North Sails LOFT NEWS

Story Contributors: Hugh Beaton


A Look Into What’s Important to Think About When it Comes to Your New Code Zero

Local North Sails expert Hugh Beaton shares insight into what you need to think about when it comes to setting up your new Code Zero on your boat.

So you’re either thinking about adding a code zero to your mix or you’ve already bought one and probably wondering what’s next. We’ve put together a list of what we’ve learned in the past year from our trials and tribulations with Code Zero’s. 

Learned the Hard Way

You need more space at the top otherwise the sail can’t unfurl if it’s too close to the forestay. It’s not the swivel, it’s the head of the sail itself that needs room. 

Tip: Hoist your code just a few inches short, unfurl, and winch it up the remaining distance. 

Helix Sails are the Easiest to Handle

Perhaps more important for the cruisers than the racers, Helix sails are lighter, more flexible and easier to stow away. You can fold it in half and put it in your car. Helix sails offer significant handling benefits that makes it a great choice for cruisers and racers alike.

UV Protection

We’re seeing more and more cruisers that are wanting to leave these things up so you need to have a plan for UV protection whether it’s paint or UV suncover. Whatever you do, do not leave it up without protection. Leaving it up for a long weekend is okay, but leaving it up long term is not. The material will eventually be broken down by the UV rays and you’ll be needing a replacement faster than you think. 

When thinking about how to set up your code zero, it’s best to ask yourself the following questions. Understanding your attachment options will help your sail expert design the best possible sail with the right fittings so you can sit back and enjoy your experience.

  • Where does your spin halyard come out at the top?
  • Where are you going to put the drum? Will the bow pulpit be in the way?
  • Do you need a prod? 
    • Having a bowsprit isn’t necessary as it depends on the location of the drum and how much room there is in the pulpit.
  • Is your anchor roller strong enough to be used? Or would it need to be reinforced? This is especially important for cruisers.

Code Zero Hardware

There are a few hardware items you need to think about before your sail arrives to make sure your boat is ready to go.


Yes your sail needs to furl around something! There are multiple setups that you can do that work best for your boat and sailing needs. We’ve had great success with the ProFurl NEX units for local sailors on Lake Ontario. When purchasing a furler, you can opt to get stanchion leads. These assist the furling line and cam cleats should you wish to have the furling line come all the way back to the cockpit; however it’s not a must. This would be most ideal for shorthanded crews.

Attachment Points

You’ll need to think about potential attachment points in relation to your furling unit. Almost any cruiser built in the last 10 years has attachment points already in place for Code Zeros. This is because there’s a bit of space above the mast therefore there is always a pass through via the pulpit. Hanse always has it built in already, same with Beneteau.

The Furling Line

When it comes to the furling line, there are two main things to consider: the grip and the length. It’s all about grip. The line needs to be able to spool in the drum and not slip when you’re pulling. We recommend talking to a rigger when getting a furling line, specifically Cam from Fogh Marine. We have worked with Cam many times to create furling lines for Code Zero’s; he is well versed in what line to use. 

The length itself for the furling line is critical. This all depends on where you want to control the line from therefore how far does it need to come back? Cruisers may want it to come through a cam cleat so they can stand up and pull the line from the back of the boat; whereas racers may want it to come through tweakers to the cockpit. Additionally, this also impacts usage if you get a velcro patch on the sail. Cruisers typically don’t need the velcro patch on the sail whereas racers like the velcro patch so that it keeps the sail closed once it’s furled up (which also makes it easier to drop).


An additional add-on to your setup that could be beneficial. Many racers use them because they allow you to set the sail for all kinds of different wind angles. We recommend speaking with Fogh Marine about options and sizes for your boat specifically. 

Code Zero Toronto Sail Loft

Story Contributors

Code Zero’s: What’s Next headshot
Hugh Beaton

Loft Manager, Sail Expert —

Hugh learned to sail in Barrie ON, where he worked with Lasers, 470s, Int 14's and small keelboats.  He started working at local sail loft during summers while attending University in Toronto.  While attending University, Hugh learned to design and...

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