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Old 01-25-2005, 04:43 AM   #1
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Default Storm Jib

Greetings,

Not new to forums, but new to this one. Not a full time cruiser, but sail my Catalina 42 as much as possible, Florida, Chesapeake Bay, and up to 200 miles off shore, and have set some lofty goals....(Bermuda/Atlantic and then......)

Question: I have a furling jib 135 which will roll up to 100 nicely, but is useless after that. I have no inner forestay. I feel the need to have a storm jib on board. There's the gale sail, but that's another BU. A sailmaker said to find a nice used stormjib, with a wire luff, and no hanks, and just fly it freestanding, with the halyard to a winch and cranked tight. Does anyone have experience flying a storm sail like this? Thanks.
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Old 01-29-2005, 10:15 PM   #2
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I guess theoretically it's possiblee.. My stormjib, however, mmade by Winters Sailmakers of Hampton, Virginia last year,has lots of hanks. I think this is one my arguments against the luxury of rolling headsails. I think that I want one when I'm up there on the bow, and the boat's pitching and rolling, but the tradeoff is, that each of my four headsails has a specific purpose.

I realize that with a larger boat, say over 35 feet, that sails are huge and hard for one man or woman to deal with. I've always had a pet theory that this is why yawls and ketches used to be so popular--smaller sails.

Back to point: I'm not an expert in this area, but when I close my eyes and try to visuallize a stormjib that isn't attached to the forestay, it makes me think that you'll have control problems.

-Robin
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Old 01-30-2005, 08:55 PM   #3
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I forgot. We had a hankless storm jib that Peter hated trying to fly, until we blew out our main trying to do our version of a heave-to. It was the big gust (we were sailing in 45-50 knot winds, with gusts of ?) that forced him to finally deploy it.

By the time we deployed it we had finally decided we needed to seek shelter rather than continue making progress to weather. Watermelon had an inner forestay for our heavy weather sails (this was an added stay, not one that was stock with the boat). In heavy weather you want to bring your headsail closer to the mast to ease weather helm. It also doesn't catch as much green water that comes in over the bow. A hankless storm jib is of course even better - higher off the deck, small area, further in from the bow than your regular headsail. In the kinds of wind you would be deploying it, you are less interested in making good progress, more in maintaining control of your boat, which this sail will do.

Watermelon does not like to heave to, and so we don't do it often, or the way other boats do. Our version of heaving to was to reduce sail drastically and continue sailing our course.
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Old 01-31-2005, 01:32 AM   #4
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Jeanne,

I've never even heard of one of these... and I thought I knew a lot about sails (albeit not as much as some of my friends who might be reading this)... Where did you get this, and wouldn't you have to really, really, really tighten the halyard, more so than usual to keep the luff close to the forstay?

-Robin
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:38 AM   #5
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I wish I had Watermelon and the sail here to look at. Our memory is a bit iffy on this since it was used last in 1995 (! well, we didn't go LOOKING for heavy weather!). In that kind of weather I was most unhappy that Peter had to go forward to set it up - I would have much rather used the inner forestaysail so that nobody had to leave the cockpit. However, I don't remember that he tried so hard to get it close to the forestay - why, after all, was that necessary? Hoisting it tight was of course necessary, but it wasn't as tight as a hanked onto the forestay sail. Wire luff, though, (I guess) kept it from working very hard, and we watched carefully to make sure it was tight enough that it didn't pump the mast.

Sorry, that's the best I can describe it, it was 'way too long ago, and I remember the good experiences far more vividly that the uncomfortable ones.
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Old 02-02-2005, 08:50 PM   #6
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Oscar, in reading Jeanne's comments - and noting that WATERMELON carries an inner stay plus noting that she describes their storm jib, set flying free, as being further aft than the forestay - my hunch is that they were able to tack their storm jib near their inner stay, or at least not out on the bow. That's not an option you have on your stock Catalina 42. And I surely concur with her that thinking that putting a storm jib either around or in place of your furled genoa (out on the pointy end) is not THE preferred choice, and perhaps - depends on how your C42 handles with a heavily reefed main or no main at all - not good choice whatsoever.

