Luff, Leach, Foot, Head, Tack, Clew, Roach and Battens: See Measurment Page.

Adjustable Luff: Wire inside luff of sail is attached at one end only, usually at head. Draft of sail can be increased or decreased by drawing sail to of from thimble on free end (as draw string of wire.)

Cloth Weight: Weight of a piece of cloth 28 1/2” x 36.” When selecting a sail from the list, keep in mind the use you intend and be sure the cloth is of sufficient strength for the purpose.

Cunningham Hole: Extra cringle set near the tack and used to control sail shape.

Dacron, Terylene and Teteron: Are trademarks respectively American, English and Japanese, for sailcloth made of POLYESTER threads.

Double-stitched (standard): sails have two rows of stitching along each panel seam. Some sails are TRIPLE-STITCHED

Draft Stripes: Dark bands on sail to reveal its shape. Some are sewn on, painted on, stick on.

Jackline: line running along lower luff of sail to which slides or hanks are attached. Facilitates reefing and furling of sail.

Leach Line: Drawstring in edge tabling of sail to tighten against flutter or to bag sail slightly for lighter air.

Foot Line, same except on foot of some sails.

Loose Footed: on main or club jib, foot is attached at tack and clew only, loose between.

LP = Luff Perpendicular: On headsail, length of line running from clew to luff, meeting luff at a 90º angle. The LP of a 150% genoa is 1.5 times the ‘J’.

Pendant, Pennant, Stretcher: Wire extension, usually detachable to stretch between sail and stem tack fitting or between sail and halyard shackle.

Reefpoints, Jiffy Reef: Methods of reducing effective sail area.

Reshaping: The adjustment of sail shape by changing the overlap of panel seams, for improvement.

Roller Furling: Used on jibs, genoas and mains. Sail has special luff wire or tape so sail can be rolled, furled and reefed.

Shelf Foot: Very full shaped foot panel, usually of lighter cloth, which can be made fuller or flatter by adjusting outhaul tension. Some sails have a zipper along the foot for the same purpose.

Sleeved Luff: Sail has a wider than usual tabling to fit around the mast or stay, as a sleeve. Jibs with a luff sleeve can easily be converted to wire and hanks.

Slotted Stay: A special headstay with grooves to accept jibs and genoas with a mating luff tape.

Stretch Rope: Used on headsail luffs and luff and foot of mains. Increasing rope tension flattens the sail for brisk winds, relaxing the rope increases the fullness of the sail.

Tack Setback: Distance between mast and tack pin on mains, usually to allow for roller reefing gear.

Sail Types

Jib or Lapper, working headsail, usually has an LP of 95% to 115% of the ‘J’.

Genoas are made in various sizes depending on the wind the sail is to be used in. Most use a 150% genoa most of the time. Others use a larger genoa, 160% up to 180%, for lighter winds. Some boats also have genoas in the 125% to 140% range for medium to heavy winds.

Drifter, genoa-like sail made of very light sail cloth, usually ripstop nylon. (In our genoa list.)

Drifter, Reacher, Spinnaker, combination sail made of very light cloth, usually ripstop nylon. Used to best advantage when on a close to broad reach.

Poleless Spinnaker/asymmetrical (single luff) spinnaker, handles much like a genoa. For close reaching to a dead run. Does not require a spinnaker pole. Also know as FLASHER, THRASHER, MPS, etc.

Staysails can be confusing, as many sails are called “Staysail.” We call a sail a staysail when it is of racing type, used with a spinnaker, as a Reaching Stays’l, Tallboy, Blooper and including Mizzen Stay’ls. Boats with a double head rig will find staysail jibs listed as jibs.

Spinnakers, large balloon like sails. See the sketch below for the common type of cuts.

Tripple-Stitched – sails have three rows of stitching along each panel seam.

There are several ways of cutting sails (the laying of the panels.) See the sketches below for the basic types.

Sail Cuts

Cross-Cut Mainsail :

cross-cut mainsail


Tri-Radial Mainsail

tri-radial mainsail


Bi-Radial Mainsail:

bi-radial mainsail


Tri-Radial Spinnaker:

tri-radial spinnaker


Radial Head Asymetrical Spinnaker:

Radial Head Spinnaker



Star-Cut Asymmetrical Spinnaker:

star-cut asymmetrical spinnaker


Tri-Radial Asymmetrical Spinnaker:

tri-radial asymmetrical spinnaker