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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone describe in detail the choreography used to walk a jib around the rigging in light air? (Please don't tell me about backwinding the jib. I know how to do that. I want to know the alternative.) Do you grab the leech of the sail or the jibsheet? Which hand do you use? Please describe each step in detail. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Grap the middle of the foot, run it forward until the clew crosses the mast, then release.
Thanks SF! That sounds logical. So, if the boat is on port tack, and tacking over to starboard, you would be facing forward, and then grip the middle of the foot of the jib with your right hand, and flip it around the rigging to the port side, correct? (I want to get it as clear as I can, because sometimes the fine points matter.)

I've been looking for a video showing how the best racing crews handle the jib in a light air tack, but haven't found one yet.
 

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If the air is that light you'd have a number 1 up and the crew if any would be on the leeward side?

So the forwardmost person would grab the lazy sheet in front of them working their way to the clew as you make your turn then walking ( or rolling) it over in front of the mast making sure it doesn't get hung up on a forward shroud on the port (new) side before releasing. Then they assume their new rail position.
 

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You don't need to go forward. If on stbd tacking to port:

Stand next to the mast on the stbd side between the mast and the lower shrouds.
Grab one shroud to stbd with you're right hand and reach out/down to port with your left.
As the sail is released, sweep the sail across the rigging with your left hand, kick the clew around if it gets hung up.

Going forward on anything smaller than a 40 footer is slow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Going forward on anything smaller than a 40 footer is slow.
In asking this question, my interest is mostly in relation to boats in the 40 foot size range. IMO, backwinding the big genoa in light air doesn't work very well for a variety of reasons, especially on a big boat, and I vaguely remember seeing some skilled crews helping the sail around, but can't remember exactly how they did it.
 

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I hate backwinding a jib. It's a great way to punch a hole in the sail or beat up the leach. Only reason to do that is on a catamaran that doesn't tack well at all, and those usually don't have overlapping headsails.
 

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Zz4gta's description sounds a lot like how I do it. "Walking " it around is slow and cumbersome. I stand at the mast, and lean towards the sail, arm outstretched waiting for the sail to backwind. As soon as the sail hits my arm I use my whole arm and shoulder to fling the sail around the mast. I then grab the lazy sheet and give it a tug to make sure it doesn't foul. If it is really light I might step to the low side and induce heel and help the sail clear the shrouds on the new tack. I am then in perfect position to skirt the sail. After I skirt I may move quickly up to the high side to give the sail a little bit of a pump. The result is a form of roll tacking with an economy of movement that is important in light air.
As for back winding the sail, there is nothing wrong with it as such, in fact it is a critical component of a good tack. Spreader damage happens when the release is late and the sail is allowed to plaster itself on the rig before releasing. Early releases that allow the sail to flog are very slow, and they don't do the sail any favors either.
 

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As for back winding the sail, there is nothing wrong with it as such, in fact it is a critical component of a good tack. Spreader damage happens when the release is late and the sail is allowed to plaster itself on the rig before releasing.
I agree, when the top 1/3 backwinds it's fine, however, a lot of people who have been sailing a long time are way to slow at releasing and end up dragging the sail over the spreaders while the sail is loaded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The method described by zz4gta sounds good for a smaller boat, but it would take a very long and strong arm to sweep a #1 masthead genoa, dragging two 60 foot long jibsheets across the foredeck of a 40 footer in that manner, in light air.

If you analyze the effects that backwinding a jib have on the tailer, most of the effects are bad, for not much benefit. The tailer only has the amount of time to tail the jibsheet that it takes for the helmsman to turn the boat from closehauled on one tack to closehauled on the other tack. By delaying the release, part of the tailer's time is stolen from him, but he still has to tail in the same 60' of jibsheet. If he can't get it done in that amount of time, then the helmsman has to bear off farther, to load up the sail and get it driving. That means that, instead of resuming it's drive to windward on the new tack, the boat might be driving farther away from the intended course. To make matters worse, after the jib is loaded, the tailer can now only trim the jibsheet up to closehauled by grinding until he is armweary. I can find alot of bad things that happen when you backwind, but, when you analyze the whole process, its hard to find enough benefit to justify the bad effects.

I don't like backwinding generally, but it is made much worse by the fact that the release person often holds the sail way too long before the release, and they often backwind the jib when the wind is strong enough to blow the sail across, and you don't really need to backwind it. I know that the ultimate solution is to train the release person, but crew members often come and go, and that isn't always done, and it's hard to find skilled crew.

With all the outstanding racing crews in the world, who lay down such beautiful tacks, time-after-time, it's hard to believe that nobody has found a better way, or at least an alternate way, to bring a big jib on a big masthead sloop across the eye of the wind in light air than by backwinding it.
 

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In asking this question, my interest is mostly in relation to boats in the 40 foot size range.
Are you talking about cutters or sloops in the 40 foot range? On a cutter it's really helpful to have someone bring the sail around, you have to backwind a huge percentage of a genoa to get it around the staysail stay. I don't like using cutters in tighter sailing grounds primarily for that reason.

This is an interesting discussion, I sometimes trim in races on boats in the 36' range and release just as the sail would start to backwind. I'm now wondering if I should release a second or two earlier, just as the sail loses power. We use the bow person to bring the leech of an asymmetric spinnaker around the rigging and mast, but don't do the same thing for the genoa (which is a #2/135 on the boat that I've been sailing on the most).
 

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I hate backwinding a jib. It's a great way to punch a hole in the sail or beat up the leach. Only reason to do that is on a catamaran that doesn't tack well at all, and those usually don't have overlapping headsails.
And it is a bad idea on most cats. Yes, my avitar shows a jib (sister boat) but I generally sail with a genoa.

* Foot just a little for best speed. Sheet everything hard.
* If there are 2 traveler lines, allow some slack in the traveler on the new side (1-2 feet). This will allow the boat through more easily. If single line, just remember to release and ease when the main shakes.
* Over sheet the main a bit at the last moment (helps on some boats).
* Roll-tack if a beach cat (weight back, delay going across).
* Get the jib in fast once through. Take your time on the main.
* Foot a little for the first few boat lengths, until at full speed. Do NOT try to accelerate while close hauled.

As for walking the sail around... never hurts. I really stretched a leach on the spreaders, letting it backwind when single handing. Never again.

The point is to use your speed and to NOT let the sails become brakes.
 

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The method described by zz4gta sounds good for a smaller boat, but it would take a very long and strong arm to sweep a #1 masthead genoa, dragging two 60 foot long jibsheets across the foredeck of a 40 footer in that manner, in light air.
We do this on the 36.7, the J120, and the C&C 44. It also works on small boats. No is dragging the entire sail, just keeping the clew from hanging up on things.
 
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