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Old 01-12-2012
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What Head Sail to Buy (Genoa, drifter, or Asym)

Hi,

Newb here. Hope this is the correct place to ask. If not mods please move to the correct forum.

Not new to sailing, but not a pro by any stretch. I've had a Laser and a Hobie cat as previous boats. Wanted something more to "chill" on and cruise around rather than getting wet. I ended up buying a Venture 17 (flame suit on). I sail in mountain lakes in Utah and the Great Salt Lake. I've had it for a couple years now and want a little more performance.

I converted the mast to a rotating wing mast from a Hobie 14. Was very close in length to the original. I've then added a full roach main sail from a Isotope 16 cat (think hobie cat sail). The performance improved dramatically from the original sail that was really blown out.

I'd like to replace the jib next. It's more than likely the original jib that came with the boat. It's blown out and adds very little. I often run under main sail only. It's about a 2/3 sloop, so the head sail isn't going to be very big no matter what it is.

I'd love some advice on what sail I should buy. Price is the same between them and I could probably buy two, although I'd like to get a single head sail on a roller furler for simplicity. I'm looking at a 150 Genoa, a 165ish drifter, or possibly an asym.

My sailing is generally in 4-8mph wind (light) and it's unlikely to be more than 20 before I head back to the marina. I'd really like to improve close hauled performance in all wind conditions.

What would you suggest for the best headsail to leave on a furler for 95% of the time, or possibly if I could buy two head sails and two furlers to swap out depending on conditions I might do that as well. (Keep in mind sails are only a couple hundred $, so it's no big deal to buy two if that's what I really need).

Thanks,

Jetboy

Last edited by jetboy; 01-12-2012 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 01-12-2012
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Looking at this drawing:



The J measurement is quite long for the boat, so the 150-ish genoa might actually be difficult to properly sheet, indeed you may not have the hardware/tracks in the right place either.

If you're willing to buy 2 sails I'd go for the 120-ish jib shown above, and an asymm for the running/reaching. Obviously you're not shy about experimenting so adding a retractable sprit for the asymm and having the sail built to suit could add a lot of sail area under certain circumstances.. A new jib on a furler will give you much better results beating (even though it's 'small' compared to the main - it will help a lot) and you may be surprised at the improvement even if the new sail is not any larger.

Keeping things simple goes a long way to enjoyable sailing.. any boat that can be set up with a main, a single jib and a good off wind spinnaker of some sort is going to be a nice setup...
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Old 01-12-2012
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I'd avoid a large headsail, like a 150 or more. 120 would be plenty. IMHO all that overlap would just make tacking a pain in the rear. Your main's plenty big.

Roller furling? Nah. Sure, you see it on smaller boats, but I don't get it. That just isn't very much sail to deal with. If you get tired of hanking on the sail, you could always have the sail hanked on and stowed in a bag up on the deck. Me...I'd just hank it on each time. Small sail. If you're thinking about a furler so you can reef the headsail....nah. Reefing with a furler just isn't all that efficient. Given the size of the sails, if I really wanted flexibility I'd have a 120 and a 150, but I don't really see the need. If you need to reduce sail, just put a reef in your main or take the 120 headsail down. Keep it simple.

Save money by getting a 120 with no furling, and put the loot you saved toward an asymetrical, if it can be properly rigged. I can't say that the asym would be totally necessary, but they're fun to use, PRETTY, and great for downwind on slow days.
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Thanks for the advice. Another question. What makes the J measurement on this large? I know what the J measurement is, but I'm not sure why it's large in this case. Is that meaning it's large relative to the I or LL measurement? And what makes it hard to sheet correctly?

I assume if I add a genoa I'd probably need some type of

So would a new 110ish jib like the original (I'm pretty sure mine is original and it barely overlaps the mast, not as far as that picture shows) in about a 4oz and something like a 150 genoa or drifter in a light weight .75 or 1.5oz for light wind days? I know that probably sounds light, but the jib is only about 50sq ft. The 150 genoa and drifter are very similar as far as I can tell and are about 80 sq. ft.

Is there any reason I would want a genoa vs a drifter? Here are the dimensions of the two available.

