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Track on front of Mast

I have a 382 and would like to put a track on the front of my mast. I have only had the boat a year and it is rigged pretty much as it came from the factory. There is an aluminum strip that is welded along the front of the mast. Guessing its purpose is to mount a track. If so, does anyone have any recommendations for a track to purchase. If the aluminum strip is not for that purpose, how do you mount a track on the front of the mast?

Brian Zinser
Marquette, MI
 

wild382

John
I have a 382 and would like to put a track on the front of my mast. I have only had the boat a year and it is rigged pretty much as it came from the factory. There is an aluminum strip that is welded along the front of the mast. Guessing its purpose is to mount a track. If so, does anyone have any recommendations for a track to purchase. If the aluminum strip is not for that purpose, how do you mount a track on the front of the mast?

Brian Zinser
Marquette, MI
I'd like to see that track too. If anyone has them show pictures if you can. I think Dave Moulton - (DMoltz) has that track on Namaste. I always admired how fast and easy he brought up his Spinnaker all by himself.
 

moltzvt

David Moulton
I do have a track mounted and the spinnaker pole lives mounted there. I will see if I have any photos. I purchased the boat this way so don't have a lot of details. There is a pulley system to raise and lower that works well, I use the pole with my 150 downwind and it works great.
 

moltzvt

David Moulton
This is not the best photo but I was able to zoom in. I will take some pics next week when I go up to cover her for the winter.
 

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wild382

John
This is not the best photo but I was able to zoom in. I will take some pics next week when I go up to cover her for the winter.
I might still have the shots I took a while back of you hoisting the spin. What size and make us that pole?
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
I just installed a track for my whisker pole. According to my rigger, that strip of aluminum was meant to take the older style thin steel tracks - think mainsail track. He suggested removing the strip of aluminum and installing a newer style aluminum track - more like the jib sheet lead tracks. I used an orbital sander and easily ground off the welds holding on the strip. I had the entire thing removed in less than an hour. Once it was off, I switched to a finer grain sandpaper and cleaned up the mast. All in all, it was a pretty easy job. The mast was on the ground though, so access was very easy. I feel much more comfortable having the new track screwed directly to the mast rather than to a lightly attached strip of aluminum.

Here is the track I used:
https://hardware.schaefermarine.com...ucts_id=3365&zenid=fdapmgp1n3u4h99tovdmiprsp3

Here is the track that you would use if you kept the aluminum strip:
https://hardware.schaefermarine.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=103_105&products_id=3943
 
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wild382

John
I just installed a track for my whisker pole. According to my rigger, that strip of aluminum was meant to take the older style thin steel tracks - think mainsail track. He suggested removing the strip of aluminum and installing a newer style aluminum track - more like the jib sheet lead tracks. I used an orbital sander and easily ground off the welds holding on the strip. I had the entire thing removed in less than an hour. Once it was off, I switched to a finer grain sandpaper and cleaned up the mast. All in all, it was a pretty easy job. The mast was on the ground though, so access was very easy. I feel much more comfortable having the new track screwed directly to the mast rather than to a lightly attached strip of aluminum.

Here is the track I used:
https://hardware.schaefermarine.com...ucts_id=3365&zenid=fdapmgp1n3u4h99tovdmiprsp3

Here is the track that you would use if you kept the aluminum strip:
https://hardware.schaefermarine.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=103_105&products_id=3943
Hi Ken...how does that one attach that is made for it?
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
Both of them attach with screws. Be prepared to tap A LOT of holes - like several dozen! One huge benefit of using the aluminum track is that your fastening the track with 5/16" bolts vs. smaller screws. One, bigger bolts are stronger than little screws. Two, you can easily tap the holes for the 5/16" bolt by inserting the tap into your electrical drill without worrying about breaking the tap. The thought of tapping that many holes by hand is an awful thought.

