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:
Updated on
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

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more

North_new

Gear: North Sails Waterproof Pack

A few years ago, North Sails made a big push into the apparel business with all kinds of sharp-looking button-down shirts, shorts and fleeces. That doesn’t mean, though, that the North Sails Collection isn’t still plenty practical, as is evident in its new roll-over waterproof ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Sort the charts  Lying here on the cockpit seat is my iPad, loaded with Navionics charts. It’s a classic example of the benefits of GPS-assisted paper chart navigation and the wonderful electronics ...read more