The Ultimate Guide to Sail Types and Rigs

What’s the sail being is used to do? In general I’m not certain. So I’ve thought of a solution. I’ll show you everything you need to know about sails and rigs in this article.

What are the different kinds of sails? A majority of sailboats only have one mainsail as well as one headsail. The mainsail is usually one that is a fore-and aft Bermuda Rig (triangular and triangular design). Genoa, or jibis the headail that is used. Most sailors have additional sails for various situations, including the spinnaker (a well-known downwind sailing sail) the gennaker, number zero (for usage upwind) or the storm sail.

Each sail is distinctive and serves a distinct reason for being there. Are you trying to accelerate downwind speed quickly? Try using spinnakers. However, don’t just raise any sail and do it. It is essential to understand the optimal time (and the best way) to use each sail. The rigging of your sails can affect the type of sail you use.

This article is part one of my series about sails and rigs. Part 2 is all about the various types of rigging. If you’re looking how to recognize each boat you come across, be certain to read the article. It provides all the different sail plans and rigging types clearly.

Different Sail Types

At the beginning I’ll give a brief overview of the fundamentals of the sails that are listed in the following table. After that I’ll go over the details of each type of sail. I’ll also discuss the sail plan that is the originator of selecting the best kind of sail, in a sense.

Go to this page if would like to look through some photos.

Below is the complete list of different sail designs:
(Don’t be worried that you’re still not able to grasp all the words but I’ll clarify the meanings later. )

  • Mainsail
  • Jib, triangular keep sail
  • Genoa Big jib that runs over the main sail
  • Spinnaker Large balloon-shaped, downwind sail, designed for lighter airs
  • Gennaker is a combination of Genoa and an Spinnaker
  • Code Zero Screecher – Upwind spinnaker
  • Reacher (also known as Drifter is a mighty sturdy, solid, hanked onto Genoa however, it is constructed of lightweight fabric
  • Windseeker, tall and narrow with high-clewed and an extremely lightweight Jib
  • Trysail can be a small mainsail to use the front and back of storms with heavy.
  • Storm Jib small jib made for extreme weather.

The table below is large which describes the various kinds of sails and their functions in detail .

you’re aware … The list is a bit complicated, therefore in order to understand the sails we must put them in a framework.

The most significant difference between the different types of sails is their place of installation. The mainsail is located directly in the front of the mast, which is generally just behind. The headsail is located to the front of the mast.

We typically have three types of sails on our boat:

  1. Mainsail: This is the massive sail that is behind the mast and is attached to the mast and the boom
  2. Headsail The sail that is placed at the front of the mast and is fixed to the mast, as well as the forestay (ie. jib or Genoa)
  3. Specialty sails All utility sails such as balloon-shaped spinnakers big sails specifically designed to be used downwind.

Another significant difference to know about is functions. Specialty sails (just the name I was thinking of) differ in their purpose and are specifically designed for circumstances. Therefore, they’re not often used, however, the majority of sailors have at least one.

They are usually placed on the head sail’s front or as an alternative to the head sail.

These sails specially made are classified in three classes:

What Is The Difference Between a Genoa and Jib?

Created by Gabo in Comparative What’s the process?

I’ve been a part of the sailing community for over 10 years and have come across new words for the same thing almost every every day. The left side of boats is known as port, while sheets are made up of sheets or rope, etc. This is the way it operates. When it comes to sails, the concept is similar, but there are many complex terms that are used to refer to sails.

The same is the case with the Jib and Genoa however, it has ended today! This article is primarily focused on describing the differences between two types of foresails (or headsails).

A Jib is an foresail (headsail) which does not extend further from the mast. A Genoa however, on contrary is more spacious and covers the mast, as well as the mainsail in a small portion. A Jib sail is perfect for high winds and is easy to control, while a Genoa is ideal for sailing downwind in gentle winds.

While often misinterpreted, it isn’t the same as Genoa. Now having a solid understanding of the fundamentals and the underlying concepts, what exactly does it mean if you’re looking to be among the top sailors?

SizeThe is less than foresail triangularMuch more extensive than foresail triangular
Easy handlingEasyThe process may be challenging
Storing awayEasyThe process is challenging
Main useStrong winds (storm jib)Light winds

There are significant differences among Jib as well Genoa

Main Differences Between a Jib and a Genoa Sail

To fully understand the difference between genoas and jibs required, you must know a few terms.

  • A triangle in the front sail is the area that lies between the front stay and the mast when looking at it from the sides.
  • Headsail (or the staysail) is the foremost sail that is connected to the forestay, and extends backwards towards the mast.


When comparing the two types of sails, the main factor to take into consideration is size. A jib as we mentioned earlier is so big that its clew (the back corner of the sail) is higher than the mast. This is called Genoa. The differences in size can cause distinct characteristics for the sail, which we’ll explore more in the next section.

When viewing on the other side of the vessel, frequently the genoa becomes so large that it becomes difficult to be able to see the mainsail. But, with an jib, the sail can always be made to fit into the triangular area that is the forestay.

In this image it is possible to see the triangular foresail’s triangle in yellow, and the headsail which extends over the mast. It’s red, also called Genoa.

