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post #50 of Old 09-06-2007
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Hmmm, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about but it seems to me that what is described is really an emergency situation, where human safety is at risk. In that case, sails and rig are secondary to maintaining control and keeping the boat on her feet. I don't recall the specifics of the boat in question, but in that situation I would blow the genoa sheets (although the real concern is the main) and cut the aft line holding the mainsail to the boom (loose footed main on our boat). I would then drop the halyard and let the flogging mess pile up where it may. There's a chance it could be saved with minor repairs. But none of the sails are coming down as long as there is pressure on them. I would rather risk losing the main rather than the boat, rig, or a passenger. Good grief, remember the priorities. At those wind speeds one could try and be classy and try and bring her about, but what if it didn't work? It's not like you will likely get another try. Meanwhile you are out of control and hoping it doesn't get worse. I would get rid of the engine (mainsail) and worry about the bank account later, at least I would be there to cry while I wrote the cheque. That's what insurance is for. I recently had a situation where I blew out my main and although it was badly shredded ear to ear it only cost me $350.00 to get it sewed up again. At almost 60 knots of wind I wouldn't think twice about cutting a sail if it would give me helm again.
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