Gybe question

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
No help for Bill with a housetop traveler (my guess) but we changed our mainsheet system decades ago due to the potential tangle from a fast gybe.
Previous boat had a traveler across the cockpit and I reduced the mainsheet by quite a few feet by putting a pennant between the upper set of blocks and the the eye on the boom. I made the same change to the mainsheet tackle on the Olson. With multipart mainsheet systems, even a two foot pennant reduces the amount of sheet to pull in and let back out when gybing. (Multiply the pennant length by the number of parts in the tackle.)

Also, if it's windy enough to really worry, I do a "chicken gybe" and just tack the boat all the way around. Sometimes it's better to reduce the risk to people and the rigging.....
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Jibe technique is various and for good reason. I blame sailing schools for one size fits all "rules," but I can see why an unintended jibe is taught as dangerous.

What we're talking about here, the DDW jibe, is fairly obsolete. Today's racing boats now jibe reach to reach. The days of fleets of 70-footers neck and neck dead downwind, with enormous sym spinnakers and bloopers, are over. By the way, when I was mainsheet trrimmer (on and off) on Tenacious, we jibed DDW by trimming the mainsail a few feet first. Then somebody grabbed the heavy main sheet. As the boom came over he threw this 100-pound mass of line into the air--to prevent it fouling. Wham! Yahoo.

Jibing duels with traditional spinnakers were common in dinghies, where the boom usually just slams over. They still are. On the Soling I gave the mainsheet a flick and ducked. Jibing a Laser in 25 knots nobody tries to trim the main first--and that's a big sail. He keeps the delicate balance. He sails by the lee, feeling the impending leech curl. Lasers sail entire downwind legs by the lee, with the boom 10 degrees forward of athwartship. The jibe is a small move of the tiller, and as the boom comes over a small move of the tiller the other way to offset the new heeling force. The idea is to keep the mast vertical, and the experts can. I usually couldn;t, and in 20 knots wound up in a broach with mast in water. I did win a race that way, intentionally broaching and putting the mast in the water every jibe. Everybody else tried to jibe with elegance--and turned upsidedown, which among Laser racers is considered slow.

Where was I? It is true of both planing dinghies, ocean racers and our boats that a DDW jibe depends on the helmsman. And no "one size for all."

I think of myself as a singlehander because usually, on the E381 without a racing crew, that;s what I effectively am. When I jibe, I can;t ask an inexperienced hand to trim the mainsail half way in, then, as the boom comes over, let it out hand over hand to ease the transition. That simple move takes a bit of experience. In 30 knots it takes a lot of experience not to get hurt.

"One size." On the E38, I'm behind the wheel and the main sheet is 10 feet away. It isn;t practical to both steer and work the main sheet. So how does a singlehander jibe in 30 knots? Most use the J turn. Actually, with two reefs in the slam-over is trivial. Sure, the mainsheet usually fouls. Clear that whenever, it doesn't matter anyhow. This jibe procedure would seem awkward or worse in a lake, but it's the only way for a singlehander offshore and it works fine. It is actually a very unattractive prospect to consider coming about in 20-plus trade winds and ten foot cresting seas, to de-rig the whisker pole, reset the genoa, and then attempt to bash close hauled through the eye of the wind. Jibing is easy and fast.

Yes, when something goes wrong the boat broaches and maybe puts the spreaders in the water, but boats are built for that. My pals in the SSS races claim they put spreaders in the water a few times each Hawaii race (Brian, Olson 34; Steve, Islander 36). And they are singlehandedly jibing spinnakers, not just a winged-out jib. Sleeping offshore DDW I usually broach half a dozen times en route Hawaii. You come on deck groggy and everything's backwards up there. Why so many broaches? Because vane steering can't anticipate gusts or a random diagonal crest against the fantail.

Which brings us to preventers. I always rig one. What a joke. You jibe and broach and now the boom is held against the wind, sail inside out, while the yacht wallows. There's huge force on the preventer line, which is usually just a "safety line" around a cleat. OK, now you have to release the preventer before you can do anything, with waves breaking on your head. I think I've had it with preventers and next cruise will not rig one. Let the boom choose which side of the boat it wants to be on.

But one size doesn;t fit all. Most of the time, on a family cruise, a preventer is there to prevent the boom from knocking all the children off the cabin house in an accidental jibe. Now that makes sense. Would a boom brake also prevent that? I don't know, but if not don;t you need a preventer too?

I think in reality an accidental jibe happens less than we think. It is always a lapse of helmsmanship. Radical wind shifts do happen, but mostly in known conditions such as picking your way through a fluky breeze, or under cliffs, or coming out from under a lee. Most of us are alert then in proportion to the number of times we have been caught by surprise, and it only takes one or two of those.

