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post #49 of Old 09-06-2007
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Running downwind...

This thread reminds me when we had an
IP38 several years ago and were heading
back from St Thomas to Bermuda. It was
early in the season- early April when you can
really get socked.
We thought we had a comfortable lead on
a developing gale and were closing
on Bermuda late at night when the weather
overtook us. A preventer somehow got
jammed and we could not take in sail
before it was too late- we were
We had no choice but to run with the
gale with too much sail out. Wherever
the wind was going we were. The boat
speed reached 10 or 11 knots and was
heeled way over. Now for an IP, thats pretty
fast. A few waves pooped us. The
pressure on the sails was enormous
- no way you were going to turn into the wind
or center the main or start reefing. The
engine- what for, you wouldn't dare turn in
those condition unless you wanted a knockdown
and maybe even loose the rig. Release the jib-
good grief, at night with rough seas and
40+ knot winds, besides shredding the jib,
and that still would leave the problem of the

Anyway the wind finally calmed down enough
to take in sail and we made it to St Georges
for Dark and Stormies. But I haven't read anything here
that would have answered the original
question of what to do when you get caught running
with too much sail out. Although at night, we now
sail with a lot less sail out!
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