Upping the downside

Modern fractional rigs with tall, narrow self-acting jibs are a joy to sail upwind. Unfortunately, many of these otherwise excellent headsails become unsheetable when you ease off onto a reach using only the gear supplied. The sheet position does not allow enough downward pull to compensate for the extreme twist such high-aspect ratio sails experience. The answer is to rig what racers call a ‘barber-hauler’. Ideally, attach a single block to the rail, abeam or immediately abaft the sheet horse. Snap-shackle a line to the clew of the sail and lead it through the block aft to a spare winch. Pull down on the clew just enough to settle the sail and that’s it. If there’s nowhere on the rail, you’ll have to contrive something else. If nothing is possible, write a strong letter to the boat builder and demand a retro-fit solution. It is not tolerable to sail along with a shaking leech.