I did a lot of work to my mast when it was down last year. I counted something on the order of 75 new holes that needed to be tapped. Ugh. My hand was raw. It would have been even worse if I had to hand tap the whisker pole track!
 

wild382

John
Both of them attach with screws. Be prepared to tap A LOT of holes - like several dozen! One huge benefit of using the aluminum track is that your fastening the track with 5/16" bolts vs. smaller screws. One, bigger bolts are stronger than little screws. Two, you can easily tap the holes for the 5/16" bolt by inserting the tap into your electrical drill without worrying about breaking the tap. The thought of tapping that many holes by hand is an awful thought.

I did a lot of work to my mast when it was down last year. I counted something on the order of 75 new holes that needed to be tapped. Ugh. My hand was raw. It would have been even worse if I had to hand tap the whisker pole track!
Maybe that's why it was never done. Seems like that's going to be a project for another day. :)
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
I mounted a Schaefer track on front of my mast. No need to remove the aluminum extrusion, and it will give you more "meat" to bite into. I installed a 21foot Trysail track this year. About 100 hoes taped for no. 8 bolts. Time consuming but not hard. The track will be be more difficult because it usd 5/16 bolts and you will be drilling into Thicker metal with the extra extrusion, but it is all doable. I use a topclimberfor the Trysail track and ladders for the spinnaker track. Remember to use cutting oil, to ease the tap. Makes it's easier to turn.
 

matt_fahey

Matt Fahey
Ken Ferrari - Did you replace the Mainsail track, or add a track to the front of the mast for a whisker/spinnaker pole? I can't imagine a track for a whisker/spin pole would require dozens of screws, as it only goes up the mast about six feet...
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
Matt - I installed a track for a mast-mounted whisker pole. Since it's stored on the mast, the track is about 14' long (if I remember the length correctly). There is a bolt at least every 2-3 inches.
 
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jimcleary

James M. Cleary
John
What do you do when you need to go straight downwind? We pole out the jib and put a preventer on the main and the boat quiets right down and sails fairly well.

Jim
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
I was hesitant to spend the money on the pole. Even more hesitant to spend the time and money on mounting it on the mast. Boy am I glad I did. It's easy to deploy, so I use it all of the time. And what a difference it makes poling out the jib when you're deep off of the wind! I ran with that setup for about 12 hours on the way north this past spring. Loved it!
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
John
What do you do when you need to go straight downwind? We pole out the jib and put a preventer on the main and the boat quiets right down and sails fairly well.

Jim
I don't hesitate to pole out the jib when it gets deeper than 140 degrees apparent.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Ken
When we set the pole, we use a foreguy, afterguy and a pole lift. The pole is locked in position and we can put the jib away and attend to the pole when there is time. Before using this setup the pole was like a loose cannon up forward.

Jim
 

wild382

John
John
What do you do when you need to go straight downwind? We pole out the jib and put a preventer on the main and the boat quiets right down and sails fairly well.

Jim
We might do that but one of the secrets of our boats is, and this is no secret...they are slow straight down wind, sailing jibe angles downwind gets us there faster in anything over 3 or 4 knots...but it depends on so many factors as you know. Sometimes downwind is the only choice and up goes the pole, wing on wing.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
John
It's true that most times it is faster to "tack" downwind. But when cruising it's easier and safer to go wing & wing with the sails locked down and not having to gybe repeatedly.
Ken
The after guy is important because it prevents the pole from going forward and hitting the foil when the jib is rolled away or sent to the opposite tack.

Jim
 

wild382

John
Yes...just for us when we are cruising we practice a bit here and there with what we will be racing with JAM. This season we either had no wind or too much wind. I think there is a shot of our host on here somewhere with the spin flying.
Do you use a whisker pole? We only have a Spin pole.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
John
We use a lock-button whisker pole. It is stowed on deck along the port bulwark. When going downwind and the wind is light we fly an asymmetrical spinnaker in an ATN sock. Going downwind in strong breeze, we go with the poled out jib. If it pipes up beyond that, the jib is simply rolled away and the pole is left in place until it's safe to take it down. I am no longer a fan of foredeck gymnastics. My wife, Bonnie, Does all the helm work while I go forward. She says that if I have any problems on the foredeck, she will make me get a (ugh) powerboat.