Genoas and Jibs can be differentiated by the extent to which they cover the foresail triangle (the gap between forestay, deck and mast). Jibs can be classified as an jib if it falls within the 100 percent (filling the space but not exceeding the area of the triangular foresail). Anything greater than 130 percent, etc. It could be classified as Genoa. Genoa.

The boating industry is full of confusion obviously, it’s similar to what sails are called. Even though it’s the most commonly used method to classify sails. However, there are people who believe that the jib could be as high as 130 per cent. There are people who use the words Genoa and Jib to refer to the same thing, however

As long as you are able to see that triangle on the foresail’s front and the space the sail takes up, you are aware of the type of sail it’s.


Genoas as well as jibs can be built from the same materials. Hence, the weight of the genoa is because of a bigger sail area and the additional strengthening. Jibs are generally easier to install because of its weight as well as because it’s smaller in size.

Ease of Handling

A jib carried under sail more straightforward than a genoa that is bigger since the jib doesn’t extend beyond the mast. It’s not stuck or caught in the spreader, or the side stay (which is often the case when genoas are used). Tacking is more easy and fluid and is ideal for those just beginning to learn.

If you’re using a Hank-on device making the move to the larger Genoa could be difficult to raise, but it is possible to lower using electrical winches.

Potential Longevity

We have mentioned earlier, the smaller jib has less contact points with other vessels in the vessel. Fewer contact points means less chafing and longer life span; this could, naturally, be significantly reduced in the case of an ice jib intended for use only in extreme turbulent conditions.

Stowing Away and Attaching The Headsail

The smaller size and weight make stowing easier. It’s not only that it can be taken away more quickly and quickly, but also lifting sails of sailing from their storage area and into their “ready to hoist” position is a breeze as in contrast to the difficult “I’m walking with arms full.”

Sailing Basics: When To Use The Genoa

It’s advised to use your genoa when you’re experiencing low winds and you’re not getting enough speed from your mainsail , or Jib setup…

It’s the ideal moment to upgrade to the larger as well as more efficient Genoa. Genoas provide more wind to the mainsail, increasing the speed and lift of your boat.

Catamaran Freedom How to go to the south on catamaran!

Overpowered monohulls occur in the event that the heel angle is increased (the boat is tilted towards the side) but the speed on the vessel isn’t. A catamaran is different and does not tilt. However it is important to keep an eye on the tables of speed so that you don’t damage the mast or colliding.

If you’re interested in learning the reasons for why and how catamarans can capsize in accordance with data, I’d recommend reading this article written by me. Catamarans are able to limit their size.

Sailing Basics: When To Use The Jib

The principal function of the jib’s is the construction of an airfoil that feeds the mainsail by with through the air. This is the result of less turbulent and a higher performance in comparison to the mainsail, even though the jib’s sail area is a tiny space for sails.

Smaller headails such as the jib can be used for long-distance travel , which means that the possibility of having to deal with long days of weather is distinct chance. When cruising in the ocean like this most vessels employ a multi-headsail configuration that, at a minimum, one should be less than a Jib.

In addition, there’s space for the storm Jib that is specifically designed to withstand extreme winds. Staysails like this are divided into two types or be in the hank-on type and you’ll need to remove your previous head sail prior to putting up your storm sail.

It’s what that you can place over the head that’s already in the process of being furled. The storm Jib is bright orange color and it provides greater durability in the material or the sowing. The storm Jib is less bulky than the standard Jib.

Main Similarities Between Genoa And Jib

As we’ve already seen, there are some differences between them, particularly in regards to size and when to use the latter. But, apart of that, they share several things that are common with each other than the differences which separate them.

Stayails and headsails (want to learn more about the components of a catamaran? check this out) They provide stability and power to cats.

In the majority of cases the headsail is enough to maintain the boat at the speed that is comfortable and pleasant. What you’ll find is that your boat will have a totally different experience when you are not using the mainsail. It’s also easy to sail by yourself and the roller-furling mechanism lets you to expand or retract the sail’s surface easily, and let the crew take a break and relax.

However the mainsail usually requires some people to get onto the deck, cover it and fix it.

Raising, Reefing, and Furling a Headsail.

The Jib and genoa can be mounted on a furling device which rolls the canvas towards the woodsy surface when it’s not in use. This is the most frequently used configuration as it’s simple, fast and secure.

Both sails can be used with the Hank-on technique (picture above) which is slower and requires more efforts from crew members, however it minimizes airflow disturbances that the semi-rolled-up furling systems create.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between a Headsail and a Jib?

The question asked often. Hopefully after reading the previous paragraphs, you’ve realized of the fact Jib is actually a small headail kind, just like Genoa is a huge headail-type.


If you remember anything about the post, then I’ll suggest this as the first item you’ll remember.

A Jib is smaller in its size and does not completely cover the mast or mainsail; Genoa is larger and extends over the mast. The Jib is perfect for conditions of storms and is easier to carry, use and attach. This version of Genoa Genoa is heavier and better suited to lighter wind conditions and has been designed to work better in the downwind!

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