Genoa Size Matters

SloopJonB

Super Anarchist
68,721
12,369
Great Wet North
With some practice and coordination between helm and trimmers, and maybe a wild man at the mast to help it around, you should be able to get the clew inside the lifelines every time. Then just have the wild man reach out and “skirt” the middle of the foot to get it inside lifeline as trimmer finishes grinding in.

Back in the day, when we sailed Olympic triangles or random leg courses around government mark instead of multiple 1nm W/L, we didn’t have to tack quite as often…so it was a little less onerous…
This - a deck sweeper 150 requires a crew member to get the clew around the mast to be able to tack with any alacrity.
 

jonathanvolkner

New member
11
1
i have a new to me 1972 Morgan 30/2. This was built as a racing boat in it's day. I plan to use it for casual PHRF racing and light cruising. The Genoa is roller furling and quite large for a 30' boat at 40' luff. 40' leach and 20'6" foot. It is too big to clear the lifelines and very slow to tack as crew has to lift the foot over the lifelines and it is a LOT to sheet in. It usually overloads the boat in all but the lightest winds. It CAN be reefed by furling but it looks like shit partly rolled. I'd like to cut the sail down to a more user friendly size as I have 3 identically sized genoas ( one is laminate and the other 2 are dacron) I'm thinking of backing off to about a 135-140%, the sail is currently about 160%. reducing the foot length and leach length would improve tacking, I think. Thoughts?
Paul
We did face a similar problem with a 33' boat. When we installed a Harken Furler (one of the old and good ones), we found that the 150% genoa did not work properly when reefed. We changed to a 135% furling genoa. That works perfectly within a range of 100% to 70% LP. That is roughly half area and works for most wind conditions, Just very light wind is a problem.
 

pqbon

Member
289
65
Cambridge UK
We did face a similar problem with a 33' boat. When we installed a Harken Furler (one of the old and good ones), we found that the 150% genoa did not work properly when reefed. We changed to a 135% furling genoa. That works perfectly within a range of 100% to 70% LP. That is roughly half area and works for most wind conditions, Just very light wind is a problem.
A furling sail is different than a roller reefing sail. -- a racing genoa is never going to sail well when partially furled and may in fact be damaged or destroyed if used that way.
 
With some practice and coordination between helm and trimmers, and maybe a wild man at the mast to help it around, you should be able to get the clew inside the lifelines every time. Then just have the wild man reach out and “skirt” the middle of the foot to get it inside lifeline as trimmer finishes grinding in.

Back in the day, when we sailed Olympic triangles or random leg courses around government mark instead of multiple 1nm W/L, we didn’t have to tack quite as often…so it was a little less onerous…
Timing is everything and, we've improved that aspect. the 2 sad winches were balky and slipped ( the ratcheting part, not the tailer ) but I've repaired that part. We've not optimized it yet but hope that in light winds it'll work. Anything over 10 knots, we're overpowered with the full genoa.
 
I appreciate all of the thoughtful replies. As to some of the suggestions:
*The boat has inside tracks and they extend almost to the stern with turning blocks to the winches.
* The boat has a bridge deck traveller, powerful vang and outhaul and overall decent mainsail control.
* 2 speed self tailing #30 primaries were a source of trouble as they would slip under load due to defective and over greased pawls and springs. that issue has been addressed.
* Part of the tacking problem is the tight cockpit and long tiller giving crew doing the sheeting very limited working space, particularly to manage a well timed release and fast sheeting.
* A suggestion was made to source a smaller headsail as opposed to cutting down the existing extra sail. I think that I'm going to go that route and will update this thread as appropriate.
Thanks again to all the Sail Anarchists who have so far contributed. keep 'em coming!
 

Bump-n-Grind

Get off my lawn.
14,755
3,538
Chesapeake Bay/Vail
i have a new to me 1972 Morgan 30/2. This was built as a racing boat in it's day. I plan to use it for casual PHRF racing and light cruising. The Genoa is roller furling and quite large for a 30' boat at 40' luff. 40' leach and 20'6" foot. It is too big to clear the lifelines and very slow to tack as crew has to lift the foot over the lifelines and it is a LOT to sheet in. It usually overloads the boat in all but the lightest winds. It CAN be reefed by furling but it looks like shit partly rolled. I'd like to cut the sail down to a more user friendly size as I have 3 identically sized genoas ( one is laminate and the other 2 are dacron) I'm thinking of backing off to about a 135-140%, the sail is currently about 160%. reducing the foot length and leach length would improve tacking, I think. Thoughts?
Paul
make an awning out of the laminate sail. it will always be a great conversation starter for backyard get togethers, get the two Dacron sails cut down in size, make a 150 out of 1 of em for light air days and a 135 out of the other for your general purpose "take the boat out sailing with anybody" days ... then invite those people over to admire your new awning!!
 
You are talking a 150 here. Nothing huge if you are used to it. Get an old IOR guy to go out with you and show you how to tack these things. Really not that hard at all once you know the routine. We could out tackle a J33 short tacking up the shore in 10 knots of wind. It can be done. Quickly. Course almost the whole crew were fellow firefighters though. Racing wise, it will take a tailer, grinder and foredeck to skirt the middle of the jib over the lifelines. I had a high clewed #2 for cruising on my old 3/4 ton that would make cruising life much easer.
 
