Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay) - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 49 Old 06-01-2012 Thread Starter
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Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay)

It's looking like being a windy summer in SF Bay so I'm thinking of the sail plan for winds in the 30-40 range. Up to 30 I use the first reef, and maybe furl the jib to 75% to 85% or so (full size is 100%).

Then we have the second reef in the main. The question is, with it, to just furl the jib more, to say 50%? The problem is I don't think the shape is good then. The other weekend in the slot the jib was heavily furled and was making all sorts of flapping and noise. It just didn't look or feel right.

So I was thinking of the Gale Sail for days when it gets really snotty. Will the fact that the main is reefed to about 50% of its size when double-reefed, and the Gale Sail will be 25%, cause problems with weather helm?

What do other sailors use when it's blowing hard?

Bristol 31.1, San Francisco Bay
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post #2 of 49 Old 06-01-2012
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Re: Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay)

Yeah, I have the same problem...like you, double reefed in the slot, wondering what to do with the jib...when 50% furled the shape is so bad it doesn't help the overall airflow, is ugly, noisy, and probably stresses the sail. I am torn between a Gale Sail and a storm jib...I have heard that the Gale Sail is so thick over the furled sail that the windage is a problem. Would welcome comments from folk.

A storm jib on a baby/inner stay seems like the optimal solution (except that I don't have one).
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Re: Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay)

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Originally Posted by paul323 View Post
Yeah, I have the same problem...like you, double reefed in the slot, wondering what to do with the jib...when 50% furled the shape is so bad it doesn't help the overall airflow, is ugly, noisy, and probably stresses the sail. I am torn between a Gale Sail and a storm jib...I have heard that the Gale Sail is so thick over the furled sail that the windage is a problem. Would welcome comments from folk.

A storm jib on a baby/inner stay seems like the optimal solution (except that I don't have one).
Have you tried furling the jib just to the point it still has acceptable shape and going to 2 reefs in the main?

Most roller furlers will only keep their shape when reduced around 20% or so, so its not surprising you can't get decent shape with it rolled 1/2 way in.

If you sail in those conditions frequently, maybe you should talk to your sailmaker about a jib with high clew (I think its called a yankee cut) to produce a sail with less area than a standard 100% jib. Other advantages of the high clew are better visability and its clear of the water if conditions are such that you are getting green water over the deck.

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post #4 of 49 Old 06-01-2012
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Re: Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay)

Okay PalmettoSailor, you just opened the door to one of my favorite bits of sailing trivia. Won't solve my or MarkSF's problem, but:

The Yankee sail is basically an equilateral triangle. It can be therefore be hoisted either way up - the head and tack are effectively interchangeable. This led the British (a long time ago) to comment that "even a Yankee can hoist it correctly!", and the name stuck :-)
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Re: Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay)


A stout #4

It does get pretty windy here in the spring and fall

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post #6 of 49 Old 06-01-2012
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Re: Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay)

It doesn't blow 40 in the Bay much. You're looking at a #4 or storm jib going upwind. 40 in an ebb out in the slot is seriously rough and miserable sailing. If you're going out, even though your close to shore, take these conditions very seriously. Talk to a sailmaker. They'll have a good idea about how and what to use to balance your sail plan. Personally, I'd call Pineapple Sails. If you boat has a 'class association' website or the like, I'd give them a shout as well.
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post #7 of 49 Old 06-01-2012
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Re: Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay)

I've decided that it is better to use just a good, heavy working jib as my primary foresail. Its small size to start with allows it to keep some shape when furled down. The only time I'll put the Genny on is if I am pretty sure the winds will not get over 15 knots. Trying to roll up a large genoa to reef in a 30 knot wind does not work well because the shape is buried, resulting in a big belly in the center and the foot is raised too high. On the wish list is to rig up an inner forestay/running backstays with a small, Amsteel or wire-luffed jib for storm duty.

For 40 knots, think about an inner stay to keep the center of effort closer to that of the mainsail.

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Re: Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay)

I think one thing I need to do is properly mark the furler line. Right now, reefing the jib involves some guesswork.

So I have a 100% working jib. Thinking of placing marks on the furling line at 85% and 70% of the full area. Any tips on what to mark the (black) line with?

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Re: Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay)

Use white thread and whip it up. Or white electrical tape. I like the whipping better.
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Re: Gale Sail or just reef the jib in strong winds? (SF Bay)

Oh yes, I have whipping thread. Good idea.

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