The most likely cause of an accidental jibe is an inattentive helmsperson. DDW is the rare course where it's probably not a good time to put a kid at the wheel. For all of us it;s a good time to recognize how much attention, and strength, it takes to steer a course if the boat isn;t balanced, and to experiment with the sails until balance is achieved.

A balanced boat makes DDW a pleasure to sail. You gently correct as waves raise the stern, you enjoy the surf, you gently correct as she slows and slews. In a steady breeze it's easy. In a blow it's work. On a casual afternoon sail it still takes attention, and that's on us.
 

alcodiesel

Member III
blood.jpg
Ok, I tried it once. The boom came over fast and the main luffed. Great.
What I didn't count on was the mass of sheet that wacked my hand. (The traveler is across the cockpit). Actually I kinda like the bloody look. (the hole in the glove was cut by me previously)
 

kapnkd

kapnkd
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
Nothing worse than an accidental jib where the boom backwinds and crosses over at the speed of a supersonic jet fighter! ...Been there done it and have a boom with a bend in it! (Happened in 8’ plus seas crossing back to Miami from Bimini in the mid 70’s.)

Since then, we’ve replaced the boom and added a Preventer System that works really well. (My son’s thinking and design.) It’s a double sided layout leading from boom to blocks on deck that feed back to the cockpit. The lines are easily controlled when doing a controlled jibe and keep the boom in place if accidentally backwinded. (Photo attached)

(...Funny story, the old boom with its bend had been repainted. My son had put Harken logo stickers on it. A racing friend asked IF it was a new boom to which I replied,”YES! ...It’s the NEW HARKEN ‘Super-Draft’ Boom for better draft control! Notice the CURVE in the boom!”

He anxiously replied, “I HAVE to talk to you more about that boom!!!!” ...We both now still laugh over that one!!!)

This is a VERY simple system that WORKS!
0D20B0EB-1645-4DD6-B5C2-AFCB02BAF377.jpeg
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Way to go Kapnkd!
That looks like the exact system in use on a much-raced C&C 30 that I go to crew on the late 70'. They won a lot of races and were all very good sailors - I got on board because I was working with the son of the skipper and they were short a man for a little while.
They called that system 'double preventers' and the boat had no vang per se.

Great memories! :)
 

HerbertFriedman

Member III
I rigged the same "double vang" arrangement on my first boat, a Bristol 22 out of Marblehead many years ago. I was very afraid of an accidental jibe. But it was not just a simple, single line as a preventer but rather a set of two vangs with blocks for mechanical advantage, The vang when led from the boom to the side rail is much more effective to pull the boom down when the boom is outboard than when the vang is terminated on the boat's centerline. Granted, there is lots more line than a single "preventer" line but it really worked very well.
 

kapnkd

kapnkd
Way to go Kapnkd!
That looks like the exact system in use on a much-raced C&C 30 that I go to crew on the late 70'. They won a lot of races and were all very good sailors - I got on board because I was working with the son of the skipper and they were short a man for a little while.
They called that system 'double preventers' and the boat had no vang per se.

Great memories! :)
Hey Loren,

THANKS! ...As you know, it really works well! We’ve also got a Garhauer solid vang system as well - but as you mention - this system (depending on where attached to the boom) can also help out as a vang on certain points of sail.
 

eknebel

Member III
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.]
This technique that Christian is describing was shown to me by a sailing instructor at the US Naval Academy, who said it is safer than sheeting in the main to control the jibe in most conditions. I use a boom brake too, but this works well.
 

gadangit

Member III
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.]
I tried this the other day in about 15kts and wasn't able to get the main to just luff on the new tack. There was a substantially lesser bang than if I had just crashed jibed and the final position was a beam reach before going back down. I turned the boat as hard and fast as I could and I'm wondering if our slightly longer keel slows the turn a bit more than a fin keel? Certainly something I'll try again.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
That's probably where I wind up. I find if I continue the spin-turn too much, to the point of a real luff, it's harder to get back on course.
 

Filkee

Member III
So really you’re just leaning into the turn to take the power out of the boom? I’ve watched the video three times now and I think I’m going to change my reefing gear too. Do you think you will let her take it out without you?
 

