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Old 04-01-2015, 13:30   #1
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To Tack or Jibe?

Hello sorry for this newbie question. I was just trying to find out about tack and or jibe. They both seem so similar and seem to get you to the same place. But jibe has to be more controlled is any reason why you would not just take instead of jibe? Again I usually pick things up fast but this has me at brain freeze and books tell you how to do it but not why or best reasons to do either.

Thanks for any help
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Old 04-01-2015, 13:46   #2
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pirate Re: To Tack or Jibe???

A Tack... where the bow passes through the wind is easy enough to control single handed..
A Gybe... where the stern passes through the wind is more complex as one has not only the jib to deal with but also the main.. and boats have lost their masts cocking up with the mainsheet.. it also takes up to 3 times longer and costs more distance than a Tack.. before your on the course you want.
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Old 04-01-2015, 14:00   #3
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

You tack when sailing upwind, gybe when sailing downwind. As boatman said, gybing can be more dangerous.


Sailing upwind, the mainsail is sheeted in tight, and usually needs no attention. The boom only moves a little during the tack, so doesn't go sweeping across the cockpit.


Downwind you have the boom sheeted out, if you simply steer through the gybe without changing this, the boom will swing right across the cockpit, and possibly hit the shrouds hard. You can get away with this in dinghy sailing but on big boats it can do damage. So on big boats most people will sheet the main in a bit before steering through the gybe, then let it back out after it's crossed.
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Old 04-01-2015, 20:50   #4
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

On a bad Tack you might bump your head on the boom......

On a bad Gybe you break your head and possibly your boat too......

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Old 05-01-2015, 04:42   #5
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

As mentioned jibbing can be very dangerous, just as my wife will acknowledge. It is amazing how fast the boom can cross the stern, even in a light breeze and a small 25 footer! It will move faster than you in most cases.
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Old 05-01-2015, 04:57   #6
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

I wasn't clear on this myself. This has been really helpful.
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Old 05-01-2015, 05:50   #7
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

We went Sunfish racing on New Year's Day. The wind was variable and quite strong in the puffs. During one race I got a funny feeling coming into the leeward mark and at the last moment I chickened out and decided to tack, rather than jibe.

This little maneuver cost me two boats and I ended up DFL.

The next race I sat out so a friend who showed up could sail instead and I enjoyed a cold beverage on the dock while acting as Race Commitee. Sure enough he crash jibed and ended up turtling the boat at the leeward mark. Got soaked and ruined his phone. It was cold out and the water temp was around the low forties but we fished him out and he was fine.

During our pre-race beverages we had been laughing that someone was going in the water today. I give my friend credit for not holding back. He is a very competitive guy which I appreciate.

That said, sometimes better safe than sorry!
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Old 05-01-2015, 05:52   #8
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

One would choose to jibe when sailing downwind and you need to make a course change that would put the wind over the other side of stern of the boat. You could accomplish the same thing by tacking, but you would have to make a full circle to put the bow through the wind and around to the desired new course. The latter maneuver would cause you to lose a lot of ground and a lose a lot of boat speed. The jibe can be done quickly and safely when done properly.


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Old 05-01-2015, 05:57   #9
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pirate Re: To Tack or Jibe???

Its good to perfect the crash gybe... never know when you'll need it..
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:17   #10
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

And sometimes there is nothing wrong with a chicken jibe where even though you are sailing downwind but you still turn into the wind (takes a while and gets windy) and complete a tack. When I charter sailing cats the charter company frequently forbids actual jibes since cats don't have back stays and since jibes left uncontrolled can break stuff.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:19   #11
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

Before you become convinced that you should never jibe, I would float the opinion that while jibing CAN be dangerous, it is not necessarily dangerous, even in high wind. In appropriate conditions with proper execution by a good crew, you would almost always jibe when changing tack while sailing off the wind. However, if you are unsure about how to jibe safely and/or about the skill level of your crew, it is safer to tack all the way around, even when sailing downwind (i.e., come up, tack, and fall off again).

In general, the procedure for jibing is

1. helm issues the order "prepare to jibe"

2. while slowly heading towards a full run, the crew will gradually sheet in the main to bring the boom towards the center line

3. if the winch has a tailer or any locking mechanism, be sure the mainsheet is ready to be freed quickly. Once you actually come through the wind (astern), you want to be ready to quickly ease the main all the way out

4. crew issues the response "ready"

5. helm issues the order "jibing" and turns to bring the wind across the stern

6. again, if you don't ease the main immediately after the wind crosses the stern, the boat will try to turn up into the wind, sometimes violently.

The mistake inexperienced people often make is jibing without controlling the boom (by centering it). Consequently, they have to sail by the lee in order to backwind the sail, and once that happens it swings violently across and, yes, it can be very dangerous to people and rigging.

Don't be afraid to jibe, just do it at the right time. Practice in light winds where even a crash jibe won't do much damage. Just keep your head down!

Pete
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:31   #12
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

i can see now i need more sailing lessons than i have had ,, it is windy season her in panama should be out and about but not with an engine in 100 pieces ,, this has been one of the best reads on sailing i have had explains much better than books i have read ,,
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:48   #13
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pirate Re: To Tack or Jibe???

You got it Pete. Preparation is the key. We charter and Gybe when necessary and it is just my wife and me. One other thing we learned - if your Jib is out, snug up the lazy sheet prior to starting your Gybe. After centering and releasing the main sheet go to the jib for setting. This one small act will help control your jib so it isn't flailing all over the place. Like anything else - PRACTICE!!
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:16   #14
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

I found this book 'Sail and Rig Tuning by Ivar Dedekam' very helpful in describing these sailing concepts. No book that I have read on sailing had the diagrams or illustrations clear enough to explain these concepts without having to go out to a boat and have someone show you how.

Rig a preventer to keep that boom from slamming over to the other side so you don't do an accidental jibe. How to Rig Your Own Boom Preventer Line
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:10   #15
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Re: To Tack or Jibe???

jibing especially uncontrolled is hard on the equipment especially the goose neck. thats why they call tacking 360 a chicken jibe
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