Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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A lot of this depends on how your boat is set up but in a general sense a storm jib for a boat like the Cape Dory gets so small as to be worse than useless. I say that because in high winds really small jibs offer a lot of wind resistance without much drive. A true storm jib for a boat the size of a Cape Dory 26 would fall in that category. What might work better would be a ''spitfire'' jib which is a small (mabe 70%-80%) jib with a high clew and a flat cut.
I would think that you would be better served with a deep second reef. On my prior boat a 28 footer I found that in winds over about 30 knots (and I did sail her in winds that were reportedly over 65 knots) the best strategy was to remove the jib and snug down to a double reefed main with lots of vang, halyard and clew tension and no jib. In that configuration you have a snug cat boat that is easy to handle. This gave me the best control in the gusts and was easy to handle since it was self-tacking.
On a boat that size, I would lead your halyards and reef lines back to the cockpit and rig your jib with a downhaul so you can drop it from the cockpit.
I did have a heavy weather jib which was great in winds up to about 30 knots exspecially when combined with reefed mainsail. That sail was almost a 90% jib, cut flat out of very heavy cloth. I used that sail maybe a dozen times in the years that I owned that boat and really enjoyed it each time.