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Sail & Rigging - Sail Inventory - Swan 47
26 April 2020 - 00:51
Join Date: 17 November 2016
Posts: 29

Sail Inventory - Swan 47

I would like some comments regarding my sail inventory for the Swan 47 (with Reckmann Furler). I am currently using the following sails on board:

#1 Full hoist genoa (North 3Di for racing only)

#2 furling genoa Sobstad (original full-hoist with luff cut down to suit furler)

Genneker (North)

Symmentrical Spinnaker (North)


I have the following sails ashore but I am having difficulty identifying exactly what they are:

Genoa “A” North Furling with foam padding on luff

Luff 58’-8”

Leach 54’-10”

Foot 22’-2”

LP 21’-3”


Genoa “B” North Furling with very thick rope padding on luff. This sail is really heavy!

Luff 58’-3”

Leach 54’-10”

Foot 27’-0”

LP 25’-1”


Genoa “C” Two-tone Blue – very light – with hanks! I think this is a reacher but I don’t understand why it has hanks since the boat, I think, always had furling.

Luff 58’-6”

Leach 54’-0”

Foot 32’-10”

LP 29’-4”


Staysail “A” (marked #4 Genoa) with large hanks. I have used this sail on the inner forestay but it chafes on the lower spreader when close-hauled (sheeted on inboard tracks abaft of mast).

Luff 37’-9” + tack pennant 1’-5”

Leach 36’-9”

Foot 14’-2”

LP 13’-9”


Staysail “B” Hathaway, Reiser & Raymond (marked storm staysail) with small hanks. This sail is larger than the storm staysail indicated on the sailplans.

Luff 35’-4” + tack pennant 11” + head pennant 2’-0”

Leach 33’-0”

Foot 12’-9”

LP 11’-6”


Thanks for your comments.

Genoa A

Genoa C

Staysail A

27 April 2020 - 19:28
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Hi Douglas,

It is a bit difficult to comment on your sails as Im afraid I am used to metric dimensions and areas, but having sailed my 47 for 20 years in cruising and racing modes, I would say that generally sail choice is very dependant on what type of sailing you are doing ie.  coastal cruising, ocean passage, round the cans racing, coastal and offshore racing etc. The beauty of the Swan 47 is that she can perform well at all of the above. The genoa driven rig puts the priority in the foresails , and being a potential cutter rig with the option of a staysail is something I do not think you should ignore, particularly for offshore sailing. The hanked on staysail for cruising upwind in winds above 20kts is excellent, and when reaching it bears the bow down and increases the VMG in my experience and takes abit off the helm, which in turn helps the guy steering/auto helm. I would keep a good middle range staysail and the storm sail, both can be hanked on. Reefing the Mainsail down to the staysail halyard point on the mast, you have a really good balanced rig, and with the runners on you feel as tho you can go anywhere,  I think it would be a mistake to give that up!

Genoas -cruising with your heavy high cut 135% is a pretty safe option. If it is fairly high cut you will get reasonable vis, and If it rolls reasonably well with the luff padding, it should get you out of trouble if you need to reef. But if you can get used to getting the staysail up quickly, that may be a more conservative option. Why not have both!

Racing - Big overlapping sails for lower wind speeds require top crew work to get the benefit I reckon, so much of their good performance can be cancelled out by poor tacks, it comes down to crew and helm work in the end. The safer option would be for a 130% which is a bit more forgiving. You would need to think about rating for this decision. I wonder what percentage your North 3Di is?

Not sure if these were the sort of comments you were asking for, plenty more experience in the forum than me!



Sarabande 47/029


27 April 2020 - 19:35
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Forgot to say, it looks like your Staysail A is a reacher if it snags the rig, could be a great combo with a Genoa #3 reaching in a good breeze. Nice sail to have.


Sarabande 47/029

27 April 2020 - 21:07
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

...mmm...Rob is very, very experienced, and very, very fast when he's racing!!!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

29 April 2020 - 00:59
Join Date: 17 November 2016
Posts: 29

Rob, thank you for your advice. I’ve done some more homework and attached the results. I have amended the sail schedule with my own sails (for my own interest mostly).

