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StarJourney 05-31-2010 01:08 PM

WooHoo! But some questions....
Hello all, Scott here. I took a sailing class last weekend, and went out to get some practice in this weedend. I had an absolutely wonderful time, but cam up with a couple of questions to ask you guys.

I rented a Rhodes 19' and went out in 0-5 kt winds. When I tried sailing under the jib alone, I discovered that I couldn't tack, only gybe. I also couldn't sail any further upwind than a beam reach. When I'd try to sail closer to the wind, it would just lose wind and turn back into a beam reach. bleh. Is this normal, or do I just need more wind?


jackdale 05-31-2010 02:29 PM

I do not know the Rhodes 19, but I expect that what happens is somewhat predictable. A jib alone will likely give you lee helm, making coming about difficult. A main will also have a huge impact on how well you will point.

Have your lessons covered centre of effort and centre of lateral resistance?

nolatom 05-31-2010 05:46 PM

The R19, a medium-performance keelboat, is not at its best in very light air.

But put simply, many boats won't point, or tack, under jib alone, though they'll reach and run all day. So your experience is typical. Maybe you could get her to tack with more wind, reach-to-reach, but not worth trying, just jibe instead. It's easy to bear off, hard to point up.

You need more sail aft of the boat's pivot point (which is about mid-keel), to "balance" the boat, and hence the tiller, for a smooth, controlled tack. That, of course, would be the mainsail.

With main alone, it would be easy to head up (though you'd be very slow without the jib to accentuate the airflow along the main), and quite hard to bear off, epecially in a good breeze.

That's why they designed her with two sails. Boats with only one sail typically have the mast farther forward to get that "balance" between center of lateral resistance (keel) and center of effort (sails).

sealover 05-31-2010 07:05 PM

Curious as to why you were under jib only? If I only want to go one sail, I put up the main to get it out of my face, all bunched up on the boom and draped into the cockpit, although I think I'm the only guy in the world without a roller furling jib. (also the only guy in the world without lazy jacks)

My 17 foot boat sails fine with only the main. I'd want both up for 0-5 kt puffs.

But the real story here is... WOO HOO! You were out in a boat and had fun. Looks around the forum here. There's some really great threads of things applicable to small water sailors in <20' boats. (and it's neat to read the stories of a 46 footer avoiding the reefs outside Bermuda in a storm) Have fun!

StarJourney 05-31-2010 08:32 PM

Thanks all :) That's more or less what I'd figured out, but I thought it would be good to double check. My class touched on the way the different sails would direct the boat, but didn't go into much detail. It was the Basic A / Mate course. I'll take the Advanced B / Master course when I've had a bit more harbor / local experience.

As to why I was sailing under Jib alone, I'd been playing with the the mainsail all day and wanted to experiment a bit :) I don't have too many options for crew, so I'm pretty much forced to cat rig it for the time being. I will say that sailing under the jib alone is MUCH easier than wrestling with the mainsail!

Altogether a blast and an unforgettable experience.


StarJourney 05-31-2010 08:33 PM

Oh yes, what's a lazy jack?


sealover 05-31-2010 08:57 PM

From what I can tell it's a few ropes er... LINES that, when you drop the mainsail, guide it into a neatly folded pile on top of the mast, rather than a spilling mess of sail piled up in the cockpit.

CalebD 05-31-2010 09:15 PM

Lazy jacks are control lines that keep the main sail bunched up on top of the boom. An alternative is the Dutcheman (brand name) sail flaking system. Neither lazy jacks or the Dutchman would be standard on a Rhodes 19 and really not necessary.
It is a good thing for you to experiment to see what each sail does independently of each other. As you found out using the jib alone is ok for going down wind but not for heading up wind. I'd suggest that the only times you would want to use only 1 sail at a time would be when heading down wind you can use the jib alone, when the wind is really blowing you might just use the main sail but (as pointed out) you would make very slow progress to windward without the jib used in concert.
Glad you had a WOO-HOO moment.
I've sailed on a Mariner 19' (basically the same boat) in about 20 - 25 knots of wind many moons ago on the Rapahonnac River near Deltaville, VA. 'Twas quite an interesting ride. At times like this you will wish that your main sail had reefing points.
Great trailer sailor too.

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