Got caught in a Squall today
I need a bit of advice and hope that more knowledgeable salts could help; I went out today single handed for a half day sail on a 40’ monohull. The for-cast was for 20 to 25 knots in Moreton bay, Brisbane. All was fine until I noticed a storm approaching. About 15 minutes later I noticed the water ahead was white as the rain bucketed sideways. I was already on second reef on the main and the Furling jib was reefed to around 100%. The oncoming squall was pushing me toward a lee shore about a mile away and so I decided to head into it instead of galloping with the wind at 8 knots towards the lee shore. I was also thinking that the wind wouldn’t be more that 30 knots - pretty dum really. In heading into the wind I thought that I would cope by sheeting in the jib (not too tight) and the mains and simply feather the boat close hauled as I have done many times. This worked fine until the wind started to gust to 40 knots and the half furled jib began to beat in an intermittent and uncontrollable manner. I managed to keep it calm for much of the time but every now and then the rig would vibrate with the shock loads administered by the jib.
It seems to me that the windage of furled part of the jib is large in 40 knots of wind and maybe the forstay is not tight enough (even though I manage to point well). I didn’t want the rig coming down and so I heaved to; this calmed things down with a drift speed of around 3.2 knots and 10 minutes later the wind dropped to a respectable 20 to 25 knots again.
The shudders in the rig scared the hell out of me and I was wandering what others have to say with respect furled head sails and sailing into stiff 35 to 40 knot winds. Should I have furled the jib completely and simply relied on the mains which was behaving well; the argument against the main only I guess would be that I wouldn’t be able to heave to nor even make head way.
Would love to hear if others have had similar rig vibrations from a furler head sail or indeed what they might have done differently.