 The “working” furling genoa (Sobstad) seems to be approx.. 130%. It measures between the #2 and #3 per the sailplan. This is what I have been using for cruising. The very heavy sail measures almost the same so it is my cruising spare.


 My racing #1 is 150%. We have used it for one season and I am happy with it – but I do agree that some tacks could have been better! Lake Ontario evening races are typically light wind.


 I will continue to take the staysails aboard when cruising. I will try to set the larger staysail again – maybe the inner forestay was not tight enough? When I draw it on the sailplan it clears the lower spreader.


 Genoa “C” still remains a mystery. Why the hanks? It measures as the drifter per the sailplan. Any thoughts on the comment “Reef for use as spinnaker staysail”?


Douglas - Swan 47/57 - "Till"

Sailplan Schedule (ammended)



29 April 2020 - 08:21
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Hi Douglas,


So you have 2 similar Genoa #2, I guess you use the lighter of two and leave on the furler, and change to the heavier one if you are going on a trip with more predicted wind. It would be worth identifying which of the two sails reefs the best, as these sails partly rolled are never perfect, put marks on the foot to identify the sweet spot and record the sheet car positions. I suspect the heavier one may work better when partly rolled.


Genoa #1 may have limited use , but if your races tend to be in wind speeds below 10 Knots then that is when it could shine. Of course light winds like light boats, so I would suggest using that sail goes hand in hand with keeping the boat light, get all the unwanted kit off. We have started using a tacking line on our #1 – a light line attached to the middle of the sail and hauled forward during the tack to get the sail past the shrouds, by a crew member lying on his back on the foredeck – it is that last snag of sail which can get stuck amongst the shrouds as you go through the wind, which is where you lose your power.


Genoa C: I wonder if this sail came from another boat?  As a drifter on another wire forestay would be what it was designed for,  I think Lars would know how that would have been rigged on the Nautor mast, I have no experience of them. They maybe suggesting it could work as a loose footed spinnaker staysail, tacked down to the windward toerail, or to a tack line from the bow. You could try and fly it on your leeward spinnaker halyard and if it fills with the wind at say 160, you could remove the hanks and keep the sail for short handed down wind sailing. I think it is something to experiment with. When it is light it is fairly easy to switch tack points with the sail flying to find a good spot.


Whilst we cannot go sailing right now, we can at least talk about it!


Kind regards



Sarabande 47/029

29 April 2020 - 10:18
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Douglas and Rob

I think you may find most of your sails on this sailplan.
Unfortunately it is in small scale. The yard possibly has the original drawing on 
file, would this be of interest?
Kind regards

29 April 2020 - 11:24
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Douglas and Rob,

Sail Plan in higher definition is available and downloadable  among the other drawings on :

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

29 April 2020 - 21:11
Join Date: 17 November 2016
Posts: 29

Thanks for all your responses. Now I am REALLY looking forward to some sailing.

Rob, we are using the spinnaker foreguy as our tacking line upwind. 

Lars, I did use the sailplan to overlay my inventory on the previously posted images. I have the original sailplan that came with the boat (it has additional information compared with the one posted by Matteo). I will scan it and send it for addition to this wonderful resource!

Attached are a couple shots from last summer.


29 April 2020 - 21:25
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Douglas,

any additional plan, info, brochure, or whatever you have and would like to send for our archive is very much appreciated, with big thanks!

If you can scan in a very high resolution, you could send files by wetransfer, Dropbox or whatever you prefer.

Thanks a lot in advance, we are always looking for any kind of material for the Association, and to be uploaded on classicswan!

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

30 April 2020 - 19:58
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147


Really good to see your sailing pictures, that No 1 looks a beast, and on the reaching shot, she looks nicely powered up and nice ease on the main outhaul! What is the limit of wind in that sail, do you think? So you attach your tacking line to the clew?

On reading the Sail Plan from Nautor which Matteo kindly put up, in clearer type I see the note on the Drifter to "Reef for Spinnaker Staysail" use, and I wonder if the sail has a second tack point, further up the luff so you can tack it down from a staysail halyard? does that make sense?


