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SELF-TACKERS WORTH IT?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be wrong. How much extra power do you get from an overlapping headsail (as opposed to, say, a 150 percent genoa) compared to a typical self-tacker?

— Bradley Connor, San Diego, CA

BRIAN HANCOCK REPLIES

When a yacht designer comes up with the sailplan for a design he/she has a certain amount of sail area that can be incorporated based on the righting moment of the boat. In the past,

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