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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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  #1  
Old 12-13-2009
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Looking for more refined trim info

With my basic books and the forums, I'm getting a lot of good information on the skill of sailing and the care and feeding of the boat. Now I'm here with more questions:

1. Jib: I'm having trouble finding info on how to reef a jib. I do not have a roller furler. I have spring locks or piston hanks. So what's the trick? Or can you not reef a jib with this kind of set up?

2. Main: I have a boom vang with the traveler and track. From what I've read, this allows the main sail to be somewhat self-trimming. I've observed that there are adjustable stop-pegs so that you can adjust how far the boom can swing either way. How do I learn where to set these stops? Does it have to do with wind speed or course relative to the wind direction or....?

Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2009
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Unless they're on a roller-furler, or are specially built to do so, jibs aren't usually reefed. Some blade jibs, (not genoas, afaik) such as "Solent" jibs, can have reefing grommets built into their luffs, and the corresponding clew grommet and a row of reef cringles between them. They're reefed much the same way a main is "jiffy-reefed" or "slab-reefed". You attach new sheets to what will be the new clew. The sheets are eased and the halyard is lowered. The new tack is fastened down, and the halyard tightened against it. Then the new sheet is brought in and the loose sailcloth along the foot of the sail is tidied with sailties or line laced through the cringles to bundled it up. It's a nice setup because it's relatively quick to do, and lowers the center of effort of the sail more than roller-furling would. We would reef Solent jib like this if the wind went much over 25 knots. ( We'd probably have already reefed the main once by then.)

Where you trim the main on the traveller depends a lot on wind speed and your course relative to the wind. Most of the time it's easiest to leave the traveler in the middle. If the wind picks up and you find you're getting too much helm pressure, you can ease the traveler down a little. This will make it easier to steer, and help you go faster since the rudder won't be braking the boat so much as it was. On a reach, you may want to ease the traveler well off. This allows for better sail shape (less twist, which can cause yawing if you have too much of it) and more of a forward component in your sail's force vectors. Instead of pegs, you might want to see if you can set up a control line on your traveler. It might be easier to use and adjust under way.

Last edited by paulk; 12-13-2009 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 12-14-2009
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That's great Paul, thanks a lot.

Re: Jib- Should I consider getting a storm jib or would it be better to have slab points sewn into my regular jib?
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Old 12-14-2009
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Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
That's great Paul, thanks a lot.

Re: Jib- Should I consider getting a storm jib or would it be better to have slab points sewn into my regular jib?
What is the size of your current jib/genoa?

If you will primarily be sailing Chesapeake Bay, or coastal for that matter, there is really no need to buy a storm jib. You will duck back in to protected harbour long before you will need a storm jib. Storm jibs are for very serious conditions that you are unlikely to venture out in or encounter as a casual coastal sailor.

Not knowing the size of your current headsail, I would suggest that your best approach might be to spend some time sailing the boat next season and figuring out how well that sail works in the wind ranges you typically sail in. If you find it is oversized most of the time (i.e. it's more sail than you and/or the boat can handle), then your best approach would be to purchase a second working sail of a smaller size.

Those rare reefable jibs that Paul mentioned are generally designed that way from the outset, so retrofitting a sail may not be feasible. If what you have is a large genoa then you can pretty much forget about it.
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Old 12-14-2009
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Hello,

This information is IMHO.

If it were my boat, before I spent a dime on making the sail 'reefable' and before I even thought of buying a storm jib, I would buy a roller furler / reefer for the heasail.

Second point regarding the traveler, most travelers today are line adjustable. This means the mainsheet attaches to a 'car' that slides on a the traveler track. There are usually two lines attached to the car, one port and one starboard. You use the lines to position the car according to wind, point of sail, etc. Some older travelers don't have a line adjustable car, there are just pins that are used to limit the travel of the car. The pins are not very useful because they can't easily be adjusted underway.

For example, you are sailing and the wind picks up. The boat starts to heel a lot and develops weather helm. You want to lower the traveler to spill some wind from the main. With a line adjustable traveler you just loosen the line that is under tension and lower the boom to where you want it. You can't do that with a pin adjustable car because if you remove the pin the boom will slam all the way down. Instread what you need to do is tack over, lower the pin, then tack back. And then if the wind slacks and you want to raise the traveler you need to do that all over again. Tack over, raise the pin, then tack back. That is a pain in the you know what. I believe that most travelers can be converted to line adjustable.

For some specifics on using the traveler, here is what I do.

If I am sailing as close to the wind as possible, trying to get upwind as quickly as possible, I will use the travler to RAISE the boom so it is centered. I make the main sheet as tight as possible, but with the traveler centered the boom still falls off downwind. I use the traveler to pull the boom back up to center.

If I am reaching and the wind is steady and not too strong the traveler gets centered and that's about it.

If it is gusty I use the traveler to play the gusts. When I get hit with a blast I lower the travler so the boat doesn't heel too far. During a lull I will raise the traveler to keep the boat moving.

