Bending on a furling genoa at the start of the season can be daunting, but follow Ian Brown’s advice and you’ll find it a straightforward job

First check the sail over to make sure that there are no outstanding repairs or service issues from last season. It will be easier to address these now than find out about them after the sail has been fitted. Similarly, make sure all the furling gear is working nicely – it is easier to check the top swivel before it is hoisted.

If the sail has been down all winter there’s a good chance the groove in the foil has accumulated wind-blown dust and salt so try and flush this through with fresh water. You could also spray some ‘lube’ or Teflon spray into the groove and wipe it through with an offcut of a suitably sized luff tape.

Next, check that a sufficient length of the furling line is wound onto the drum and that it is wound on the correct way. If the UV strip on the sail is on the starboard side then the furling line needs to exit the drum on the port side (and vice versa). With the sail laid out on the foredeck, attach the tack of the sail to the drum and the head of the sail to the top swivel. The sheets should also be attached. Now the sail is ready to hoist – a job that’s a lot easier if there are two of you, one to pull the halyard and the other to feed the sail into the feeder in the luff foil. The person winding the halyard should pay careful attention to what is happening as the sail goes through the feeder and stop winding if there is any hint of a snag. This is the most likely time damage may occur. Once the sail is fully up take care not to over tension the halyard: there should be just sufficient to remove the wrinkles in the luff of the sail without the luff appearing taut. Then furl the sail away, double checking that the UV strip is on the correct side.

Try to bend your genoa on when there isn’t too much wind otherwise you run the risk of damaging the sail while it is flogging as you hoist it. You will also find it easier if the wind is well forward of the beam.