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post #1 of 73 Old 03-22-2014 Thread Starter
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why a storm jib?

With very limited experience I ask this question. If you have a furling jib why do you need a storm jib? Doesn't just partially furling your jib do the same as a storm jib? Or is there some other quality of the storm jib that I am not aware?
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post #2 of 73 Old 03-22-2014
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Re: why a storm jib?

main issue, is a storm jib is usually made with heavier cloth than a typical jib. So one could tear up a typical jib in a real storm, ie say gale or above winds.

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Re: why a storm jib?

Hey,

Good question.

A sail is a lot more than just a triangle made of dacron. A sail has a 3 dimensional shape, and that shape is based on the wind the sail is designed to be used in.

A large 150% genoa, designed to be used in winds under 15 kts, is made of a relatively light material, is cut with a lot draft, and will generate a lot of power. A #3 jib, which is a lot bigger than a storm jib, is both physically smaller than a genoa, is made of stronger (and heavier) material, and is cut flatter than the genoa so that it doesn't generate as much power.

The storm jib will be the smallest and heaviest sail. It will be cut very flat so that it can be used in high winds to generate just a little power.

Now, back to your question, a 150 genoa can be rolled up so that it is the same SIZE as a storm sail, but it won't work nearly as well. First, there will be a lot of sail material rolled around the headstay. That sail material is not aerodynamic. The 150 when rolled up will have too much draft and will generate more power than the storm sail. Lastly, the sail material is probably not strong enough to handle the high loads.

Barry
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post #4 of 73 Old 03-22-2014
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Re: why a storm jib?

Normally a storm jib gives you control of your boat when the wind is 30 knots up for the typical cruiser. A roller furling sail is light weight for one and puts the center of effort to far forward which reduces the ability to control the boat. Idealily it would be closer to the main in a staysail type of installation which would give better control as well as no fear of it unfurling out to a 120% genny in 50 knot wind. I personally do not like roller furling because it fails when you need it the most. I still hank on and know the sail will be there an not grow bigger than it really is by unfurling. I have even put a storm jib on my main with the main completely tied down and had great balance on a sloop rig. I think most people here have learned their hard knock lessons little by little and I feel you will do the same. I have been sailing only forty years so I guess I am a little seasoned in my past history of learning through mistakes. You really don't have to have a storm jib as long as you are a fair weather sailor and keep on top of the weather conditions. It is your choice, But I would not go off shore without one in my stores along with several other items. I wish you fair winds..
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post #5 of 73 Old 03-22-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: why a storm jib?

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Originally Posted by bill cartwright View Post
Normally a storm jib gives you control of your boat when the wind is 30 knots up for the typical cruiser. A roller furling sail is light weight for one and puts the center of effort to far forward which reduces the ability to control the boat. Idealily it would be closer to the main in a staysail type of installation which would give better control as well as no fear of it unfurling out to a 120% genny in 50 knot wind. I personally do not like roller furling because it fails when you need it the most. I still hank on and know the sail will be there an not grow bigger than it really is by unfurling. I have even put a storm jib on my main with the main completely tied down and had great balance on a sloop rig. I think most people here have learned their hard knock lessons little by little and I feel you will do the same. I have been sailing only forty years so I guess I am a little seasoned in my past history of learning through mistakes. You really don't have to have a storm jib as long as you are a fair weather sailor and keep on top of the weather conditions. It is your choice, But I would not go off shore without one in my stores along with several other items. I wish you fair winds..
Thanks. To take advantage of your 40+ years, what are your "several other items"?
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post #6 of 73 Old 03-22-2014
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Re: why a storm jib?

I would agree with Bill about not needing a storm jib. Presumably you are sailing on Lake Michigan, or another inland lake. Most likely, you will be dealing with thunderstorm winds, not sustained gales. In a T-storm, I'm guessing you would just drop all sail and motor until it passes. Remember that even with a foam luff, the sail you have up there is a roller furling sail, not a roller reefing sail. Just doesn't do well if rolled up much.

