Sailing Skills

The Basics

The Foresail – aka Headsail – aka Genoa

  • The Foresail on Sea Essay is called a Genoa.
  • The Genoa is installed for the duration of the season on the forestay

Deploying a Furling Genoa

Deploying a furling Genoa such as that on Sea Essay requires teamwork between all involved: Skipper, Helm and Crew.

The skipper should brief the helm and crew about what is required

Helm and crew will need to know:

(1) whether the sail will be deployed to port or starboard

(2) whether the whole genoa should be deployed or whether one or more reefs should be left unfurled.

(3) whether the genoa cars will need to be moved before unfurling the sail.

  • The crew will need to work together to take in the working sheet on the port or starboard winch whilst simultaneously allowing the sail to unfurl, and then trim the sail according to the point of sail.
  • They will also need to ensure that the lazy sheet is free to run. In practice this will mean removing all turns from the lazy winch and then watching the lazy sheet run out to ensure that it does not come under tension.
  • One crew will need to control the furling line. They first need ensure the line is free to run and will not get caught around any limbs when it is allowed to run. They will then need to decide how to control the speed that they allow the furling line to surge. They or another crew will also need to release the clutch / jammer for the furling line and work closely with the crew taking in the working sheet to unfurl as much of the sail that is required without losing control of the furled sail.

Articles on key sailing related skills on external websites:

How to Trim a Genoa

Videos on external websites:

Please pass any suggestions for additional articles to

Sail Trim Masterclass – Ian Brown speaks about each of the controls we have on our mainsails and foresails

Channel Sailing is a division of the CSSA