How/When to hoist sail. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-10-2009 Thread Starter
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How/When to hoist sail.

I have to single hand mostly and have always pointed into the wind before raising sail. This is so much a part of me over the years that I've never ask " are there exceptions to this rule".

So are there? I dont see how unless there is "no wind" to speak of... Under what conditions (like 10knts or so) has anyone hoisted sail when not pointing into the wind and how did you handle it alone on something like a 36' sloop?

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post #2 of 13 Old 11-10-2009
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Just like you say,

I usually point into the wind. Less pressure on the slides and less effort putting mainsail up or dn. Genoa - I let the wind catch it of course - usually after the main is set.
Every situation is different to the previous -Do what you need to do. Life was meant to be on a beam reach after a great meal with a nice glass of red or kilkenny or whatever your poison is!


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Last edited by St Anna; 11-10-2009 at 04:24 AM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 11-10-2009
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The sail at the back of the ship was raised first. This kept the boat pointed to the wind and other sails were easily raised. On most boats you can easily raise the main sail (under normal wind conditions) on different wind angles.

In case my destination is down wind, first I use the genova. After some speed is attained it gets easier to to raise the main down wind.
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post #4 of 13 Old 11-10-2009
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Like everything in sailing, the answer is that it depends on the situation.

As far as raising the main goes, the key is not to have the sail full of air. This can be easily done at anchor(when there isn't a foul current) or by motoring into the wind. Also, you can do it on points of sail to about a beam reach simply by letting the sheet out. On a run, if you get the boat going fast enough you can take the main down as well. This technique is used often by larger boats where there is not a lot of room to maneuver and they simply motor at the wind speed.

I have always found that you have more flexibility with the jib whether it be hanked on or on a furler. Like the main, as long as you keep the wind out of it, you can get it up and down. Another thing that you can do is run off before the wind and blanket the jib with the main.

If you are looking to become comfortable at doing this at more sailing angles, try some of these different techniques on a moderate wind day with a lot of sea room in case something goes wrong.
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-10-2009
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Raising the sails, it is generally best to raise them from the aftmost forward... being pointed directly into the wind isn't necessary, but being pointed in to the "NO GO" zone is generally at least recommended, since the sails can be swung to one side or the other a bit to point the sail into the wind.

Dropping the sails is generally done from the bow aft... for the same reasons as raising them in the opposite direction, to help keep the boat pointed into the wind.

I'd point out that unfurling a roller-furled head sail, generally, doesn't require you to be pointed in any specific direction... and on days when I need to make a short down wind run, I often use just the genny alone.

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post #6 of 13 Old 11-10-2009
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I would like to clarify some details for my own knowledge...

Anyone:
Is the main sheet locked in or not when raising/lowering?
In general, do you start the motor?
How about the auto pilot?

I guess I am just wondering if what I do is correct and the norm?

Cheers,
Shawn

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post #7 of 13 Old 11-10-2009
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T37Chef,

Whether it is correct or not really depends on whether it works well or not. Sailing is an evolving sport and everything is figured out by the people out there doing it. If you have an idea for how to do something, think it over carefully and try to find good and bad points for it then decide whether you want to try it. If no one else does something, it is often wise to figure out why.

To answer your questions, I much prefer to sail off the hook if possible(I don't like docks). This means raising sails from aft forward. When raising, the sheet has enough slack that it won't prevent the sail from going up or slam but not so much that I could loose it. On a boat like a ketch, the mizzen gets sheeted hard once it has been raised to keep the bow into the wind. Once the anchor is broken out, the main is let out, and the jib is unrolled and backed so that you fall off the correct way. Once the boat has fallen off some, the jib is passed and the main is sheeted in.

I don't use the engine unless I am in a really tight spot that I can't sail out of. I don't use the autopilot but I do steer with my feet a lot. An autopilot will do quite well(except when you are going backward before you fall off and the sails fill), I just find it more fun not to use one.
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post #8 of 13 Old 11-10-2009
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No, the mainsheet is usually left slack. You don't want a tight mainsheet, or you'll be fighting to lift the boom with the sail.... and won't generally get full hoist on the mainsail. The topping lift should be tensioned a tiny bit to take the weight off the sail and to prevent it from dropping until the main sail is all the way up...then the topping lift should be eased to prevent it from interfering with the sail shape.

Motor isn't always necessary, but it depends on the conditions at the time.

Autopilot or crew is really useful.

The basic procedure on my boat for raising the main sail:
  1. Remove main sail cover
  2. Un-hook the sail tie lines
  3. Stow the lazy jacks, if they aren't already stowed
  4. Release the main sheet
  5. Tension the topping lift
  6. Ease main halyard and remove from winch. I usually stow the main halyard with a wrap around a mast winch to prevent the sail from accidentally going up.
  7. Release the reefing lines and pull them out through the clutches until the stopper knots hit the clutches. This ensures that the reefing lines aren't going to interfere with raising the main sail.
  8. Check to see if any reefing lines are tied around the bunt of the sail, if the sail was reefed when last used.
  9. Raise main sail
  10. Tension out haul,
  11. Ease topping lift...
  12. Tension boombrake line
  13. Trim main sheet.
  14. Unfurl Genoa
  15. Go sailing...
.

Of course, the steps you take on your boat will differ, based on how your boat is equipped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T37Chef View Post
I would like to clarify some details for my own knowledge...

Anyone:
Is the main sheet locked in or not when raising/lowering?
In general, do you start the motor?
How about the auto pilot?

I guess I am just wondering if what I do is correct and the norm?

Sailingdog

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #9 of 13 Old 11-10-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T37Chef View Post
I would like to clarify some details for my own knowledge...

Anyone:
Is the main sheet locked in or not when raising/lowering?
In general, do you start the motor?
How about the auto pilot?

I guess I am just wondering if what I do is correct and the norm?
For what it's worth, here's how I was taught:

Before the main is raised, all its lines are loose (sheet and boom vang) and the "superman lift" is performed. This is just lifting the end of the boom to make sure the lines ARE loose and the sail can assume a good shape when it fills with air.

Before any sail is lowered -- presuming you are preparing to enter your harbor, creek, whatever -- the engine is started and idling out of gear. I was taught that you don't turn off one source of power until you have another ready to go.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I sail in the Baltimore area out of Rock Creek, and there's an awful lot of traffic around there that you want to make sure you can get out of the way of.)

I'm sure some will say this is overly cautious. It never hurts to be overly cautious.

I don't have an autopilot, so I got nothing there.

S/V Free Spirit

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post #10 of 13 Old 11-10-2009
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I have no conflict with any of the good advice posted above, but I do experience a frequent exception since I do much ICW travel. When I'm sailing in a restricted path I like to be able to raise and lower sails without turning into the wind. Because of this, I usually unfurl my genoa first and then add a mizzen staysail followed sometimes by the mizzen as it's small enough to finese up while downwind. At other times I'm inline with the others that propose aiming to windward and aft sails first. 'take care and joy, aythya crew
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