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Old 11-04-2013, 19:37   #1
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180 Degree Turn

If you want to make a 180 degree turn while on a reach, do you prefer to jibe or tack?
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Old 11-04-2013, 19:46   #2
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Re: 180 degree turn

Why gybe, you can hurt your head.
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Old 11-04-2013, 20:21   #3
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Re: 180 degree turn

Depends on the wind strength and sea conditions.

IMHO big wind or seas, head up. Very general answer though.
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Old 11-04-2013, 20:28   #4
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I tack unless there's something to windward I don't want to bump into. Easier on the sails, the rigging, and the head.
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Old 11-04-2013, 20:33   #5
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Re: 180 degree turn

depends entirely on the wind & sea. The other factor is the amount of deck help available. Gybe if easy control and no big snap. If its rough, chicken-Gybe.
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Old 11-04-2013, 20:41   #6
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Re: 180 degree turn

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depends entirely on the wind & sea. Gybe if easy control and no big snap. If its rough, chicken-Gybe.
I've seen sailors tack 270 degrees rather than jibe 90, even in relatively light winds (< 10 ).
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Old 11-04-2013, 21:18   #7
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Re: 180 degree turn

All else being equal… Tack as it is it is easier to depower thus easier on sails and running rigging.
This allows you to slow down before bringing boat up into head seas
... Not for 270 in light winds though.
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Old 11-04-2013, 22:51   #8
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Re: 180 degree turn

With a genoa to pass around a cutter stay, I'd prefer to gybe in light and even moderate winds. However, in heavier winds, I'd say tack for sure.
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Old 12-04-2013, 00:04   #9
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Re: 180 degree turn

Either - doesn't matter in anything under 25 knots for me. Benefit of a multi with wide traveller, fairly easy to gybe even in strongish winds
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:37   #10
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Re: 180 degree turn

Just to toss a few cats among the pigeons (not catamarans - I've no experience there):

As well as the conditions, as most have said: A lot depends on the boat.

Even on a big boat, provided it's set up with a good strong centreline kicker and powerful siderail vang preventers back to spare winches, it's often easier to gybe than tack, even shorthanded in a stiff breeze, if you're well practiced.

With a decent boombrake, properly set up, it's more attractive still: you can often dispense with winching in the boom, provided there's no chance of the mainsheet falls looping over something (like the binnacle!) and maybe wrenching it.

Another variable is how well the boat 'stays'.

If it's prone to missing stays (failing to fall off onto the new tack) in big seas and strong winds, it may be preferable or even necessary to do a chicken tack, which means gybing.

It can be a test of character having to make this call if you've limited searoom down to leeward, say trying to sail out of an untenable anchorage - but that deviates from the OP's question: he was talking about going from a beam reach to a beam reach....

But now that I've raised it: sailing ships used to have to gybe rather than tack in stronger winds (or if poorly designed or fouled underneath): they called it 'wearing'.
(Not a fair comparison, though, with 'fore and aft' modern rigs: squareriggers were very safe and easy to gybe by comparison, and it could certainly be done much more easily than tacking them, which was seriously tricky)
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:22   #11
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Re: 180 degree turn

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I tack unless there's something to windward I don't want to bump into. Easier on the sails, the rigging, and the head.
Ditto.
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Old 12-04-2013, 07:33   #12
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Tacking always seems easier to me.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:19   #13
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Re: 180 Degree Turn

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Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
If you want to make a 180 degree turn while on a reach, do you prefer to jibe or tack?

tack!
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:52   #14
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Re: 180 Degree Turn

do either one, nothing wrong with gybing when you do it right in any wind. in strong winds your main should be reefed anyways. you don't lose speed in a gyb. tacks are find but takes more time. So I am a racing sailor, so what! In light winds a lot of cruising type boats won't tack, just go in irons. start the engine??
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:32   #15
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Re: 180 Degree Turn

Tack / come about - no need to touch the main.
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