Forespar Heavy-Duty Telescoping Twist-Lock Poles

Priced: $344.99 Rated:   - 2 stars out of 5 by 5 reviews.
WestMarine.com $344.99
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Forespar Heavy-Duty Telescoping Twist-Lock Poles -

These telescoping whisker poles are heavy-duty two-section and three-section aluminum spars which can be extended to lengths up to 17' and securely locked in position by an internal twist lock device. Poles feature self-latching Ultra Series™ fittings on the inboard and outboard ends.

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Forespar Heavy-Duty Telescoping Twist-Lock Poles Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

HD Whisker Pole worked perfectly!

I had read that this might not be as HD as described but I used it for the first time this season and found it was well made. Worked Well!
WOODY at WestMarine.com on 09/09/2011

Negative Reviews:

Forespar collapsible pole

The twist mechanism is simple but it is not very reliable. Often the pole will collapse during use. I complained to Forespar who eventually sent me a new pole. Sadly that was barely better than the original one. The system works by having a rubber wheel with a slightly offset axel so that when you twist the pole, it acts like a cam and locks the pole. Eventually I was forced to drill a hole in the extended pole and fit a self tapping screw to stop the pole collapsing.
I had to mark the poles at their maximum extension so I would not pull the poles too far apart. Unbelievably, the only thing stopping the poles coming apart is a piece of dyno tape stuck onto the inside of the pole. Not surprisingly, these don't stay in place long.
The pole is not very strong and it can bend alarmingly. I haven't snapped it in half yet but if I was not careful I could. It's a shame because I would like to leave it up poling out the jib but instead I have to drop the jib and use the staysail instead or risk breaking the pole even though it's not very windy. My jib is only 150 sq feet and my boat just 24 feet long but even still, this pole is not up to it.
Even collapsing the pole is difficult. The inner pole collapses easily as there is a small hole to let air escape (if not it would be like a giant bicycle pump with your finger over one end!) but the smallest dia. pole is hard to collapse as there is no way for the air to escape except around the rubber wheel inside the pole which is too snug a fit.
Another annoying fault is that the jaw on the widest end of the pole cannot be opened if the inner pole is fully inserted. This never used to happen on the old pole so I assume it has something to do the new plastic jaws but in any case I find this a poor oversight.
I removed one end while investigating why the jaw wouldn't open and discovered that the fitting was much too small in the tube and was made wider with masking tape! This is very poor, because in time the fitting will move, the three screw slots will enlarge and eventually there will be play in the jaws. It's just poor engineering and there's no excuse for it.

I wrote to Forespar who assured me that this was a perfectly fine way to build a spar, common engineering practice, I was told. Honestly, who do they think they are fooling? Sound engineering practice would have been to make the end fit the pole snugly like it does at the other end of the pole. Failing that, then a wrap of some kind of hard plastic that covered all of the jaw end that fits inside the pole would have been ok. But no, Forespar use a cheap and ordinary white masking tape which can compress and they only wrapped a part of the end fitting.
Since they managed to make one end fit well, I can only assume that this is either a design fault or bad manufacturing. If the pole worked well without collapsing I would forgive all these faults but it just doesn't work well enough to be trusted and it's not man enough even for my small jib.
Conclusion: Nice idea, small when collapsed but annoying to use, hard to collapse when stowing but easy to collapse when using it to pole out a sail. Not strong enough for a 24 foot boat despite the claims and poorly engineered with masking tape. Thin piece of dyno tape is all that stops the poles coming apart. All in all a big disappointment.
Laurence Leicahoff at WestMarine.com on 03/03/2011

Waste of Money - buy a line control pole

I had the older model on my previous boat - never worked properly. My new boat came with the new model shown here - same problems.
1. Collapses during use.
2. If you tighten it enough so it does not collapse during use it jams when you try to untwist the poles.
3. When you twist the poles to tighten, the ends rotate so that they are facing the wrong direction.
Mike at WestMarine.com on 06/06/2011

Better than nothing.

Two significant problems: 1. when the pole is fully collapsed the jaws at one end will not open. 2. The cam assemblies designed to keep the pole extended are too weak and the pole tends to collapse under even slight loads (I have a 24' sailboat with a 155 genoa and usually sail in light to moderate conditions).
Cap'n Ron at WestMarine.com on 07/07/2011

Jaws Very Hard To Open

Crew cannot open jaws with one hand and callopses. West replaced with another pole--same problems. Discussed with Forespar at Annapolis Boat Show, 2012 (Bill Mosher) to no avail. Best use is to string Christmas lights on trees in front yard of home. No, cannot recommend.
Jake at WestMarine.com on 12/12/2012