Jim
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
Jim - Do you have a photo of your whisker pole mounted to the deck? I bought the chocks to store mine on deck, but I haven't installed them yet. I'm trying to get a sense of the space consumed by the pole on deck.

Ken
 

wild382

John
John
We use a lock-button whisker pole. It is stowed on deck along the port bulwark. When going downwind and the wind is light we fly an asymmetrical spinnaker in an ATN sock. Going downwind in strong breeze, we go with the poled out jib. If it pipes up beyond that, the jib is simply rolled away and the pole is left in place until it's safe to take it down. I am no longer a fan of foredeck gymnastics. My wife, Bonnie, Does all the helm work while I go forward. She says that if I have any problems on the foredeck, she will make me get a (ugh) powerboat.

Jim
Gee Jim...I have my wife do all the work...I just helm! Ha ha...just kidding...
We share the load pretty evenly actually (she does do the main halyard most of the time) just so if something happens there is two propel who can get the vessel to safety. I understand though.You should try saying... "I just don't want her to lose your girlish figure!" My wife is only 115lbs at 5' 7".
My understanding about poles is that a "whiskerpole" is fixed to the J length and a Spinnaker pole is adjustable. Is that what you know?
 

wild382

John
Jim - Do you have a photo of your whisker pole mounted to the deck? I bought the chocks to store mine on deck, but I haven't installed them yet. I'm trying to get a sense of the space consumed by the pole on deck.

Ken
We keep ours on deck too. I think I might have wanted it on the stanchions but there are pros and cons to that.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Ken & John
I'm going out in the morning to bring the boat into the marina for the winter. I'll take some photos of the pole attached to the deck. It's an old Forespar adjustable lock button type. I've always hated the lock buttons because it's so easy to pinch your fingers in it. The pole originally extended out to 15' but once off Block Island on a calm day, running with the pole fully out, we hit the wake of the Block Island ferry. When we pounded over the wake, the last two feet of the narrow section of the pole buckled. The solution was to cut off the two feet of ruined pole and sail with a 13 footer. That was later solved when we went from a 150% to a 130% jib. So it's been working fine since then. I alway thought that the difference between a whisker pole and a spinnaker pole was the type of end fittings. The whisker pole has one end with a fitting to mate to the mast ring and the other end captures the jib sheet with a quick release fitting. The spinnaker pole comes with identical fitting so it can be end for ended when gybing. I may be wrong as the technology has probably changed many times.

Jim
 
Ken Ferrari - Did you replace the Mainsail track, or add a track to the front of the mast for a whisker/spinnaker pole? I can't imagine a track for a whisker/spin pole would require dozens of screws, as it only goes up the mast about six feet...
Ken, picking up the pole tomorrow night. My boat will not see water until May, so I have it on my to do list before launch.
 

wild382

John
Ken & John
I'm going out in the morning to bring the boat into the marina for the winter. I'll take some photos of the pole attached to the deck. It's an old Forespar adjustable lock button type. I've always hated the lock buttons because it's so easy to pinch your fingers in it. The pole originally extended out to 15' but once off Block Island on a calm day, running with the pole fully out, we hit the wake of the Block Island ferry. When we pounded over the wake, the last two feet of the narrow section of the pole buckled. The solution was to cut off the two feet of ruined pole and sail with a 13 footer. That was later solved when we went from a 150% to a 130% jib. So it's been working fine since then. I alway thought that the difference between a whisker pole and a spinnaker pole was the type of end fittings. The whisker pole has one end with a fitting to mate to the mast ring and the other end captures the jib sheet with a quick release fitting. The spinnaker pole comes with identical fitting so it can be end for ended when gybing. I may be wrong as the technology has probably changed many times.

Jim
That would be neat
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
Here are some photos of my my whisker pole mounted on the mast. My memory is crap, the bolts are definitely not 2-3 inches apart. They're more like every 5-6 inches on center. It's a great setup like this. You never have to actually lift the pole... an important feature when the boat is pitching and rolling.

