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Old 31-03-2015, 09:00   #16
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

I have charted quite a few cats and have always been told not to jibe. They have big mains that generate big loads. And perhaps another huge factor is they don't have backstays. If a jibe attempt in big wind got out of control bad things could happen I suppose. I also believe there could be seaway issues that make it safer to jibe than chicke-jibe; but make sure you have someone dedicated to safely bringing the boom over minimizing loads on the backstayless rig.
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Old 31-03-2015, 09:11   #17
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

I don't know.

Seems like higher risks in a gybe.
Sure you can do it safely, but everyone needs to know what they are doing.

If I was skippering a training boat with a novice crew, in those conditions, I would probably do/say the same; And I'd take a reef on the way around in the chicken gybe.

Having a novice crew can be more difficult than sailing the boat solo or with a few experienced crew.

I think it wise for the instructor to tell a novice never gybe above 15Kts. Eventually the novice may become the skipper and can make the decision to break that rule, or not.

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Old 31-03-2015, 09:13   #18
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

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Originally Posted by SwissMocha View Post

This past weekend I participated in a catamatan training on a Helia 44.
I think the key word here is "training" which is probably why the instructor said not to jibe in those winds. There were most likely many different levels of ability aboard and he may not have wanted to confuse them by all the details of a high speed jibe.

I've done quite a few jibes singlehanded at between 15-20 plus knots of boat speed, and it gets quite interesting fast especially with the spinnaker flying.
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Old 31-03-2015, 09:25   #19
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

Have to wonder just how many people fly a spinnaker or a main that is not reefer in 20 knots, especially short handed or in any kind of a seaway.


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Old 31-03-2015, 13:23   #20
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

On our (44' St. Francis) cat, when the wind gets up much over 15 - certainly to 25, and behind the beam the mainsail is usually nestled in the stackpack! At angles much deeper than 90 apparent it doesn't add that much anyhow.

Much easier to gybe then...and 8-10 knots or more boat speed is plenty, without the worry of minding the main and boom and preventer etc.. And there's the added benefit of no weather helm / rounding up, and less strain on the rudders. [I started doing this after breaking one off while beam/broad reaching WITH main and genoa in 25 kts & 10+ ft. seas. Fun to challenge such conditions in a beach cat but not such a good idea in a bigger one!]

Depending on conditions, it's A-Spinnaker, Reacher/Screacher, Genoa or Storm Jib (or sometimes combinations thereof).
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Old 31-03-2015, 14:18   #21
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

If it looks like 15+ knots down wind I really don't understand why a cruiser would fly a spinnaker or main unless there was a big crew. I roll in the screecher if it gets above 15 and only fly the self tacking working jib. Even a kid could do it, or more to the point an old single hander like me.

It is way too easy to get lifted surfing down the face of even a small roller and unexpectedly jibe. The stronger the wind and bigger the waves the greater the chances of breaking something.

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Old 31-03-2015, 15:02   #22
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe...spinnaker?

Tom - Sometimes I just like to indulge my waning youth and see how fast we can go!

But....actually with the "condom" (snuffer), dual tack lines and sheets, and twing line / barberhauler I find I can manage the A-spin most of the time by myself (as long as "Otto" isn't on strike). I do sometimes get bored if I don't have strings to keep tweaking....

It's kind of a continuum....and you do need to look at it like reefing - usually by the time it's obviously time to shorten sail you should have already done it. But if the seas aren't too raucous and the wind not too variable, the boat does sail quite nicely while going fast with the spin (and maybe storm jib as staysail). For us that may mean 15 to even 25 true at 125-150 AWA (remember that may mean 140-170 true, and only 10-17 AWS).

And when we want it easier, then downshift to the reacher on its continuous furler...which I must admit to using more and more of the time. And then to the genoa, partly reefed genoa etc....all depends on conditions and how much we want to stay actively engaged vs. just floating along without thinking about it.

But regardless, if the conditions & course look to be relatively constant for awhile, off the wind I hardly ever use the mainsail anymore. Maybe if there's shorter legs and course changes, or if it's pretty light and we head up for a faster angle...but too often in the light stuff it gets to where I'd rather listen to the diesels and make good progress than have sails slatting around while going slowly.

To address the original question, however, I'd agree w/ others who suggest it's prudent to chicken gybe, if you're not quite comfortable and confident. Even after 50 years and thousands of them, many in high winds, sometimes you still don't get the timing quite right - and it certainly can be hard on equipment. I've capsized more than once doing it in small boats....and big ones don't flip - they break!
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Old 31-03-2015, 15:51   #23
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottthardin View Post
I have charted quite a few cats and have always been told not to jibe. They have big mains that generate big loads. And perhaps another huge factor is they don't have backstays. If a jibe attempt in big wind got out of control bad things could happen I suppose. I also believe there could be seaway issues that make it safer to jibe than chicke-jibe; but make sure you have someone dedicated to safely bringing the boom over minimizing loads on the backstayless rig.
Gybing a cat is easy and safe - provided you're not overcanvassed.