The problem with that generation of racing boats is that they were all predicated on having a huge genoa with it's un-rated sail area. At one point, 185% genoas were the norm.

They're fucking PITA no matter what you do. Yes with good practice, pre-loading the sheet and coordination between helm and trimmer, it's somewhat less of a PITA.

Unless you sail in a predominantly windy (over 12kt) venue, the boat will be crippled with a smaller headsail.
Is this truly the case - are you telling me over the last 40 years sailmakers have not managed to get more power per square foot of sail? I think it is time that there was some sort of power measurement for sails that was ISO or equivalent based - a sub optimal shape from 1970 can not compare with something built - designed today I would think???
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,269
9,611
Eastern NC
Is this truly the case - are you telling me over the last 40 years sailmakers have not managed to get more power per square foot of sail? I think it is time that there was some sort of power measurement for sails that was ISO or equivalent based - a sub optimal shape from 1970 can not compare with something built - designed today I would think???

Well, there's no actual comparison like-to-like, is there? Show me a newly-minted 170% or 180% genoa (old design, new materials) so we can compare it to your modern design 120%-ish (randomly chosen as being much easier to tack) headsail.

Of course modern designs have improved the power-per-area ratios, but I'd suggest it may not be by as much as you think. The other point is that those boats were designed to a rating, and that rating was predicated on MEASURED sail area, the huge ungainly genoa provided UNmeasured sail area. Other designs went to such silly extremes as putting the main luff (black band) only halfway up the mast, or getting a rating for the baot with no mainsail. The rating rules were of course changed to forbid this, which is why the rating formula(s) always end up being so complex as to become parodies of themselves.

Would a modern boat of similar accommodation and LOA be faster? Hell yes, and easier to sail, too. Probably more expensive, and probably not as cool overall, and certainly not as retro-cool.

To semi-quote a former US Secretary of Defense, "You go to sea with the boat you have, not the boat all those people on the internet say you should have."
 

bgytr

Super Anarchist
5,003
630
The trick I've found with years of racing large overlapping headsails is the tailer has to be a strong beast. Almost without fail, the tailer on most boats relies way too much on the grinder. When going into the tack as soon as the boat starts the turn, ease the sheet 2 or so feet, then brief pause. That helps the boat start to turn with less rudder angle, and the tailer can get a jump on pulling the sail around. As the bulk of the sail starts to luff, release the sheet. Then it's all on the tailer. A good tailer will get the sail around without having to skirt the foot. Then a couple of winch cranks and you're done.

Emphasis.. the tailer has to fkin PULL! Not pussyfoot the jib around and rely on the grinder. Years on a J44, we had this down pretty good, the 150% #1 in winds up to 16 true. It has to be a buttload easier pulling the Morgan headsail around than the J44. You gotta get a good tailer and coordinate the initial headsail release as described above. I did most of the tailing (except when we had our football lineman onboard), and was younger, in my 20s, 6'4 210lb bball player and in very good shape, so that's what you need, somebody who sees red when the hard a lee command goes out and pulls the sheet like a rabid dog.
 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
Is this truly the case - are you telling me over the last 40 years sailmakers have not managed to get more power per square foot of sail? I think it is time that there was some sort of power measurement for sails that was ISO or equivalent based - a sub optimal shape from 1970 can not compare with something built - designed today I would think???
Bad shapes? No.

The folks building sails back in the those days were not building shitty sails, they built them just fine. The sail material was poor and didn't last as long nor were the sails as effective in as large a wind range so you had to have more sails. The mast was also too far aft. There is likely more power but not at the levels being considered here. Back then you had to change out sails frequently or the sail permanently stretched and was no longer competitive, or maybe it split. Heck, a 30'ish+/- boat might have a 170+/- genoa called the light, a 150+/1 genoa called the heavy, a 135+/- called the number 2, a 95+/- called the number 3, a 70+/- on a wire pennant at the bottom to keep the waves out of the sail called the number 4. All that on a 30' boat and we haven't begun with the main with two reefs and the spinnakers, reachers, and the drifter, nor are we including storm sails.

When I was a very young foredeck I remember absolutely hating the older boats because while it justified my existence and my later lording over the keg, it could be a brutal position of never ending work. There are races where I remember nothing but seeing sails, lines, the deck, and the forepeak because the sail changes would not stop. We changed head sails upwind all the time because the wind would freshen or drop and the sail was out of its range leaving the boat limping or on its ear with the sail about to burst.

What has changed is that mast has moved forward permitting a much larger main, and the sail material of the jib permitted it to become more of an all arounder, with some improvement in shapes.
 

JimC

Not actually an anarchist.
8,172
1,064
South East England
Is this truly the case - are you telling me over the last 40 years sailmakers have not managed to get more power per square foot of sail?
Genoa overlap gets you less power per square foot than rag anywhere else. When that area was free or under taxed ratings wise it was still worth having because inefficient power beats no power, but once rules started handling sail area more equably they died out. The old IOR boats must have had more upwind sail area per foot length of spar than anything else in sailing history though!
 

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