IMG_20161029_082012.jpg IMG_20161029_082025.jpg IMG_20161029_082053.jpg IMG_20161029_082109.jpg IMG_20161029_082125.jpg
 
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wild382

John
Here are some photos of my my whisker pole mounted on the mast. My memory is crap, the bolts are definitely not 2-3 inches apart. They're more like every 5-6 inches on center. It's a great setup like this. You never have to actually lift the pole... an important feature when the boat is pitching and rolling.

View attachment 6543 View attachment 6544 View attachment 6546 View attachment 6547 View attachment 6548
Thanks for the great photos Ken. Are you using that sail we sold you with the pole?
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
John, yep. The nice thing about the pole is that it's extendable. I can use it throughout the reefing range of your jib.
 

wild382

John
John, yep. The nice thing about the pole is that it's extendable. I can use it throughout the reefing range of your jib.
Thanks Ken...you two will have to come up sometime for a sail. So glad for you also. You are one of the rare few that actually followed through with your dreams...:)
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Ken
Here are some photos of the pole living on the deck. It was set up like that when we got the boat. If I was doing it from scratch, I'd prefer it to be on the mast.

Jim
 

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rolf

Rolf Peterson
My understanding about poles is that a "whiskerpole" is fixed to the J length and a Spinnaker pole is adjustable. Is that what you know?

Opposite: The spinnaker pole is a fixed length and the whisker pole is variable. I've always thought that the spinnaker pole is fixed partly for strength, but it also has no need to vary its length. I've used a whisker pole to pole out an asymmetrical spinnaker, and watched the inner part of the pole bend in the gusts - no more. The whisker pole is variable so that it can accommodate furling in the jib, as well as more easily set the distance to the clew from the mast based on the wind angle.
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
Ken
Here are some photos of the pole living on the deck. It was set up like that when we got the boat. If I was doing it from scratch, I'd prefer it to be on the mast.

Jim
Thanks for the photos, Jim. I'm considering installing the deck chocks in case I'm ever caught in a blow offshore. Just to reduce windage, really. Having it on the mast is really nice.
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
Thanks Ken...you two will have to come up sometime for a sail. So glad for you also. You are one of the rare few that actually followed through with your dreams...:)

Thanks for the kind words, John. I'll definitely give you a call if/when I'm up your way!
 

wild382

John
Opposite: The spinnaker pole is a fixed length and the whisker pole is variable. I've always thought that the spinnaker pole is fixed partly for strength, but it also has no need to vary its length. I've used a whisker pole to pole out an asymmetrical spinnaker, and watched the inner part of the pole bend in the gusts - no more. The whisker pole is variable so that it can accommodate furling in the jib, as well as more easily set the distance to the clew from the mast based on the wind angle.
That's what I meant to say ...brain got dixlixic again!
 

Sparky

New Member
I mounted a Schaefer track on front of my mast. No need to remove the aluminum extrusion, and it will give you more "meat" to bite into. I installed a 21foot Trysail track this year. About 100 hoes taped for no. 8 bolts. Time consuming but not hard. The track will be be more difficult because it usd 5/16 bolts and you will be drilling into Thicker metal with the extra extrusion, but it is all doable. I use a topclimberfor the Trysail track and ladders for the spinnaker track. Remember to use cutting oil, to ease the tap. Makes it's easier to turn.
Do you use a gu
Ken
When we set the pole, we use a foreguy, afterguy and a pole lift. The pole is locked in position and we can put the jib away and attend to the pole when there is time. Before using this setup the pole was like a loose cannon up forward.

Jim
Jim, Can you provide more detail on your foreguy and aftguy Set up? I am interested in mounting a spinnaker track on the mast and using it for a whisker pole however it seems to me the whisper pole cannot stretch out fully of abeam as the spreaders would prevent this. I imagine a foreguy Will prevent contact with the spreaders but it seems to me like I’d only be able to get 80 deg off the foil tops. Much less be able to do a full perpendicular spinnaker pole. Maybe elevation will allow it to clear the spreader?
 