In fact from my experience it's easier and safer than on a mono.

For one thing, you're not going to roll into a broach.

You have (usually) a much wider traveller track, so there isn't much loose mainsheet out. So the boom is fairly well under control. There's no way it can fly from one shroud to the other - there isn't enough sheet out for that.

You can sheet in, set the pilot to gybe, and use the traveller to control the main through the gybe.

As stated before, if the skipper in the OP felt gybing would be dangerous, he was carrying too much sail.
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Old 31-03-2015, 16:18   #24
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

Why don't cats have backstays? It's probably a simple answer but I haven't heard it



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Old 31-03-2015, 16:38   #25
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

Some cats do. But generally they don't, because they aren't needed. The mast is well supported by the three stays, which viewed from above are spaced at close to the ideal 120 degree spacing.


This allows efficient roachy mainsails to be carried with ease.
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Old 31-03-2015, 16:54   #26
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe...spinnaker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcapital View Post
Tom - Sometimes I just like to indulge my waning youth and see how fast we can go!

But....actually with the "condom" (snuffer), dual tack lines and sheets, and twing line / barberhauler I find I can manage the A-spin most of the time by myself (as long as "Otto" isn't on strike). I do sometimes get bored if I don't have strings to keep tweaking....

It's kind of a continuum....and you do need to look at it like reefing - usually by the time it's obviously time to shorten sail you should have already done it. But if the seas aren't too raucous and the wind not too variable, the boat does sail quite nicely while going fast with the spin (and maybe storm jib as staysail). For us that may mean 15 to even 25 true at 125-150 AWA (remember that may mean 140-170 true, and only 10-17 AWS).

And when we want it easier, then downshift to the reacher on its continuous furler...which I must admit to using more and more of the time. And then to the genoa, partly reefed genoa etc....all depends on conditions and how much we want to stay actively engaged vs. just floating along without thinking about it.

But regardless, if the conditions & course look to be relatively constant for awhile, off the wind I hardly ever use the mainsail anymore. Maybe if there's shorter legs and course changes, or if it's pretty light and we head up for a faster angle...but too often in the light stuff it gets to where I'd rather listen to the diesels and make good progress than have sails slatting around while going slowly.

To address the original question, however, I'd agree w/ others who suggest it's prudent to chicken gybe, if you're not quite comfortable and confident. Even after 50 years and thousands of them, many in high winds, sometimes you still don't get the timing quite right - and it certainly can be hard on equipment. I've capsized more than once doing it in small boats....and big ones don't flip - they break!
The catamaran I was speaking of which was one of the four I had was a Nacra 17. Back in the day (early 2000's) we used to sail them singlehanded.

When gybing with the spinnaker up at boat speeds around 18 knots and up, it's actually pretty easy because of that boat speed. The gybe can be done in maybe 10 seconds or less.

The hard part is if you are gybing near several other boats that are gybing beside you!








Some folks on CF say what does racing small beach catamarans have to do with cruising large boats. Well, if you can handle a 300 pound sailboat in pretty strong conditions with the same sail area as my 6600lb Bristol, you should be good on a full size cruiser.


And btw, there are no reef points on small catamaran sails. We adjust to the conditions by raking the mast, rotating or derotating the mast, downhaul to flatten the sail, diamond wire tension, feathering the jib, and so on.
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Old 31-03-2015, 18:59   #27
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

We jibe, hauling in the mainsheet then easying out keeps things gentle. Preventers prevent accidental main jibes. Boat speed keeps the apparent wind speed down. Between the absence of roll and the lower apparent wind strength it is much easier than on a mono. Tacking around is less sure as you could get caught in irons etc...We always jibe one sail at a time by steering dead downwind, which puts you wing and wing for a while, main first and secured works well.
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Old 31-03-2015, 19:17   #28
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

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Why don't cats have backstays? It's probably a simple answer but I haven't heard it
Big roach won't clear. The reasons why a roachy main works well on cats gets us into a long conversation.
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Old 31-03-2015, 20:04   #29
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

It would be prudent to know how to jibe safely in all conditions so as to be ready if the situation occurs that limited seaway or traffic imposed the need for an immediate jibe. Not that a sufficiently prudent skipper would allow that situation to occur. ;-)
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Old 31-03-2015, 20:08   #30
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Re: To jibe or not to jibe

It's hard to do an accurate tally, as not everyone answered the OP's question, but it seems to me that, of the opinions that actually came from folks on cruising cats, as opposed to other types of boats, the vote was 6 to 2 in favor of gybing. Add my vote, in favor, and it's 7 to 2. You will note that almost everyone thinks it's likely there was too much sail up. And some have noted that coming round into the wind with too much sail up is likely to be a more hazardous maneuver than gybing, because you have to come beam on to the wind and seas.....the "zone of death". It's very easy to lose track of the true wind speed when you are going downwind. Finally, lots of folks have never gotten comfortable with the idea of gybing, no matter the boat or the conditions. Perhaps the training skipper was one of these. But, regardless of the ability of the crew, I would have gybed. It's not hard, even singlehanded.
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