I think it's probably time for you to accept the reality of your cruising plans and, if you plan to do them in your C42, plan on installing an inner stay. If you are serious about Bermuda and beyond, you'll discover few boats in those waters that don't have some alternative method to relying on a single forestay, EVEN IF the boat is not equipped with a furling headsail. Since you're based in the USA, you probably only think of this in terms of a staysail stay (inner stay roughly parallel to the forestay); that's what we seem to know and about all we're exposed to in the U.S.. If you were in Europe, you would find far more boats equipped with Solent Stays - a second, inner stay anchored near the masthead and, on deck, at the intersection where the bulkhead between the forward cabin and the chain locker lies. I've seen new Beneteaus, Jeanneaus and the occasional Rassy & Rustler equipped this way, just as a few examples, and have seen many boats retro'd this way while in Europe.

The advantages of this choice, along with offering you an alternative stay in heavy air, is that it's usually easier & cheaper to install and less cluttered (no separate staysail sheet track nor intermediate or running backstays). You may find more info on this in the Archives on Brion Toss' site (www.briontoss.com); he's a big proponent of this option. You can also read my notes on installing one aboard WHOOSH at www.svsarah.com/Whoosh/Whoosh%20Main%20Page.htm (in the Preparing for Europe section), altho' I think a better way to mount the stay at the masthead is featured in an article on adding an inner stay on ROUSER (http://www.ourdotcom.com/TripLog/Get...erHeadstay.htm) and would choose that option next time around.

It's a real education to walk the docks in a place like Horta in the Azores, where every boat had to sail 1K+ NM to reach, and notice how often you see inner stays and wind vanes. For contemporary sail plans and underbodies like your C42, I hear owners commenting that in heavy air they tend to douse the main altogether and sail off a deeply reefed furling jib...but they sure don't go where they might want, and they must be sitting in the cockpit hoping the wind strength (and more importantly, seas) go down, not futher up. An inner stay and dead simple/powerful/reliable self-steering are your best friends in such conditions, and that's really where I'd encourage you to put your focus.

Good luck on the prep.

Jack
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Old 06-28-2005, 05:00 AM   #7
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I think the idea is that you use a storm jib with a wire luff. The wire luff takes the place of the forestay. The sail is effectively "hanked on" the wire luff by the hem in which the wire is enclosed. When you consider the forestay must support the mast first and the sail second, a storm jib flying from an enclosed wire makes sense.

Peter
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Old 06-28-2005, 08:33 AM   #8
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The problems with a storm jib set flying, are twofold

1. The sail is not easily controlled while hoisting and dowsing

2. It is hard, even with a good winch, to get a straitish luff which is, of course, what one wants to be able to claw to weather.

A third issue is the luff wire itself. It makes the sail impossible to stow (a 'snake in a bag') and even a stainless luff wire will rust and mark, not only the sail, but the bag, and anything it touches in the sail locker.

A better idea (if you must have a stayless storm jib), which I find satisfactory, is to use spectra as the luff rope.
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:11 AM   #9
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must say this is one of the most interesting of the many useful discussions i have found on this forum

thanks to all you guys for sharing your info and experiences

in particular the spectra replacement for a luff wire is interesting; i know it has less STRETCH that steel but does it have more STRENGTH?
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Old 06-29-2005, 01:06 AM   #10
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Depending on diameter, Spectra is about 68% to 90% the strength of SS wire rope of the same diameter. But, for example, 5/16" wire rope is not as strong as 7/16" Spectra, a more likely substitution (Spectra's breaking strength for 7/16" is 11,700 pounds (5318 kg), and 5/16" wire rope's breaking strength is about 8,300 pounds (~3800 kg).
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Old 06-30-2005, 08:59 AM   #11
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I should have added (at risk of stating the obvious) that, with regard to using spectra, you must also use a spare wire or spectra halyard (you can't for example use a spinnaker halyard or topping lift), and a spectra bridle or strop at the tack, otherwise the non stretch element is defeated.

