Sailing Downwind with Double Headsails

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It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. All you need is:
• your usual genoa
• a second headsail
• a mast with two foresail halyards
• a whisker pole
Your destination is deep off the wind. The breeze is light to moderate, and you’d like to be moving faster, but either don’t have a spinnaker aboard, or just don’t want to wrestle with it. Wing-and-wing isn’t working because your course isn’t dead down wind, or you just don’t want to deal with the constant trimming.  The usual solution is to come up on the wind, heat it up and get some boat speed, gybing your way to your mark. It’s more work, but it can get you there faster if you plan your gybes well.
Or go with two headsails.
Get the other sail on deck (it doesn’t matter if it’s your jib, another genoa, or in light air an appropriate sail). You can rig a new, separate sheet for the windward side, or even detach the lazy sheet from the working sail, as long as you remember to re-attach it before any gybes. Get the free halyard and new sheet hooked up with plenty of slack, and the new sail tacked on. Make sure the pole is ready to go. (We use a Forespar twist-lock pole, which adjusts to the right length for whatever sail we’re using).
Hoist the new windward sail, attach the pole as close to the sail clew as you can, adjust the pole length, and trim on. The rest is adjustment for the course and breeze. Then watch the boat go faster, especially in light air. You might even lower the mainsail, just go with the headsails.
You can go faster and deeper, with a lot less work. Ocean cruisers sometimes go hundreds of miles with a whisker pole – or even two headsails and two poles. Some races even allow double headsails (we’ve had great success in “inside” races using a light 155 genoa and our drifter).  Try it on light days when you’ve got room to work, adjust and trim. It’s easy to do with two people, and requires a lot less muscle.
Go sailing. Have fun.

Mike Dwight

February 16, 2016 Category: Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , , , .

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Forespar is a company in which a team of dedicated boaters has continually advanced the quality of the sailing and powerboating experience since 1967. Founded by life-long boater Robert Foresman, the company has pursued his philosophy of innovation and quality to produce unique products which fill real needs. Today, the crew at Forespar oversees a multifaceted design, manufacturing and worldwide distribution system from its modern headquarters in Southern California using CAD/CAM design , full machine shop, 80’ spray paint booth, plastic injection molding and carbon composite processing. Forespar, along with its other widely recognized branded products including Leisure Furl, and Marelon, can be counted on by boaters to provide value and many years of enjoyment and performance. We are always leaders and innovaters; never followers and we strive to serve every boater. We invite you to visit our website www.forespar.com, and join our Facebook Fan Page.