Gybe question

llenrow

Member II
3rd season sailing coming up and probably advanced too fast equipment-wise. I find the boom swings quite violently when gybing and really slams to opposite side. I’ve read about accidental gybe protection lines running forward to a block. Is this something that can also be used to control the swing power? Feels like something is going to break at times

thx
 

markvone

Sustaining Member
What Al said!

My first step for a gybe: center traveller on main track and lock in place. Second step: sheet in main to centerline. Reverse steps after headsail is across.
If a dedicated person is on the main, this can be done in parallel with gybing the headsail.

You will break something doing the uncontrolled flying gybe, especially when it’s windy.

Mark
 

Afrakes

Sustaining Member
Follow

Mark's more complete advice. Doing otherwise is definitely going to break something important and may bring down the entire rig.
 

llenrow

Member II
Mark's more complete advice. Doing otherwise is definitely going to break something important and may bring down the entire rig.
Thank you all. Fortunately I’ve not been in big winds but as you know, as you get better the wind velocity follows. Towards end of last season there was a couple times where ——hmmm.

Im glad I asked about this and will definitely be added to my procedures
 

markvone

Sustaining Member
Doug,

Any time you come across an event or procedure while sailing that seems too violent or requires too much force there is probably another easier and safer method or tip that can help. Sometimes a piece of gear is worn out or undersized. Somethings are specific to your particular boat design or setup.

For example, when my 150 Genoa starts to get overpowered at 12 knots true wind, if I let it flog, it can not be furled without putting the furling line on a winch. I try to bear off downwind (if I have sea room) and unload the sail to furl it by hand. I have upgraded my furling line to Dyneema. I also need to re-run the line through a high load cheek block on deck (not the normal small block and cam) to the winch if I have to winch furl. Harken furler directions say no winching but reality over rules occasionally. The sail is by far the most valuable part in this system so the furler may have to be sacrificed.
Mark
 

nquigley

Member III
Are you gybing just with a headsail up front, or with a spinnaker? I would recommend getting very comfortable gybing in all sorts of condition with just a genoa first.
The other posters are right - you need to quickly sheet in the main as much as possible right before committing to the gybe.

Here's a little trick to tell when to start hauling in the mainsheet:
... as the helm is turned (slow and steady) into the gybe, observe when the forward about 1/3 of the genoa starts to flop. That's when to start hauling in the main (fast).
If you wait for the boat's next 'I'm-about-to-gype' signal (i.e., when the the leech of the main begins to curl back), you won't have time to haul enough of the main in to avoid a crash gybe.
Also, the main should be hauled in with at least one wrap of the sheet around a winch (cabin-top?), but it should not be pulled though a closed jam cleat. This is because, immediately after the main goes across, the mainsheet has to be eased out on the new side fairly quickly to help the boat complete the turn - or else, in boisterous conditions, a bad wave or gust from an unexpected direction could send you back through another gybe the other way.
But, with practice, all your gybes can be done with good safety for the crew and minimal strain on the boat.
 
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nquigley

Member III
/// I’ve read about accidental gybe protection lines running forward to a block. Is this something that can also be used to control the swing power? ///
If you're cruising short-handed or solo, and you are doing long downwind stretches and don't want to be a the helm all the time (e.g., under autohelm or windvane), then you would consider rigging either a Preventer (lot's of on-line resources, opinions and methods) or a Boom-Brake.
The latter allow the boat to do an uncontrolled gybe without the 'crash' while no one is on deck. There are also a lot of choices here too - and a fairly good You Tube video comparing the main types (but the wind was very light in that comparison). Boom Brakes range from very expensive (hundreds of $) to simple ones based essentially on a figure-8 belay device. I bought this one: https://dreamgreen.org/boom-brake
I've rigged it and played with it, but haven't used it in anger yet. ;-)
 

supersailor

Contributing Partner
Or consider tacking over and then falling off to the new course. Loads safer in higher winds. On the RH you have to reset the running backstays also. They are what keep the mast from pumping when it loads and unloads on those blustery days. If your boat has forward and aft lowers, you don't have this problem. Of course, you can't bend the mast as much for sail control.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Consider Friction, also

If your boat is still rigged out with mid-80's solid axle blocks, consider replacing the main sheet blocks with ball bearing types. Garhauer would be a reasonable price choice. Your main sheet system involves a LOT of sheet direction changes and the friction really adds up.
This is one more situation where the easier it is to use the system, the more likely you are to use it and be comfortable using it regularly.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Anything that feels right works, and I don't wish to detract from others' technique.

I jibe full mainsail in 20 knots without touching the main sheet, and certainly without trimming in. I jibe in 30+ knots--have done it a dozen times--the same way (In heavy air, you're deep reefed. The mainsail forces are actually trivial, its dodging breaking seas that's important).

It is technique, and the technique is easy to use. It is mandatory for singlehanders, but available to all.

Pick a spot among the waves. Steer the yacht by the lee. Initiate the jibe with a radical turn of the wheel. Continue the radical turn until the wind is abeam.

What happens is: the turn beats the swing of the mainsail. BY the time the sail completes its violent transit across the deck, it luffs, rather than "bangs". If that seems unlikely, consider the momentary hesitation as a mainsail finally folds its roach and decides to come crashing over. During that period the yacht is spin-turning and gaining the advantage.