01 May 2020 - 14:10
Join Date: 19 March 2020
Posts: 4



I have the original blueprint of the sail plan on board at Scarlino if that would help.



01 May 2020 - 16:23
Join Date: 17 November 2016
Posts: 29

I've attached a better picture showing the tacking line attachment I requested from North. Also, see attached scan of sail plan. Full size PDF is posted here:


Genoa Tacking Line

Swan 47 Sail Plan

16 May 2020 - 16:20
Join Date: 16 October 2011
Posts: 5

Reading through Douglas Headsails description, I’d like to propose some comments. 

1 – Furling Genoa “A” with a “Foam Padding” flattening device should be less efficient compared to “B” Genoa’s “Rope Luff”. Outside of any considerations about dimensions and sail weight, the purpose of a Flattener is to make thicker the Headfoil section, thus absorbing more shape at each furling turn. For this reason, a softer “squeezable” material doesn’t perform the same job as another more stable and resistent material.

It’s very effective to flatten the Headsail, while reducing her area. Furling a Genoa up to 10% of its LPG (the distance from Clew to Luff), area is reduced by 19% that is quite alot. Reducing area while flattening the sectional shape is twice efficient for the purpose of reducing the side force component, responsibe of excessive heel angle.       

Since Genoa B has about the same area as the Sobstad one you have on board, I would compare these two sails, disregarding Genoa A that being so small should not be very efficient, in my opinion. 


2 – Genoa “C”, blu color with hanks, could be effective in light cruising conditions, hanked along a Spinnaker halyard hooked in tension near the bow, next to the Genoa furled-up. Having LPG near 150%, in light conditions should drive much more than Furling Genoa. Leech length is similar to Genoa’s: I think it can not be defined as a Reacher. This is unfortunate, because a shorter Leech combined to a relatively longer Foot , for the same LPG and area would give a wider Head angle, more stable and easy to trim. Reachers are great sails to cruise or to race offshore. They could be defined as the modern Code Zero ancestor. 

This Light Headsail is as big as the Sail plan Drifter. I think the Note “Reef for use like a Spinnaker Staysail” is refering to a possible dual use. Hoisted inside a downwind kite, either Asy or Spinnaker, if there is no available a proper Spinnaker Staysail. Luff length should be shorter though, to avoid getting too close to the kite’s Head. Having a sort of “Reef Tack” point a few meters up Luff, and a “Reef Clew” made higher along Leech, this could make sense.

Tacked somewhere around 2/3 of Mast to Headstay distance “J”, sheeted externally around the shrouds towards a lead position along the sheerline, further aft the higher is the Clew. Just like a Spinnaker Staysail. It’s better not to have the Head too close to the kite just to avoid bad interference: the purpose of this sail is to throw more wind on the Mainsail lee side, increasing her efficiency without any harm for the distant kite.      


3 – Staysail “A” defined “#4 Genoa” should be an interesting and very useful Staysail. If the Leech gets too close to lower Spreader, maybe she could be hoisted without using the Tack Pennant, just to keep her lower. Use the Tack Pennant only when sailing at wider angles. Inner stay is about parallel to Headstay, dropping some hoist would also move the whole Staysail forward. I would keep always this Staysail on board, to serve as an “Heavy Weather Jib”, that is also a very important piece of Safety equipment.   


4 – I have found a Nautor Swan 47’ Sail Plan in better definition. Being almost 5Mb is too big to be attached here. I'll send it to Matteo, if somebody need it.  




17 May 2020 - 12:50
Join Date: 17 November 2016
Posts: 29

Thank you Guido - that's a very comprehensive response and aswers ALL of my questions! Launch at our club in Toronto is scheduled for June 6 and I hope I can put these lessons to use very soon. Best regards,

Douglas Svastal

17 May 2020 - 15:09
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Both Lars and Guido refer to a better definition copy of the Sail Plan for the 47, I wonder do you have this Matteo, and please could I have copy by email?



Sarabande 47/029

17 May 2020 - 17:04
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Rob,

if the one which is online on classicswan ("technical tips" > "Drawings&Articles") is not enough just let me know and I will send you a better one.

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

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