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waltzingmatilda 06-13-2002 04:15 AM

Storm Jibs
Is there a formula for figuring the size of a storm jib for my Cape Dory 26? I see various sized storm jibs advertised in ads for used sails, but have not been able to find any way of determining which size would be appropriate for my boat. There must be a way of determining this.
On the same topic, are there guidelines for the construction of such a sail. Storm jibs are used when wind conditions are pretty tough, and I would assume that very strong construction would be needed, but some ideas of things to look for on such a sail would be welcome.
Thanks to anyone who responds.

Jeff_H 06-13-2002 04:34 AM

Storm Jibs
I do not think that a strom jib really makes sense on a boat the size of a Cape Dory 26 but storm jibs seem vary in size between 70% of the foretriangle down to as little as 40% of the foretriangle. They need to be very flat, and heavily constructed. Thier sheets are generally spliced directly onto the sail. They require large reinforcing patches. They generally have very high cut foots so that they don''t catch waves and are fairly high aspect ratio. They are often lead to heavily reinforced sheet lead locations.


waltzingmatilda 06-13-2002 06:06 AM

Storm Jibs
Jeff, I wonder why you feel that a storm jib is not the right sail for my Cape Dory 26? I do not have a roller furling jib, and am looking for a headsail that I could use when the weather turns bad, as it often does on Lake Erie during the summer months. I have seen the wind kick up to 50 kts very quickly, and while I would be heading towards a port, I know that sometimes I will not be able to reach port before the storm hits. Is there another alternative that you can suggest? Thanks, Peter

ndsailor 06-13-2002 06:34 AM

Storm Jibs
I had a storm jib on my Cape Dory 25 and used it all the time when the wind topped 30 mph. It really helped the boat sail on its proper lines and keep the speed up.

Denr 06-13-2002 07:32 AM

Storm Jibs
I think all responsible mariners voyaging beyond sight of land should carry storm jibs. The 50% size range for a storm jib (approx. 10 oz. material) is a good rule of thumb. What are you supposed to do, turn the motor on when the wind pipes up to thirty knots and higher when you''re in the middle of lake Erie? I''m fairly certain that your motor is not powerful enough to move your vessel at more than 1-2 knots in these conditions. Sailing in these wind conditions (assuming the standing and running rigging is in good condition) may be your only recourse to return to safe harbor. Ignore the ill advice; you''re on the right track.

Jeff_H 06-13-2002 08:29 AM

Storm Jibs
A lot of this depends on how your boat is set up but in a general sense a storm jib for a boat like the Cape Dory gets so small as to be worse than useless. I say that because in high winds really small jibs offer a lot of wind resistance without much drive. A true storm jib for a boat the size of a Cape Dory 26 would fall in that category. What might work better would be a ''spitfire'' jib which is a small (mabe 70%-80%) jib with a high clew and a flat cut.

I would think that you would be better served with a deep second reef. On my prior boat a 28 footer I found that in winds over about 30 knots (and I did sail her in winds that were reportedly over 65 knots) the best strategy was to remove the jib and snug down to a double reefed main with lots of vang, halyard and clew tension and no jib. In that configuration you have a snug cat boat that is easy to handle. This gave me the best control in the gusts and was easy to handle since it was self-tacking.

On a boat that size, I would lead your halyards and reef lines back to the cockpit and rig your jib with a downhaul so you can drop it from the cockpit.

I did have a heavy weather jib which was great in winds up to about 30 knots exspecially when combined with reefed mainsail. That sail was almost a 90% jib, cut flat out of very heavy cloth. I used that sail maybe a dozen times in the years that I owned that boat and really enjoyed it each time.


Denr 06-13-2002 12:30 PM

Storm Jibs
Jeff....Unless your previous boat was a Cape Dory 26 your advice doesn''t mean squat, especially in a full keel boat like the Cape Dory. In order to have any drive to punch into waves and wind in 30 knots of wind or more you''ll need a head sail, end of story! The boat will be better balanced and make better speed to a harbor of safe refuge. A downhaul and jib halyard led to the cockpit is a good idea.

So you can have a heavy weather jib (storm sail, or what ever you call it) on your boat but waltzingmatilda can''t have one on his boat? Are you implying that waltzingmatilda is not as good of a sailor as you are and can''t handle this sail?

If backpedaling was an Olympic event you''d win a gold medal for this performance!
Boy, the things you read on the internet!

Jeff_H 06-13-2002 03:20 PM

Storm Jibs

If you bothered to read posts before you blew your stack and tried to trash them, I think your posts would be of greater value to this community. In waltzingmatilda''s posts, he clarified that he was looking for a sail that could be carried in winds of 50 knots. I suggested that he would probably be better off with a a shallower reef in his mainsail and no jib at that windspeed than with a deeper reef in his mainsail and a storm jib. As you and I both seemed to agree storm jibs were sized somewhere more or less around 50% of his foretriangle. On a 26 footer that is a very small sail and when cut appropriately flat is hard to get to fly properly in a blow.

I have actually weathered a blow in my 26 foot 1939 Stadel Cutter (which was a full keel boat) under a storm staysail and found that the windage of this small sail made it very hard to tack through the wind or find a comfortable angle of attack. The windage of the foresail tried to pull the bow off to leeward but did not seem to provide any real useful drive. When we struck the foresail we were able to thread our way much more easily. I had a similar experience with my 1949 25 foot Folkboat. Although she had a similar hull form to the Cape Dory 26, she was a fractional rig and so does not provide the best example.

My comments intended to be helpful and were based on my own experience owning 6 boats between 25 and 28 feet, full keel, modified fin and fin keelers in a variety of cutter and sloop rigs, you are right that a person who has actually ridden out a 50 mph storm on a Cape Dory 26 with a storm jib would be a more valid source of information. In that regard I would agree that ndsailor''s comments are quite relevant to the discussion. It would be helpful to the discussion if ndsailor could mention in a little more detail the percent of foretriangle of his storm jib and how it is cut and where his sheet leads are located.

As to back pedaling, in my post I suggested that a heavy weather sail sized at 70% to 80% of the foretriangle might work well in windspeeds significantly less than the 50 mph winds waltzingmatilda was concerned with. This is a very different sail for a very different circumstance than the approximately 50% foretriangle storm jib that waltzingmatilda was asking about.



waltzingmatilda 06-13-2002 03:30 PM

Storm Jibs
Gentlemen, thank you both, well, every one of you who have responded to my post about the storm jib. I certainly don''t mean to create a discussion filled with animosity here. But, I do appreciate the comments made by each of you, and for your taking the time to try to help out a fellow with a new (to him) boat, much bigger than he''s ever had before. My searches among the used sail dealers on the web haven''t come up with much in the way of smaller headsails that would fit my boat, and I guess maybe I need to think about exactly what I want. Thanks again to each of you. I''ll respond off the website, directly via email addresses.

Fair winds to each of you,

Christineb10007 06-13-2002 04:44 PM

Storm Jibs

Thank you for making those comments on the previous poster. You took the words right out of my mouth.

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