Tuesday, July 3

Genoa Trim

Quantum Sail Design Group
By Keith Church
Quantum Sails, Chicago

I get a tremendous amount enjoyment out of helping other sailors get more out of their sailing experience. My job is to provide my clients with the proper advice and the proper products. Here then are some tidbits of the proper advice.

When it comes to trimming your Genoa:

1. Halyard tension

Tension along the luff of the sail is a function of apparent wind velocity. In more wind, more tension is needed and vice versa. This means that when you go upwind you will need more tension than when sailing off the wind. You may want to mark your sail with a black magic marker and put a piece of tape on your head foil to gauge the amount of tension is on the sail. If you change headsails often make sure they are all marked at the same spot on the luff.

2. Genoa car lead position

Fore and aft lead position controls headsail leech tension and foot depth. As a rough guide, set the lead so that the sheet bisects the clew, applying approximately equal tension to leech and foot (if you imagined a line extending from the sheet up through the sail it would hit the middle of the sail’s luff). In an overlapping sail, the foot of the Genoa will just touch the shrouds at the chainplates when the upper part of the sail is 1-2” off the top spreader. If the foot is still round and well off the chainplates when the sail is sheeted so that the top touches the spreader, the lead is too far forward. Moving it aft will stretch the foot flat and open the leech. Stick-on number strips make a quick reference for Genoa trimmers to make cars equal for tacking.

3. Headstay Sag Backstay Tension

Headstay sag affects the overall depth of the headsail. More sag adds depth and, in particular, makes the entry of the sail rounder and more powerful. Use sag to create power in light to moderate conditions, when you need heel and are trying to get the boat going. As the boat begins to heel too much, or when the boat is up to speed and you want to maximize upwind performance, reduce sag. Headstay sag is controlled by backstay tension on masthead rigs, and by running backstays on fractional rigs with in-line spreaders. On fractional rigs with swept spreaders, overall rig tension on the side shrouds controls headstay sag, and there is not much adjustment “on the fly,” (as is the case on masthead rig boats with no backstay adjuster). To fine tune, and as a guide, it is helpful to have a system for marking the “throw,” or range of your backstay. With a hydraulic system, a numbered batten works well. This is easier and more reliable than using the poundage readout on the hydraulic gauge. For split backstays, reference the distance of the squeezer to the stern pulpit.

Using reference points on your boat to help your crew are without a doubt one the most important tools for both racing and performance cruising. For more information on fine tuning reference tools and Crew trim made easier contact Keith Church | Quantum Sails Design Group

Loft: (312) 225–0801, Cell: (312) 371–6929

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