September 29, 2015

A rumor to disregard

I DON’T KNOW who starts these things, but the rumor about sailing under jib only has been pretty persistent over the years. The rumor, of course, is that sailing under jib only will cause dismasting.

I have no idea why sailing under a jib only should cause dismasting. Like many others, I have sailed hundreds of deepsea miles under jib only.

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 on a dead downwind course, is much better able to function properly. You can huddle down below in a gale, for example, nice and warm and dry, with your hands wrapped around a mug of coffee and rum, while your boat flies 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, making good progress 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 clew, or the sheet nearby, 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 or awkwardness 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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