Gybe-ho!

Much is written about how to gybe a mainsail safely, and every instructor makes sure his students are dab hands at heaving in the mainsheet to control the dreaded boom. The headsail, however, is often forgotten. Unless you have a full crew looking for work, the best thing to do with this is nothing at all until the main has been gybed and the sheet eased away. Once the boat is steady on her new course, you can ‘pass’ the genoa across from one sheet to the other. It won’t do any harm in the meantime. Letting the sail fly as you would when tacking is a stress-making policy because it not only complicates the manoeuvre, the sail can also wrap itself around the forestay.