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post #1 of 8 Old 05-18-2013 Thread Starter
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Leave up the Jib?

Question/scenario

Im sailing offshore with a 98% jib and main up. Winds are 10 to 15 knots. During the sail storm clouds appear. An afternoon thunderstorm is approaching. Now i already know to reef the main when expecting foul weather but lets just say i only had the one sized jib. Should i reef the main and leave the jib alone or take the jib down and run under main alone? What would be the drawback besides speed loss to just taking down the jib completely until the storm passes and just sailing under reefed main.
is this the right way to proceed in the case you did not have a smaller sized jib to change over to?
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-18-2013
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Re: Leave up the Jib?

Depends...on the thunderstorm and your location. Some thunderstorms carry winds of 60 knots or more and can be a half hour or more in duration and visibility in them can rapidly lower to a few hundred yards. If you are in restricted waters with shoal hazards and traffic and the downwind hazards are so near you can't stay safe by heaving to then anchoring with all sail down may be your best tactic. Happens often in narrow sounds in the south. If you have room heave to. If you have to get to windward in a hurry to get sea room-motorsail. Finally if the storm has a lot of lightning in it and you are mid-sound you might want to quickly move to a safe anchorage because you are likely less likely to take a strike if you are closer to taller structures on the beach.

If you have to sail upwind and can't motor sail the jib will be your friend.

Thunderstorms can be VERY dangerous when you are in restricted waters. If a fast moving cold front is involved they can have hurricane force straight line winds especially on the leading edge of the front.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-18-2013
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Re: Leave up the Jib?

Also which direction do you intend to go, with the storm (no main reefed jib) or into it (no jib reefed main) This is how I handle squalls/storm of small duration. For our boat if it is really blowing hard 35+ and its aft of the beam I will reef the jib without a main. The ride can be quite nice. Our boat doesn't heave-to real well in the high winds so for us I will far reach towards our destination with main reefed well down. I kinda think it will depend on your boat and its direction to your destination. Hope this helps.

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post #4 of 8 Old 05-18-2013
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Re: Leave up the Jib?

Harbor:
Part of that decision will be based upon how your boat balances. This would be critical if you need to get to weather. Some masthead rigged sloops have the mast pretty far aft and they don't sail worth a damn upwind under main alone. Off the wind just the jib would be your better choice with the main furled, i.e. keep your sail area forward. But like I say it's going to depend on how your boat balances. If you have a modern boat with a frac rig and big main you can probably chug along just fine under main alone.

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post #5 of 8 Old 05-18-2013
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Re: Leave up the Jib?

Buying a used, smaller hank on jib will not cost a lot of money but is a nice option to have. And if that smaller jib gets torn in the storm, much smaller loss for you. Smaller jib is better when you hove to for a longer period of time in bad weather.

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post #6 of 8 Old 05-19-2013
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Re: Leave up the Jib?

Again as stated above, it makes some difference with circumstances and how your boat sails under which sails, but I would drop all boom sails and use a roller furling headsail with an approaching t-storm. Should conditions deteriorate quickly, it would be a lot easier to furl a jib than a boomed sail.
I have found that if one can see under a t-storm it most likely isn't going to be terribly violent, but if it's black to the water, watch out. It is surprising how well you can see an approaching t-storm offshore, even on the darkest of nights, and determine whether one should reef, take down all sail (my usual choice) until it passes or ignore it.
Worst one I've been through was about 90 knots for just a few minutes on the leading edge of a t-storm, which then tapered off to a steady 45 for an hour or so. Mast got pretty close to the water on the initial hit, but w/o sail we were in no danger of breaking equipment or damaging the boat. The only bright spot is that t-storms usually bring heavy rain, which flattens the sea pretty quickly. Still, if I could steer around one or between several, I would.
On the trip between Bermuda and the Antilles, the ITCZ can create a line of t-storms as much as 90 miles across and working through it can feel like 20 rounds in the ring with a boxer, driving you west rather than on your course south, blowing all that easting you have worked so hard to get. I find that it's so much easier to drop the gear and motor through it as quickly as possible.

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post #7 of 8 Old 05-19-2013
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Re: Leave up the Jib?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harborless View Post
Question/scenario

Im sailing offshore with a 98% jib and main up. Winds are 10 to 15 knots. During the sail storm clouds appear. An afternoon thunderstorm is approaching. Now i already know to reef the main when expecting foul weather but lets just say i only had the one sized jib. Should i reef the main and leave the jib alone or take the jib down and run under main alone? What would be the drawback besides speed loss to just taking down the jib completely until the storm passes and just sailing under reefed main.
is this the right way to proceed in the case you did not have a smaller sized jib to change over to?
The safe answer is to drop all sails so your vessel will not be overwhelmed, turn on the engine and engage the autopilot (if it is not already on), put on your foul weather gear, batten the hatches and secure the companionway boards, scan the horizion for any other vessels, check your position, check any weather radio forecasts you can receive for warnings, turn on your VHF to channel 16 (if not already on), prepare your storm sails, and prepare to seek the safety of the cabin if there is lightening.

The last thing you want to do when the wind is blowing 60-70 knots is to take down sails you should have taken down earlier. With really strong winds, you may want to head downwind to lessen their force, and the engine is the best way to do that. You may also find that it is all but impossible to head up in strong winds and your boat will be healing at extreme angles if you try, while the wind is whistling in the rigging and all hell breaks loose.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 05-19-2013 at 07:21 AM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-19-2013
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Re: Leave up the Jib?

we sailed a sloop under jib alone in gom in storms. was only way to control boat, as you will learn once you adventure out into the mess called thunderstorm sailing.
first drop main and sail as you furl in your jib slowly.....if you sail with hank on jibs, use a 100 percenter or less. leave your testosterone sails for more experience.
doesnt hurt to sail with a smaller than gawdawfully huge jibsail.


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