The Genoa staysail is quite a different kettle of fish
, the trimming of this sail is all about the slot, usually used under a high clewed jib
top headsail, it can also be used on occasions under more conventional headsails and even sometimes under a Code 0 headsail or type A3/A0 assymetric spinnakers. Best in true wind between 90 and 130 degrees they can still be used on much wider angles in the higher wind ranges.
What we are trying to achieve is a venturii effect between the mainsail
and headsail, acting as an accelerant, a well trimmed Genoa Staysail when used correctly can be very effective in this way.
The Genoa staysail is very similar in profile to a conventional headsail, so we would set it up on the existing headsail tracks, remembering when reaching the jib
top or outer headsail should be set as far outboard
as possible and not be using these tracks.
Setting up the Genoa staysail should be similar to a standard jib, look at the telltales and how they break from top to bottom, we are looking for an even break with the higher one breaking a little early if possible.
I find the best way to view a Genoa Staysail is from well aft looking up at the two sails
flying, using the twist angle to keep it in the middle of the slot between the main and headsail, when trimmed perfectly it should be a slightly shallower mirror image of the headsail leech profile. Note: every time the headsail is trimmed considerably, so should the staysail need attention to keep this slot bisection even.
When and How
The Genoa staysail begin to come into its own at about 8 knots true on most boats, and can be used a long way up the range, so it needs to be built a bit heavier than other staysails. In heavy conditions it will help balance the boat out by taking some load off the helm
and make the boat more controllable in long reaching conditions.
As this staysail is used with the wind angle a lot further forward, it is important to keep the luff as taut as possible, we do not want the leading edge sagging into headsail area and closing up that all important slot. It is best flown with webbing luff loops laced onto a high torque rope
, haul up the high torque rope
on a Genoa halyard
and tighten as hard as you can. Then hoist the staysail on a second halyard (or a high topping lift), the webbing loops run up the high torque rope al’a conventional hanks.
As mentioned earlier, the Genoa Staysail is a very similar to a conventional headsail in appearance and trim, if you do not have one in your wardrobe and do not see the need where you would use one on a regular basis; i.e. you mainly race
short courses, it is possible when confronted with the occasional long reaching leg to use an existing smaller sail like a number 4 or a storm jib
in this role. Just check with your sailmaker
to make sure the luff finish is strong enough to fly unsupported.
So with a staysail make sure you have done all the experimenting and setting up prior to the day when you decide you might use it; the racecourse is not the time to be experimenting with sheeting positions and whether the use is feasible or not.
Use your staysails wisely and attentively, they can make a difference and give you a little turbo boost that may make a difference on the score sheet.
Article by Tony Bull with thanks to Brett Jones.
Owner / Sail Consultant
33 Eastern Beach Road
Ph/Fax (61) 03 52222930