Ease the sheet

Sailing closehauled with main and genoa set, the mainsail usually ends up somewhere near the midline of the boat. This is because it’s receiving air that has already been ‘bent’ inwards by the genoa. A cruiser’s headsail, which is cutting clean air, is typically sheeted at a much wider angle even when it’s hard in. If you leave the mainsheet tight when you furl the genoa to manoeuvre under main only, the boat will virtually stop. She’ll also develop lee helm and a lively interest in going sideways. This is because without the genoa to complete the picture the sail is producing almost no forward force. Ease the sheet so the boom’s at least 25 degrees off the midline and the boat will sail positively, tacking and gybing willingly every time.