How to Loft a Genoa Pole

For the humor file, the following…

I’ve begun to shoot passage video. No talkies yet. That takes a fortitude I’ve yet to muster. But action shots. Reefing sail. Cranking in. Not falling overboard. Harpooning the Great White Whale. The like.

To a one, they are awful. 

I attempt to channel Sterling Hayden; I’d even settle for H. W. Tillman. The camera, however, refuses to film anything but a diffident bank teller, heavily bearded, who finds himself mysteriously teleported to the foredeck of a sailboat in mid ocean. His ignorance is complete; his awkwardness, without peer.  

Thus the videos are not to be had. That said, my first attempt has been excerpted here due to its being an excellent tutorial upon the lofting of a genoa pole.

I will say in my defense that by this time I’ve swung the poles a dozen times or more, and not even the first went like this. What’s really on display, my argument will continue, is an introvert’s natural aversion to being filmed, even when the camera is his own and there isn’t another soul within a thousand miles.

But judge for yourself.


LESSON ONE: First loosen the green line. Which green line? The green one. But there are three.


LESSON TWO: It is suggested that while upon the foredeck, one will, at all times, hold on with both hands.


LESSON THREE: Clip the genoa sheet into the pole socket…while holding on with both hands. 




LESSON FIVE: However, while hauling, it is best not to let go of the green line, any of them, as the pole my come crashing from the sky.


LESSON SIX: Having swung the pole, admire your handy work…especially that most clever after guy.

Really, how could it have gone worse?

Regarding that last shot, and for those unfamiliar with this operation, all lines must go outside of everything. In fact, I have a mantra I repeat while attaching the lines, simply “Remember, Outside of Everything.”

So, how then, if concentrating so hard on that one move, could I have managed to get the after guy (line in the bottom right hand corner) INSIDE of the rail?

This mistake requires the whole rig come down and the procedure to be done again.

Good job I’m alone and off where no one can see my mistakes. 

4 Comments on “How to Loft a Genoa Pole

  1. Hope that you’re re-entry into dealing with other people is going well.
    Kauai is such a lovely place to do it, yet yours is a case of ‘same island,
    different planet’, so to speak. With virtually no exception, we reach such a
    place via a magical flying chair in the sky (ok, maybe more a magical flying
    cattle car in the sky), but you’re there the old-fashioned way, and not for
    the first time. I’ll bet that “our” musings about the vastness of the
    Pacific pale before the palpable experience of being on the water (and
    solely responsible for maintaining course!). Which leads to thoughts about
    your most recent post re video filming. Which seems partly a question of
    audience: the veteran single-hander in you sees the ‘diffident bank teller’
    (LOL!), but your landlubbing audience (speaking for myself) sees the
    audacious nature of even your most routine sail adjustments. “We” have to
    wonder how the hell one performs the most mundane of daily activities (e.g.,
    make a cup of coffee, take a crap, etc, amidst the commotion…let alone
    chose the correct green line from the spaghetti bowl with your third
    hand…while a thousand mile in any direction from another human being. That
    said, I could see how the audio portion could feel particularly weird.

    • JW, thanks for the interesting thoughts. One’s sense of vastness changes based on perspective, I’d say. From the air, as you know, the ocean appears this great blue ball, the waves, so small and motionless as to be like the texture of skin. But being on the ocean, being a mite buried in that skin…that’s something different. One’s view is, in effect, foreshortened; it’s a few miles at best to the visible horizon, and the sense of vastness has proximity, a certain close comfort to it. One’s “universe” becomes quite small and private. Thus the title of Knox-Johnson’s (first guy to solo round the world, non-stop) book, A WORLD OF MY OWN.

      Only on the big waves or when climbing the mast does the veil lift.

      Callahan, in ADRIFT, calls it his big blue desert. Also a fitting image.

      Laughing re your reference to “veteran single-hander.” I *think* I should *look* like a veteran, but the camera tells its own story, bastard!

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