to jib or not

Moderator: GreenLake

to jib or not

Postby dannyb9 » Thu May 03, 2012 3:24 pm

i've always 'reefed' my ds by striking the jib but my present main has a nice deep reef and i have considered tying one in and using the jib. what are the pros and cons of a reefed main plus jib vs sailing with main only? seems that its been blowing 15kn+ a lot here on sc coast.
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Postby GreenLake » Thu May 03, 2012 4:19 pm

We've had the wind actually whistling in the rigging during one of our beer can races here and we were sailing with jib up (and possibly a single reef in the main - I sometimes do when my crew isn't that experienced). That was with a total crew weight of about 380 as equipped. I think the sound effects meant the wind had definitely reached well into the 20s for the duration of that gust.

On the other hand, I was cruising with two friends in about 16kts on the same lake, and decided reefing the main and striking the jib was just the ticket. The ride felt very controlled, but anytime we hit any local wind shadows it got really slow...

If you strike the jib, raise the CB to maintain balance. (A partially raised CB will be further aft, just as the mythical "center of effort" moves aft when there's no sail in front). Even with that, don't expect good upwind performance. For that, you do need the jib and the CB down.

Handling higher winds is something where both temperament and practice come in. And it makes a bit of difference whether the wind tends to be more steady or really variable. The latter is more demanding. In the end, you'll need to practice to determine how far you are comfortable in higher winds, but I'd definitely encourage you to find out for yourself what works for you.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Postby Jett » Thu May 03, 2012 10:46 pm

I don't always practice what I preach, but I prefer to reef the main and leave the jib alone in stronger winds. The part I don't always practice is reefing the main before heading out. Pulling down the jib in a blow is easier than putting in a mainsail reef underway, in my experience, so often the jib would come down and I'd never get around to reefing the main.

The reason I prefer the jib up most of the time has to do with Greenlake's comment about upwind performance. The Daysailer is just not very good upwind without a headsail, when trying to sail close to the wind or tacking (especially tacking in a blow!). I'd rather have a taut jib and loose main for tacking in a blow, than no jib and tight main.

Adjusting the centerboard certainly helps, as Greenlake points out, but I always try to sail with both sails up for the best control, whenever possible.
Jett Conner
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Postby K.C. Walker » Sat May 05, 2012 11:12 am

Danny,

As the wind gets heavier the boat tends to get more weather helm. The more the boat heels the more weather helm. In heavy weather, the kind that you're fighting to keep the boat upright and flogging sails, with the main reefed and the jib up the boat balances fine with the board all the way down. Having the board all the way down definitely helps with leeway in these conditions.

I think the key to using the reefed main is ease of reefing. I mean, when you need to reef, often you really need to reef! So, something that's quick to do is essential. I must admit, I'm still working on that.

With my boat, if I'm out single-handed in something really strong and worried that I'm on the edge of control, if I put a reef in the main the boat gets pretty docile. I sort of wish that I had 1/2 a reef.
KC Walker, DS 1 #7002
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Postby TIM WEBB » Sat May 05, 2012 11:11 pm

Isn't the norm with reefed main and jib up to bring the CB up a bit? I know this works on my boat ... ?
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Postby GreenLake » Mon May 07, 2012 2:17 pm

Yep, you're correct. As mentioned the second post from the top.

If you strike the jib, raise the CB to maintain balance. (A partially raised CB will be further aft, just as the mythical "center of effort" moves aft when there's no sail in front). Even with (the CB raised), don't expect good upwind performance. For that, you do need the jib and the CB down.


W/o moving the CB back (i.e. raised partially) the boat would want to round up strongly (weather helm) because the force from the sail would act further back than the force on the CB.
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Postby TIM WEBB » Mon May 07, 2012 3:15 pm

Right, with the jib down. I meant jib up, and reefed main. In that configuration, at least with my boat, having the CB about halfway up/down reduces weather helm a lot, and the boat still points pretty well. I realize mast rake has a lot to do with this as well, but I've never measured that on the Red Witch ...
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Postby GreenLake » Mon May 07, 2012 3:53 pm

Duh. You did write "up".

Reefing the main should move the center of effort forward. In other words, the relative contribution of the jib gets bigger, and as that sits before the mast, you should see less weather helm, than with un-reefed main for the same conditions.

But, probably the conditions are such that you are still getting quite a bit of weather helm, and in that case, less CB (and CB further aft) would reduce that. At the same time, your ability to point would be somewhat reduced, and you'd see additional drift to leeway.
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Postby TIM WEBB » Tue May 08, 2012 10:47 pm

Right: jib up, and reefed main.

I'm not a lot of rail meat, so yes, when it's howling, I have to pay very close attention to balance. Having a rudder downhaul has helped a lot in this regard, as even the slightest bit of rise in the rudder blade used to give me all kinds of "I'm not havin' fun right now" moments ...

Still, all things considered, with one or two reefs in the main, and jib fully up and flying, it seems much easier to trim and balance the boat with the CB controls ...
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Postby Alan » Tue May 08, 2012 11:23 pm

Hmmm. No way will we be out in "howling" anytime soon, but any safety measure is worth knowing about.

Rudder downhaul sounds good. Off to look at the Red Witch again...
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Postby TIM WEBB » Wed May 09, 2012 10:54 pm

There's pix in my gallery. May not be the most elegant setup, but it works ...
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