Jib Sheets during Tacking - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Old 08-20-2007
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Jib Sheets during Tacking

Wanted to know what the technique everyone uses/was taught to release and trim the jib sheets during a tack maneuver.

I was always taught to release that is currently trimmed sheet ONLY when the foresail starts to luff and not sooner because until the sail is luff, it is still providing power to make the turn and maintain steerage. When releasing the sheet, the techinque is not just let it run free, but provide just enough tension to keep the foot of the sail from wildly flapping around until it starts to fill on the opposite side. Also the new sheet that is now being trimmed shouldn't be madly hauled in until the jib starts to fill on the new side. This helps prevent the jib from being pulled against and wrapped around the mast stays, forestays or furling foil.

My father thinks that you should release the sheet from the winch/cleat just after you start the tack maneuver because to want to pull in the working sheet (otherside) while not under extreme tension. I didn't want to tell him, "It's my boat, my way..." because he is my dad and has been sailing a lot and a former (35 year boat owner). However, each time we tried it his way, we either got tangled in the mast stays or wrapped around the furling foil.

Maybe his way is correct and I was too slow.

Also, for single handing, how does one release the current and trim the new jib smoothly without stalling or overshooting your tack course. I tried it yesterday and it took me a good 20 seconds before I had everything completed. It was a little breezey, but I want to learn how to do, so I can single hand my 33 ft boat. The winches are ST, so that helps a lot.

DrB

Last edited by DrB; 08-20-2007 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 08-20-2007
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By keeping the jib trimmed until it is luffing you add pressure to the tiller in making the turn thus braking your forward movement. When you decide to tack you should begin to loosen the jib sheets to facilitate the turn. I agree that you want to maintain some control on the flopping of the clew. Thats why you just don't let it fly out. Begin trimming on the new side ASAP but only at a speed that keeps the jib in control and does not put undue pressure on the rudder. You want to slightly over steer and simultaneously trim the jib to its proper trim and THEN begin to steer up and trim to your new proper course. This will help to maintain speed. You need speed to turn and you need to speed to lift.

Jeff
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Old 08-20-2007
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I would disagree with Jeff. As you go into the tack, wait for the sail to backwind and release. Pull in on the opposite sheet and the grind the sail into proper trim.

Your first instinct is correct, you'll lose drive if you release too early. Plus, if you get into the habit of just letting fly as soon as you turn, it will flog wildly until you move through the breeze. An advantage of waiting until it backwinds is having an indicator from the sail that tells you when to release, rather than guessing how fast the helmsman is going to move through the wind.
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Old 08-20-2007
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I am with Jason, take the sheet off the winch completely when the sail starts to backwind.

The secret to a good tack is not to turn the boat too quickly. After the sheets have been released give your crew time to get the sheet in on the new tack so that they have very little grinding to do before you come around to fill the sail. They should be able to get it all in but the last little bit and they will take that in as you slowly come back to close hauled as the boat builds speed. Of course this is difficult singlehanded.

As with most crew maneuvers the helmsman can make a big difference.

Gary
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Old 08-20-2007
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Some boats will even stall if you release the jib too early.

I start the turn and wait until the jib is no longer providing a lift, then I let go the sheet.
If I single hand I use autopilot to tack, I do the genoa sheets and after that I adjust the traveler of the main sheet (or I have traveler centered if I anticipate lots of tacking).
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Old 08-20-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomaz_423 View Post
Some boats will even stall if you release the jib too early.

I start the turn and wait until the jib is no longer providing a lift, then I let go the sheet.
If I single hand I use autopilot to tack, I do the genoa sheets and after that I adjust the traveler of the main sheet (or I have traveler centered if I anticipate lots of tacking).
Some boats (Mac26x) are too light to complete the tack, you have to back wind the jib before it will come around. Other boats have enough mass to keep going, so release it as it starts to luft
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Old 08-20-2007
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SanderO is an unknown quantity at this point
It might also depend if you have to plow through big seas to complete the tack. In that case you might want to let the sail backwind pushing the bow through and then release it and tack it up on the new tack. Depends on how fast you can get the boat to head on the new tack.. momentum and so forth.

jef
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Old 08-21-2007
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IMHO, you're partially correct, and your Dad is partially correct.

You're correct that you should only release the working jib sheet when the jib begins to luff, because up until that time, the jib is still driving the boat, and, when you tack, you don't want the boat to coast, without power, any more than absolutely necessary.

Your Dad is wrong in his opinion that you should release the jibsheet immediately after the start of the tack, but he is absolutely correct in his thinking that you should pull in as much of the new working sheet as possible, by hand, before the sail begins to fill on the new tack.

Assume, for the sake of this discussion, that your crew includes one person to release the old working jibsheet, one person to tail the new working jibsheet, and one person to grind the winches.

Depending on the size and type of boat, you might have to pull in 30-40' of jibsheet during a tack. It's easy to tail the jibsheet when there is no load on it. Once the jib fills on the new tack, you can only pull it in by grinding the winches, and that takes much more time, it wears down your crew, and it takes longer to bring the boat back to a close hauled course.

The person who releases the jib has to make sure the sheet runs free, without any hockles, foot-cleats or butt-cleats.

The person who tails the line on the other side should pre-wrap the winch, and take up as much slack as possible before the old working sheet is released. Upon release of the old working sheet, the tailer should gradually take in the slack until the bow of the boat crosses the wind. At that point, he should start taking in the sheet furiously. When the jib starts to fill on the new tack, the person who is grinding the winch has to bring it in the rest of the way.

The helmsman can help the tailer get in as much of the sheet as possible, without using the winch. As the bow of the boat crosses the eye of the wind, the helmsman can steer the boat directly to windward for a second or even a second-and-a-half, to give the tailer more time to sheet it in by hand.
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Old 08-21-2007
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In my light (1175#'s) boat, I let the jib backwind after easing the sheet to the point where the leach is about a foot from centerline with the old leeward sheet ready to run and the new lee sheet's slack pulled in. Once she passes through the wind, I set the new windward sheet at a marked spot and trim the remainder of the lee sheet. This works well in real light air or with lumpy water.
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