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post #1 of 61 Old 08-21-2018 Thread Starter
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Raise main under sail?

I haven't tried this yet, but I hope to this week:

Go as close as you reasonably can to weather under jib alone, and let the mainsheet out till the sail is luffing. Did it as part of my licensing course to reef/shake the main, can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work for the full hoist.

Anyone tried it and have feedback? Why are we always taught to raise the main first, and under power?

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Re: Raise main under sail?

Because you probably already have the motor on. The other big point is trying to get going to weather under jib alone would be pretty difficult, if even possible.
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Re: Raise main under sail?

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Originally Posted by tschmidty View Post
Because you probably already have the motor on.
That may be true, but it's the worst reason I ever heard to leave the motor on...

It takes me a good few minutes to raise my main, only about 30 seconds to unfurl the jib. Why wouldn't I do things in the order that gets the motor off faster?
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Re: Raise main under sail?

It would be impossible to not catch a batten if you tried this and had lazy-jacks or a stack-pack.

I have raised the main while at the mooring and at anchor - and that's usually a pain because my boat, and those that I teach on, usually start sailing as soon as I raise the main.
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post #5 of 61 Old 08-21-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Raise main under sail?

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
It would be impossible to not catch a batten if you tried this and had lazy-jacks or a stack-pack.
Even with the lazyjacks and sheet both slack?

So you have to fire up to shake a reef too?

(no problem for me anyhow, no lazyjacks, I think I'm the only boat in the Med without)

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Re: Raise main under sail?

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Originally Posted by zedboy View Post
I haven't tried this yet, but I hope to this week:

Go as close as you reasonably can to weather under jib alone, and let the mainsheet out till the sail is luffing. Did it as part of my licensing course to reef/shake the main, can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work for the full hoist.

Anyone tried it and have feedback? Why are we always taught to raise the main first, and under power?
The reason that mainsails are usually hoisted before jibs is that most boats won't point very close to the wind under jib alone and will try to fall off even under power, and the jib takes a real beating against the mast and spreaders motoring to windward. On the flip side, most boats can be held dead to wind under mainsail alone (even if it means steering backward as the boat moves astern). It is generally much harder to haul up the mainsail if the boat is not pretty close to be head to wind. It can be done but there is a lot more friction to overcome. On my boat, I don't mind hauling in 8 feet of halyard to shake out a reef while the sail is partially loaded, but its another thing altogether to haul 45 feet of halyard even under the same partial load.

And if the goal is to hold the boat head to wind, then it is way easier to hold the boat head to wind under power which is why they teach that. But there are other ways to get a mainsail up without motoring. When I sail off the anchor (without the engine), I typically get the anchor on deck and secured, and then point the boat dead downwind to build up a little speed. Once the boat has steerage I then use that speed to turn upwind and raise the mainsail. If I don't get the sail all the way up, I turn down wind again, gain speed then spin the boat head into wind again until the sail is all the way up.

You may be able to do something similar to that with the jib up but it will be harder to get the mainsail up, and it may take more times getting speed up then cracking off.

Jeff


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Re: Raise main under sail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zedboy View Post
Even with the lazyjacks and sheet both slack?
Yup!
Quote:
Originally Posted by zedboy View Post
So you have to fire up to shake a reef too?

(no problem for me anyhow, no lazyjacks, I think I'm the only boat in the Med without)
No, the first reef is above the lazy-jacks. I can tuck in or shake out a reef without catching a batten. I usually do this while hove-to.


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Re: Raise main under sail?

We have lazy jacks and a large full batten main and have no problem raising it when not dead into the wind. As long as the boom angle can be the same as the wind angle, it is the same as head to wind. For us, that is generally 40-50* or so - further off and the boom tends to not stay out enough. Our tides sail track doesn't have much friction here, but we do have an electric winch. We don't slack the lazy jacks.

Mark
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Re: Raise main under sail?

The boom may be lined up with the wind but the sail slugs are not, on our boat at least that creates friction.
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post #10 of 61 Old 08-21-2018
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Re: Raise main under sail?

When we raise our sails, especially when we're shorthanded, we usually try to get away from other traffic, because our attention is diverted somewhat from helming the boat to sail handling. Since our attention is divided, keeping our speed slow while raising sails is safer. Sailing under mainsail alone is generally slower than under jib alone. Moreover, most boats will self steer more reliably to windward under mainsail alone than under jib alone, because the mainsail tends to drive the boat to windward, whereas the jib tends to drive the bow off the wind. Thus, with mainsail alone, you can easily use a tiller tamer or a wheel lock to hold the boat's heading while you raise sails.

So, we use the motor at slow speed to keep the boat moving slowly to windward while we raise the mainsail. Then we shut down the motor and lock the helm with the boat on a close reach (but not closehauled) to keep the boat moving while we raise the jib.

People are free to use different procedures for raising and lowering sails, but the rule of thumb is to raise the mainsail first and lower it last, because it makes sense logically and it's rationale has been re-proven by generations of sailors.
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