R 22

Rhodes 22


Whisker Pole

Your questions sound like what you may really want is a whisker pole & a cruising spinnaker. My whisker pole is a Forespar model # HD 6-12 DL aluminum with type SL fittings on both ends. Don't get anything lighter duty than the HD 6-12 DL or your genoa will fold it in half!

I use my whisker pole in the following situations:

1. To stabilize the genoa on a light air reach or run. In light air, it's also helpful to snap the spinnaker pole topping lift onto the outboard fitting of the whisker pole. Supporting the weight of the pole & sail with the topping lift helps keeps the sail from slatting around & keeps it in a more aerodynamic shape.

2. I also have a cruising spinnaker. My whisker pole extends out to 138 inches, which is considerably longer than my PHRF legal 106 inch spinnaker pole. The cruising spinnaker just plain flies better with the longer pole.

3. The lazy man's way to sail downwind is to strike the mainsail, pole out the cruising spinnaker with the whisker pole on one side of the boat & pole out the genoa on the other side of the boat with the spinnaker pole. This rig has the ultimate in lee helm, the sail area is nearly that of the tri-radial spinnaker, & it is completely self steering downwind. However, because both sails are well controlled, it does not require the constant attention which a tri-radial spinnaker demands.

4. To pole out the genoa when sailing wing-on-wing downwind. Poling out the genoa when sailing wing-on-wing helps stabilize the sail & allows a broader margin of error for sailing by the lee without backwinding the genoa. (In this case, much preferable to sailing by the lee of the mainsail & possibly causing an unexpected gybe!)

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
13 Sep 1999

We use a whisker pole that looks like it was made by the previous owner from two stock pole ends pop riveted to an aluminum tube that looks like the same stock as the OEM genoa furler tube. It works perfectly. There is a reasonable picture of it on the photo site: http://pathfind.net/rhodes22/pics/nell_robin.jpg

To answer your question: Yes, the pole must typically pass between the upper and forward lower shrouds. The most important trim is the genoa sheet. If the sheet is neither too tight nor too loose, you won't have any trouble with the pole on the shrouds. Also, this particular aluminum tube is fairly heavy. It isn't very large diameter, but the walls seem thick.

The biggest problem with a furler is where to store it. I also use it for the spinnaker, and I have a topping lift attached to one end. So, I usually just store it vertically along the mast, held upright by the topping lift with the bottom end still attached to the pad-eye. I'd like to have a pole clip, however. That would allow me to use a proper topping lift setup for the pole with the topping lift affixed to the middle of a line running the length of the pole.

I'm not sure this really answered your questions, but Yes, you can use a pole on the R22.

Doug Gardner
s/v Fretnaught
17 Feb 2001

I looked at a boat recently that had the pole stored on the mast. The track allowed the padeye to move up, and the outboard end was down in the clip. The idea being that if the clip fails to hold the pole, it doesn't drop down on the deck ala kaboom style. Seemed like a neat setup. BTW, we do not have a pole and it's on the shopping list. The 6/12 unit that Roger has would work fine for us. I think it would store under the cockit seats in clips hanging down from seat. Out of the way, but easily accessable. We have a boat hook stored that way now.

Just another week till sailing season starts here. I think!


If you look on the photo web site under the "Friends" page, there is a picture of my family on board Dynamic Equilibrium at home alongside our dock on Sanford Lake. If you look closely at the foredeck in that picture, you will see how I currently stow my spinnaker pole & whisker pole. In that same picture, about halfway up on the front of the mast, you can see a fixed permanently mounted stainless steel spinnaker pole ring.

At one time I used to stow the two poles vertically with one end clipped onto the upper pole ring & the lower end clipped onto the lower pole ring. The upper pole ring is located up the mast such that when the lower pole ring is slid down to the bottom of its track, the distance between the two spinnaker pole rings is correct for my 106 inch spinnaker pole. The whisker pole is, of course, adjustable for the distance as well. Both my spinnaker pole & whisker pole have sufficiently long trip lines so it's possible to open the upper jaw on the end fitting while standing on deck.

