Mine is a 2003 Bavaria 32. The previous owner commissioned a No. 3 jib from Jeckells and we use it 90% of the time rather than the original full sized Elvstrom genoa. We cruised last year up the east coast from Woolverstone to Holy Island in Northumberland and the only time the big genoa came out of the locker was when a longish spell of light airs were forecast.

    This summer we took the boat up to Arisiag (west coast of Scotland) and around Skye and the Inner Sound and we haven’t used the big genoa at all yet.

    Like you, we’re cruisers, not racers but having said that I am quite keen to get the best out of the rig at all times and I have hardly ever felt the boat was underpowered. (Quite often the opposite!). In fact the best performance I have ever had out of the boat was last week returning to Arisaig from Mallaig with one reef in the main and the full no3 jib broad reaching in 12 – 14kts of wind. We managed an apparent wind angle of about 40deg and a boat speed of around 6.5 up to 7kts (briefly).

    The biggest factor we have found in improving the boat performance was that we had a professional rigger tune the rig for us at the start of this season after we had the standing rigging replaced. Compared to last season, the difference was marked. Last year the boat displayed quite a lot of weather helm and we often had to reef earlier than I would have wished. This season the boat’s performance has been transformed. She feels much better balanced and more lively and the weather helm has almost completely disappeared.

    My advice would be to go for a new smaller headsail, and perhaps have your big genoa cleaned and repaired for those times when you need it. And pay a professional to set up the rig for you. We used Robbie Storrar who is based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

    I have the email correspondence somewhere between the previous owner and Jeckells (can’t put my hand on it at the moment) and they seemed very helpful with advice on the measurements and spec for the new sail.