Peel sail change – step by step

Procedure for a peel head sail change, which would apply for a larger type of yacht (30-50 feet) but obviously can be modified for other types as well. By “peel” we mean hoisting a second head sail side by side with an existing one and then once the new sail is in operation we drop the old one. By doing this the impact to boat speed will be minimised.

What this article is also trying to emphasize is the importance of crew weight and working in a smart efficient way to avoid disturbances to the balance of the boat, keeping the crew on the rail as much as possible. It should be possible to change the head sail with only a maximum of two people being away from the rail at any one time.

Assumptions made for the step-by-step instructions below:

  • The boat is on a starboard tack
  • change from no 3 headsail (Genoa) up to a no 2
  • The no 3 is in port track
  • We’ll be hoisting the no 2 on the inside of the no 3.
  • This is a peel only change, ie we will not be tacking
  • There is a spare “change sheet” available on the boat.

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