There are many reasons why a cruising boat would want to go faster than usual - to beat a storm at sea or to get somewhere before dark.
Storm at sea
How well does your boat do on a beam or a broad reach?
If the answer is 'not very well', then there's a way of using spinnaker to make your boat perform better - using it like a gennaker.
...but that's where the problem can arise, solved by the jockey pole.
Using the spinnaker like a gennaker means leading the spinaker pole all the way forward so that it is almost touching the forestay.
A couple of situations arise when you lead the pole this far forward. One, the guy (spinaker sheet on the windward side) tends to tension up around the stanchions and secondly there is very little ability to pull the pole back when needed because the guy is almost aligned with the spinaker pole. Applying too much force to bring the pole back could easily bend and snap the spinaker pole.
The solution is a jockey pole. The Jockey Pole pushes out the guy keeping it away from the stantions and it also provides a more outward angle to pull on when you want to bring the pole back.
When you need to winch the pole back the jockey pole gives a better angle and it will come back easily. You can see from the schematic that the force to bring the pole back is more outboard than it would have been if the jockey pole was not in place. The more outward force provides more turning moment to the pole allowing it to come back.
Once you are established running again, it's then easy to remove the Jockey Pole.
To increase your sailing skills, NauticEd http://www.nauticed.org/sailingcourses!sailing_courses are jam packed with tips like this. See which sailing course fits your personal sailing objectives by taking the NauticEd recommended courses http://www.nauticed.org/sailingcourses/poll!questionnaire.
It’s fun and takes about 30 seconds.