Just when I thought everything was finally getting dialed in……
Over the last few days, I have been doing a lot of jibing. It is fairly easy on Ocean Planet with the unstayed rig, so when a windshift would make the other jibe a faster course, I’d go for it. The jibes were going so smoothly I experimented with a few tricks to speed up the process. Here’s the normal jibe scenario:
1) Stare at Nobeltec charting software for a 1/2 hour, wondering if the other jibe is really better or not.
2) Open the water ballast transfer valve to shift the ballast to the other side (if tanked up, usually we are), close valve.
3) Run on deck, go fwd and tighten genniker halyard for furling. I keep it rather loose when sailing low angles to help the sail project better, but it rolls up better with the halyard tight.
4) Back to cockpit, tighten weather sheet just enough to limit flailing, then blow off the leeward (loaded) sheet.
5) Up on the foredeck to roll up the genie, with the continuous line furler. This is always exciting since it takes about 5000 rolls. Sometimes it doesn’t look nice, so I’ll unroll it and try again. Then tie off the furling very securely to ensure it doesn’t unroll itself.
6) Back to the cockpit, ease off the windward (loaded) running backstay, and pull it forward with the retriever line so it will be clear of the mainsail when it comes across.
7) Autopilot off, steer through jibe and stay LOW when the mainsheet flies across. The unstayed mast doesn’t need the runner for this so I don’t sheet in the main, just let er rip across. Quite exciting.
8) Grind on new runner.
9) Go forward, unroll genniker, back to cockpit and sheet in (ugh! a lot of line…).
10) Stare at computer for 1/2 hour wondering if this jibe is really better or not.
The jibe process above really only takes about five minute when you get it down, BUT I’m always looking for a “better way.” During the day yesterday, I did a jibe or two where I would delete the “roll up the genniker” part of the above process, and let it back against the rig (no shrouds, unstayed, remember) as the main came across. This worked great! It smoothly blew around and I just whaled away on the new sheet till trimmed and then loaded up the new runner. Hurray!
This was great until a jibe last night….when the genniker sheet (the one I was releasing) flopped itself impossibly, amazingly, around the lower tip of one of the pusher vang struts. Before I could tell what was happening, the boom came flying across as usual, but taking the genniker sheet with it. I still had a couple wraps on the winch when the line was instantly loaded, across the boat, the genniker sheet put enormous load across the upper lifeline and took out three (titanium!) lifeline stanchions in approximately half a second. (Note to Self: Self, install bungee cord under boom from the tips of the vang struts, so a sheet won’t flop around the tip when jibing…..) Sigh!
Sorry, there’s more: Later last night the wind picked up to the upper 20’s (of course the weather files predicted 20….). So first I reefed the main, then I rolled up the genniker, and lowered it down the foredeck hatch. Now we were in our patented “main only” mode, running really deep with a little windward heel (some water ballast in the windward tank), and going 11-17kts right on course. Nap time.
Of course the wind shifts, and it’s time to jibe again an hour later. This time it’s simpler, no genniker at all, but a lot windier. I’m worried about the vang load when jibing, so I ease it some to let the boom come up some. Perhaps too much. As the wind caught the leech of the main, with the vang line looser, the boom rose up giving the leech a lot of slack which resulted in more batten compression on the top of the sail. So much so that right before the boom started it’s flight across I heard the unmistakable sound of battens snapping. After jibing and cleaning up, I shone a light up to see that the top three battens broken near the front. (Note to Self: Self, don’t ease the vang line until the boom comes across the boat….) Let’s hope the sail doesn’t rip where the battens are broke for a couple days, when we’ll be in lighter air and I can see about repairing them. Sigh! Again!
We’re still going like a bat out of hell, though.