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Pole Storage: Deck or Boom?

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khardy View Drop Down
Commodore
Commodore


Joined: 22 June 2004
Location: United States
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    Posted: 29 November 2005 at 6:02pm

We started with pole stored on deck but then switched to storing pole on boom.  Iím very happy with this system.

 

First thing I did was eliminate the bridals and go ďrodeo styleĒ using two d-rings in the center of the pole for the topping lift and down guy.  While this isnít advisable if you sail where it blows (at least with the stock pole) it works quite well for us since itís almost never windy.  (I do keep a set of clip-on bridals stored below for the windy days.)  And we almost never rig the down guy, again we donít sail in a lot of wind or chop where I think itís necessary; the tweekers (for the guy) seem to do just fine keeping the pole from bouncing.  So, we store on the boom, but we also use a much simpler set-up than originally intended for most of our sailing. 

 

The mechanics of setting / stowing the pole are kind of hard to describe.  Iíll start with the takedown, but first a little prep work. Set the pole at the dock at a normal ďall aroundĒ height.  Without tripping the toping lift, take the pole off the mast and let it hang free.  The pole will lie such that the center of the pole is up against the mast.  Make a mark on both sides of the mast where the pole rests.  Now push the pole back along the boom until the aft end of the pole slides into the aft pole storage ring.  The aft pole storage rings should be positioned such that the pole will slide about 6Ē into the storage ring without having to trip the topping lift.  If you canít reach the aft support ring without tripping the toping lift, then move the storage rings forward on the boom.  If the pole can slide much more than 6Ē into the support rings before tripping the toping lift, then move the support rings aft.     Now youíre ready for a sail. 

 

Starting with the pole deployed at its normal position the bowman stands facing forward.  He grabs the trip line (single trip line for both ends) near the mast and twists it such that both jaws open at the same time.  If the spin is still up (like for a windward strip) the guy will almost always float out of the pole jaws.  Then the bowman pushes the pole back until the inboard end goes just inside the pole ring at the aft end of the boom.  The bowman then blows the topping lift and clips the other end of the pole to the ring at the front of the boom.  Note that the pole holder rings at the aft end of the boom are positioned such that the inboard end of the pole will just reach the rings without tripping the toping lift.  This way, the bowman never has to support the full weight of the pole since the toping lift isnít tripped until the inboard end of the pole is supported by the aft pole storage ring. 

 

For setting we essentially work backwards.  Unclip the pole from the forward pole storage ring and slide forward.  At the same time, use the other hand to pull the toping lift so that when the aft end of the pole clears the aft pole storage ring, the pole will be supported by the topping lift.  Keep moving the pole forward and hoisting the toping lift until the center of the pole is along the mast.  Adjust the toping lift so the center of the pole is even with the marks on the mast.  Cleat the toping lift here and forget it.  Grab the forward end of the pole with your aft hand, grab the guy with the outboard hand, and put the guy in the jaws.  Finally, push the pole out and forward and clip the inboard end to the mast.  After the spin is up and flying you can fine tune the toping lift. 

 

The key elements of this are:

  • Under no circumstances should the bowman support the pole; let the toping lift do this.  Bowman should be guiding the pole, but all weight should be supported by the toping lift at all times.
  • Eliminating the bridals is a risk I take because itís rarely above 15kts where I sail and we typically sail W/L courses.  But they now sell carbon poles which are fine without bridals for boats up to 30í.  When I finally push it too far and break my stock pole, thatís what Iíll be replacing it with. 
  • Storing the pole on the boom is much cleaner with respect to jib sheets.  Weíve all sailed boats that store on the deck; how many times have you ruined a tack because the sheets ended up under the pole after a takedown?
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