Doyle Anomaly Headboard

Winner of SAIL Magazine's 2012 Pittman Innovation Award

The Best Way to Raise and Lower a Square Top Mainsail

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Doyle Anomaly Headbard

The Doyle Anomaly Headboard solves a major handling issue with modern square top mainsails with a very robust and elegant solution.

Using the Doyle Anomaly Headboard square top mainsails can now be hoisted without the need to manually attach the headboard to the carriage or re-install the gaff batten each time the sail is hoisted.

Hoisting the halyard pulls the headboard onto the carriage where a toggle locks the headboard into the carriage.

When the sail is lowered the headboard slides off the carriage with slack in the halyard allowing the sail to be flaked on the boom.



Doyle Anomaly Headboard
Doyle Anomaly Headboard - The best way to Raise and Lower a Square Top Mainsail


  • Square top mainsail can now be raised and lowered without the crew climing the mast
  • Gaff battens no longer need to be installed and uninstalled before raising and lowering the main
  • Doyle Anomaly Headboard and Carriage adapts to most existing slider systems on the market
  • System works with both single part and 2:1 haylard systems

The Anomaly Headboard solves a long existing problem with the handling of square top mainsails. Previously, when hoisting a square top main on slides it was necessary to attach the headboard to the carriage or install the gaff batten for each hoist, with the process reversed every time the sail is lowered. The angle of the gaff prevents the square top main from lowering completely to the boom as is normal with a conventional mainsail. The gaff batten effectively holds the sail up when the luff end of the gaff batten comes to rest on the slide stack and the top edge of the sail is retained at the mast by the head preventing the sail from lowering further. Prior to the introduction of the Anomaly Headboard, the crew had to climb the mast or be hauled up in the bosun’s chair and manually remove the head from the carriage. A process that was very difficult and potentially dangerous. The sail performance gains from a square top mainsail are significant and a major block to their wider use has been the handling difficulty described above of raising and lowering the sail. The Anomaly Headboard eliminates this difficulty by allowing the headboard to automatically mate with the carriage when the sail is hoisted and conversely the sail can be stowed easily at the end of the day by lowering the halyard in the normal fashion. When the gaff batten reaches the base of the slide stack, additional slack in the halyard allows the headboard to disengage from carriage where the sail can be easily flaked onto the boom.

The Anomaly Headboard can work with nearly all of the existing luff slider systems on the market today. No modifications of the luff cars or existing system are required. The Anomaly Headboard comes with the headboard which is attached to the sail and a new carriage that replaces the existing carriage. The carriage is designed to mate with the specific luff car system in use on the boat. The Anomaly Headboard has even been used with the Harken 26mm switch track. The system is currently suitable for boats from 11 to 24m. Additionally, the Anomaly Headboard has options for both single part and 2:1 halyards.

The true beauty of the Anomaly Headboard lies in its simplicity. It does not depend on a locking mechanism with its inherent reliability issues to hold the headboard to the carriage. The force of the halyard holds the headboard into the carriage. Compared to a standard headboard the Anomaly Headboard adds just a single moving piece ensuring reliability requiring no additional maintenance compared to any existing slider system. It is made from high strength aluminum alloy and stainless steel. All aluminum parts are anodized to prevent corrosion.

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