Pole Out a Genoa Safely

Running downwind in heavy airs is faster, safer and more comfortable with a poled out genoa.

However getting it set can be dangerous for the foredeck crew as in heavy winds  the pole and genoa flog around before they are set properly.

We have developed a technique which reduces the risk to a minimum as follows.

  1. Pull in the genoa hard in the lee of the main and cleat sheet so that it cannot move .
  2. Set up pole with a windward guy ( we use the spi guy) led through the pole end and back to the genoa clew. Make sure windward genoa sheet is over the pole end.
  3. Move foredeck crew back to cockpit.
  4. Pull genoa to windward using windward guy, adjust pole uphaul and downhaul til you get the required genoa trim.

Dropping the pole is done in the reverse order .

1.Open jaws and take up on windward sheet

2.Drop pole , and pull genoa into lee of main.

Only then should crew venture forward of the mast. Note that if lazy sheet is not over the pole – you cannot drop the pole safely.


The essence of the technique is that no crew should be forward of the mast unless the genoa is firmly sheeted in the lee of the main.

With a furling genoa life is much easier /safer. Set it all up with the genoa furled , retreat to the cockpit and unfurl! Similarly, only drop the pole when you have refurled the sail.