When Ted Hood invented the roller-furling/reefing device over 40 years ago, he changed the course of sailing. No longer did the cruising sailor have to go to the bow to change sails, getting wet and bounced around in the process; instead, he or she could now remain in the cockpit and pull a furling line to make the sail smaller or go away completely.
Since Ted’s invention, naturally we at HOOD Sailmakers have been at the forefront of innovative design, engineering and fabrication of headsails intended to being used in roller-furling/reefing devices. Today, there are many details that go into providing you with a well-built and well-designed roller/reefing genoa. We outline our detailed process below to give you an idea of the many aspects we consider in building your sail.
Foam Luff Pad:
This is a lens shaped (wider in the middle, thinner at each end) section of high-density closed cell foam. This device removes shape from the genoa, as it is rolled around the furler. This device is critical to having a reasonable effective rolled up head
sail shape, because as the sail gets smaller, it needs to get flatter. The foam luff pad is installed immediately aft of the luff tape; it is widest in the middle of the luff and tapers down at the head and tack. It is white and covered by a length of white Dacron so it is functionally invisible.
When a headsail is rolled around a furler, it needs reinforcements in the head and tack to accept the loads. HOOD reefing headsails have additional layers of material installed on the foot and the leech at the head to address this issue. At the foot, the reinforcing extends aft from the tack to a position calculated in the design. The reinforcing in the leech extends from the head down the leech an amount that is a function of the foot reinforcing length.
Reefing Check Marks:
These are indicators on the foot at 10 and 20% of the foot length aft of the tack. This makes it easier for the crew to reduce sail to the same place, like a reef in the mainsail and so to more readily place the headsail lead cars to match the reduced sail size.
There are two options available for the sun cover on roller furling headsails. One is the classic Sunbrella fabric, which comes in a variety of colors. An alternative is UV treated Dacron. There are plusses and minuses for each material. They both wear out at about the same time and so need to be replaced. There is no difference in cost between the two.
Leech and Foot Lines: These are mandatory on headsails in order to stop the flutter that is simply a part of sails. Generally they are secured with metal clam cleats. There is a cover installed over the cleat and secured to the sail with Velcro. This cover has a pocket inside it in which to stow the excess leech line. This reduces the possibility of the leech or foot cord tangling during maneuvers and so damaging the sail.
Leech and Foot Lines Led to Tack:
This is a detail we sometimes use when the clew is going to be out of reach of the crew and so adjustment of the leech or foot lines is impossible, or at least really hard. In this case, we use small blocks sewn to the clew patch and run the leech cord through them and along inside the foot tape to exit at the tack. They are also designed so you can adjust them with the genoa partially reefed.
The Luff Tape:
Any sail that goes in a furler needs to have a “luff tape”. This is the “bead” on the luff edge. There are a variety of sizes or diameters of these “luff tapes”. Knowing the boat & the furler make and model is one of the particulars your sail consultant will gather.
Leech and Foot Tapes:
HOOD sails have, on the leech and foot of the genoa dedicated “tapes” so called. These are put onto the edges so as to help support the loading on the sails and to capture the leech and foot lines. In inexpensive sails, it is not uncommon to merely turn a hem, like clothing. This is faster and requires less material but is not as effective in creating the long-term durability, and so value, of a sail though.
Head and Tack Attachments:
The development of high strength, low stretch materials over the past years has allowed HOOD to move away from using metal rings in the head and tack of headsails. Using low stretch Spectra webbing in the tack and head eliminates the chafe on the furling equipment so common when metal rings were used. When the webbing is installed onto the corner, it is “splayed” out in the corners. This means that it is not put on back to back with itself, rather it is “splayed” out so that most of each side needs to be sewn down. Sewing the webbing in this fashion roughly doubles the amount of stitching holding the webbing on and so makes this installation almost literally twice as strong as on sails where this is not done.
These are a key indicator as to the correct sail trim relative to the course being sailed. The telltales help set the genoa lead in the correct position for the wind you are sailing in. We install the telltales generally about 12 inches aft of the luff, and there are three sets, with one set lower down for steering to. There is a middle set and an upper set. The telltales are red and green and are placed above each other by a couple of inches, with the starboard side being higher, and of course, green.
We can also install a telltale window in the luff, usually at the lower location. These are oval shaped plastic, suitable to the purpose, and permits the crew to more easily see the telltales.
HOOD’s MP-G is another proven option for cruising sailors when sailing in light air.
The MP-G is designed for use in light to medium air (0 -12 knots) and apparent wind angles of 30 – 90 degrees.
It improves light air performance and compliments the small inventory of the cruising yacht.
When the furling genoa is too small and heavy, the MP-G provides light air power and keeps the boat moving.
The MP-G is set flying so there is no need to remove the furling genoa.
Nylon construction together with a non-stretch luff rope, makes it particularly easy to handle; it also means that the MP-G takes up minimal storage space.
No specialized or costly equipment is needed – just a halyard and sheets.
Standard Detailing for HOOD MP-G
These sails are made from Nylon, either 1.5 oz. or 2.2 oz. for larger boats. Nylon cloth has a lot more of a “safety factor” compared to similar service weight of Dacron sailcloth. Even though it is made in Nylon, the MP-G is a genoa intended for use for sailing upwind in less than about 10 knots true. They are particularly effective at lower wind speeds.
The HOOD MP-G’s are radial or Bi-Radial panel layout depending on a few things, like the aspect ratio of the sail. The seams are glued and use 5-step stitching, like all HOOD sails. The three edges of the sail have different colors to make it easy to know what edge you are pulling on. There is a choice of colors for the body of the sail. There are leech and foot lines and a sail bag, as standard
Attachment to the Boat:
Depending on the boat’s rigging there are two ways to set the sail on the boat. A HOOD Sail Expert can discuss the best option with you.The most common is with a Spectra luff-rope installed so the sail can be set “free-flying”. They can also have hanks, either conventional Bronze hanks or soft hanks. These sails are usually high clewed and sheet to the stern of the boat. This geometry also makes the sail more effective when eased off the wind
Nylon material does not need to be flaked and folded so the MP-G is a lot easier to stow. Because it is light material it takes up a lot less volume than a light Dacron genoa. When not in use, the MP-G can simply be stuffed into it’s bag, it can be sat on, the kids can sleep on it and it can be shoved into a small locker.
The HOOD MP-G can be used at wider apparent wind angles in higher wind speeds (up to about fifteen-eighteen knots true) which this makes it the ideal sail to overlap with the cruising spinnaker. And it can be poled out, just like a headsail for running dead down wind.
There are a variety of ways to rig the MP-G that your HOOD Sail Expert can discuss with you and recommend the best value options.