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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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Old 02-18-2011
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accidental gybe

egad, i really need to stop putting up these embarassing posts.

last sunday, in fair conditions, i went for a spin with my dockmate and his wife on their catalina 32', bout 15 years old. they just replaced all sails with some high tech halsey stuff (neat i must say) and we were makin 7-7.5 knots under sunny skies. well, i had the helm, broad reaching on a port tack and trying to get the most out of the new toys, when i veered a wee bit too far downwind-resulting in an accidental gybe. no MOB, no one hit, i immediately turned the helm over to my pals wife and apologized.

so i was wondering...

1. how many of you have done this?
2. how many of you do this on purpose?
3. what should have been the indication to me at helm that this was about to occur?
4. do i owe my pal a bottle of rum?

thanks
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Old 02-18-2011
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We gybe quite a bit - on purpose. We have to in a lake. We've done it in winds up to 15+. At 20 and above, we'll chicken-gybe.

It's really no big deal if everyone is coordinated. Just pay close attention to the jib sheet as you're playing it across. A wrapped headsail sucks. And make sure the mainsheet's not locked!
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Old 02-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickMick View Post
egad, i really need to stop putting up these embarassing posts.

last sunday, in fair conditions, i went for a spin with my dockmate and his wife on their catalina 32', bout 15 years old. they just replaced all sails with some high tech halsey stuff (neat i must say) and we were makin 7-7.5 knots under sunny skies. well, i had the helm, broad reaching on a port tack and trying to get the most out of the new toys, when i veered a wee bit too far downwind-resulting in an accidental gybe. no MOB, no one hit, i immediately turned the helm over to my pals wife and apologized.

so i was wondering...

1. how many of you have done this?
2. how many of you do this on purpose?
3. what should have been the indication to me at helm that this was about to occur?
4. do i owe my pal a bottle of rum?

thanks
If you're watching the main, you can see the wind start to get "behind" the sail. I mean, if you steer downwind fast enough, it'll happen too fast for a warning, but you get the idea. And of course, glance at the Windex every now and then.

Was it a violent gybe? I don't understand why all the apology and discomfort, unless the main went "BLAM!". Oh, maybe you didn't give a "gybe ho" so they could watch their heads? It's not the end of the world, just practice on your boat some more.
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Old 02-18-2011
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A couple of things

Here are some ideas of how to help prevent an accidental gybe.

1) Use a boom preventer
2) Don't sail really really deep. I try to sail about 170 deg DW, this gives me a little fudge room if there are small wind shifts.
3) Watch the jib/genoa. It will start to move over before the boom does. As soon as you see it start to back fill, head up until it fills.

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Old 02-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
If you're watching the main, you can see the wind start to get "behind" the sail. I mean, if you steer downwind fast enough, it'll happen too fast for a warning, but you get the idea. And of course, glance at the Windex every now and then.

Was it a violent gybe? I don't understand why all the apology and discomfort, unless the main went "BLAM!". Oh, maybe you didn't give a "gybe ho" so they could watch their heads? It's not the end of the world, just practice on your boat some more.
no gybe ho' issued, and lets just call it fairly violent. i just felt bad dropping that kind of a)surprise on my host's and b)that kind of load on his brand new set of sails when it is something he wouldnt do...
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I recently had an accidental gybe in a laser, and got to swim back to the dock. I was suddenly using my daggerboard as a sail, and my mast as a keel faster than I could blink.
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Old 02-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
If you're watching the main, you can see the wind start to get "behind" the sail. I mean, if you steer downwind fast enough, it'll happen too fast for a warning, but you get the idea. And of course, glance at the Windex every now and then.

Was it a violent gybe? I don't understand why all the apology and discomfort, unless the main went "BLAM!". Oh, maybe you didn't give a "gybe ho" so they could watch their heads? It's not the end of the world, just practice on your boat some more.
Maybe that's it. Never look at the skipper's wife after a gybe, throw a gang sign and yell "Gybe ho!". If that's what happened, rum is definitely in order.
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Old 02-18-2011
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just dont say 'ho'!! gybe!!'

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Oh, I should have added- I blew my mainsheet block apart when gybing on Day #1 of the Good Old Boat Regatta, so don't feel bad.
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Old 02-18-2011
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Been there, done that. Learning experience.

Previous advice is good.

If you are broad reaching, pay some attention to the genoa; as soon as the clew starts to drop, head up slightly.

Avoid running wing-on-wing unless necessary. But practise it occasionally.
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Last edited by jackdale; 02-18-2011 at 12:16 PM.
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