Ian Shepherd <g4ljf@...>
I always keep the poles rigged when under way. You are right, they do offer a lot of security when folded. When single handed, you just cannot go overboard, and they bridge the gap between the fore guy and the dodger hand hold very well.
I too had a pole fold in mid Atlantic on the previous boat. It did not damage the rub rail, but it did break the rivets. Luckily I did have spare large rivets and a gun that would form them, and I was able to make repairs very quickly. Had I not, it would have made a grim crossing.
Another point to consider is the sideways load on the mast when a single pole is deployed. In can be considerable, particularly in gusts or when the pole strikes the water. It might be prudent to rig both poles to offset the sideways load for peace of mind. Unfortunately, the genoa sheets as supplied by Amel are too short to do this unless you furl the headsail a bit. I replaced my sheets with a longer set (158-160 feet long if I remember correctly. 10 ft more per side). This will enable both poles to be deployed at the same time. It also makes gybing down a zig zag course very straight forward!
The idea of using the forward cleat to reduce fore guy stretch is interesting. I must try that. Thanks for the tip.