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skrap1r0n 03-30-2007 04:44 PM

Question about Genoa Car adjustment
Just bought a catalina 25. It came with a 130%(?) and a 150%(?) Genoa I think (they both come back past the mast, one more than the other). I have only sailed with the smaller one, I haven't raised the larger one yet. I know this because I checked both the sails out prior to purchase and one was big, and one was bigger.

My question is, how does one go about adjusting the Genoa cars, or rather what does one look for when it is time to move them and how does one know they are in their proper slots?

Cruisingdad 03-30-2007 05:11 PM

I cannot remember the track on the 25, but in general, you should pull the track aft as you increase the jib (to genoa) size.

Here would be the basic steps:

1) With the car approx where you think it should be, run the genoa out. I always sight the sails and make sure I have a full shape. If it is too far aft, the foot wil be tight and the head loose, the opposite true if too far in. You want a full sail, if that makes sense? (easier to show than explain).

2) Tack to the opposote track. That will take the pressure off the jib sheet so you can adjust the car on the winward track. Move it forward or aft until you get the desired shape.

3) Tack again and check your shape. Repeat until you have the car set correctly.

4) Count the holes/length back and set the opposite track the same.

5) Put a marker or piece of tape at that location so you know which holes/distance corresponds to that sail. Thus, you do not have to repeat the process twice. This is all part of learning your boat and should be done in a controlled environment. When correctly set, you will see all of your tell-tails flying the same.

That is how I do it. Others may have a different solution.

- CD

Guesser 03-30-2007 05:31 PM

Cruisingdad's advice was great, but I recommend reading Sail Power by Wallace Ross. It's a tough read, long and dry, but it comprehensively explains everything you need to know about harnessing the wind.

Cruisingdad 03-30-2007 05:34 PM

I forgot to mention something, when you set the opposite track, it may not fly exactly the same as the other track??!@!?? I don't know why. Maybe it is an inch off or something?! Just check it and you will know if you have an offset.

- CD

skrap1r0n 03-30-2007 06:16 PM

ok thanks. Hopefully I will get a chance to sail this weekend and might get it adjusted, for the 130 anyway.

Giulietta 03-30-2007 06:19 PM

Are those tracks with a fixed block that you move one by one, or "moving" traveller?

camaraderie 03-30-2007 08:10 PM

I believe that the standard adjustment is to adjust the car until the sheet line extended through the clew makes an imaginary 90 degree angle with the luff of the sail when sheeted in. It may be different with really large Genny's. Giu...any input?

Giulietta 03-30-2007 08:45 PM

CAm I don't know how his track is, but here a few basic things. The traveler "neutral" position is an imaginary line from the middle of the luff thru the clew into the traveler. Normally...


The genoa traveller normally dictates how much twist and Bag will the genoa or head sail have. Full forward will give you more bag, make the sail “more rounded”, and will normally give you more power, as the sail “camber” increases, causing more lift. Moving the traveller back will flatten the sail, making it more aerodynamic for stronger winds and or narrower pointing angles.
Think of it as a plane wing when its landing, they lower the flaps in the rear and the slats in the fron to make the wing have more lift, but speed is lower, if the plane was to fly faster that configuration would create too much drag.
To fly fast, the wing is really flat.

Traveler forward sail has more bag or curvature, traveller aft sail will be flatter.

How to set it, really comes with experience, as the wind picks up, or you point higher, a head sail with too much camber or bag (traveller forward), will stall sooner and start flapping, so as the wind picks up or you close the angle to the relative wind, you will need to flatten the sail (move traveller aft).

Start with the traveller in a central or mid position, in a position that is neutral. Then move the traveler forward, if you look at the sail, its bag moved towards the outside, this gives it more power, but less ability to point.

Then move it back and the sail becomes flatter, you will point higher, but have less power.

If the winds are weak, set them forward, slowly and see how the boat behaves, keep noting what happens when you move them, its intuitive.

If the winds are stronger, move the traveler back.

In light winds or when off the wind its normal to have the traveller forward, to increase twist on the sail, and as the wind picks up you will need to move the traveller backwards.

My traveller is controlled from the cockpit, we use genoa travel control when tacking (in some conditions), to help power the sails and accelerate the boat after it losses speed from tacking.

What we do is just before tacking we see where the traveler of the windward side is, move it forward if possible, then tack, the boat looses speed, but in this condition, with the traveler forward, the sail has more power, it helps accelerate, imagine 1st gear on a car, then as the boat accelerates, we start bringing the traveler back, and the genoa sheet also, and now that the inertia is gone, we shift 2nd gear....

So..start neutral, move forward for light winds and off the wind, and move backwards for strong winds and pointing higher.

If you have tell tales, start close hauled, and with traveler neutral look at tell tales the ones where the wind is blowing from must be horizontal. Look at the bottom tell tale, if it is shaking and not horizontal, move the traveler aft, if the top one is shaking, move the traveler forward. Simple. Tell tales are best to get the car in right position.

Then there is halyard tension, backstay tension, shroud tension... bla bla bla .....comeback after yoiu found where to put the traveler we will explain the rest....

Here's a pic of my traveler with remote adjustment. Good very very good...

The next photo shows that under normal use, as you pull the sheets, the traveller wants to move back, we allow that to hapen by releasing the traveler control (that only pulls the traveler forward). Its the white rope that is loose

I really have to go, I am sure someone else here might help with better terminology.


sailingfool 03-30-2007 10:24 PM

Setting the lead
54 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by skrap1r0n
....My question is, how does one go about adjusting the Genoa cars, or rather what does one look for when it is time to move them and how does one know they are in their proper slots?

You need a set of telltales on the jib luff. To set the genoa car, when sailing closehauled, slow luff up, if the upper telltale stalls first (lifts up/drops/whatever) move the car forward a bit. If the lower telltale stalls first, move the car back.

The car is in the right position when all luff telltales break at the same time.

See for more info.

sailingdog 03-30-2007 10:38 PM


Do you have the white line marked for the different positions for the genoa at various reef points or for various sized headsails.

A friend of mine put different colored whippings at the various points for "neutral" settings for the different head sails she uses. :D Makes adjusting the genny cars a lot easier for newbies on her boat... since she can get them into the ball park by saying pull the blue genoa car control line to the "red" whipping for the 110% jib and the "black" whipping for the 150% genoa and so on.. and then tweak it by looking at the telltales or for the wind conditions.

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