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Let me rephrase that. I am really nervous about sailing Saturday with my friend. We had to put his boat in the water off a crane and it was a huge pain in the ass. Easier with 3 people but kinda hard with only two. We even put the sails on wrong. I still do not remember which sail goes on first, jib or main? Since J22s are race boat it didn't have a backstay so we had to sail through the channel. We almost hit the bridge but turned around and tried passing through again with success. My question is....should we sail through the channel with the jib up too for more power? I was told people should NOT sail through the channel but it can't be avoided with this boat. It was very windy that day and I tied up the jib while not in use and it came loose so I had to go up on the bow to tie it down again. No life jacket and the waves were crashing over me. I got totally wet. Just glad I didn't fall in. LOL. I was laughing when all this was happening. I really do not want to be on the bow in bad weather again please. Good experience I guess.
 

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Breaking things down point by point:

-- Did the use of the crane contribute to your nervousness? I can see that being a pain, but it's different from the actual sailing part. I infer that your friend not an experienced sailor. It might be worth it for both of you to go out with a more experienced sailor a few times. Help them launch and recover their boat. The whole experience should get easier with practice.

-- When you ask the order that sails "go on", do you mean installing them on the boat, or raising them? It's usually easiest to raise the main first, but there may be situations where you do the opposite. If you are talking about "installing" them in the first place, it shouldn't really matter. (I assume the sails are not stored in place.)

-- I don't understand how not having a backstay is relevant. (Don't J22's usually have a backstay?) I assume you are talking not having an outboard motor?

-- Whether you can safely sail through a channel depends on lots of factors like the wind, obstructions, etc. We would need a lot more detail to judge that. Raising the jib will not only give you more power, it will let the boat point better (that is, sail closer to the wind.) If the channel is upwind, that might help. OTOH, having the jib up gives you one more thing to worry about when maneuvering. It might be too much sail for the windy conditions. Does your friend have a smaller jib? You might also consider reefing the mainsail.

-- Getting wet on the foredeck of a small racing boat is part of the experience. Doing it in high wind without a lifejacket is _not_. On that sort of boat, you really should wear one all the time, and not even think about going out without one in the conditions you describe. Most of the other things you mention are of the sort that you might laugh about later. This mistake is the sort that gets people killed.
 

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Most boats will always perform better under sail with a good balanced sail plan.. which usually means headsail and mainsail in proper size/reefed configuration for the conditions esp if trying to get upwind.

In many areas sailing through narrow fairways is forbidden.. suggest you find out if that's the case where you are.

The day you describe sounds like a pretty typical beginners' experience.. you all survived it, the boat is presumably undamaged, chalk it up to a decent start. Things will get better from here on.
 

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The J22 is a very responsive boat, but they are all a handful on a 'very windy day'. Go out in moderate wind next time, you'll like it. If the wind is crosswise to the channel, then it's simple, use both sails, sailing on a reach (wind crossways, sails halfway out) both out, and back in.

Wind parallel to channel? Then one way is easy with wind behind you and sails way out, the other direction is a zig-zag with sails close-hauled, a "beat", which is more complicated. That's when a motor would help, if you have to stay within the channel limits.

The advice above is all good. I'm not sure a motor is that much of a necessity on a nice day with steady breeze but then again I don't know the locale you are describing.

Anyway, you have a good attitude, keep sailing and good luck.
 

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I raced J-22's for over a decade. I really love these boats. They are comparatively easy boats to sail until the wind approaches 20 knots or you are sailing in a short steep chop (2-3 feet high and less than 35-40 feet apart.) They do take some skill to sail well since they have a pretty large sail plan for their stability. They do have an adjustable back stay and you need to learn to use it. You can play around under mainsail alone, and they sail pretty well under mainsail alone, but they sail better with both sails up. Sailing under mainsail alone has been our storm strategy. (There is an oddity to the J22 in that the jib will try to raise itself when beating into heavy air. In survival conditions we took a line from the jib head/jib halyard down to the bow cleat to hold the sail down to the deck. We had shock chord permanently rigged that could be snapped across the deck and hold the dropped sail on deck. )

I don't think any of the J-22's around here have an outboard motor. We sail thm in and out if there is wind and we rock them to scull home. I've rock sculled one well over a mile.
The hardest part of crane launching a J-22 is getting out between the legs of the trailer without damaging the keel. Doing this with two people is tricky and means passing off the jobs back between the two. It is very easy with three.

To do this with two, one person starts by holding a bow and stern line and the hoist control line. That person fixes the angle of the boat and the angle of the hoist arm. The other person starts with the hoist control and lifts until the boat is as high as it will need to lifted. Then the person on the lift control takes the lines from the other person, and the person who had the control lines goes under the boat and guides the keel past any hazards on the trailer. Once the boat is clear of the trailer the person who was under the boat takes the lift control and lowers the boat when the time comes while the other person guides the boat in the water and fends off.
 
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