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Old 04-08-2014, 16:09   #1
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Dumb headsail question.

The headsail is not dumb, but maybe the sailor is. I have a couple of spare headsails from a 25 foot boat. I have a sailing buddy that has a 30 foot that has a very limited headsail inventory, especially smaller sails. Is it practical to use a headsail from a small boat on a bigger boat? I know storm and trysails do not reach to the mast head but most headsails (all?)do. Both of these boats are 70's vintage with large headsails if that matters. I have had boats for a while and you would think I would know this but there you have it. No racing involved. One of my character flaws is worrying too much when I have large sails hoisted. Any opinion would be helpful.
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Old 04-08-2014, 16:21   #2
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

Only one thing for it. Haul them up and see how they look.

Before doing this check that the two boats have compatible jib systems. If one uses hanks and the other a furler then you might have an issue or three.
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Old 04-08-2014, 19:37   #3
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

As long as the hanks or boltropes fit they could be used, but will probably be very inefficient and understrength unless the small boat is masthead and the larger is fractional. Still well worth a try.
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Old 04-08-2014, 20:07   #4
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

Think "luff length" and go from there. Also check the jib sheet fairlead positions.
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Old 04-08-2014, 20:08   #5
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

When you say "large" headsails It would be interesting to know what we are talking about - The key measure is the distance from the forstay attachment to the mast.

The foot of the sail is often quoted in percent of this measure. If the headsail foot is longer than this dimension (the foot extends past the mast) it is a genoa.

So if your friend has a Genoa he may appreciate having a jib. 100% and 80% are common jib sizes.

The problem with repurposing the sails is they won't hoist as high on the luff and there will be a big gap at the top.

If you aren't too worried about performance then try it.

For hanked sails all this should be no problem. It would cause issues with furling sails.

As savior said - hoist them up and have a look. Depending on the mainsail you may get weather helm as the sail plan could get out of balance.
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Old 04-08-2014, 22:01   #6
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

If you have a furler, you need to put a pennant on the head of the sail so the halyard ends up close to the masthead when the sail is hoisted. Without that, the halyard will wrap around the furler and you'll have a devil of a time lowering the sail if you don't have to cut it off.

A hank on sail is no problem though you'll probably have to reposition the sheet blocks.
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Old 05-08-2014, 13:00   #7
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

Well, that was quick and informative. Both boats have/had hank on and both mast head rigged. The "large headsail" I referred to was an attempt to describe sail without actually measuring. I do not know the specifics of the sail, it was not labeled on the sailbag which I am used to and I never measured it. It does reach well aft the mast I am guessing at least a 150 maybe more. His smallest is about 100 or maybe a little more. I have not sailed with this boat in a couple of years so a lot of guess work here. On this boat performance is never an issue. As long as the boat is moving the weather is acceptable and no one is losing lunch we are happy! Well, I have to admit I do fret about sail trim but no one else ever does, hoist 'em and head out. I have a little bit of racing in my past so it does bother me but not my boat so I casually goof with things and all is good. A very appreciative thank you and I guess I will go with the "haul them up and see how they look" routine.
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Old 05-08-2014, 13:16   #8
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

Chances are the jib will be a little short on the foot for a bigger boat. If the existing track doesn't offer a good sheeting angle then add a 2 foot rope pennant to the tack and try again. There will almost certainly be more than 2 feet spare on the upper forestay.
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Old 05-08-2014, 13:33   #9
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

I like my 85%er . It's near 5 feet short in the luff; but the foot sits almost parallel to the deck, three feet or so above it tacked on bit of old halyard. It's from some other, smaller boat; but it's size and the way it's rigged allows me to actually see what's ahead without having to tack. It works quite well as-is and has enough pull. to suit my needs for now.
I have a few othersthat are for older furlers that I'd like to try; but rigging a luff rope and hanks is a lot of work just to see what they'd be like. I *have* measured them and scaled them to a drawing of my rig. None really look right, so I'll pass them on..
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Old 05-08-2014, 14:04   #10
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

You may find that the smaller sail gives the boat a slight tendency to round up when sailing close hauled, but otherwise you should be okay, and as a plus you might find visibility forward to be improved. Just hank it on and go for a sail and see how it goes.

With hanks, it can be very handy to have two headssils, even if one is a bit small, to go wing n wing.
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Old 05-08-2014, 15:17   #11
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

Quote:
I have a few othersthat are for older furlers that I'd like to try; but rigging a luff rope and hanks is a lot of work just to see what they'd be like. I *have* measured them and scaled them to a drawing of my rig. None really look right, so I'll pass them on..
G'Day all,

There is a trick that will tell you if a foresail will work on your boat:

Measure the three sides of the sail.

Using old spare line, make a triangle of the same size as the sail with a loop at each corner.

Hoist the triangle with the loop at the "head" and tie the loop at the "tack" down to the stem fitting, stretching it tight.

With another bit of rope acting as a "sheet" attached to the loop at the "clew" and running to the jib fairlead, see if you can get both the foot and the leach taught. If so, the sail can be sheeted properly on your boat. Some adjustment of the height of the tack above the stem will give more range of acceptable sized sails.

This isn't a trivial effort to do, but is a lot easier than fitting hanks on a sail, and can be done for sails offered from a distant source without actually bringing them to the boat... like when buying from e-bay or a distant used sail loft.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 18-08-2014, 11:30   #12
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

I like the idea of faking a sail with a rope triangle. My next trip to that area will likely be on a motorcycle so carrying a few sail bags to the boat is not practical. The rope is already on the boat so I won't even have to carry that. Dang, why don't I think of stuff like that? I have visions of sails with only their bolt ropes visible being hoisted in marinas across the globe and fellows wandering the deck looking upwards contemplating the geometry of well made triangles.
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Old 18-08-2014, 12:58   #13
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Re: Dumb headsail question.

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
G'Day all,

There is a trick that will tell you if a foresail will work on your boat:

Measure the three sides of the sail.

Using old spare line, make a triangle of the same size as the sail with a loop at each corner.

Hoist the triangle with the loop at the "head" and tie the loop at the "tack" down to the stem fitting, stretching it tight.

With another bit of rope acting as a "sheet" attached to the loop at the "clew" and running to the jib fairlead, see if you can get both the foot and the leach taught. If so, the sail can be sheeted properly on your boat. Some adjustment of the height of the tack above the stem will give more range of acceptable sized sails.

This isn't a trivial effort to do, but is a lot easier than fitting hanks on a sail, and can be done for sails offered from a distant source without actually bringing them to the boat... like when buying from e-bay or a distant used sail loft.

Cheers,

Jim
Great idea, Jim!
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