Warren Holybee

Active Member
A whisker pole should not be set so far back that it is anywhere near the shrouds(wires, the spreaders are the wing-like things higher up that hold them). The whisker pole should be about 45 degrees. It also should be longer than a spinnaker pole, though a spinnaker pole works, just not as well as it could. A good length on a 382 is about 20 feet. Maybe even a tad longer.

I agree on the foreguy, afterguy, and topping lift. You should have all 3. Here is how I set it up now, which works well for single hand sailing with the pole.
The jaw that the sheet goes though needs to face down. This is opposite of a spinnaker, where it faces up.
A foreguy runs from the end of the pole, to a block on the bow, back to the cockpit, in a rope clutch.
An after guy is fixed length. It runs from the toe rail midship near the mast, to the end of the pole. Its length is set so that the pole can't touch the forestay, but is about 3 feet aft of it. when sailing, the pole is much further aft, and the afterguy slack. The pole is in use, the afterguy isn't really needed, as the jib sheet takes the load. There are two afterguys, one each side of the boat.
Topping lift goes from the end of the pole, up and back down to the mast.
I have a sail tie attached to the string to open the jaw on the end of the pole, so I can open it quickly from anywhere on the fore deck.

It's the fixed afterguy that makes this so magic. Having an afterguy on a winch was too many controls to deal with while singlehanded and tied up a winch. To setup, either before I leave the dock, or while sailing on a reach on the opposite tack of where the pole will be, I rig the above lines. I put the lazy sheet in the jaw, and raise the pole into position. I trim the foreguy, so the pole isn't moving, and is 3' aft of the forestay.

So, at this point, I am in the cockpit, sailing on a reach, with the pole on the other side. I furl the jib. Then Jibe, then release the clutch on the fore guy, and unfurl the sail. Easy peasy.

At anytime, I can just furl the sail, and after it's furled trim the fore guy to hold the pole. I can then, if I wish, unfurl it again on either side.

To jibe the pole, I furl the jib. Then, I release the topping lift. The end of the pole drops to the foredeck near the bow. I swap to the other afterguy and other sheet. Then, back to the cockpit jibe the boat, and unfurl on the other side.
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
Warren, I do much the same. But I have an extendable whisker pole, so I am not sure having fixed length after guys will work.I will check. I run the after guys on my secondary winches and use them to set the pole where I want it before the sail rolls out. I like being able to do that. But I have never used a fore guy. and have not had to so far. I keep the pole off the shrouds with the force of the wind., as you say. If I have to roll in the sail, after it is in I pull the aft guy just tight enough to hold it on the forward lower shroud, but not tight enough to impose a load. Off shore w would sometimes sail for some time with the pole held out but no sail. As the wind eased, we would roll the sail out again. Your foreguy idea sounds good, but that means one more line running aft. Several years ago I did something really stupid. We were running dead before it, using a whisker pole and an asymmetrical chute. I don't have a symmetrical chute, but should probably have one. Anyway, I had an after guy attacherd to the middle of the whisker pole. The wind built and built until a gust skied the pole, which, of course, suddenly had a 90 degree bend in the middle. I admit my error with shame--but also to warn others.
 

Warren Holybee

Active Member
The main purpose of a foreguy is to prevent the pole end from going up, as you experienced. It is sometimes called a downhaul. In practice before my race, with a brand new, first-time out spinnaker, we forgot to close the clutch on the foreguy. The pole went straight up, and the spinnaker twisted and wrapped around the masthead. It took climbing the mast, and a knife, and my $3000 kite came down in 9 pieces. The pole should be solid, and unable to move, being held from 3 opposing directions.

