Overlapping Headsails Part 2

The genoa is a wonderful sail for close reaching. Its low clew allows it to be sheeted in tightly and power the sailboat along to windward. The problem is as soon as you begin to ease the sail, the clew begins to raise, the leech opens up, and the sail twists. This results in spilling a lot of wind and reduces its efficiency off the wind.

With taller rigs, the genoas are taller as well. To keep the aspect ratio similar, the genoa ends up as a massive headsail. My old genoa was 700 square feet, while my old main was only 400 square feet. I need a pulley system to manage the boom, but the genoa can't have a pulley system to help sheet it. All of the force is transmitted via one sheet to one winch. When the wind builds, is this too much sail to handle? It was for me!

When I had new sails made, I switched from a 150% genoa to a 95% jib. Now when the wind builds, I can still manage the sail using the winch comfortably without having to put all of my strength into the winch handle. The jib performs very well to windward due to its long luff and minimal drag; and because it is a smaller sail than a genoa, we are able to fly it in wind speeds much higher than I would feel comfortable flying the genoa in.

For your first time boat owner, is it a wise choice to place such a large sail on its furler? It's just asking for them to let the whole thing out in a blow and find themselves heeled over in a panic. That experience might make them swear to never put up their sails, converting their sailboat into a complicated and under powered power boat.

More to come in Part 3

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