Headsail size matters?

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Mar 3, 2008
Hunter 356 Lake Stockton
I have been told and have read that since the H356 sails mainly off its main, a larger headsail (say 135 vs 110) is not an advantage and may be a slight disadvantage). Any comments?
Sep 10, 2012
Hunter 450 Gulfport, Florida
The main is the primary, but the headsail creates the slot effect and seriously controls pointing. I had a 240 at one point so the B & R rig is familiar. The problem I find is that in lighter air you can't make a small headsail bigger and it does add a great deal to the airflow. I currently fly a 135 and a 155 and there are times I wish I had a 170, but overpowering is a threat. A 110 is a small genoa, but if you are timid it would be comfortable.


Sep 28, 2008
Hunter 41DS Punta Gorda, FL
Doug, you are correct about the head sail. It is small. We had considered a larger one for our boat but (if yours is like mine) the sheets for the headsail run between the shrouds on the B&R Rig. If you run them on the outboard side of the shroud, so you can have a large foresail, it will seriously mess with the sail shape and how it interacts with the mainsail. Not to say anything about wear and tear on the shrouds, sail and sheets. If you get a bigger sail it would go beyond your shroud and be so far outboard as to be of little use when pointing. Additionally it would be so misshaped (bent around the shroud) when sheeting in it would be of little use. However downwind would be awesome. IMHO! If I am totally screwed up here please let me know!
May 24, 2004
CC 30 South Florida
That is correct the power in your boat is produced by the large roach mainsail. The small working jib provides the stability and pointing ability. For light air performance get an asymetrical spinaker.
Mar 13, 2004
Hunter 356 Port Huron, MI
I have a 356 with a 155 jib. I did this so the boat will sail its rating when racing. I can make the boat move well in as little at 1-2 knts of wind. The main is indeed the power sail, but with the 155, the balance between sails is much better.

Bottom line, if you race, get the bigger headsail. If not, get a ASM in a sock.
Mar 20, 2004
Hunter 356 and 216 Portland, ME
Steve is definitely right! Hunter uses a small, easy to handle jib and a large main; On the 356, adding a larger jib gives better light air performance and better balance. We had Doyle make us a larger jib- the max that will fit between the stays and the mast struts-and it makes a significant difference in light air performance. Because of interference from the struts, it measures out at 122. We also have a cruising code zero that works up to about 60 degrees off the wind in light air.


Nov 7, 2007
Hunter 356 Rock Hall, MD
Steve and Chuck,

I am looking to do the same on my 356 . Did either of you need to run the jib sheets outboard (as Hunter did on the H36) with the larger headsail ? Thanks for the advice - Joe
May 29, 2011
Hunter H 240 rehoboth beach , De
H 356 Jib Sheets

I have my jib sheets outside the lower shrouds.Do some owners run them inside.
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