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post #12 of Old 12-17-2011
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What's the worst that could happen?

Dousing before gybe probably makes sense in a 44' boat. Unless there's heavy air, I won't bother doing that on my 36' boat.

An earlier posting asked the question "What's the worst that could happen?". I'm sure there's much worse, but before I was accustom to gybing I had an issue. We were on the Michigan side of Lake Michigan, just before sunset. It was May and the water was around 42 degrees. Home port is the Wisconsin side, about 12 hours to the west. I had lots of hours on a similar sail on a 25' boat, but unaccustom to it on a 36 boat, I lost track of the lazy sheet and it ended up overboard and wrapped up on the prop. We couldn't turn on the engine with it wrapped, we couldn't sail into an unknown port at dusk w/o the motor, so we turned west and sailed all night back to Wisconsin. Then back on the Wisconsin side at dawn, about 5 miles offshore, the wind died and we were parked. Without many alternatives and not wanting to wait 10 hours for the wind to come up, one of the crew volunteered to jump into the icy cold water and cut the line.

Since then I've been pretty careful to take care of the lazy sheet. I generally do a couple of wraps of electical tape to hold it to the lifeline. When we gybe, the tape breaks away, but until then the line is prevented from going overboard.

G. Jackson
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