Headboard on a cruising mainsail

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Chuck Losness, May 6, 2023.

  1. Chuck Losness
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    I recently cut down a used main in excellent shape to fit my Gulfstar 37. It has a headboard and every main I have ever had has had a headboard. So I kept the headboard. I am reworking the cover to fit better and it needs some restitching. Especially where the headboard chaffs on the cover. I am thinking why do I need a headboard on a cruising boat? Did some research online. Didn't find much. What I did find was interesting. Having a headboard adds a minuscule amount of sail area to the main. Around 72 square inches on my main. Also found a couple of posts that headboards on cruising mains are basically worthless and a carry over from race boats. I am thinking of removing the headboard.

    What do you think? Headboard or not?
     
  2. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    A headboard is for the loads, not the area. It allows you to adjust the shape of the sail, especially in the leech/roach, by preventing the head from rotating at the hoist.
     
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  3. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    gggGuest ...

    Yes, and also distributing the loads into the fabric more evenly.
     
  4. Chuck Losness
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    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    If I remove the headboard and use a ring, the ring will have webbing like you use to distribute loads at the tack or clew. I would have 3 webbings. One down the luff. One down the leach. And one down the middle. Wouldn't the webbing distribute the loads just like they do at a tack or clew?
     
  5. skaraborgcraft
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    skaraborgcraft Senior Member

    You can use a ring and webbing. I would use at least another 3 layers of cloth as patching, each smaller than the last fitted. Luff and leech webbing obviously, but i would be looking at at least another 3 in between those if stitched back to back, or another 2 if stitched on a divergent.
     
  6. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    The headboard works,there are posters who have explained why it helps and it is probably less work to make a cover that fits the sail than to rebuild the head of the sail.The counter argument from a couple of internet posters explaining that the headboard isn't necessary is a less strong argument by comparison.As ever,your boat and your decision.
     
  7. Chuck Losness
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    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    The head of the sail was only cut down by a foot or so. There was a huge multilayered patch at head. At least 6 or 7 patches. Only the top two smallest patches were cut off. I kept those and sewed them back on the head patches. So there is no lack of reinforcing patches at the head of the sail.

    I am finishing the cover today. Will test fit this afternoon. Not going to remove the headboard for the time being. Thanks for all the info provided.
     
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  8. Chuck Losness
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Location: Central CA

    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    Put the cover back on yesterday. My mast is old school with external sail track, slides and shackles. Disconnected the headboard shackle and the head of the sail lays over the top of the sail. That should eliminate any chaff or at least most of it on the cover. Only takes a minute or so to connect the shackle to the headboard.
     
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