If it starts out calm and then gets windier I adjust my sails like this:
-calm weather (say 5-10 kts) - halyards soft (not too tight), outhaul soft so the sail has a lot of draft for power. Traveler centered
-Wind picks up (say 10-15 kts) First I will start to lower the traveler. If the wind is closer to 15 (and looks like it will stay there or get stronger) I need to start depowering the sails. First I increase halyard tension (both main and headsail) then I will tighten the outhaul. I want to sails flat so they are not as powerful. I'll put the traveler in the center for now. My boat sails great in 15 kts of breeze like this.
-Wind picks up more (15-20) I can carry full sail to about 18 kts of wind. By now the sails are as flat as I can make them. If I am overpowered (lots of heel, lots of weather helm, getting 'the look' from my wife) I will lower the traveler so the main is mostly luffing. If that's not enough I will reef my headsail from a 140 (full sail) down to a 110 (I have a stripe on the sail so I know when it has been reduced enough).

-More wind (20-25) I will have the headsail rolled up to a 110 size and 1 reef in the main. I can carry this much sail to 25+ kts. I haven't sailed in anything higher than 28 kts and I don't really want to.

Lastly, the boom vang is used when sailing from broad reach down to a run. As the boom moved further out, the angle from the main sheet to the boom gets more horizontal. This allows the boom to rise up and the main to twist. The boom vang is used to pull boom down and prevent it from rising up.

Good luck,
Barry
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  #6  
Old 12-14-2009
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The boat came with a 130% Genoa and a 100, smaller jib. (Supposed to be, anyway.)

Looks like I still have a lot of reading to do.
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Old 12-14-2009
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The boat came with a 130% Genoa and a 100, smaller jib. (Supposed to be, anyway.)
The good news is that's actually a really nice sail combination for the Chesapeake. Once you've gained some experience, you'll probably use the 130% most of the time. But every now and again when the forecast is for heavier air, that 100% will come in real handy.

You'll basically "reef" the headsail by swapping one for the other.

Since you are a novice, you might want to just stick with the 100% for a while until you've had a chance to practice some. You will lose a bit of speed in light to moderate conditions, but you'll gain a lot by way of easier handling, allowing you to focus on sail trim and technique without worrying about getting overpowered.
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Old 12-14-2009
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I know what a Solent stay is, but what is a Solent jib? I’m not sure that in these modern times, having a reef able headsail is all that desirable. Far better IMHO, to have two purpose built jibs and it looks like you do. For “fun”, roll out both jibs on the lawn and measure them. Blades are about 100% of “J” (so they can be trimmed inside of the shrouds) and will have a very straight leech. In most cases, they will even have battens to stop leech flutter. Without knowing what your boat is, you should be able to carry your “blade” well into the second reef in your main. After that you really should be safely tied up in your slip.

Last edited by GeorgeB; 12-14-2009 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 12-14-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
Since you are a novice, you might want to just stick with the 100% for a while until you've had a chance to practice some. You will lose a bit of speed in light to moderate conditions, but you'll gain a lot by way of easier handling, allowing you to focus on sail trim and technique without worrying about getting overpowered.
That sounds like a really good plan. I'm not out to break any speed records on my shakedown runs.
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Old 12-15-2009
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OK, here's my $0.02 (if anyone cares).

Since you appear to be new to sailing, and to reemphasize what some others have said, I would recommend that you:

1) Leave the 130 in the lazarette (or, even better, throw it in your garage for the time being). Just hank on the working jib (your 100%) and forget about the genoa until you get some experience.

2) Make sure you have at least one (and preferably two) reef points in your mainsail. Learn to reef you main -- practice at the dock -- practice on the water on calm days -- practice -- practice -- practice.

3) NEVER be afraid to reduce sail area. The best way to "tame" a boat is to take down some sail.

Basically, on small sloops like a Coronado 25, when the wind picks up and you start feeling uncomfortable the first reduction should be to the foresail; take down the 130 and put up your 100 (since you probably ignored point #1, above). If you still feel like there is too much wind, put a reef in the main; and then a second reef (if you have a second reef, and conditions warrant using it). When you have reefed your main all that you can, and you still feel you need to reduce sail, drop your jib and sail "bare-headed" (if you get to this point you should be headed back to harbor, any harbor).

After each of these steps the boat should heel less and you should feel more in control. Once you feel comfortable with things, just sail like that for a while. If you get bored, add some sail (shake out a reef, etc.). If you feel "too close to the edge" take down some sail. And don't be afraid, or embarrassed, to practice changing sails, reefing, trying various combinations of jibs, reefing, traveller position, etc., on a calm day. Sail around on a calm day for an hour or so with just a reefed main, and practice taking the reef out and putting it back in several times. With each reef, try different traveller settings. Then, do the same thing all over again on a windier day. If you are confident in you abilities to reduce sail under any conditions, even an over-canvased sailboat will feel less intimidating.

One last suggestion: learn the wonders of a "fisherman's reef". If you feel a bit over canvassed (from a gust, or whatever) let the mainsheet out a bit until you have a fairly good-sized luff (but the sail isn't to the point of flapping). This will effectively reduce the sail area, and reduce heel. On a gusty day, you can use a fisherman's reef during the gusts and tighten up the mainsheet during the lulls. If you feel the boat is heeling to much, in general, but you don't feel like reefing just yet (or you're about to change your point of sail soon anyway, or you just feel lazy, etc.), you can "put in" a fisherman's reef for several minutes, or more. Some "purists" my scoff at your "bad sail trim", but the boat will be easier to control, and you'll feel more comfortable.

Last edited by CoastalEddie; 12-15-2009 at 01:50 AM.
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