So what's a comfortable size for a genoa on a SeaHawk? My sail maker at Wind Dancer Sails(http://winddancersailmakers.com/) thinks a 150% would be to much for my SeaHawk in all but the lightest of airs. I countered with a 130% What say the members of the SeaHawk forum?
Ever hear or know of anybody that converted the fractional rig to a full rig?
Apart from the "tall rig" boats mentioned on the History and Jeckells Memo pages, I am aware of one or two. However, I suspect they are "make do" repairs because of mast failure, rather than an active decision to fit a taller rig.
Here's, Kittiwake, an example that was offered for sale in 2013. I grabbed the photo from the advert:
"With all the noise I make, about the use of the genoa, in my reports of my attempts at the Three Rivers Race on my own SeaHawk, it was a surprise to be reminded that I must have fitted fairleads and cleats for the genoa on father's boat. I had barely remembered using the genoa, but it would appear that I had spent at least a little time and money on making sure it could be used."
The photo that illustrates the comment is this:
where you see I fitted a fairlead and cleat well back in the cockpit.
The point being that with the largest genoa supplied back in 1973 the foot is so long that neither of the cabin-top fairleads can be used. It comes back further than even Moore's winches would allow and you have to take the sail round the outside of the shrouds.
That means tacking in confined waters becomes a major problem as it takes time to move the sail across the boat and set it for maximum efficiency, not to mention that you lose 10 degrees or so of upwind performance.
Of course, that difference of upwind performance may matter little on open waters where one can spend hours before turning and take advantage of the extra speed through the water on a broader reach, but when tacking every 30 seconds, which is common on the waters I sail in, not being able to have the jib set for maximum efficiency in a moment is a major deficiency.
I now understand why I once saw in a photograph of a marina a notice requiring skippers bring their boats into the harbour to be under motor. You just can't tack efficiently with modern small main and giant genoa rigs - though I understand their benefits for those sailing in open waters.
Thanks for the extended reply Greg. I have noticed that the jib on a fractional rig requires more attention with constant readjustments as you point the boat on whatever reach you're on. I find it useful to have my passenger be the jib hand whose duty is to set and reset the jib. I can already visualize the problems a large Genoa would entail - in fact, on my SeaHawk, I inherited several cleats and fairings that could have only been for a large Genoa and a small spinnaker. The breed is already a lively boat so adding in such a large sail would/could be problematic if she was "over canvased" (or nyloned in these modern times).
The river I sail on in its upper reaches is quite wide and in spots several miles across for long stretches. The St Johns river runs some 150 miles south from her headwaters to her northern mouth and exit on the Atlantic. And of course at 62 years old what am I looking for here? How much performance do I need at my age? I was speaking with my rigger Julian Crisp (an ex-pat Brit who has sailed SeaHawks back in the UK) and my sail maker Tom Smith and they agreed that she's fine just as she is with maybe the addition of a smaller Genoa if I must have one - but should probably refrain from anything bigger than a 130%. She sails fine just as she is though as you noted my mainsail is about 10% smaller than originally supplied. I have rebattened that sail with much lighter battens to attain more shape. We are currently under tropical rainy conditions and won't be drying out for several weeks it appears - look for more videos under sail from me and feel free to critique my set up and proffer any handling tips.
We sail on the northern Broads. Our Seahawk came with a Genoa, or extra large jib, but we've hardly used it. It makes tacking more difficult and it's not much use in light winds as it needs a reasonable breeze to keep it filled. But I'm sure it would be good for a sea-going boat. We occasionally use a spinnaker and that works well when the wind is in the right direction....
I say a little of my experience earlier in this topic. I'm sure that on open waters and especially when what wind there is on the beam a genoa could be useful for extra power.
However, experience as a Broads Sailor, especially, on the northern rivers, has taught me that you just need to accept the nature of a SeaHawk.
If you want good performance on narrow tree-lined rivers a genoa is not the answer. It takes too long to set efficiently after tacking and, as the sheets must pass outside your shrouds, you lose the ability to point closely into what wind there is.
Not only that, in light winds, the back draft and eddies you get as the wind hits the trees on the opposite bank and then comes back at you in the opposite direction tends to make a large genoa flap about uselessly.
For light winds amongst trees on narrow rivers you need a top-sailed gaff-rigged craft with a mast at least as tall as the trees - and that doesn't describe a SeaHawk!