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Old 25-07-2008, 11:17   #1
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Basic question about sequence in sail trimming when alone

Complete novice question here:

Last week I took a quick and dirty introduction to sailing at a local club. The boat was a 14' open boat with a mainsail and jib. I feel I got the general idea, and my plan is to just get out there on the lake and sail back and forth until it feels automatic.

However...

The instructor was handling the jib while I was handling the mainsail and rudder, and I realize that I wasn't paying as much attention to what he was doing as I should have. Today is a calm day, and I want to go out and give it a try alone, but I'm not entirely clear about how to handle both sails.

If I'm, say, tacking, is the idea to uncleat and release the jib sheet first, so it lufts, and then turn the rudder, and focus on sheeting the mainsail correctly, and then sheet in and cleat the jib on the opposite side?

Or am I supposed to figure out a way to have both sheets in my hand at the same time, and sheet them simultaneously?

Thanks in advance for the answer to such a simple question.
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Old 25-07-2008, 11:44   #2
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There is probably no need to handle both sheets at once. On my hobie, I need to back-wind the jib to tack, so I leave the jib alone for the entire maneuver, then release the jib sheet and cleat it in on th opposite side after I am on the new tack. Waiting that long isn't necessary on a monohull since they tack so much better. In light or medium wind, it doesn't matter how you do it, but in strong wind, you should avoid luffing too long because the flapping may damage the sail.

With some practice, you will find what works best for you. You may get more specific monohull advice, but it could be too late for your outing today - that is why I am chiming in.

Ron
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Old 25-07-2008, 12:00   #3
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Thanks Ron. I'm currently "practicing" this in my living room with two chairs, and doing both sheets at once seems tricky, in terms of still holding on to the tiller. I'll try what you suggest (completing maneuver, then dealing with jib), and see how that goes. One thing that I did notice about when the instructor was handling the jib was that it definately seemed only supplemental to what I was doing with the main.

I guess the idea is that the smoother I can do it, and the quicker I can get the jib sheeted after the tack, the more likely I am to maintain some speed?
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Old 25-07-2008, 12:44   #4
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Right, the faster you get the jib properly set, the faster you make the most of the wind. That isn't a big deal unless you are racing. I would concentrate on the tiller and main until you are comfortable with them. I don't have much experience on monohulls, but I would uncleat the jib andlet it luff just before tacking. When you have the new course stabilized and the main set, then worry about the jib. I am sure you will quickly modify that procedure, based on the boat performance, but it will get the job done.

Ron
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Old 25-07-2008, 16:37   #5
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Just got back after three hours on the lake. Wow, that was fantastic. Thanks for the help. Someone at the club showed me the trick of crossing the jib sheets and tying the ends to the mast stays. That way they are in reach.

I was not the most graceful boat on the water, but I didn't capsize, and I had a blast.
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Old 25-07-2008, 16:49   #6
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That's great colin...welcome to sailing.
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Old 26-07-2008, 14:03   #7
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Hi Colin,

I'm glad you had so much fun.

Ron
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Old 09-08-2008, 19:24   #8
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I don't know if this is the "correct" way to do it but it has worked for me. When tacking singlehanded I ...
1. trim in the main sheet until it is close to the centerline of the boat then forget about it for a minute
2. steer a few degrees off the wind to get a little more speed and momentum
3. put the helm over
4. just as the jib starts to backwind i release the sheet
5. trim the lazy sheet(now the sheet)
6. then I trim the main
7. adjust the trim of the sheet to match the new course
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Old 11-08-2008, 00:18   #9
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It also makes a difference which sail is more powerful. On our boat the genoa is definitely the power sail. We cleat the main, tack, set the genoa then trim the main.

Racing boats may have bigger main sails and you may have to trim the main first. Or partially trim the jib, trim the main then fine tune the jib.
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