Both my whisker pole and my spinnaker pole did nothing but sit on the deck of the Seahorse for more than two years before I needed them. Who knows how many years they were sitting on the deck before that.
It wasn't until this spring when we running downwind on the way back from Redfish Island that one of my friends grabbed the whisker pole and attempted to use it. That's when we discovered that the jaws were locked shut, and the little black buttons that pop out to set the length were permanently popped in.
In other words, the whisker pole was a long, useless aluminum tube cluttering up my deck.
My friend lashed the whisker pole to the lifelines and used the spinnaker pole instead -- but not until using quite a bit of WD-40 and a hammer on the jaws to get them open.
It's been months since that trip, and the whisker pole stayed lashed to the lifelines until last weekend when I decided I better do something with it.
It didn't take much to get the jaws working again, but daily soaking with copious amounts of PB Blaster did not phase the black buttons. I poked them. I pried them. I hammered them. I jiggled them. I poked them again. They didn't budge.
I finally drilled out the rivets holding the two pieces of the pole together and slid them apart. Below you can see the black buttons, one taller than the other, but neither tall enough to even make contact with the outer pole, much less stick through their intended holes.
More PB Blaster and a large flathead finally worked them loose, but it took many repetitions of pressing them in and then prying them back out before they were moving freely.
However, they're now popping in and out as intended. I just have to rivet the cap back on, and the whisker pole is ready for service.