Originally Posted by dave.verry
OK all you armchair experts, I have a question on headsail configuration.
Can some of you please let me know if the headsail is suppose to go all the way to the masthead?
I tried using a rope to move the head sail temporarily all the way to the masthead and thought the boat sailed better. It was pointing higher into the wind (hard to tell as the wind was extremely variable). Does this make sense?
I think the question as to whether a foresail should be full hoist (raise all the way to the mast head) depends on what jib it is, and what type of sail. A max luff length sail has some performance advantage, if you look at racing sails sized from 150 % to even 100% you will see them cut with max luff lengths. But I believe the performance plus is not that material that non-racings sails need max luff lengths. In general a 150% genoa is intended to provide performanace and should be full hoist, if it were cut for your boat. But as you go down the jib sizes of non-racing sails, the luff lengths will generally also shorten. For example, on my boat the 150% is full hoist, the 125% is about a foot shorter on the luff, the 85% has a four foot extension on the head, and the storm jib is even shorter.
I believe it is not a plus to full hoist a sail with a shorter luff length, although I cannot speak to the scientific dynamics as to why. I do know that when the sailmaker recut all our sails for the furler system, he added pendants to the heads, not the tacks, and of course in the extreme, storm jibs fly mid-hoist. I think there's probably a sweet spot for the center of effort of the jib that contributes to the boat balance, which your concern may mis-treat.
I'd raise your sails the way they fitted for use, unless you get knowledgeable advice that they arn't cut correctly.