What is a Sleeve Furling Cover?


If you have a furling headsail you know the importance of keeping your sail sheltered from the sun. UV rays will quickly cause a headsail to rot if it’s left exposed. There are a couple of different methods for protecting your headsail. You can sew a sacrificial sun cover to the leech and foot of your sail or you can cover it with a sleeve furling cover. Today, we’re going to focus on sleeve furling covers, which are easy to make and easy to use.

Sleeve furling covers, also known as Genoa covers or jib socks, are long canvas covers that will cover your entire furled headsail. They are often made from marine polyester like Sur Last or an acrylic, like Sunbrella Marine Grade. Covers protect the sail from sun, weather, mildew, and pollution. Many sailors also prefer to use furling covers as a safe guard from their sail coming unfurled in high winds.

Sleeve furling covers are pulled up over the furled sail using an extra halyard. They are made to fit snugly so they don’t flap in the wind but so tight that they chafe the sail. A long, Vislon zipper secures the entire length of the cover. Sleeve furling covers are great for sailors with older sails (they’re easier to install than sacrificial covers) and for racers who don’t want the added weight of a sacrificial sun cover.

Watch this demo video to see how quick and easy it is to install a sleeve furling cover.


Make your own sleeve furling cover with a kit from Sailrite. Kits contain everything you need to sew a genoa sleeve and are available for sails from 15-63 feet.

Learn more about these and other sail cover kits at www.sailrite.com.

How to you protect your furling headsail? With a sacrificial cover or a sleeve? Share your personal experience and tips in the comments!

  1. Sam Whitaker said:

    You always have excellent info. I really enjoy reading your demos and seeing your tips on how to DIY. As we are in the winter season, I along with many others at our marina have taken down our biminis, dodgers etc. No matter what material it seems like ALL have some degree of spotty mold on them. Can you address this problem? I don’t want to store mine all winter like that. Any special stuff to use on it?
    Thank you
    Sam Whitaker
    Dayton, Ohio

  2. Nikki said:

    Hi Sam,

    If your fabric is Sunbrella and is sewn with Tenara thread, you can clean it with a bleach solution. Mix 1 cup bleach with 1/4 cup mild soap with a gallon of water and spray on your canvas or let it soak in the solution. Then scrub, rinse, and allow to air dry. If you have polyester fabric or your Sunbrella is sewn with polyester thread, you’re best bet is Iosso Mold and Mildow Stain Remover. It’s not as strong, but is gentle enough for all fabrics. You can find that here: http://www.sailrite.com/Iosso-Mold-Mildew-Stain-Remover#.Uovd0qVvef0

    Hope that helps!

  3. Melanie Leslie said:

    In the picture at the top of this post, there is a rope wrapped around the jib sleeve cover. is this to prevent flapping of the cover? I didn’t see instructions for this on the Sailrite video. I just made a jib sock and after I put it up I could see that it needs some type of cinching line to pull it tighter around the sail. Otherwise it flaps noisily and will probably wear out from chafe very soon. I have seen another sailor at my marina with a cinching line that I will try to replicate, but wondering if you have instructions on this somewhere. Thanks!

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Melanie,
      Yes, there is a length of leech line sewn to the top of the sleeve furling cover that can be wrapped around the entire cover to prevent flapping. Sorry this wasn’t discussed in the video.

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