October 8, 2009

Sailing under jib only

The yachting hoi polloi is abuzz with a rumor that sailing under a jib only will cause dismasting. It’s one of those rumors that surfaces for a while, dies a natural death because of its inherent stupidity, and then miraculously is reborn, to start the cycle again.

I have no idea why sailing under a jib only should cause dismasting. I have sailed many hundreds of deepsea miles under jib only. I have sailed a long way around the Cape of Storms like that. Yes, in storms.

One of the lovely things about the lone jib is that the center of effort is so far forward that a windvane, which normally struggles dead downwind, is able to guide you through the storm with ease. You can huddle down below, nice and warm and dry, with your hands wrapped around a mug of coffee and rum, while your boats goes downwind like she’s on rails.

The only problem with this rig is that if your course is deeper than a reach, your boat will roll from gunwale to gunwale. But all dead downwind work is pretty rolly, anyway, unless you know how to fly twin jibs in a deep V forward, so they act like a cone and resist sideways movement.

Some sloops and cutters will reach wonderfully and even beat under jib only and do very well to windward. But on the run you need to pole the jib out, of course, and there’s a clever way to do that. I learned it from the Pardeys. The trick is to have a track running up the front of the mast as high as your pole is long. The car that runs on this track accepts the inboard end of the pole. You then hoist the pole up alongside the mast and stow it there.

When you need to deploy the pole, you attach the jib sheet to the bottom, outboard, end of the pole. Then you simply let the pole slide down the mast. As it comes down, the sheet, and the clew of the jib, automatically gets pushed out into position. You never have to handle the weight of the pole.

So don’t be put off. Fly that darn jib on its own if you like, and to heck with the rumor mongers.

Today’s Thought
Rumor travels faster but it don’t stay put as long as truth.
— Will Rogers, The Illiterate Digest

Our local school officials recently gave eighth-graders a test to see what they were best suited for.

It was found that they were best suited for the seventh grade.

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