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post #7 of 73 Old 03-23-2014
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Re: why a storm jib?

I have to disagree a bit with what is being said. But first some definitions. A storm jib is not the same thing as a smaller jib. It refers to a quite small, very heavy sail meant for storm conditions, not 30 knots. So a racing boat might have a #1 (say 150% and they might have two, one with heavier and one with lighter cloth), a #2 (135%), a #3 (110%), a #4 (85%) and a storm jib which would be a much smaller still. On our cruising boat we have a 135%, a 100% both to go on the furled, along with a staysail and storm jib which are hanked and on a removable inner stay.

Now to the use. In 35,000 miles we used the storm jib zero times, the staysail a few times and the 100% once on the way to Easter Island when we damaged the 135%. The 135% was used in some nasty conditions, a few times in excess of 50 knots with perhaps 6 feet of sail unrolled. It is quite flat then and works well. It was built by North and has worked very well indeed for us. It probably has been up for 30,000 miles. Modern sail cloth if it is in good shape is remarkably strong stuff. The 135% is being replaced, not because it is shot but just because it is old and worn. It will go to Bacon and I imagine someone will find a useful, cheap sail that is OK for coastal use. We will likely use it to from the Caribbean to New England and keep the new one for later.

The vast majority of cruising is done off the wind (that is why you choose the route you do - part of the gentlemen don't go to weather approach) and sail shape then does not matter that much. Changing a furler sail when it starts getting really windy, say 35 knots+ is not any easy task on a boat of decent size since the sail really wants to go for a swim when only the three corners are attached to something and the bow is going up and down 8 or 10 feet and the ocean wants to land on deck. In most cases, changing sails happens at the dock when you know the forecast for the day. If you are on a long passage you pretty much stay with the sail you have on. One reason people are cruising with bigger boats now is that they do not change headsails like guys like Chichester and Moitessier did. Those guys were tough and resilient with the number of sail changes they did. If you have a sloop, i.e. no inner stay to put up a smaller sail, it is a problem. This is one reason why I think that Solent stay rigs make a great deal of sense.

On the Great Lakes you don't need a storm jib since you are not going to get caught by a gale that will last for a day or so. Also shelter is almost always not too far away. As someone said, the main problem is thunderstorms and these can bring a lot of wind, but they don't last long so you can roll up all or almost all of the jib if it helps with steering. You can either motor or heave-to (how to do that has been discussed here) and wait it out.

After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.
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post #8 of 73 Old 03-23-2014
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Re: why a storm jib?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregrosine View Post
With very limited experience I ask this question. If you have a furling jib why do you need a storm jib? Doesn't just partially furling your jib do the same as a storm jib? Or is there some other quality of the storm jib that I am not aware?
Read some of the Coast Guard rescue threads on this forum. One of the common elements is lack of storm sails and shredded/jammed roller furling sails, no electricity, and disabled engine. The crew is scared, the boat is out of control, and the captain activates the EPIRB. All of this could have been prevented with storm sails onboard (and some balls).

Whether you need a storm jib really depends on how and where you use your boat. Many casual weekend sailors, the same who almost always have roller furling, seem to sail only on a reach in pleasant conditions (with the boom centered); otherwise, they are motoring. They rarely sail upwind in uncomfortable conditions, and usually motor dead downwind because they lack symmetrical spinnakers and/or are afraid of gybing. Go out sailing on a beautiful day and the majority of the sailboats will be motoring somewhere.

Circumnavigators may spend most of their time riding the tradewinds downwind, but coastal cruisers are not so fortunate. I seem to spend 90% of my time either beating upwind into waves or running downwind on my trips. You never know what you will be sailing in. I prefer hank-on jibs and carry a storm jib. You may never need it, but it is a small investment for safety in the worst conditions. Imagine the day you may need to sail away from a lee shore in heavy winds, or at least gain some control over the motion of your boat, and your engine is disabled. If nothing else, it will give yo some peace of mind if you do any kind of serious sailing.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 03-23-2014 at 08:10 AM.
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post #9 of 73 Old 03-23-2014
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Re: why a storm jib?

