Whisker Pole

We use our FS(4278)primarily for daysailing. I know that Whisker Poles are not class legal, but what about the use of them on a recreational basis. I know of one long time FS sailor, that is well respected for his FS expertise, that uses it. What are the pros & cons of Whisker Poles. Please add your comments/experiences.
Correction: When I first entered this post, I assumed that Whisker Poles weren't class legal. However, I contacted FS, and to my surprise they are class legal. The only requirements are, the poles must be under 7 feet long and must not be used during any spinnaker deployments. Now, I really want to know why I haven't seen anyone use Whisker Poles on FS. Obvivously there must be a time and place for the spinnaker use, but other times for the jib (wing on Wing)with the Whisker Pole. I have used the searched function, but no hits. I Need your comments!

For various reasons, I hardly ever use my spinnaker; I almost always use a whisker pole. Pros: 1. It's much easier to use a whisker pole and jib than a spinnaker when no crew is available; easier to put up, take down and jibe, especially when the wind is up. 2. Not as much rigging is required for a whisker pole and jib as for a spinnaker, so it's cheaper to rig. Cons: 1. Using a whisker pole and jib isn't as much fun as using a spinnaker. 2. Boat speed with a whiskerpole and jib is not as fast as with a spinnaker. If you're not racing, that's not much of a factor. You can still scoot along pretty well with a whisker pole and it is even possible to plane.

I'd rather use a spinnaker because it's more challenging and more fun, but I singlehand most of the time and a whisker pole and jib ain't bad.

Flying Scot #1087

Thanks for your comments, they hit the nail on the head! As a novice I have come to the same conclusions. I am, however a little perflexed, by what I don't read in either the FS forum, or in any Scot'N Water 1994-2008. There is no mention of Whisker Poles in either of these sources. I wonder why! Obviously, as you indicated, they are a good solution when circumstances dictates. I fully understand the benefits of a Spinnaker, they are pretty also. I look forward to becoming proficient with its use. We will have our hands full this spring learning to use the Spinnaker and the Whisker Pole. I just might write an article, for Scot'N Water, about our experiences, they should be exciting. In the mean time, I'll continue to do our sailing laying on the couch until winter is over.

You don't see anything about whisker poles on the forum or in Scots 'n' Water because almost all the racing they cover is one design, which means there aren't any other kinds of boats in the race. To have any chance of winning in a Flying Scot one design race, you have to use a spinnaker because the whisker pole won't get you the speed you need to stay up with the boats flying a spinnaker. Most of the local races I sail in use the Portsmouth handicapping system because there are rarely enough boats of one kind to make a class. The handicap for a boat that is capable of using a spinnaker, but which does not use the spinnaker in the race, is different from the handicap for that boat if it were using a spinnaker.

Flying Scot #1087

Thanks for your comments, they helped me better understand things. As I said, we will learn to use both systems. Since very few people use the Whisker Pole, I'll keep it hidden, and spring it on our fleet in the spring. It will be my "Secret Weapon," for those races, that have conditions that are not conducive to Spinnaker usage, then I'll blow them away.

Is there anyway a Spinnaker pole can be adapted to be used as a Whisker Pole, IE exchangable ends etc. Only having one pole on board to do both jobs would be nice.

The Flying Scot specifications in Article S-III paragraph 3, give the particulars regarding spinnaker poles and whisker poles. Basically if both are aboard when racing, they have to be different enough in design to be easily identifiable from a distance under racing conditions, but nothing says the spinnaker pole can't be used for a whisker pole.

It looks like the Spinnaker pole is bigger than a Whisker Pole, although they are the same lenght.
What are the pros & cons of using a Spinnaker Pole in place of a Whisker Pole? Does the Whisker Pole mount to the mast at the same height as the Spinnaker Pole, or do you need another ring on the mast at a different height? If I can get by using the Spinnaker Pole for both jobs, I'll save $100.00, and have fewer things on board.

Here is an update. I found a used Whisker pole for $50.00, and used it for the first time yesterday, May 5 2008. The breeze was very light, and wouldn't support using the Spinnaker, and hardly filled the Jib. I put the Whisker pole up (wing on wing)and noticed it made a difference right away, the boat pick up speed. I am very satisfied that we will have this added option available to us this year. It was somewhat strange seeing a FS with a Whisker pole in use, but no one else was on the lake to see it. I am sure I will get some interesting comments when the rest of our fleet gets a look at it.