Downwind Dance

Racers know that moving the genoa fairlead outboard on a reach improves boatspeed, but many cruisers overlook this and wind up sailing longer passages as a result. Whenever the wind is abeam or farther aft, it is best to open up the slot between the genoa and mainsail. When a boat bears away from a close-hauled course and its mainsail is eased, the mainsail boom moves away from the
Author:
Publish date:
downwinddance

Racers know that moving the genoa fairlead outboard on a reach improves boatspeed, but many cruisers overlook this and wind up sailing longer passages as a result. Whenever the wind is abeam or farther aft, it is best to open up the slot between the genoa and mainsail.

When a boat bears away from a close-hauled course and its mainsail is eased, the mainsail boom moves away from the centerline. If the genoa fairlead stays inboard, the slot between the main and the jib will become restricted, disrupting the airflow over the two sails and diminishing the sails’ lift and drive. Boatspeed will drop.

Ironically, when the genoa fairlead is moved forward as the wind moves aft—which helps keep the top of the sail pulling correctly—slot constriction is made worse, because most genoa tracks curve inboard to match the deck configuration. The solution is to use a barber hauler. Usually this involves placing a snatch block on the toerail outboard of the genoa fairlead’s position on the track. To set up the barber hauler, first trim the genoa sheet properly, then run a second sheet from the genoa clew outside the lifelines, if possible, and back through the snatch block to a winch. Trim this line until it takes a load, then ease the genoa sheet. When the barber hauler takes the load of the sail, the clew will move outboard of the genoa track, opening up the slot.

If the wind comes forward of abeam, the genoa sheet’s lead will now be too far outboard. Ease the barber-hauler line and take up on the genoa sheet. This will pull the clew in to somewhere between the inboard and outboard positions, wherever the sail works best.

If the boat has a reaching strut, you can set it up on the leeward side of the mast and sheet the genoa through the jaw at the outboard end of the pole. This will get the jib clew farther outboard than the barber hauler will, opening up the slot even more. Another alternative is to sheet the genoa to the end of the main boom. However you do it, getting the headsail’s sheet lead outboard will improve your offwind performance. Ed Mapes

Related

mcarthy-and-mouse

Experience: McCarthy and the Mouse

Sitting at the helm in a light breeze, my arms crusted with a fine rime of salt, my skin so dry I’d lost my fingerprints, I heard a clatter and a curse from below. There were only three of us a thousand miles from shore and only one on watch at a time. Usually, the off watch lay ...read more

2018-giftGuide

2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Brass Yacht Lamp Does someone on your gift list spend the whole winter missing the warm days on the water? Let them bring a little bit of nautical atmosphere home with this new lamp from Weems & Plath. The glass enclosure means the flame cannot be blown out even by ...read more

image001

Opinion: On Not Giving Up Sailing

E.B. White was 64 when he wrote his now-famous essay “The Sea and the Wind That Blows,” which begins as a romantic paean to sailing and then drifts, as if spun around by a pessimistic eddy of thought, into a reflection on selling his boat. Does an aging sailor quit while he’s ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A Helping Hand  This is a real-world solution, and I expect correction by my betters. However, anyone whose seacocks are modern ball valves rather than the grand old tapered cone variety may care to ...read more

1812-JeanneaueNewsVideo

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410

Designed by Marc Lombard, the Sun Odyssey 410 shares much in common with her older siblings including of course, the walk-around deck. Other features that set the 410 apart from other models being introduced this year include the 410’s “negative bow” shape allowing for a longer ...read more

shutterstock_698968441

Cruising: The Bahamas

“The ‘Explorer’ chartbooks. All three.” “An unlocked phone. But good luck with BTC.” “Spam. It’s ‘spensive there!” These were just a few suggestions we received from fellow sailors who had cruised the Bahamas when we asked how to best prepare for the trip. In fact, several ...read more

windsensor

Gear: B&G Wind Sensors

Sense the Wind B&G has launched a new line of wind sensors, including the WS320, a wireless system that is suitable for masts up to 80ft. Wireless wind sensor technology has been hit-and-miss, with some users reporting intermittent signal failure on tall rigs, but B&G, citing ...read more