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What does #1 jib, #2 jib, etc. mean...

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I just purchased my first boat (a 1977 sloop) and it has two jibs marked #1 and #2 down by the tack and on the sailbags. Didn't think much of it until I read a magazine article referencing these types of numbers and weight of sails, etc. It talked about #1 genoa, #3 main, and it assumed the reader understood what all these meant. I can't find any other mention of this in my other reference books. Can anyone help by giving a brief explanation? Thanks for your time and enjoy the upcoming season. Bobby


size matters

The sail area varies from boat to boat but is a 100% jib just passes before the mast on a tack, then a #1 headsail would be about 150% area, #2 is about 135%, #3 is 100 to 110% of jib, #4 is about 80% and #5 is small, 35% or so. As the sail gets smaller, the stitching and canvas gets tougher to handle more wind.

Cliff Ruckstruhl

IT's all about inches

a # 1 would be you biggest head sail on the boat and so on. SOme people have a 110 and a storm sail so the 110 would be ther # 1 and the Storm Sail would be a # 2. Cliff

Joe Ford

It's not that simple Cliff....

Besides being described in terms of overlap, " headsails are also described by numbers, with the Number 1 being the largest sail. A #1 genoa for an IOR boat typically shows a 150% overlap. Such a boat might sail with three Number 1's, light, mecium, and heavy, which are distinguished by progressively heavier cloth and progressively flaatter shapes. (PHRF boats can usually sail with a 155 % geonoa, without penalty.) A Number 2 varies from about 130 too135 or even 140 percent; a Number 3 has an overlap of about 98 %. Incidentally, a 98% sail, like a Number 3, doesn not quite fill the foretriange and, as such, does not overlap the main." The Number 4 is usually designated as the storm jib. The quoted section was lifted from Tom Whidden's "The Art and Science of Sails" I believe cliff is incorrect. What he would have is a #3 and #4.


4's and 5's

A #4 or Blade is usually the size that allows a sloop to go to wind in gale conditions (Beaufort Scale). It is large enough to pull the bows forward. A #5 is for stability in a blow. Mine is 32 ft2. It is good for heaving to and balancing a deeply reefed main, but of little use making progress to wind. Most sloops can't go to wind in Force 6 and above.
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