Peter Lyle uses an old, slightly bent Laser topmast as a whisker pole for his Jeanneau SO34.2
The spinnaker pole that came with my Jeanneau SO34.2 is stout and reasonably strong, but is a little short to use as whisker pole when goose winging the genoa. More significantly, it’s heavy and awkward to rig.What I needed was a lightweight whisker pole that would be easy to put up in light airs.
Commercially-made poles are either heavy (thick alloy tube) or very expensive (carbon fibre). Mine was free, apart from the pole end fittings.
Any reasonably competitive Laser 1 dinghy sailor will, over the years, have bent, un-bent, re-bent and then replaced his tubular aluminium mast top section. Laser masts are useless with almost any pre-bend, so most Laser sailors and every dinghy club will have a few of these lying around. They are 50mm (2in) diameter tube, very lightweight and perfect for a (low wind strength) whisker pole. More importantly – they are free.
Z Spars (tel: 01473 822130) sell a nice piston pole end for about £27. A lick of epoxy glue and a few rivets make it fit securely in the pole. It’s great in light airs but I don’t use it above F4 in case it bends and snaps.
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