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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 08-22-2004
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Boat Balance

Why is it that some sailors say their boat(sloop) ''sail''s so beautifully'' under just the main or jib.
If sailboats are designed to balance under both jib and main how is it that a sailboat can sail ''so beautifully'' under just one sail?
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Old 08-22-2004
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Boat Balance

Any sloop will always perform better with a jib and main set properly to wind conditions - especially upwind. Sometimes one might not care about efficiency when day sailing and choose to go with only one or the other because it is less set up. Usually, with roller furling, the jib would be the choice. It is a lot less work for a day sail. The boat may sail nicely this way, but it is not sailing to its potential.

It may actually be a more comfortable sail to use the jib or main alone because you reduce heel and have less to tend. You will go slower. For a day sail - no big deal.

In heavy weather, or when you want speed, the boat will almost always perform better when balanced with a main and jib sized appropriatley for wind conditions.
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Old 08-24-2004
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Boat Balance

Irwin32,
I thought that mabey I was missing somthing, but I guess not. A boat will always be out of balance if the sails aren''t reefed equally.
Thanks for your reply,

Dennis
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Old 08-25-2004
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Boat Balance

As mentioned balance is more important sailing to windward. In our area when sailing downwind for long periods with a jumbled following sea it''s more peaceful to just sail under one and doesn''t reduce speed that much.
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Old 08-25-2004
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Boat Balance

Proper balance is important to minimizing the strain on the helmsmen and steering gear on all points of sail. There are a lot of boats that are less balanced reaching than they are when beating. Which sail to use when only one sail is flying greatly depends on the design of the boat.

CCA era and IOR era boats with fuller bow sections and small mainsails tended to be do better flying only headsails. (There is a risk with this practice in that even boats that are pretty balanced with only a genoa can have problems tacking under headsail alone and can tend to develop leehelm and want to bear away in a gust.)

More modern designs with larger mainsails and smaller jibs, and with their center of buoyancy and center of lateral plan located much further aft, tend to sail much better under mainsail alone. In this day of roller furling jibs, this makes a lot of sense in building conditions since the mainsail can be slab reefed resulting in a properly shaped sail for heavy weather sailing while it is imposible to maintain a properly shaped roller furled headsail for any length of time.

Jeff
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Old 08-26-2004
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Boat Balance

Thank You Jeff,
I agree that it is better to head up in a gust than to fall off. Anybody should. And your last paragraph makes alot of sence also.
Thanks,

Dennis

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