Sometimes, at a dock or at anchor, I still stow the two poles up the mast in order to clear off the foredeck for more living space & reduced trip hazards. However, I don't sail with them stowed like that anymore. I found they added considerable heeling moment & windage up there. In addition, I found they tended to snag sheets & halyards at very inopportune moments. From a racer's perspective, up the mast wasn't a very fast or efficient storage location either. It was slower to get the spinnaker pole rigged & set-up from the up-the-mast storage position.

Also on the photo web site under the "Technical Details" page is a close-up photo of Dynamic Equilibrium's bow which clearly shows the end of the spinnaker pole clipped into its chock near the bow.

I like having the spinnaker pole & whisker pole clipped securely on the foredeck. They're down low for minimal heeling moment, windage, & nonsnagging. In foul weather they provide a large diameter secure handhold if you have to work on the foredeck. Stowed in this manner, the poles are in an almost ideal position for quick deployment at the beginning of & stowage at the end of the downwind leg while racing. You can leave the topping lift & downhaul attached to the stowed spinnaker pole on the upwind leg without causing a serious problem for tacking the genoa.

I'm intrigued at the idea of stowing the whisker pole clipped under the cockpit seat. I shall have to seriously look at that concept this spring when I get the boat out of storage.

In my experience, there is a very narrow window in terms of apparent wind angle & wind strength where it is desireable to rig the whisker pole in between the forward lower sidestay & the upper sidestay. When it must be done, of course one must be careful not to cause the whisker pole to bear up against either sidestay. The analogous situation is frequently encountered with the spinnaker pole up against the forestay when sailing a reach with a tri-radial spinnaker. Spinnaker poles & whisker poles are not designed to be point loaded from the side & it is possible to fold them in half by slamming them hard into a stay. I will say it takes a pretty hard hit as these poles are not fragile by any means. But, the system is not idiot proof.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
18 Feb 2001

If I had the choice, I would store it under the cockpit seat. Unfortunately, my pole is homemade and does not telescope. The upside of that is that the tubing is considerably heavier than that normally found in telescoping poles. Certainly, the genoa in a stiff breeze could develop enough force to fold it, but that is not really a common concern for me. With due diligence, it is relatively safe between the shrouds.

However, I NEVER rig it that way with the spinnaker! The genoa is quite stable with the pole set, but the spinnaker is not. Accordingly, the spinnaker is always set with the pole forward of the forward lower shroud.

I also considered storing the pole on the foredeck like yours. Because I don't race and am never in a hurry to set or stow the pole, I decided I wanted to be able to keep the deck clear. If I'm in a hurry to douse the thing, the fastest place to put the pole is to stuff it below, anyhow. I haven't noticed any appreciable windage from the pole stored vertically. Keep in mind, however, that I already have the IMF mast. By comparison, a single pole doesn't add much.

Thanks for the info,


Yes, we just have one padeye on the mast. I thought about a track, but figured I'd try it the cheap way, first. Works fine. The topping lift for the pole is mounted just below the steaming light with a cheek block, about halfway up the mast on our 1986. The topping lift is only used with the spinnaker. When setting the pole with the genoa, I turn the pole around so that the end with the topping lift attached is inboard.

I use the second masthead pully for the spinnaker halyard.

You can see the topping lift in the two pictures of our spinnaker at the top of the main page of the picture site.


18 Feb 2001

I've read a few recent discussions in regards to headsails. The 175% genoa is good sometimes, but definitely seems too heavy in light airs. This spring was very windy and gusty around here, so I spent my first 6 weeks sailing with a partially furled headsail of poor shape. I celebrated when able to sail the full 175 at a "comfortable" 6k. There does seem to be a narrow window of conditions where the 175 is "just right". I too am leery of sailing a spinnaker single-handed. Has anyone tried a whisker pole while sailing the full 175 in light airs? If so, what size pole is needed?

