Home-Made Whisker Pole

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 rough edges
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.

1 Snap Hook,  3" brass ($5.00 ea)
Remove the "loop" end of the hook by cutting through the collar, then prying it open.

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 Snap 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 ($1.49)
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



Lazy Ka's Mod's:

Mods list updated: 03/27/2007


Page updated:  Tuesday March 27, 2007