long time to decide where to put the whisker pole.  I did not want to put it on deck mounts that I would step on, and I did not want to put it on the mast because I did not want it to rattle at night while I was sleeping in a lumpy anchorage.  I settled on tying it to the top of the stanchions.  I used 1/4 inch line to tie French curl knots to the stanchion to make a pad about 6 inches long to go between the pole and the stanchion.  At the bottom of the knots, I leave the end long enough to go up around the pole, around the stanchion above the pole, back around the pole, and tie.  I also have 1 inch webbing tied in a 6 inch loop around the lifeline and bow pulpit.  The whisker pole ends are connected to the webbing.  The webbing keeps the pole in place while I untie it.  The webbing on the bow pulpit slides forward and holds the forward end of the pole while I connect the aft end to the mast.  The whisker pole is tied to the inside of the lifeline at the aft end.  It crosses the lifeline and then ties to the outside of the bow pulpit.

Whisker pole mounting bracketTo put the pole up I untie it from the stanchions leaving the loops of webbing connected to hold the pole.  I then unhook the loop of webbing at the aft end of the pole and walk the pole forward to the mast.  After I connect the aft end to the mast ring I go forward and connect the stay-sail halyard to the pole as a topping lift.  My stay-sail down haul is then connected to the stay-sail halyard as a for guy.  I then move the aft guy from the bow pulpit (where it is tied when not in use) to the stay-sail halyard.  Then I release the forward end of the pole, adjust the length, and connect it to the sail.  These lines all go to the cockpit so I can adjust the position without going forward later.  My jib sheets are long enough to jibe without changing the whisker pole.  The three lines hold the pole in place until I am ready to move it.

The whisker pole has more uses than just to hold out the sail going downwind.  We use it as a crane with the block and tackle from our lifesling.  When Nicole was 7 she could lift the dingy out of the water and put it on deck by herself.  I also use the pole to hold our flopper stopper away from the boat.  I don't use the pole a lot; however, it is something that I need to have.