Pamela Vana

To those of you that use a whisker pole or a spinnaker pole where do you store it? If on deck, how and where? I currently store it one end attached to the lower mast ring and the other to the stern pulpit but this has got its obvious drawbacks. I've got some thoughts on other methods but would like to hear some other suggestions.


I haven't tried a whisker pole yet on the Rhodes, but used one on my last boat, a Newport 17 with great results. The major catalogs, West Marine, Boat/US, Defender have tables for pole length. It depends on "J" dimension (headstay to mast) and jib size. For a boat the size of the Rhodes, the Heavy Duty Forespar seems the right model, probably the 6-12-ft twist lock. They are expensive, $200+.

Any one have any good ideas on storing it on the Rhodes?

Dave Walker

The two snuffer sock control blocks (SSCB) in the picture are secured to the bow pulpit & side rail using Helm 1" rail clamps. The rest of the control line routing back to the cockpit is handled by the same bullseye fairleads & 1" Helm rail clamps at each stanchion & the same Harken 238 bullseye + Cam-Matic cleat on a common SS plate combo as I used for the roller furling control line. Note that I actually have two complete control line routing systems run along the toe rails back to the cockpit on each side of the boat for a total of four. The top control line on the port side is for adjusting luff tension on the cruising spinnaker. The bottom port side control line is for the roller furling. The top control line on the starboard side is the snuffer sock uphaul control line. The bottom control line on the starboard side is the snuffer sock downhaul - the two SSCB's in the detail bow shot are part of the snuffer sock downhaul rigging.

In the detailed bow shot picture, note the position of the SSCB out on the bow pulpit. This position provides the best possible geometry for starting the snuffer sock back down the spinnaker when the big chute is fully inflated. Getting the snuffer sock started back down the spinnaker is the most critical element of snuffer sock operation.

We thread the control lines thru all the SSCB's & bullseye fairleads whenever we want to fly the spinnaker. This is usually done before we leave the dock. You're right, this would probably be a good application for snatch blocks, but I don't have them. The spinnaker inside the snuffer sock looks like a long sausage. The spinnaker can be rigged to the spinnaker pole & dropped on deck in between downwind runs without interference with the genoa. The spinnaker halyard is used to raise the snuffer sock with the spinnaker still inside of it. Then, the snuffer sock uphaul control line is used to raise the sock & allow the spinnaker to inflate. Takedown involves using the spinnaker sock downhaul control line to pull the sock down over the spinnaker. After that, the sock can be left raised & secured to the mast with a sail tie or the sock can be dropped on deck using the spinnaker halyard.

The spinnaker is stored inside the sock. The spinnaker, snuffer sock, + all the sheets & control lines are neatly coiled up & fit nicely inside the same spinnaker sail bag that the spinnaker originally came in. Note that having the spinnaker inside of the snuffer sock makes packing the big sail away inside the sailbag much easier & almost idiot proof.

I can fly the tri-radial spinnaker single handed. Consider that in the picture of Dynamic Equilibrium on the light air close spinnaker reach, that Daniel & Gary, the two little boys clustered by the cabin, were only 6 & 3 years old respectively at the time.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
12 Jan 2002

Mary Lou and I are adding a whisker pole to Fretless and have several questions for the metallurgists and Rhodes 22 users with the 175% Genny. We have purchased the recommended Forespar HD6'-12' pole. We intend to connect it to the mast using an aluminum 2 foot long, 1" T-track. Here are the questions.

  • 1. How far from the bottom of the mast should the lower end of the track start?
  • 2. What type of screws do we use to attach the aluminum track to the aluminum mast. Stainless? If so what about corrosion?
  • 3. Length and diameter of said screws.
  • 4. Any ideas on protecting the mast head light wire which runs through the front mast channel from shorting out on the screw tips?
Any other helpful suggestions appreciated.

