A heavily furled genoa is a poor choice in my opinion. You're asking a sail to handle more load than it was designed for and it's a lousy performer even with a foam or rope
luff. That's something we've discussed in previous threads. What we've concluded after a great deal of thought and real life extended bluewater testing is that the best all around combination is a smaller headsail, typically around 110% or so LP combined with a purpose built light air sail like our CLASS (Cruisers Light Air Sail Solution) flown from a foil-less furler
. A furling
genoa as seen on most cruising boats is a heavily compromised sail and a very poor performer on a boat like your Macintosh 47 or the Hylas.
For the genoa to survive routine use and be strong enough to be usable partly furled, it has to be heavily constructed. On most 47' ers the genoa will be constructed from 8-9.5 oz cloth and have a Sunbrella suncover on the foot and leech. The Sunbrella doubles the weight of the sail in the areas where it's installed. The CLASS and similar sails
, often called a "cruising code zero" will be made with material closer to 2oz in weight and rather than having a power robbing hollowed leech, will actually have some "shoulder" near the top of the sail. It's strong enough to be flown to the point where the 110% can take over and keep the boat moving at or near hull speed
The advantage of a smaller headsail is that it can be carried in higher wind
speeds and reduces or eliminates the need for a staysail, although a staysail or ATN Gale Sail is highly advisable for many cruisers. While a staysail itself is inexpensive, the costs of rigging
a proper staysail stay can be staggering. I refer to structural work often required and adding running backstays
along with the rigging for the staysail itself. It can also complicate rig tuning, particularly on a boat for which a staysail stay was never part of the original design.
Here's what a client with a Catalina
42 had to say after sailing from San Francisco
with his 108% genoa and CLASS flown from a Facnor FX-2500:
"I really, really like the CLASS! It worked great and was super easy to handle. Furling
and unfurling were total non events
even when we left it up once into a mid 20's breeze. Most of the time we were nearly dead down wind
so the sail spent a lot of time poled out and much of that with the main furled. Under that configuration we saw boat speeds equal 2/3 to 3/4 of the wind speed - 5 knots in 8 knots of wind and 6 to 7 knots in 10 knots. Combine that with the ease of handling and I couldn't have been happier. Mark was on board as crew and he was totally sold on it also. I will be surprised if he doesn't call you to get the same setup for (his boat)."