Drifter
Luff 15.96*ft (4864mm)
Foot 12.52*ft (3816mm)
Leech 13.82*ft (4212mm)
Perc LP 150.0*
Length Perp 10.44*ft (3182mm)
Deck Angle 9.01*
Area 83.33*ft2

Genoa
Luff 15.58ft (4748mm)
Foot 11.33ft (3453mm)
Leech 14.75ft (4495mm)
Perc LP 146.55*
Length Perp 10.2*ft (3108mm)
Deck Angle 1.30*
Area 79.48*ft2 (7384mm2)

Asymmetrical:
Luff 15.96*ft (4864mm)
Foot 11.48*ft (3499mm)
Leech 14.68*ft (4474mm)
Perc LP 165*
Area 137*ft2 (12728mm2)

If I understand the numbers correctly, the three are all similar with each getting progressively deeper cut. Does that sound right?

Last edited by jetboy; 01-12-2012 at 10:58 PM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetboy View Post
Thanks for the advice. Another question. What makes the J measurement on this large? I know what the J measurement is, but I'm not sure why it's large in this case. Is that meaning it's large relative to the I or LL measurement? And what makes it hard to sheet correctly?
Just a casual observation looking at the drawing.. with such a short I measurement, and the mast fairly far aft (relatively speaking for a frac) then a 150 or larger genoa becomes a fairly low aspect sail. The clew may end up so far aft that the required sheeting point is behind any hardware/tracks you may have for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jetboy View Post
So would a new 110ish jib like the original (I'm pretty sure mine is original and it barely overlaps the mast, not as far as that picture shows) in about a 4oz and something like a 150 genoa or drifter in a light weight .75 or 1.5oz for light wind days? I know that probably sounds light, but the jib is only about 50sq ft. The 150 genoa and drifter are very similar as far as I can tell and are about 80 sq. ft.

Is there any reason I would want a genoa vs a drifter?
Since you're in a predominantly light air area you'll be able to carry a versatile-cut Asymm a bit higher, so I'd say a good jib (maybe with some roach for extra area) coupled with a decent reaching asymm would be your most versatile/minimal inventory. JMO, of course.. If money's no object get 'em all!!
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Last edited by Faster; 01-12-2012 at 11:41 PM. Reason: got something wrong....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Just a casual observation looking at the drawing.. with such a short I measurement, and the mast fairly far aft (relatively speaking for a frac) then a 150 or larger genoa becomes a fairly low aspect sail. The clew may end up so far aft that the required sheeting point is behind any hardware/tracks you may have for it.
I'm with you. There currently is no track set up. Just a cleat on each side for the jib. It's a really basic setup. I'm not opposed to adding a track, but I'm not sure how much $ to put into an $800 boat.
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Old 01-13-2012
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I would find a track or equal, then choose a head sail.

Also, a drifter is usually only good to about 4-6 knot winds true, 8 at best apparent, the the cloth is too light to work. So reality is, if you DO sail in a lot of under 5-6 knot days, a nylon drifter, and an equal size or slightly larger in my boats case, ie drifter is a 135 then I go to a 155 heavier sail to get me from 5-15 knots of wind, sometimes 20 in summer and a crew on board, then I drop to a 110 to go upwards of 30 or so with reef in the main.

A couple of 130% of the foretriangle, one light cloth, one heavier, may suit your best frankly. A couple of 2-4' jib tracks, cheap for smaller boats like yours, and you are on your way. Another option, a 140-145 light, 120-135 med to heavy cloth.

If there is a sail maker in salt lake city, might be worth having him out, or drive the boat to him. If not, start emailing sales reps to see what they might say, or just get the two you are looking at, figure out where the tracks need to go, install. I would be surprised if one could not find an OManual or equal on line to help with what you need and want.

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Furlers are personal preference, so don't let anyone talk you out of it, if you prefer the convenience. I do agree, however, that you shouldn't buy more sail for it and expect to reef it down for versatility. Furling for your boat in the conditions you describe will be all in or all out. It's just the convenience of not leaving the cockpit.
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Old 01-13-2012
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With such a small fractional rig, I'd look into a masthead kite. In stuff 5-10, it will really liven up the boat. I'd check with a rigger/sail maker/designer and see if the current rig can handle the extra power up top.
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Old 01-13-2012
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If you are looking for best performance (which is what it sounds like) then I would definitely pass on the furler. Yes, they are very convenient. But only the more expensive ones will be as efficient to windward as a plain, old hanked-on sail. For the size that you're talking about here, hanking on and managing an "ordinary" sail will not be so difficult that the benefits of a furler would be worth it.

But that's just my opinion. You have to decide for yourself.
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