Alan Gomes

Sustaining Member
I tried this the other day in about 15kts and wasn't able to get the main to just luff on the new tack. There was a substantially lesser bang than if I had just crashed jibed and the final position was a beam reach before going back down. I turned the boat as hard and fast as I could and I'm wondering if our slightly longer keel slows the turn a bit more than a fin keel? Certainly something I'll try again.
Well, Chris, I have to say your experience with that J-gybe maneuver *might* be similar to mine. I think, but I was just too cowardly to say anything about it because I figured I must have messed something up. But since you have broken the ice.... ;)

I tried it in something like 15-17 kts. I sailed by the lee with the main out, and then shoved the tiller over hard. If anything, I would think a small, tiller steered boat might make this work even better because I can make the turn quite rapidly and get the boat upwind more quickly. (Unless that's not a good thing for some reason?) Anyway, I came up to a beam reach but the boom still swung over with considerable force. It definitely muted the swing some, but I still found it alarming compared to my experience with a normal jibe.

Christian's description of why this should work makes perfect sense to me. But more than that, he does it with a good result. His video certainly looked good to me. The only two differences that I can see are: (1) I probably swung the boat more rapidly from my position by the lee up to the beam reach than he did. (Note, too, that an E26-2 probably spins more quickly than his much larger boat.) (2) I did not have a reef in the main. Again, this was about 15 to maybe 17 kts.--not too hairy but about where a reef would be a good idea.

I admit I only tried it that once. My normal technique is to sheet in, turn through the jibe, and rapidly pay out the sheet run as the boom switches sides. Pretty conventional though awkward when by yourself. Christian's method, if I can get it to work, clearly would be superior for a single hander for all or the reasons he stated. And I single hand the boat the vast majority of the time.

So maybe I just need to try it again and see what happens? If I had to seize on one thing that might have accounted for it, I'm guessing that maybe I had up too much sail, rather than there being an issue with my technique as such. But I'd be open to any tips on what I might do differently next time, if anything.

Thoughts?
 

steven

Member III
Watching the video I am thinking preferred technique may depend somewhat on location of the traveler. On many of the 1970s boat (for example my E35-2), the traveler is at the back of the cockpit, not on top of the cabin. A flying jibe means that all parts of the sheet including multiple sheet lines and blocks come swinging across the cockpit at high speed along with the boom. There are lots of opportunities for something to snag. Winch handle, binnacle, instrument controls, lifelines and people can get caught.
 

gadangit

Member III
Well, Chris, I have to say your experience with that J-gybe maneuver *might* be similar to mine. I think, but I was just too cowardly to say anything about it because I figured I must have messed something up. But since you have broken the ice.... ;)

I tried it in something like 15-17 kts. I sailed by the lee with the main out, and then shoved the tiller over hard. If anything, I would think a small, tiller steered boat might make this work even better because I can make the turn quite rapidly and get the boat upwind more quickly. (Unless that's not a good thing for some reason?) Anyway, I came up to a beam reach but the boom still swung over with considerable force. It definitely muted the swing some, but I still found it alarming compared to my experience with a normal jibe.

Christian's description of why this should work makes perfect sense to me. But more than that, he does it with a good result. His video certainly looked good to me. The only two differences that I can see are: (1) I probably swung the boat more rapidly from my position by the lee up to the beam reach than he did. (Note, too, that an E26-2 probably spins more quickly than his much larger boat.) (2) I did not have a reef in the main. Again, this was about 15 to maybe 17 kts.--not too hairy but about where a reef would be a good idea.

I admit I only tried it that once. My normal technique is to sheet in, turn through the jibe, and rapidly pay out the sheet run as the boom switches sides. Pretty conventional though awkward when by yourself. Christian's method, if I can get it to work, clearly would be superior for a single hander for all or the reasons he stated. And I single hand the boat the vast majority of the time.

So maybe I just need to try it again and see what happens? If I had to seize on one thing that might have accounted for it, I'm guessing that maybe I had up too much sail, rather than there being an issue with my technique as such. But I'd be open to any tips on what I might do differently next time, if anything.

Thoughts?
Perhaps one needs to join Cobra Kai and tie a towel around your head to really get it right??
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
...when the traveler is at the back of the cockpit

Oh yeah. Some mainsheets* can take your head off. I changed to mid-boom sheeting because of that on one boat.

But then, with the traveler behind the helm the mainsheet is always an issue. My drill was to grab the whole main sheet tackle (not just the sheet), haul it in by the handful as the boom swung over and toss the bundle after it. Sheeting setups may well affect which jibe technique works best for the boat.

*I'm trying to correct my habitual spelling of "main sheet" to mainsheet. Confusing, since it's "jib sheet," Genoa sheet," and so on. And mainsail, but then "jib sail" is two words. English evolves but I lag.
 

Filkee

Member III
Sometimes the robots make it harder. They still don’t like “selectboard” I guess Microsoft’s spell check team is not based in New England.
 
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