Yikes! We need whisker pole 101

Jun 17, 2012
165
Hunter 356 Mackinaw City, MI
Ok so we are on the western shore of Lake MI. Tomorrow we have to sail north. We will have at least a 16kts wind from the south. So a real good chance to finally use our newly acquired whisker pole. Problem is in properly and safely rigging it in all the how to videos say to attach our topping lift to the foresail clue to keep the pole horizontal to the water. We have a 2002 356 with the Selden rig. The topping lift pulley sheath routes the topping lift line out the rear of the mast. I can’t figure out how it would be possible to use the topping lift out the front facing top of the mast. Is it me going confused or what? Any ideas from a sailor with this type of rig?
 
May 10, 2004
238
Hunter MH 37 Manitowoc, WI
Ok so we are on the western shore of Lake MI. Tomorrow we have to sail north. We will have at least a 16kts wind from the south. So a real good chance to finally use our newly acquired whisker pole. Problem is in properly and safely rigging it in all the how to videos say to attach our topping lift to the foresail clue to keep the pole horizontal to the water. We have a 2002 356 with the Selden rig. The topping lift pulley sheath routes the topping lift line out the rear of the mast. I can’t figure out how it would be possible to use the topping lift out the front facing top of the mast. Is it me going confused or what? Any ideas from a sailor with this type of rig?
Spinnaker rigs usually have an extra mast exit or a padeye below the jib halyard for a pole topping lift for a Spinnaker or whisker pole.
 
Jun 17, 2012
165
Hunter 356 Mackinaw City, MI
Thanks my Manitowoc reply. You are correct and I realized we do not have a line in the spinnaker sheath ouch!
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,951
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
They call it a topping lift 'cuz that's what it does for the pole, but is often confused with the boom topping lift.

How thick and heavy is the pole? Some can be used without a topping lift. Do you have a spare jib halyard? They come out the front, right? :)
 

DArcy

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Feb 11, 2017
1,250
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
In light air a topping lift (pole lift) can be helpful. Most of the time whisker poles don't really need a topping lift - I don't use one on mine. As Stu implied, a heavy pole (like a spinnaker pole) needs a topping lift.
 
Jul 19, 2013
317
Pearson 31-2 Boston
Ideally you have a second halyard, jib or spinnaker, that you can use as a pole lift. That being said, a pole lift is only important if there is not enough wind pressure to hold the pole up. If you have say 6 knots or more apparent wind, the pole will stay up without a topping lift. and in fact, the sail will usually stay full without a pole. Use of a pole keeps the sail more tolerant of a varying wind direction. See
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Last edited:
Mar 20, 2011
592
Hunter 31_83-87 New Orleans
I suggest rigging a topping lift or use a spare halyard to help control the pole when rigging it up. I have an extendable pole on my H31 and the pole is heavy for one person to handle when on the foredeck and any kind of chop. I always instructed crew to connect the topping lift first thing. Last thing I wanted was for one of them to get hurt man handling this heavy pole and definitely didn’t want them to drop overboard.