Tacking a large headsail can be troublesome. The sail sliding past all the shrouds, and then rubbing on the front of the mast as it makes its way across the deck. It's just asking for something to get snagged and catch the sheets on something during the tack. For a novice sailor with a large sailboat, this could be quite challenging. I think this might be why the sailboat manufactures are switching over to self tacking non overlapping jibs.
A non overlapping jib is able to flop from one tack to the next without any interference. As long as the lazy sheet doesn't get snagged on deck hardware, the tacks are fast, easy, and stress free. The logical progression from such a simple to tack headsail is to make it able to tack by itself.
The self tacker makes the headsail as easy to tack as the mainsail, allowing the captain to focus on steering his sailboat to windward rather than worrying about setting and trimming his sails after each tack. This can change tacking up a river from being a chore to an extension of the journey.
This amount of ease will make infrequent boaters more likely to fly their sails, as they won't see it as such a chore and instead find it rather enjoyable. Self tacking headsails on a roller furler would be the ideal for someone interested in the minimal amount of set up and clean up involved with going sailing. It would simply involve them unfurling their sail and setting the sheet. To put the sail away, its just a matter of furling it back up! Nothing to flake, never needing to go forward, all the ease of modern sailing.
The smaller sail area would also be less difficult to manage on the larger boats which would otherwise have monumental sails. This may also seem less intimidating to the captain, knowing that even full sail is still easy to manage by hand and winch use is a matter of convenience rather than mandatory.
I think the switch from genoas to self tacking jibs is a wonderful transition for sailboat manufacturers to make to appeal to a wider consumer base. It might make someone who was reluctant about a sailboat more interested in them, bringing them the joys of sailing that we have been enjoying for years! What are your thoughts on headsails? Do you prefer to fly a genoa or a jib? Let me know in the comments down below.