Construction of 'storm sails':
Usually twice the material 'weight' of normal conditions sails.
Usually triple stitched (or even quadruple stitched) AND the seams are additionally glued before sewing.
The 'best' will have small triangular reinforcing 'patches' on each of the seams that terminate at the leech; and, possibly will have a small hand-sewn 'rope' added to the leech for additional strength and protection.
..... because of the strength requirements vs. 'flogging', when tacking/gybing ..... or luffing during such high wind conditions. A 'bombproof sail'.

The sail SHAPE as cut will be very different from a sail used in 'normal' conditions. There are essentially THREE curvatures inbuilt to any sail - luff entry shape, luff hollow shape, and draft position.
• The position of maximum draft in a high wind sail is usually 'well forward' of the normal 30-40% of a 'normal sail' ... to compensate for the increase of adverse helm due to excessive heeling. In any sail, where the point of maximum draft occurs is due to 'broadseaming' (in a cross cut sail) - the tapering/curving of the edges of the panels before sewing; the front of each panel is always narrower than the leech end and the taper is 'curved' so that the sail becomes 'rounded' at the point of maximum draft.
• A foresail is ALWAYS curved vertically along its luff - to compensate for 'wire stretch or sag', the higher the wind pressure, the more sag is expected hence more 'luff hollow' is cut from the leading edge. Mess up that well predictable relationship of wire sag and 'luff hollow' and the boat will skid to leeward instead of beating to windward ... and will include/mimics BODACEOUS weather helm.
• Luff entry shape - the relative flattness or roundness of the luff section of the sail -- from the luff going back for a few % of the sail's cord length. This is where the maximum 'suction peak' (Bernoulli) occurs in a sail ---- right behind the luff, when sailing upwind/aerodynamically. The 'flatter' the luff entry, the more precise the helmsman must be as the sail will have a very narrow operating range of 'angle of attack'; if this range is exceeded then luffing or separating. A more 'rounded' entry will result in a more 'forgiving' sail through a wider range of angle of attack. Storm sails have very 'rounded' luff entry shapes - makes it easier for the helmsman. The higher the wind speed or the maximum speed of the boat, the 'rounder' the luff entry .... VERY rounded for a VERY fast boat or VERY fast wind speeds.

In comparison to a sail on a furler and all rolled up .... all these 'curvatures' are all rolled up inside the furled sail !!!!!!!! Normally you can only 'roll up' a sail by ~30%; after that you only have FLAT shapes exposed.
Try beating or clawing off a lee shore, get out of the way of a ship, etc. etc. with a dead-flat sail, your sphincter will probably be beginning to 'pucker'. The sail efficiency will be dismal , your tacking angles will be beyond dismal AND youll need much more exposed surface area and thus more heeling moment to boot.
The typical experience will be for a boat that can tack through 80-90 during normal conditions ... when 'furled' beyond that 30% sail area reduction will 'probably' only be able to tack through 120 during stink condition - maybe.

IMO - In real stink conditions, its better to sooner go to a deeper reef (& maybe a headsail change) --- with LOTS of draft to drive the boat through waves ---- than to sit there with lots of FLAT sail all rolled-up and go nowhere without any speed while heeled waaaaay over fighting 'weather helm' and only left with 'lousy tacking angles'. In BIG waves you need POWER (1st gear); power comes from draft; Flat sails are for sailing fast (high gear) in FLAT water.

Rx - a roller furled sail will have all the important 'curvatures' rolled up inside when furled beyond that 30% roll-up.

Last edited by RichH; 03-23-2014 at 12:12 PM.
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post #10 of 73 Old 03-23-2014
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Re: why a storm jib?

Lots of consistently good, but also varied responses in this thread. The consistent info works for everyone: storm sails are more strongly built and cut differently from those used in better conditions. The varied answers show how each boat and situation can be a little different. What works will depend upon the balance of the boat, the sails, the wind, the waves, the course, and the crew. It can be quite a balancing act.
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