Join Date: May 2002
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Re: A few legitimate sailboat questions...
Size of lines Ė Always use the recommended size of lines. Oversized lines donít run freely through the blocks, create friction, are stronger than necessary, are too heavy, and cost a lot more. I have 7/16Ē jib sheets and mainsheet on my 35í boat. If the line is hard on your hands, wear gloves. Gloves are absolutely essential safety gear, especially on a bigger boat. A line suddenly pulled through your hand by a gybe can send you to the emergency room.
Use of winches Ė The harder the wind is blowing, the more you need to use the mechanical advantage that is provided by your winches. In extremely light air, Iíll use one or two wraps on the winch and no winch handle. In moderate winds, Iíll use 2 wraps. As the wind strength increases, Iíll increase the number of wraps. I have used up to 5 wraps. I usually only put 2 wraps on the winch before a tack, and then add more wraps as needed after the tack is complete. More than 2 wraps before a tack creates an increased risk of the line overriding itself. I generally put the winch handle in the winch before a tack. Use the high speed, low powered gear until it gets hard to turn the crank, and then switch to the high power, low speed gear.
Wing and wing Ė In a deep broad reach, the jib is blanketed by the mainsail. If youíre broad reaching, and the jib collapses, steer up a bit, until the jib starts to fill. If you want to sail dead downwind, or nearly so, the only way to do that efficiently (with jib and main) is wing and wing. The easiest way to do it is by setting a whisker or spinnaker pole, to hold the jib out and keep it from collapsing. In all but the lightest of winds, you can sail wing and wing without a whisker pole, but it takes good sail trimming and constant focus by the helmsman, to avoid a gybe. If the jib alternately fills and collapses, try trimming it in more. The reason why it collapses is usually because the excess wind filling the jib is overflowing the leech of the sail. If you trim it in a little more, it wonít spill over the leech of the sail.