Originally Posted by sailingfool
With 30 knots you should be able to sail to windward with just the jib, in fact its pretty much the best means for going upwind in such conditions. Running under power would beat the heck out of you and the boat.
Going to windward with just a jib you will have lee helm. The trick to controlling lee helm is to have enough speed to provide the rudder the power it needs to overcome the lee helm.
So you can't get going starting close to the wind. Reach off on a beam reach and trim the jib so its pulling strongly - you should build plenty of speed. As you do the lee helm will be controllable.
Begin a process of short adjustments to get to closehauled. Head up just a bit and trim the jib accordingly - it is important not to stall or luff the jib, as you will start to lose the speed you have. Repeat this adjustment until you are closehauled..do it right and you'll be sailing closehauled at speed. Don't stall or luff the jib and you can keep the speed all day, and you can tack. When tacking, you need to make a relatively swift turn, and bear off a bit on the next tack until you have your speed back.
If you lose your speed, start the process over.
If you are sailing into waves, try to build a rhythm of heading up the front/bearing off the backs, so the boat comes over the wave without pounding. Pounding will stop the boat.
Sailing upwind in a strong breeze with just a jib works fine, helming demands more care and attention that lighter air.
Good advice. But if he's pounding into a short chop, the kind we had around here yesterday, there is no way to time it. The boat gets stopped/slowed every 5 seconds or so, no way to maintain speed.
Why is jib only the best way to make progress in heavy winds? I notice alot of sailors do so when the wind picks up but haven't tried it yet myself...