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Remembering that we weren’t put on this earth simply to work, we spent the last day or so enjoying ourselves with friends. We ran in a moonlight hash, did a bit of sailing, attended another dinghy concert, and had some fun at Rogers Beach Bar.

That’s not to say that we’ve been totally inactive on the boat projects though. One of the items I had written on our multi-page to-do list was to experiment with setting our downwind whisker pole. As we’ve never sailed on a boat with such a device, we had to do a bit of research on how to set it up. With only a minimal amount of trial and error, I think we pretty much got it figured out. Now we just need to find someplace downwind to try it out. Perhaps we’ll just have to sail back to St. Georges. 🙂

On the subject of downwind sailing, our friends on Distant Shores just put up a good article on the setup that they used on their last trans-Atlantic crossing. Check it out!


  1. Hi Mike, getting a good downwind set up is valuable. Poling out any headsail is a must.

    I do notice in your pic the uphaul line is rubbing on another line , a foreguy perhaps. Something wrong there??

    Have fun with it..


  2. Thanks for the reminder balancing life/work/play. It’s amazing how such common knowledge can get overlooked. As for the downwind set up – Do you have a downhaul to counter the topping lift on the pole? We use one for our spin pole, but find we don’t need it when poling out a genoa for downwind because the heavier weight of the sail tends to keep it steadier.

  3. Mike, once the pole is set, it is indeed a valuable tool. The trick is getting it in or out sailing shorthanded in 20 knots, especially a big pole that is not carbon fiber. ;-)) . I recall some of the Amels have permanently rigged twin poles that can be furled for a passing squall with the pole remaining attached to the clew?

    For me, until Santa brings me a carbon fiber pole, I think monkeying around with a pole by myself is just too dangerous. Our A sail with a sock will not quite fly dead downwind, but close.

    • Single handed? No way. With two people and the autopilot steering, it should be manageable, although doing anything on deck in big seas sucks.

      It is my understanding that with the pole secured by fore and after guys, the genoa can be furled to reef without messing with the pole.

      The big difference between our older-model poles is that they are one piece. The newer boats have a two-piece articulating setup which allows the poles to kind of be pre-rigged and left lowered (not deployed) along the side decks.

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