Pole Height and Angle


dw_poleangleWhen you pull the pole end down, the two leeches get closer together, and the sail gets deeper. This may not be the conventional wisdom, but it is true…! So the pole height changes the draft.

But it also acts like a mainsail cunningham – lower the pole (pull on the cunningham) and the draft come forward – raise the pole (ease the cunningham) and the draft moves aft in the sail.

If your boat has a inboard pole end track, then level up the pole by moving the heel up or down to match the outboard end – never the other way round! This keeps the pole at its maximum projected length which helps the maximise the area of the spinnaker, and keeps the spinnaker ahead of the boat which reduces weather helm.


The rule of having the pole set at 90 degrees to the wind is correct when running at greater than about 120 degrees to the wind. At angles less than 120 degrees the pole needs to be overtimed progressively, so that when reaching at 90 degrees to the wind the pole should be about 15 degrees less (75 degrees)