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bacampbe 04-12-2010 09:02 AM

Short Handed Gybes
How do others handle short handed gybes, where you have at most 2 people on board? I've generally heard that one should gybe the mainsail first, then worry about the jib when you have time. But I've found on my Bene 31 that it's hard to complete the turn with the jib backed.

I can head dead down wind, pull the gib across to go wing-on-wing, then gybe, but this takes more time than I like to execute. Maybe we just need to practice it.

speciald 04-12-2010 09:22 AM

I bring the main in till close to midline then jibe the genoa. Once the genoa fills, I let out the main sheet. One person on the wheel, one on the sheets is all you need. I do it with the autopilot alone and I'm talking about an 850sqft main.

Boasun 04-12-2010 09:40 AM

You can do what is called Wearing the ship. That is for a square rigger they took their stern through the wind to shift from close hauled on one side to the other.

For a vessel with Fore & Aft sails with the wind on one quarter; you would take your bow through the wind (tacking) to the point where the wind is on the other quarter. Thus eliminating a possible wild swinging of the boom. Or tacking to go from one broad reach to the other.

This method is easier on your rigging and your nerves... But as with all maneuvers with a vessel, plan your moves ahead of time and let your crew know what that plan is...
Note: Letting your crew know your plans, is very very important when working a vessel.

erikdj 04-12-2010 09:42 AM

This is the procedure I just typed up the other day for a friend:

1) Head down until the jib "winks" and then head back up so that the
jib stays filled
2) Note where the bow is pointing on the horizon
3) Sheet in on the lazy jib sheet to "pre set" the jib for the jibe.
The jib should be set so that when it jibes, the jib is sheeted out to
about the same amount on the new side
4) release the working sheet on the jib
5) sheet in the main to center the boom
6) Turn the boat to jibe the main sail
7) ** IMPORTANT** When the boom jibes, let the main sail out QUICKLY
to prevent the boat from broaching (turning uncontrollably up through
the wind

so we "pre-set" the jib so that it is ready to go after the main sail jibes. Some adjustment may be necessary after the jibe if the pre-set wasn't quite right, but otherwise, you're most of the way there already. I follow the same procedure when single handing except I'm doing all the work :)

Freesail99 04-12-2010 09:43 AM


Originally Posted by speciald (Post 591971)
I bring the main in till close to midline then jibe the genoa. Once the genoa fills, I let out the main sheet. One person on the wheel, one on the sheets is all you need. I do it with the autopilot alone and I'm talking about an 850sqft main.

If that isn't a typo, an 850 sq ft sail of any kind is huge!

bacampbe 04-12-2010 09:50 AM


Pre-setting the jib may be the piece of magic we need. I'll give it a try at the next opportunity. Thanks!

nolatom 04-12-2010 12:11 PM

Presetting the "new" jib sheet as described, may be the way to go. Personally, I haven't had trouble on most boats treating the jib as an "orphan" to be tended to after the main has come over and been eased. But if you do, then do whatever you need to get comfortable.

What Boasun is describing is also known as the "chicken jibe" (meaning not jibing at all, typically when it's blowing stink and you want the rig to remain standing, and the boat to remain underneath it ;-). I describe it to students as akin to having a psychotic sniper next door, and your best friend, whom you want to visit, next door to sniper. You wisely go all the way around the block, even though a longer walk, in the interest of having it bullet (and death)-free. Consider this technique when it's blowing 20 or more.

And most important when jibing in a breeze, keep the bow headed no higher than a broad reach right after the boom comes over. If you don't arrest your swing in time, she'll keep on rounding up, and you'll end up broached broadside, with the tip of your boom in the water so you can't ease it. Not fun, though definitely an adventure.

Omatako 04-13-2010 03:18 AM

I use sort of a combination of all of the above:

Main traveller to the middle, sheet the main in hard, harden up the lazy jib sheet, turn the boat, release the main right out then take the jib across. Once on the new course, reset the traveller and the sails as required by the new course.

This is niether complicated nor dangerous in any wind assuming that you are carrying the appropriate amount of sail for the wind strength in the frist place.

bacampbe 04-13-2010 04:57 PM

For all those that mention the importance of easing the mainsheet quickly after the gybe--how are you doing that? Are you throwing it off the winch, or easing it around the winch? The latter is pretty hard to do fast. (Obviously this is meaningless if you don't have a mainsheet winch).

It also occurs to me that, on most monohulls, when you're at a broad reach or deeper, the boom is way past the end of your traveler. That is, it doesn't seem like having the traveller all the way down vs centered will make much difference in sail shape. All your downforce is probably coming from the vang.

So is there any reason not to just keep the traveler centered once the boom is well past the end, to remove a step (or 2) when gybing?

CharlieCobra 04-13-2010 07:34 PM

When the breeze is up and I'm gybing single or short handed, I shorten the mainsheet, harden up the lazy sheet, throw all but enough wraps to keep the working sheet in place on the winch and gybe. As she's coming through and the jib backs, I throw off the wraps and let her run. Just after she comes through the wind I trim as much of the jib by hand as I can. Once on the new course, I sheet out a bit on the main and trim the jib. My traveller is 24" long and has no adjustments. It free slides to the stops. If it had adjustments, I'd move it from out to center and then out on the new side after the gybe. Oh Joy is a tiller boat so doing this dance requires a bit of dexterity, especially in anything over 30 knots.

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