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Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Dousing headsails in breeze when the main is down?

What works will depend upon conditions. Running with just a jib up puts the center of effort of the sail(s) well forward - in the direction of the boat's heading- and so can help stabilize the boat in rough conditions. If the breeze picks up too much and you need to drop the jib(s), they may need to be pulled down. The wind might keep the sail up even if the halyard is released. In such conditions, turning the boat into the wind to luff the jib (and thus help it to drop) might put the boat at dangerous angles to the waves. Cautious sailhandling would call for dropping the sails BEFORE it got too crazy to do it safely. We saw a squall coming once during a Chicago-Mackinac race. We dropped and furled all our sails well before the black cloud arrived overhead. When it hit, the Pearson 37 was pushed at 8 knots dead downwind with no sails up. We had learned, of course, from having blown the head off a spinnaker earlier in the race.
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