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Technique for furling in high winds
So I took off early down the Chesapeake from Reedville last Wednesday headed south in 15 kt. winds, not predicted to be above 25 until late afternoon. I only had to go about 12 miles, then turn West to enter the Rappahannock river. Well, NOAA blew the forecast and about 1.5 hours into the sail the winds were 25 gusting to 30 or 35, and they were issuing a gale warning for later, with following seas about 4-5 feet. Since it was just myself and an inexperienced girlfriend aboard, I opted to motorsail with only about 3/4 Jib out so I could minimize trips on deck.
As we turned west I quickly realized that the short-frequency, steep waves of the Chesapeake directly on my beam were not going to cut it and decided to tack at 45 degrees into, then turn 45 degrees away from the wind/waves in order to make headway to the west. I decided to furl the Jib and just motor. That was when I realized that even when I pulled with all my might on the furling line, I could not get the sail in on any point of sail. It was not jammed, there was just too much wind on it. I was finally able to get the line around a winch while going downwind and winch it in, but because the wind was so strong it wrapped the sail up so tight that I ran out of line before it was all in and was left with about a 4 ft. triangle sticking out which flailed a hole in my sail.
So what did I do wrong (besides going out in the first place) and does anybody have a better technique for furling the jib in high winds?
1980 Morgan 461