Navy 44 Sailing Guides


Safety Considerations:

(1) Depending on time of day and prevailing conditions, harnesses may be required.

(2) Talk through the evolution so the crew understands each person's responsibilities.

(3) Check the area for other boats, shipping, and navigation hazards which might impact the timing of the evolution.


General Situation:

Assume going upwind in moderate conditions and changing from a larger to a smaller headsail.  There are three basic sail change situations that will vary the sequence and rapidity of the change.  Each has its appropriate place.  The tack change is typically used in restricted waters situation when there is an urgency to complete the evolution.  Changing while remaining on the same tack is useful when there is more time and/or there is no room to tack.  Finally, a change wherein the boat bears away until the wind is abaft the beam to reduce pitching and water coming on deck is best in more severe conditions at sea with plenty of sea room.


The sequence of events assumes a tack change.


Required Positions:

(1) Helmsman.

(2) Genoa Sheet.

(3) Foredeck 1.

(4) Foredeck 2.

(5) Mast.

Note: A Mainsail Trimmer may be assigned for the tack; however, it isn't imperative that the sheet and/or traveler be adjusted.


Sequence of Events:

(1) Helmsman announces what type of change and what sail will be raised: "Standby to change to the #3, this will be a tack change".  They also assign positions to people and indicate whether the new sail will be brought on deck through the companionway or forward hatch (taking into account weather).

(2) Genoa Sheet using either the lazy sheet or the changing sheet set the new lead position and lead the new sheet to the foredeck; report "Ready" to the Helmsman.

(3) Foredeck 1 and 2 bring new sail on deck, remove it from bag and hank it on the weather side of the headstay below the first hank of the set sail.  Attach the new genoa sheet ensuring it is properly led and that the sheet is clear.  Report "Ready" to the Helmsman.

(4) Mast ready the working jib halyard for release by taking the halyard out of the self tailer and checking for knots and tangles.  Remove excess turns from the winch.  Report "Ready" to Helmsman.

(5) After receiving "Ready" reports from crew, Helmsman calls out "Tacking, change to the #3" and turns the boat into and through the wind.

(6) Genoa Sheet casts off when appropriate and stands by to trim the new sail.

(7) Mast, as the boat comes up and the genoa sheet is eased, begins to lower the halyard.  REMOVE EXCESS TURNS AS THE LOAD DECREASES BUT DO NOT TAKE ALL THE TURNS OFF THE WINCH.

(8) Foredeck 1 unhanks the sail as it comes down the headstay.  Once the sail is unhanked, change the halyard to the new sail and call "Made" to Mast.

(9) Foredeck 2 gather the sail as it comes down and pull it aft and to weather.  After sail is down, move aft to help Mast hoist the new sail.

(10) Mast once halyard is shifted to new sail, hoist the sail.  When hoisted, call "High" to Genoa Sheet.  Make up tail and secure.

(11) Genoa Sheet once "High" call is made, trim to course.

(12) Foredeck 1 and 2 relead lazy sheet to new sail.  Fold, bag, and stow old sail.


Notes:  Under most conditions it is not prudent to leave a sail on deck for a prolonged period (whether bagged, hanked, or lashed).  Consider rolling smaller headsails from the "hanks to the clew" so that in heavy weather when the sail is brought on deck it can be taken out of the bag at the shrouds and rolled forward.  This becomes a single person job as a opposed to a two person job.

- This page last updated 05/04/2005 -