Headsails for the tradewinds - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-29-2009 Thread Starter
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Headsails for the tradewinds

Most production boats today feature large, overlapping headsails that are designed to maximize performance for sailors who sail in about 12 knots and under. Many of these boats, particularly the Beneteaus and Jeanneaus are very active as charter boats in the Caribbean, which tends to be a fairly windy place. Do most of these boats still feature the 130+ genoas that are standard on most of these boats? I know having my 135 genoa in the trades which are typically over 15 kts would be a pain. I've never sailed there (yet!). What would you do?

Catalina 350 "Golden Handcuffs" sailing out of Galveston Bay, TX
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-29-2009
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Go sailing.
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-29-2009
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If you have a roller-furler which can also reef, you should consider a genoa that is designed to be roller reefed. That way you can sail the larger headsail in light winds and then reef it when needed (if you figure you will need the full sail area for most conditions).

Quantum makes very heavy dacron cruising sails; you might consider them for your next headsail.

Otherwise; you would want a 100% jib, a 135 or larger (which you have) and a storm jib (staysail pref'd) for a basic cruising sail setup. I would still have the storm jib with a single reefing headsail just in case you got into some nasty weather. Main sail should have two if not 3 reefs and also be heavily constructed.
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-30-2009
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Yes, the Jenneaus and Beneteaus in the Caribbean do carry the large Genoas.
I was in the BVI's last December on a Jenneau 41 with a 135% or 145% Genoa on a roller furler and it looked pretty typical.
Winds were fairly consistent at 15 kn all day and all night. I think heaven must be like that!
It wasn't a problem. We had one day where the wind was closer to 20 kn when we put in a reef on the main and Genoa (We were still doing 8.2 kn). But mostly good sail trim to keep the boat upright was all that was necessary.
sam :-)
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-30-2009
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Been sailin' the Tradewinds areas for forty years (first time was in 1969). Had my own boat there for 11 years.

A 130-135% genny is just fine. Actually, there were many times when, with lighter winds, I used a 170% lightweight drifter (which, admitedly, I blew out a bunch of times).

The trick? Reef the MAIN, not the genny. In fact, drop the damned thing if you're going to weather. Most modern boats sail to weather VERY well with just a genny...no main.

My favorite upwind rig is a genoa and an awning (now, a bimini, since most boats have them). Have sailed past much bigger boats under full sail with that rig.

And, obviously, a genny-only rig works equally well on reaches and runs in heavier air.

It's what the islanders call, "Limin, mon" :-)

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