Step 1:

Determine overall power by selecting the correct genoa

This first step isn't too tough if you sail in a one- design class that allows only one jib, but it can be perplexing on big boats with up to 14 headsails. The best way to make good sail selection choices is to keep a record of the headsails you use with wind velocities and boat performance. After a while you'll have an extensive chart as a guide.

Genoa Wind Ranges

SAIL

 APPARENT WIND (Knots)

 Range

 Maximum

Light # 1  
All-purpose #  
Heavy # 1  

Use this table as a guide. Your boat's displacement and stability will affect upper and lower limits. Ask your sailmaker for specific wind ranges for each of your sails. Be sure to write these limits on each sail.

Since your genoa determines your ultimate sailpower and the total heeling force, heel angle is a very important indicator when choosing a sail. As a rule, if your heel exceeds about 25 degrees, change down to a smaller genoa. Long and narrow boats may be able to maintain speed with a bit more heel than this, but modern, lighter boats must be sailed considerably flatter. Helm balance is another consideration. If you have too much helm, changing to a smaller genoa might be a good idea. This relieves windward helm by reducing the angle of heel, removing sail area from the back of the genoa, and opening the slot, which permits the traveller to be eased further. Don't forget that each of your headsails is designed for a maximum wind velocity. This number (specified as true or apparent wind) should be written clearly on the genoa clew, so you'll be sure to change before exceeding that limit.

Next:

» Determine the efficiency of the genoa with the lead angle