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New Headsail


Jun 1, 2021
Beneteau 285 bay
I recently acquired a Beneteau First 285 and need a new headsail. I will be doing some beer can racing however most of my sailing is just cruising around the bay. Predominate winds around 8-11 knots.
Normally it will be myself and one or two crew. So total weight around 500lbs.
Looking for recommendations on maker and size.
Should I go with 115, 135 or 150% based on the crew weight and common wind.
Feb 21, 2013
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new Beneteau!!

You will get plenty of advise on where to buy head sail and size on this forum. If it was my sailboat I would contact a local sail loft for a quote and recommended genoa size for your sailing conditions. In addition, they will come to your boat, take all the measurements and discuss sail material, weight and features with you then provide a quote. BUT if you want to pass that option and make your own measurements there are lots of on-line sail manufacturers out there, which you can quotes very quickly.
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Jun 1, 2021
Beneteau 285 bay
Thanks for the reply, We do have a local maker. But it would be great to hear from those who have and are sailing the boat actively.
Jul 19, 2013
Pearson 31-2 Boston
Unless you sail in an unusually light air venue, get a 135% premium dacron tri-radial cut. If you are willing to be casual on the beercan course, consider going to 130 or 125%...
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Jan 1, 2006
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Which keel do you have?
It is a fractional rig but like 7/8 and has a backstay. So the main isn't that large in comparison to a main on a B&G rig. And, with the Sail Area/Displacement ratio at a relatively tame 16.29 you may want the 150%.
I'm normally in favor of smaller headsail for a variety of reasons. I could argue that since they are easier to tack you could gain as much by making faster tacks, and sailing the boat more on its feet with a small crew. Note that going upwind most of the drive of the sail is in the first few feet and dragging that leech around isn't helping. It's going down wind that you need the extra sail area. Make sure you have a pole.
You'll have a more favorable PHRF rating with the 135.
The best answer is post #2. Sailmakers know more than just how to make a sail.


Jun 1, 2021
Beneteau 285 bay
Thanks for the info. I am leaning to the 135 for ease of tacking and lack of crew. Will most likely combine it with a Code 0 for a little umph off the wind.
Nov 21, 2007
Beneteau Oceanis 34 Kingston, WA
Our first sailboat was a First 285 which had a recently purchased 135% Genoa, it was an excellent boat in the light wind of the south Puget Sound where we sailed at the time. Given the light weight of the 285, we were able to sail in very little wind, but the full 135 could over power the wing keel and push us around when the wind got strong. We have a Code 0 on our larger boat now, but I think if you and your potential two crew are experienced than my wife and I are, then the 135% and an asymmetrical spinnaker would be both more budget friendly and faster on the 285 than a Code 0 and another furler. The previous owner of our 285 had built a homemade sprit to use with his asymmetrical and said he loved it.