It is then necessary to resume downwind course by a hard spin of the wheel the other way, and alert timing is necessary to avoid momentum carrying the yacht head to wind in breaking seas.

There's a downside to trimming a main sheet before a jibe, and that is that the sail trim is momentarily all wrong, and any broach becomes dramatic--and the sail must be paid out very quickly after the sail crosses over--which is a handful, and a foul always threatens.

In the days of long booms, booms could rise up and take out the backstay. Our booms can't and won't. Boats with running backstays complicate things. Our boats don't usually have them. We have fin keels and spade rudders that turn us on a dime, making this technique possible. A full-keeler can't do it.

Try the technique in ten knots, see if it works. You should feel and hear no "bang" at all.

[Not a technique for use when overlapped by four boats at a race turning mark, or when jibing under spinnaker.]
 
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Alan Gomes

Sustaining Member
I'm not sure why, but I'd never heard of Christian's technique. But it makes perfect sense and the advantages are obvious, especially for one who single hands most of the time. I'm looking forward to trying it out.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Awesome tips....can't wait to try Christain's technique. And then, there's my $10 Amazon solution to try out as well...Capture+_2019-04-18-11-45-16.png

Of course, one teqnique is for active helmsmanship, the other for those times you need to leave the wheel unattended on a long downwind run. Both are new to me.

I used a forward-led preventer line last season and it even made a big save for me once. I don't like that the forward-led line has to be led between the lifelines however, which end up taking a big shock of force when the line springs tight.
 
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Tin Kicker

Member III
Interesting to read Christian's technique which reflect his time at sea and racing experience.
Two weeks ago we were in 28 kt winds gusting well over 30 on a Beneteau 37, double reefed on both sails. We definitely had the main sheet tight to center before coming across on the gybes and the boat remained plenty fast enough to keep us happy.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Yes, these issues are endlessly provocative and worthy of thinking through.

I always use a preventer offshore. As I am rigging it, I always think--"why am I doing this?"

You broach at midnight, climb into the cockpit, and there is the mainsail pinned over your head by the preventer--which then requires care to release, resulting in the same condition things would have been without it.

I conclude that the value of a preventer is to keep a guest or crew from being knocked overboard by an unexpected jibe.

But still, I hate and doubt the things.
 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Blogs Author
My boom vang is connected to the boom/mast on both sides by a snatch block. To rig the vang as a preventer, I just undo the bottom snatch block and connect it to the outboard rail/track, which has a small ring on a car that works nicely for this purpose. If I ended up broaching and needing to free the main, I could just undo the vang at its cam cleat, like during normal sail trim. With the main then unloaded, I could pull the preventer off as needed. Theoretically.


Christian's method sounds good, but how would one also gybe a large jib during this maneuver while shorthanded? I would guess I could sort of "throw" the wheel off in one direction and pull the sheets as the boat swung around, but wouldn't feel confident that'd be a zesty enough turn to catch the boom as Christian details.
 

nquigley

Member III
/// I conclude that the value of a preventer is to keep a guest or crew from being knocked overboard by an unexpected jibe. ///
I also think that's what preventers are mainly for. Also, if you decide to sail by the lee for a while (to get by a headland or other obstruction and there's a reason not to gybe twice), they're handy to prevent 'nearly gybed' situations when a wave turns you further by the lee and the main becomes momentarily unloaded ... before the helm can recover to the intended course.

But Boom-Brakes are an entirely different beast - allowing and softening an accidental gybe. They avoid having the boom stuck way up in the air, under huge load, as happens when a gybe occurs with a preventer rigged (if ... something doesn't break to release that strain before the crew can fix this dangerous situation).
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
There's a downside to trimming a main sheet before a jibe, and that is that the sail trim is momentarily all wrong, and any broach becomes dramatic--and the sail must be paid out very quickly after the sail crosses over--which is a handful, and a foul always threatens.
Spot on.

When the breeze is up, the EASIEST way to get in trouble is to trim in the main at the beginning of a gibe, and then not let it out rapidly enough on the new gibe. What you end up with is a main that wants to do nothing more than slam the boat flat on the water and hold it there. The way to avoid this is to make sure that the main can go ALL THE WAY OUT on the new gibe as quickly as possible. The technique Christian describes (sometimes called the "slalom" technique) is really good. Even on fully crewed boats, you don't (generally) see the main trimmer bringing the main in and then letting it out... they wait until the turn has brought the boat to a slightly-by-the-lee angle, then they grab all the parts of the mainsheet and "pop" the main to the new side. (Bonus points, that technique - keeping the main on the old gibe until slightly by the lee - also partially shields the spinnaker, making it slightly easier for the foredeck crew to do their job before the gibe is complete.)

$.02
Bruce
 

mfield

Member III
Steer the yacht by the lee. Initiate the jibe with a radical turn of the wheel. Continue the radical turn until the wind is abeam.
Sorry but I am having a hard time visualizing this (perhaps the product of a right brain). I think what you are suggesting is oversteering through the gybe to the sail is luffing by the time it reaches it full swing, then correcting back to the desired direction. Perhaps a picture would help.
 
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