Originally Posted by hoppy
. . . Like I said before, he is not advocating a dangerous practice, he is advocating an overly cautious approach which dictates how he believes a yacht should be rigged. . . .
Inactuality, your instructor is advocating a dangerous practice. A very dangerous practice.
- - The mainsail
is designed to give the boat "weather helm" - that is to turn the boat into the wind
- - The headsail is designed to turn the boat OFF the wind
- - In dangerous winds you want the boat to automatically turn into the wind to unload the sail. However, when underway weather helm
calls for a lot of rudder
to counteract the weather helm
and keep the boat heading where you want it to go.
- - The headsail will try to turn the boat "off" the wind. This will help "balance" the effects of weather helm and reduce the amount of rudder
- - Running in heavy winds with only a headsail - unless you are steering
close to dead down wind - will present the possibility of a gust turning the boat broadside to the wind and a knock down or worse. If the headsail is rather large you can experience a "broach" which is really scary as you loose control of the boat when the rudder comes out of the water
- - In knockdown situations you release the jib/genny sheets
and the mainsail's weather helm will turn the boat into the wind rather dramatically and the boat will remain upright. Without a mainsail up you will probably bury the spreaders into the ocean and expose yourself to a roll-over.
- - In less than dangerous wind conditions, just about anything will work but when things are blowing stink, the last thing you want it to remove the "natural" protection that a mainsail provides. That is why you reef the mainsail but keep it up. With a reefed main and reefed headsail you can "heave to" and "stop" the boat to get some rest.
- - Running "barepoles" is frighteningly dangerous. If you get to that stage then drogues or parachute anchors are called for.