Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Sails"
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Thread: "Sails"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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What's the general consensus on sail sizes for the Westsail 32, Mostly coastal sailing. Jib has roller furler.

Louis Guillama

Kenn, the best advice I've received concerning sails came from Carol Haase, owner of Port Townsend Sails. She recommends that you ask your reputable sail loft for advice when selecting sails for a particular type of cruising. You'd be amazed at the amount of information an informed specialist can provide you.

I found Carol very well informed and familiar with our 32. She's highly respected in this area and often publishes articles on the subject. If you decide on this route, I'm sure she can recommend someone locally in your area. BTW, she's putting together a new web site at http://www.porttownsendsails.com. Best of luck.

Dave King

Ahoy Kenn, Ask 10 people this question and you'll get 10 answers. This is only one answer. I usually use a full hoist Yankee of approximately 305 sq. ft. while on the coast. I always carry my smaller working jib, however, of 149 sq. ft. In fact it is on now and has been for the last 8000 miles. I have not used my genoa for over 6 years even though I used to regularly. I found it unnecessary and awkward. A typical routine of mine is to use the Yankee up wind and a nylon Drifter of about 450 sq.ft. down wind. If the Drifter is too large then the Yankee is almost always capable of taking over. Also, I use my staysail more than most Westsailers. I should not speak for others but I have often heard Kern recommend the Larger Super Yankee of 350 sq. ft. (I think). This is probably the better choice in many areas such as Southern California or within Puget Sound.

Dave King

Ahoy Kenn, I made an error to what I just said. My working Jib is 177 sq. ft. not 149. I was just punching away on this keyboard without making use of the thought process I guess. Sorry. And Good Luck

Stephen & Vanessa Carns

I agree with Dave, so you are getting the same answer twice from 2 different people..

I have a big old nasty genny I never use. In lighter winds, I love my big asymetrical cruising shute. When the wind is too much for that, I drop back to my working jib and staysail. I wish I had one of Kern's super Yankees to help balance things out better before I put the first reef in the main, as the working jib is rather small. It is on the agenda, just have to come up with the cash.

Any one have current contact information for Kern?


Sure - he just made sails for me. Kern Ferguson [kernsails@sbcglobal.net] If you need snail mail or phone I've got that, too.

Ken Schatz

Steve & Vanessa

Thanks Ken,

I dropped Kern and email, but he hasn't responded. I'll take that phone number when you get the chance.



(949) 6457741

Kern's Sails
1773 Whittier Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

He is without a doubt the worst e-mail returner, but the finest sailmaker, I have ever encountered. It takes forever to get in touch with him. I just went to CA and talked to him in his loft. Still didn't answer my e-mails! But the worksmanship on the sails is exquisite! Love them.

Good luck,


this is the latest email i had for kern:

no one has mentioned the main sail on this chat yet. i understand the original main for the w32 was a little on the big side and i always had to reef mine over 15-18knts to keep from extreame weather helm. i got a new one from kern that has a smaller foot and it works like a charm.

W32 tortuga

Steve & Vanessa

I have a short footed main also. However, the biggest help I find is having a cabin top traveler. You know Vanessa is only 115 pounds. When the wind picks up and the boat starts to heal, she can have a difficult time maintaining control over that tiller. Tucking a reef and droping that traveler almost completely eliminates the issue.

Rod Lawson

Pardon my ignorance, but what is the difference between a Genoa and a Jib. I thought the terms were interchangeable. I have a very large furling sail connected furtherst forward on the bowsprit. When I purchased my W32 it came with a smaller sail for the same position and I assumed they were both genoas or jibs, but just of different dimensions. Would appreciate input.

Dave King

Ahoy Rod, Where is Kern when we need him? Generally speaking, yes, the terms are interchangable. There usually is a differentiation though in details. The jib, on a cutter, is seldom a full hoist sail. If it is we tend to call it a Yankee here in the US. The jib does not overlap the mast. That is, it is under 100% of the fore triangle. On a cutter, the clew is best cut quite high as it must work in conjuntion with the staysail. The Genoa is a full, or nearly full, hoist sail. It is larger than 100% of the fore triangle. It is usually lower cut on the clew but not by definition. It may or may not be designed to work in conjunction with a staysail. Also, a Genoa may be designed for a stay other than the headstay. The forestay, or inner stay, or staysail stay may fly it's own Genoa. Thus the term Genoa staysail. Experience has shown that most Westsailors are happiest with a Yankee headsail or the "Super Yankee" produced by Kern Ferguson.
I hope this input is worth something?

Rod Lawson

thanks for the explanation Dave. It is much clearer now. I have been using the "yankee" which is on a Harken furling system together with my inner stay sail and had very good sailing performance from this setup. The yankee is however a bit tired and after putting the smaller "jib" on it I was dissapointed. I will be getting a new "yankee" or super yankee made as I found it so convenient on a furler to be able to adjust its size to the conditions.
Thanks again.

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