Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Headsails"
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Thread: "Headsails"

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


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Don and Margaret Lacoste

I spent my first summer with my W-32. This boat came with a huge number of sails, all made by Hood.

I'm not sure what size the Yankee is. She attaches on a roller furler about the height of the bow rails. She stops about 3/4 up the forward foil.

The vessel also came with a new 110. I used this sail several times and liked it. Since it also came with a 130, I gave that a try to see if the boat would produce more speed. I don't think it did and was a bear to tack. I also have a 150 but have not ever tried it!

From reading other comments in this section, it appears I need either the Yankee or the 110. The vessel also came with a CODE 0, full spinnaker, and another light air sail. I have not had the guts to check them out yet! I have read about Code 0 sails and they claim they are pretty easy to use. Not sure how much wind they can support before you are in trouble. Also, can they work on a beam reach or only broad reach or downwind?

The main is a beauty, fully battened with a long foot almost to the end of the boom. She produces a LOT of weather healm over 15 knots in a beat.

This boat also has a traveler mounted just forward of the companionway. It has been in the center position and I have not fooled with it. Any advice on this would be helpful.

I did have her moving at 7.75 knots with a 20 knot breeze on a beam reach using full main and the 130 one afternoon on Penobscot Bay. I think I was overcanvassed!!!



Michael Dougan

Since my boat is gaff-rigged, I doubt my sail plan is very normal for a westsail. My jib I'd call a Yankee, but it's a hank on, and is very high cut. The cringle for the sheets usually floats about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way up the staysail. I also usually fly my staysail, but even so, I don't feel like I have enough headsail, and experience a fair amount of weather helm in any significant breeze.

I've seen some Westsails with a pretty big jib (maybe 130) and they move along fine, though I'm sure others here can tell you more.

As far as the traveler, my understanding is that if the wind is high, then you might want to move the traveler down to the Lee side. Then, when you sheet in, it will pull the boom more straight down which will flatten the sail and "depower" it slightly. When the wind is light, do the opposite, move the traveler to the weather side, this will pull the boom more towards the weather side and induce "twist" which, I think, gives it a little more power. But, with all things, go out in both conditions and try it out and see what your results are!

As far as being over-canvassed... well, I've been caught a couple of times with more sail up that I wanted for the sudden wind I was experiencing, but, the boat always handled it just fine... maybe a little water over the rail, but I got the feeling she was having a good time... like, that's what she's made for!

Steve & Vanessa

The traveler is my favorite way to help reduce weather helm. Vanessa is only 115 pounds. When the wind picks up, she can have a difficult time maintaining control. Moving the main sheet car on the traveler track to leeward is the instant way to immediately reduce weather helm. If it doesn't help enough, then you are stuck going forward to reef the main. Most of the time, just adjusting the traveler is enough for us.


Don and Margaret Lacoste

Thanks for your replies. Is there any reason to keep the 150 jib? Any advice on working the code 0 would be appreciated.

I will definately work with the traveler more this coming season to see what effects it produces.


Jim Focha and Julie Gwin

We gave our 150 away, as it was only used as a down wind sail. Our 300 sq.ft. form Kern balances better and the boat is faster with it. The full batten main, also from Kern, is 18" shorter and helped to reduce weather helm.


Dave Kall

You may want to look at an earlier thread Dave King who has more miles on a 32 then most westies provides insite sail management on a 32. http://www.westsail.org/discus/messages/10/151.html" id="post_1128809542

Dave Kall

Depending on how much rake is in the mast a slightly easierway to reduce wx helm is to stand the mast up a little more. Some wx helm is important to feel the rudder and if the boat is ghosting along a little lee helm is normal.

Terry Shoup

The sheets for the staysail are a mess -- the stops through which they are led don't work worth crap, so I want to replace them, and at the same time replace to same crappy stops for both forward halyards.

I was thinking of cleats for the halyards, since once they're up, that's where I want them to stay, and perhaps clutches for the sheets. There's a small winch on the starboard side of the cabin top, where the halyards are led, so I can use that if need be to haul up the sails.

Anyone have any ideas or pictures/drawings they'd like to share with this rookie?

Aaron Norlund


I don't have first hand experience with rigging stays'l sheets on a W32. That said, I can say that I do not like clutches on sheets of any sort. I've sailed a few different boats with clutches here and there and they are awkward and tend to chew up line. Cams are OK, but you'll find metal ones nibble away at line in the places one tends to leave sails. I've spent more time on tallships than smaller sailing vessels, and even though some of the "traditions" are a bit antiquated, there is a reason they're still used! Cleats and pins, though they take a more work, are a great way to go, IMO.

That said, I /am/ a supporter of self-tailing winches for sheets. Small ones for stays'l sheets can be found for reasonable prices. I think it's important to have cleats rove for all winches incase they malfunction.

Good luck! I'm sure someone will chime in with practical information about the W32.

Aaron N.

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