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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 05-06-2010
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Downwind cruising

This may be a silly question, but what else are first posts for??
If i plan on sailing a straight line from point A to point B on a large cruising boat (40+ feet) and the wind is close to directly behind me (we'll say between 135 degrees and 225 degrees if the boat is on a 0 degree heading), will it be possible to unfurl the jib in 5-10k wind conditions while heading downwind? This is assuming that the trip is a short one (less than 5 miles) and it will just generally be a pain to head upwind to raise/lower sails.
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Old 05-06-2010
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Yes, but it would be a painfully slow trip. You would have minimal apparent wind and a small amount of sail area.

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Old 05-06-2010
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Won't you be heading upwind to hoist your main anyway? You can hoist the jib immediately afterwards.

If you're thinking of using only the jib, well, it might be possible to unfurl the jib downwind in 5 knots but at 10 knots there might be too much pressure in the sail. Having the main up would negate this problem since you could unfurl the jib in the lee of the main.

In the end, in such conditions you should be able to head upwind and douse the jib in under a minute.

I have done what you're suggesting (except with a hank-on drifter, very light cloth, 155% LP) in very light conditions (just a couple of knots pretty far aft) for a short trip. I knew the wind was so light that the main wouldn't even fill. All the main would have done would be to shadow the jib and get damp. The trip was slow, but so was the wind, and we were in no hurry.

Jeff's implicit suggestion is that you sail two reaches, one on either tack. This will increase your apparent wind, and even though the trip will be about 40% longer, you will probably go more than 40% faster.
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Better to have your main up, it'll project more area than the jib. Then you can blanket the jib on a deep broad reach to unfurl/furl it.

Last edited by nolatom; 05-06-2010 at 04:09 PM.
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I have never had a problem unfurling the genoa on any point of sail eneven up to 20 knots and I have a 150% gennie. The answer though is why would you want to unfurl in 5 knots in the first place unless you're out for a sunday afternoon just to be on the water.
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Old 05-07-2010
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Thanks for all of the replies!

The question is related to a charter trip I am going to do. A couple legs of the trip will be downwind in fairly shallow water where time is not factor at all. It will also be with a very small crew---2 people. Since there will be plenty of time for fun, fast sailing, I was really just looking for a couple of days of lazy, slow movement without the necessity of moving under motor or heading upwind, raising, lowering, etc..
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Try a series of long lazy jibs under headsail only with the breeze about 45deg of the stern.
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Old 05-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulladh View Post
Try a series of long lazy jibs under headsail only with the breeze about 45deg of the stern.
This is what I was hoping to do. My main concern was whether I would be able to get the jib unfurled and then furled without having to make a 180 +/- turn into the wind.
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It is easier to furl and unfurl a headsail with some breeze than dead to wind or with no wind. Some tension on the jib sheet and furling line prevents fouling of the furling line in the drum.

On occasion this is my favourite point of sail, very relaxing and good for the sunbathers in your party.
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