So yeah, I think the foreguy is important. Not for keeping the pole off the shrouds, but for overall control. As the boat rocks and moves in a swell, the jib collapses somewhat then fill again, and the pole starts moving around. A strong gust can send it straight up. The sheet moving in the jaw will chafe. Things break when they are allowed to move. With the foreguy set hard, and the topping lift tight, and the sheet under load, the pole is solid, and can't move.

It also gives me more ability to adjust sail shape, by controlling the height of the end of the pole. I can control twist, make the sail very flat, or give it a lot of depth. And when prepping everything, I can pull the foreguy tight with the topping lift eased, and the pole is secure on the boat's centerline, easy to access and rig, or out of the way if I am sailing upwind for a while without having to fully stow it.

I have eliminated having 2 after guys running to the cockpit with the fixed length guys, so it isn't too much to handle. And the fixed length guys free up my secondary winches. One holds my preventer, and the other my furling line.

Note with a symmetric spinnaker, fixed length guys won't work. But you can get away with using the lazy sheet as a guy, and not having dedicated guys at all. The angle is wrong, but it works with a lot less lines.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
A number of years ago we were running just East of Block Island with a 150% genoa poled out to starboard with the whisker pole fully extended. The seas were dead calm and a light 7-8kt breeze off the port quarter. Along comes one of the Block Island ferries crossing in front of us from port to stbd. I thought nothing of passing astern of the ferry until we went up and over his wake and came down and watched the pole buckle from the impact. Luckily the buckle was about 2' from the outboard end of the pole. The damage was cut off with a hack saw, the end refitted and the pole is still in use today.

I now use a fore guy, an after guy and a pole lift to lock the pole into a solid position. The sail, now a 130%, is rolled in and out to the pole end and the pole can then come down or be gybed over at our leisure.

Jim
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
Thanks. Will fixed length after guys work with a extendable whisker pole? Also, when I used to race on others boats, the fore guy came down to the fore deck, not the bow. I have a chainplate on the aft end of my anchor locker. I could use that, right?
 

Warren Holybee

Active Member
Thanks. Will fixed length after guys work with a extendable whisker pole? Also, when I used to race on others boats, the fore guy came down to the fore deck, not the bow. I have a chainplate on the aft end of my anchor locker. I could use that, right?
You will need to try it with an extendable pole. My guess is that you can make it work. How far off the forestay the pole stops is not critical, so depending on pole length that will be different, but it should still work. Set the pole at a shorter length, adjust the guy so the pole is a foot or 2 off the forestay, then extend the poIe and see where it is. As long as it is forward of where it will ever be while in use, you should be fine.

I put a pad-eye on my foredeck for a foreguy before the PacCup. In practice we decided it was better at the bow. Same pad-eye there that I use for my preventers, all 3 things held in place with soft shackles. 2 of my crew were experienced foredeck crew on race boats, and that is how they liked it. Bonus, I can have my fore-guy set while my dingy is on deck.

Edit: That pad eye is on the small triangle bit just forward of the anchor locker, and just behind the forestay. It's a super strong spot.
Edit edit: if you have a chainplate for an inner forestay, that should work just as well.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
I secure the fore guy to the bow cleat and the after guy to the stern cleat. Is there any reason for not doing that?

Jim
 

Warren Holybee

Active Member
I secure the fore guy to the bow cleat and the after guy to the stern cleat. Is there any reason for not doing that?

Jim
I think that is totally fine for the foreguy. The stern cleat will work for the afterguy, but ideally, the afterguy would be further forward, to pull more down than if it is at the rear of the boat. If it works for you, I wouldn't change it.
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
I run my after guys through snatch blocks on the rail , so there is some control there. But Warren urges they be dead-ended there. I will try that.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Warren
I'm going to think about that downward pull from the after guy. Using the aft cleat keeps the guy line clear of the cockpit and other running gear. The fore guy works well with the cleat as it keeps the pole from scraping on the forward lower shroud. The spinnaker sheets are run through blocks at the very end of the genoa track. All the spinnaker gear goes away when the sail is stowed, except for the halyard and pole lift and the turning block on the bow for the tack downhaul.

Jim
 
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