Fred Kaiser
Rhodes 22 Fretless
Swan Creek MD.
Fort Washington PA

I can answer most of your questions, but I can't offer advice on the exact position to mount the track. That will really depend on your sail. The objective is for the pole to fly level. The screws you need are stainless steel flathead 1/4x20 machine screws 1/2" long. The track is about 1/4" thick and the mast extrusion is probably around 1/8" thick, so the screws will only protrude 1/8" or so into the mast. While you're at the hardware store make sure you get the right drill bit and tap for the 1/4x20 screws. The holes will be slightly smaller than 1/4 before you tap them. Use Tef Gel (from www.spursmarine.com) on the threads & underside of the screw heads to prevent galvanic corrosion. Tef Gel is gooey stuff, so you might want to keep a little mineral spirits handy for cleanup. Drill & tap the top hole first, then loosely screw the track to it. The track will hang in position to drill & tap the other holes precisely using the track itself as a template.

I just did this a couple of weeks ago, so it's all fresh in my mind. My boat isn't a Rhodes, but I used 6' of silver Schaefer 1" T track w/ end caps, a Schaefer investment cast slider and a Forespar ADJ 7-17 whisker pole. I put a pair of Forespar stanchion chocks on the 2 forward stanchions to stow the pole while underway. When in the slip the pole goes below where it's safe. The lower end of my track is about 8" above the deck. I have a roller furling 150 & 110, so I wanted as much travel as possible.

bjernigan 18 Mar 2002

1. How far from the bottom of the mast should the lower end of the track start?

That depends upon if you wish to stow your whisker pole down low by the deck when you are not using it. Please take a close look at the following two photos:


Note how the two poles are stowed on the foredeck. If you wish to do likewise, then the bottom of the T-track needs to be 13-1/2" from the base of the mast & the T-track needs to be at least 36" long. You should consider using the 1" racing T-track as opposed to the 1" standard T-track because the adjustment holes are 1-5/16" O.C. in the racing T-track vs. 4" O.C. in the standard T-track. Please check the FAQ web page for more details:

If you do not want to stow your pole on the foredeck, like on Dynamic Equilibrium, then the lower end of your T-track should be at the same height as your top lifeline.

2. What type of screws do we use to attach the aluminum track to the aluminum mast. Stainless? If so what about corrosion?
3. Length and diameter of said screws.
4. Any ideas on protecting the mast head light wire which runs through the front mast channel from shorting out on the screw tips?

Use 1/4-28UNF X 1/2" long, 18/8 stainless steel, flat head machine screws. Drill & tap the mast for every mounting screw, don't skip any. For corrosion protection, chafe protection, & bullet proof security; epoxy coat the back side of the T-track + the machine screws during final assembly. The screw threads won't protrude far enough thru the mast wall to hurt anything + the end of the screw will be insulated with epoxy.

Roger K. Pihlaja
18 Mar 2002

I thought about using rivets too. There were reasons I ended up using screws. I'm not familiar with the kind of rivets Alex mentioned. The rivets would have to be 1/4" to fit the holes in the track, and it would take a bigger rivet tool than I have to pop 1/4" stainless rivets. Also, the screw holes in the track are countersunk to fit 1/4" flathead screws. I don't know how well the rivets would fit the contour of the countersunk holes. Using the finer threaded 1/4" screws Roger suggested would probably be better than the 1/4x20s I used, but I had the tap and screws handy already. Even if you use rivets, I'd put Tef Gel on 'em first. Even drilling, tapping, test fitting & Tef Gelling, the whole job to install my 6' track took less than an hour. My mast extrusion was plenty thick enough for the screws to get a good bite. My mast is a few feet taller than a Rhodes mast, but I'd imagine the extrusions are close to the same thickness. Good luck with your project! You should be smokin' downwind with that 175 poled out. Are you sure the 12' pole will be long enough?

bjernigan 19 Mar 2002

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