Commercial Whisker Poles from the likes of Forespar routinely sell in the neighborhood of $100.00
for a P-15 worthy, entry-level model. Too costly,
in my view, for the for the fist full of lightweight hardware that it take
to make one up.
Rise to the challenge and build a Whisker Pole that does the
job, and plays to
the my frugal (aka "cheap") side along the way.
Project time: One hour.
1 Extension Handle ($.13.00)
I found mine at the Ace Hardware store around the corner. I purchased a 4' to 8' "Turn 'n' Lock" model, with
a 1" outer diameter.
Remove the "hanger" end in the outer portion of the extension handle. On my
handle the ends were crimped on with two dimple-crimps. After drilling out
the dimples, with some effort, I was able to remove the end.
My first practical test indicated that the four-foot length
was a bit too long, and needed to be cut down a couple of inches. I shortened mine by 5"
for good measure, making my cut on the threaded end so as to not mess with
the locking mechanism on the other end. I was able to remove the threaded
end as outlined above, then resecured it with three sheet-metal screws.
These screws also act as a retainer to prevent loss of the inner portion of
the handle into the outer sleeve. While I had the handle disassembled, I
recycled a few foam cups by stuffing the inner portion with bits and pieces
to serve as floatation material.
The pole would likely float without the foam, but appears to not be
water-tight. The foam is intended to act as insurance just in case.
FYI: Some additional after-project hardware browsing found 3'-6'
extension handles at the Concord OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware) store.
1 paint roller ($2.00 cheap)
Cut the paint roller just below the first bend and grind off any remaining
Also grind off the spurs that are generally found at the head of the handle;
shape this part of the handle so that rounded, leaving no square or sharp
edges to snag on the crinkle of the sail.
Snap Hook, 3" brass ($5.00 ea)
Remove the "loop" end of the hook by cutting through the collar, then prying
1 Rubber Stopper ($.85)
The rubber stopper must be large enough to insure a snug fit into the outer
portion of your chosen extension handle.
The clerk at my local Ace Hardware suggested freezing the stopper for
drilling. I chose to start with a 16" drill bit, and then increasing the
hole to the desired diameter by using progressively larger drill bits. The
Hook must fit snuggly into the stopper, so be cautious to not make the hole
too large. A little WD-40 sprayed on the Snap Hook will make it easier
to insert into the stopper. Likewise, a small amount of WD-40 on the outside
of the stopper will make it a bit easier to force into extension handle.
1 1" Hose Clamp ($.50)
The hose clamp is used to further secure the stopper to the extension handle
as illustrated in the picture above.
1 1" X 4-1/4" Rope Binding Hook
This is what I chose (like the one pictured to the right) in place of the
Mast Pad-Eye (left) that is used in a conventional set up. Compare the
binding hook at $1.49 to $24.00 for a 1" pad-eye. I further reinforced the
binding hook with a hose clamp around the mast, at the top of the hook.
Total Cost: Under $25.00