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Ullman Sails VA

17467 Gen. Puller
PO Box 297
Deltaville, VA 23043

11 South Mallory St.
Hampton, VA  23663

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What does the genoa percent mean?

            Genoa sizing is a something that is often confusing to the average sailor.  There are a number of different systems to describe sails.  “#1”, “155%”, “Lapper” are some of the expressions that can be used interchangeably.  We should probably start with answering the question “what makes a sail a genoa?”  A genoa is an overlapping headsail.  Overlapping meaning that the clew of the sail comes back past the mast.            

Racing sails are generally given a number to describe the sail’s size.  A #1 would be the largest genoa in an inventory, a  #2 the next largest, and so on.  A # 3 is usually the largest non overlapping sail in the inventory.  This sail is also often called a blade.

A more precise description of the size of a genoa is given as a percentage.   The overlap size is the LP of the sail divided by the J dimension of the boat.  The “LP” is the luff perpendicular which is the shortest distance from clew to luff, which always works out to be on a 90 degree angle from the luff.  A 155% genoa has an LP that is 155% of J.  If your J dimension is 10’ then a 155% genoa would measure 15.5’ as the shortest distance from the clew to the luff.

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