A headsail is essentially any sail set forward of the foremost mast. The most common types of headsails that are set on a forestay are jibs (do not overlap aft of the mast), genoas and staysails. The key considerations in choosing your new headsail are cloth type and weight; sail cut – cross-cut or tri-radial; sail size and whether or not it will be mounted on a furler and requiring UV protection.
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The factors that will influence the size of the headsail that you require are boat design, intended purpose and existing sail wardrobe. Many modern yachts are now placing their mast further aft thus enabling larger, non-overlapping headsails that can be easily tacked. Older more traditional rig designs with their masts set more forward, often use larger overlapping headsails.
The terminology used is usually expressed as a percentage of the luff perpendicular to the "J" measurement, or how much overlap you have. Common sizes are 90%, 100%, 125%, 150% and so on. The larger the sail the more power but equally it can be harder to manage in strong breezes. Typically, as the sail gets smaller the cloth weight increases.
Furling Sails - UV Protection
If your headsail is mounted on a furler, then it is recommended that you have UV installed on the leech and foot so that when the sail is furled only the UV is exposed thus protecting your valuable sail from the degradation effects of the sun. Unlike many other sail makers who just install a second layer of Dacron fabric, at Rolly Tasker Sails Australia we only use premium Sunbrella UV protection.