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nk235 05-16-2008 09:49 PM

Jib or Main question?
I know this has probably been discussed somewhere and I also know everyboat is different and responds to different sail configurations but in general I was wondering if someone could give me some kind of quick answer.

I just got a new boat, a Morgan 323, and have only been out on it 5 or so times. It has a 130% genny on roller furling. Tomorrow the wind is suppossed to be blowing a good 15-25mph out of the west so I was planning on sailing due North from my harbor in Long Island to Connecticut for some lunch and then back. Wind should be on the beam both ways. When the wind is that strong and on a beam reach or close reach or even any point of sail for that reason, what do most people have out? In my last boat I would have to have a deep reefed main as the jib was very small and never did anything. On this boat it is so much easier to just unfurl the jib partially and leave the main sail cover on. Or is it better to fly a reefed main and no jib? The boat seems to sail really well with just the jib and it is very easy to just furl and unfurl it. But is this fine to do? Is it better to use the main? I know if I was trying to point very high to the wind it make sense to use a little of both. Also I am not overly concerned with speed as it is a cruising boat and I don't neccessarily care about getting every tenth of a knot out of it. I am concerned with sailing the boat correctly, balancing the helm and not stressing the rig by using the wrong sail. Again I know a lot depends on the boat and it will take me some time to experiment with different sails in different conditions but in general what would you guys start out doing?

Thanks so much,

nk235 05-16-2008 09:56 PM

To piggy back on this as well, I was planning on heading over to Captains Cove Marina in Black Rock. I have never been there before but I hear it is pretty nice and there is a nice big cafeteria style clam bar. Could anyone familiar with the area let me know if there is anything tricky about the channel entrance or anything else?

Sorry to post two completely seperate things in here but figured I didn't want to take up a whole nother post with this. Answers to either questions would be greatly appreciated!:)

sailingdog 05-16-2008 10:07 PM

I would sail on a reefed main and reefed genoa. But I would recommend that you experiment with different combinations of sail, so you can find out how the boat handles under them.

Overall, I'd probably sail on a reefed main, rather than a reefed jib alone.

Sailormann 05-16-2008 10:23 PM


Again I know a lot depends on the boat and it will take me some time to experiment with different sails in different conditions but in general what would you guys start out doing?
I would start out doing what I personally felt comfortable with. If that was motoring, then I would motor. If that was sailing under genny alone, then I'd do that if the boat handled well.

If I was not going to use both sails (which would be my first choice), my personal inclination would be to use whatever sail I felt most confident in handling in case of emergency. Are you going to find it easier to douse the main or the genny ? Is the boat more responsive under one than the other ?

You probably won't have much luck reaching or beating under a jib (100% or less) alone.

Depending on the boat, it may be more balanced under main alone than under genny alone. If it's a masthead high aspect ratio rig dependent on large headsails, then you'll probably be fine under genny alone.

There are no rules, save keep the boat under control and don't stress your rig unduly. It depends on the boat, the wind, the seas and the skipper. What works in one direction might not work so well in another.

Using your genny alone doesn't place any untoward stress on the boat as long as your standing rigging is not too loose. Pay attention to it and check it regularly with a Loos gauge. It can change a significant amount over the course of the season. When your rig gets loose bad things can happen.

Sounds like a nice brisk sail. Enjoy ! :)

nk235 05-16-2008 10:41 PM

Thanks for the replies so far. I feel comfortable handleing both sails but just didnt know if you were suppossed to use the genny over the main in certain situations. It is a mast head rig and that is why it sails well with just the genny. I guess I will just experiment with just the genny partially unfurled first and see how that goes and I'll take it from there.

BarryL 05-16-2008 10:44 PM

Hi Nik,

Where is your home port? I'm in Mt. Sinai.

I have been to Captains Cove a few times. You won't have any problems getting in or out, it's very simple. How are you at docking? If the place is crowded (not likely considering the time of year and weather forecast) you may have to fit into a smallish place. Last year I had to fit my 35' boat into what looked like a 36' space - and right behind giant power boat that burned more fuel in an hour than my boat costs! The dockhands were helpful and it wasn't too bad.

Regarding your sail question, you will be best off with a reefed main and a reefed headsail to match. If the wind is 15 kts or less you will want the entire headsail. If the wind gets to 20 kts, you'll want the headsail rolled up to a 100. If the wind goes to 25, then take down one of the sails, which ever is easier to lower (probably the headsail).

BTW, here is the latest marine forecast:



Unfortunately, that's not the best forecast for heading north in the morning and south in the afternoon. The apparent wind will be on the nose both ways.

Lastly, if you still want to make this trip note the tides. The westerly wind against the incoming tide will make a nasty short chop. High tide is around 10:30AM. So as the tide goes OUT, the waves will be down. As the tide comes IN (starting around 4:30) the seas will get worse.

Anyway, good luck with your boat and your trips.


nk235 05-16-2008 11:19 PM


I am also in Mt. Sinai. I have a mooring at Ralph's. Boat is a 1983 Morgan 323 named Capricorn with an off white hull, brown boot stripe and is just north of that beach in the middle of the harbor with that bbq pit stickign out of the sand. I kept my last boat on the south shore last year but so far am loving Mt. Sinai and the Sound.

I was hoping the wind would be more out of the west so I could have it on my beam tomorrow but I guess I will find that out when I wake up. I'm taking two of my friends out for the day so we don't need to make it over to CT but I just thought it would be fun to go somewhere but we can always just go for a daysail.

Docking wise I am still learning and getting used to the bigger boat. With my 25' I used to be able to get that thing in and out of everywhere because I could turn the outboard and the boat was so much smaller. This one is a whole nother ball game but I find as long as I take it slow, watch where the wind and current is out of and plan accordingly I do alright.

Anyway though where in Mt. Sinai are you? I'll keep an eye out for you and if I see you on it I'll swing by and say hello.

nolatom 05-16-2008 11:53 PM

You're beam reaching out, and back? If so, then you can do it with just the jib. If you have to point any higher than a beam reach, then you'll need some mainsail too, even if reefed, so you'll have a balanced rig. As a general principle, you can't sail upwind without a balanced rig, meaning roughly equai amounts of mainsail and jib. But if you're reaching, or broad reaching, then jib alone will work okay. Just make sure you can fetch whatever buoy you're shooting for with jib alone.

sailingfool 05-17-2008 12:21 AM

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Personally I very rarely sail my boat without both a jib and main, reefing the main and changing down the jib, for the right sail area for the prevaling winds. My jibs are not cut or reinforced to be used partially furled, so I don't.

If you are going for a fun sail in a medium to high breeze, sailing with just the jib is fine, and a common practice. If I'm dropping off the mooring just for an hour or so, I'll roll out the jib and go.

A comparatively small main like that on your Morgan (or on my CS 36T for that matter), used alone, will not move the boat well in most circumstances, except down wind in a real blow.

A boat sailing with just the jib IS unbalanced, it'll tend to have lee helm and to not accelerate very well...however...if you anticipate those characteristics, you can handle the boat just fine, provided there is enough wind for the jib alone to drive the boat. I experience no trouble beating with just the jib in adequate breeze, you don't point as well or go quite as fast as you do with a main also envolved.

camaraderie 05-17-2008 09:48 AM

The main should be rigged with a reef in it before you leave the dock and ready to hoist. You can mess around with just the genny on a reach but a 130% genny rolled to 100% on a beat is not very efficient and you may need the main. Have it ready to go with the pre-tucked reef as sometimes you don't have time to be messing with sail covers and reefing when it is blowing hard.

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