Catalina Direct Discussion Topics / Catalina 22 Discussion Area / Sails / Genoa and main end up on opposite tacks. What am I doing wrong?
Author Genoa and main end up on opposite tacks. What am I doing wrong?
John Wheeler
Sydney, New South Wales

Boat Name: Serene 2

Model/Year: Boomaroo 22 (C22 Mk I) 1976

Hull No.

Hailing Port: Sydney
09/25/2007 12:52 AM Pacific Time

I am a novice sailor and have been using the smallest jib on my C22 until recently. I have just tried using the larger two headsails (the largest is probably a 130 - 150% genoa), but have had quite a few problems with them.

The most difficult thing is that there seems to be a huge difference in the pointing angle between the mainsail and the headsail - so much so that the headsail will often end up on the opposite tack to main, although sheeted on the wrong side, of course! I understand that this is what is needed to "heave-to", but isn't very helpful when trying to tack upwind!

With the smallest jib, both sails seem to luff at roughly the same angle to the wind, which seems correct. The pointing angle with the larger sail is very disappointing - I'm probably tacking through 120 -130 degrees.

Is there anything I can do to improve matters? Is this experience normal or have I got something set up wrong? My boat has inner jib lead tracks, which I am using. Is it normal form a larger headsail to have less upwind pointing ability?

The other problem is that tacking the large headsail seems to be real struggle in light winds. I have PVC rollers over the forward lower shrouds, but even so, I find the jib sheets get caught up in the cap shrouds, and on one occasion, the captive shackle that connects to the headsail clew came undone due to all the abuse it was getting.

What is the secret of smooth (and efficient) tacking with an overlapping headsail?

Thanks for your help!

Sydney, Australia.
Mitch Kronowit
Mission Viejo, CA

Boat Name: Paulina

Model/Year: 1984 Catalina 22

Hull No. #12276

Hailing Port: Dana Point, CA
10/05/2007 2:20 AM Pacific Time

Hmmmm, sounds like your genoa is backwinding which could mean you're sailing too high. I'm not sure if the pointing ability of a large headsail is poorer than a working job (I'll have to ask around on that one), but here are a couple of things that spring to mind:

1. To get good upwind performance, you have to make sure the luff is tight like a guitar string. The genoa is a bit heavier, so you may have to work a little harder when raising it to make it tight. If it's loose (scalloping between the hanks), it's not going to fly right and could backwind prematurely.

2. Check your jib fairlead position. If it's too far forward, the genoa will be full and deep and less streamlined. Moving the fairlead aft will allow you to flatten the genoa, reducing its drag, and make it point higher.

3. I have the same problem tacking my headsails because they want to catch on everything. I usually delay hauling in my jib sheets a little during tacks to let the wind help blow the sail onto the lee side before I harden the lines. So they flap a little, I'm not racing!!!

4. You can help things along by getting that shackle off the clew. No metal parts there!!! Depending on the size of the grommet, you should either use bowlines to attach your jibsheets or use a long one-piece line attached to the clew at the midpoint with a simple hitch. Murphy's Law dictates one of these days, you or your crew is going to go forward at the precise moment that shackle releases knocking out a tooth or two.

5. In light air, when boat speed is slower, make your tacks happen a little faster (quicker on the helm), otherwise that big genoa luffing in the wind will act as a huge airbrake and stop the boat in its tracks.

6. If all else fails, loud, colorful, and repetitive cussing seems to help. ;-)

That's all I got for now. Hope it helps some.
Ryan Graham
Douglasville, Ga.

Boat Name: Luana Cordelia

Model/Year: C22 1978

Hull No. 8587

Hailing Port: Douglasville, Ga (on the hard)
03/09/2010 11:15 AM Pacific Time

I have also noted that when I pull the mainsheet traveler car to windward, with the head sail very tight, I can get a bit more lift on the head sail allowing me to close in a bit more.
Catalina Direct Discussion Topics / Catalina 22 Discussion Area / Sails / Genoa and main end up on opposite tacks. What am I doing wrong?