Also, if you don't have a dedicated tack position on the deck and attach a bridle to, say, your mooring bollard or cleats, and then grind hell out of a spectra halyard, you are at risk of lifting the foredeck. The whole geometry should be carefully thought out and a boatbuilder consulted if there's any doubt.
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Old 06-30-2005, 01:45 PM   #12
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thanks for the clarification, baggy. for the greener gang on this forum it is more than welcome when someone states the obvious and one derives either learning or reassurance.

i sail the x 372 sport (37 footer) in mumbai and we often fly a reacher (flattish asymmetric spinnaker). we just tack the sail on a 3 foot length of spectra (6mm) which is cleated to the windward bow cleat.

layman's logic says that if the cleat is strong enough to keep the boat on the mooring, its definitely strong enough for the sail

i guess the more relevant points here are two:

IN WHICH DIRECTION is the loading - the bow cleat is strongest for horizontal / downward loading and weaker in the case of upward loading as in the case of the sail or the over tensioned halyard

SHOCK LOADING - the cleat is not meant to take too much shock loading; as happens when a sail may suddenly collapse and refill. this kind of loading does not happen when a boat swings around its moorings

your comments...?
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Old 07-01-2005, 09:00 AM   #13
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Yes, that's the point.

On my solid wooden boat I set up, as a tack for my flying storm jib, a bridle which triangulates the tack down to cleats on port and starboard. These are are not only bolted through the beam shelf, but are fairly close to the stem head. This still keeps the sail away from the rolled headsail.

It's preferable, however, to bring the tack of the storm jib closer to the centre of effort of the sail plan, so long as the attachment point is solid (either a dedicated inner forestay fitting or a solidly reinforced cleat or bollard (over, say, a bulkhead or substantial deck beam). As I say, one needs expert boatbuilding advice.
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Old 07-01-2005, 12:52 PM   #14
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just to get theoretical again

what would you say to a system that triangulates both ways - transversely as you have described - port and starboard mooring cleats - as well as fore and aft - mast step to fore tack

i guess there would be a tangle of lines / webbing on the foredeck but would this make the arrangement more secure?

tks for all the replies and guidance
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Old 07-01-2005, 06:34 PM   #15
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I'm a bit embarrassed at being elevated to the role of world expert of flying storm jibs , but here goes:-

the whole issue should be seen through a lens which is covered with spray and probably a fair amount of solid water as well. By definition it is going to be blowing like hell, and not only will the fellow hoisting this sail need to know what he's doing, but there will be no hope of meaningful communication with whoever is at the helm, assuming there is someone there.

Added to which he is going to have one hand for the ship and one hand for setting up the jib. Simplicity is key to the whole thing. It needs to be a assembled with a minimum of fuss and time. The system I advocate is a compromise with certain inherent problems (principally the lack of a stay to maintain control of the sail).

I guess my default position would be that (a) if you want to keep a rolled headsail and ( set a storm jib flying and © dont have a strong tack point on the foredeck, then it would be better to tack the headsail to the foot of the forestay and put up with a bit of chafe.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-04-2005, 09:03 AM   #16
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Sorry to go back to the beginning, but there is an unanswered question here about "what do you want a storm jib for?". I reckon that you answer that question in the context of a sail system. A storm sail system would include either a deeply reefed and suitably reinforced mainsail, or a trysail with its own track. This would be my first storm sail. Then if you wanted to plug to windward and reckoned that the boat would stand it you would add a storm jib. It would also depend on the performance of your boat under different sail plans.

Just to give you some idea of the forces involved here: Our trysail is 90 square feet (sorry for the old measurements). The sheets are 12mm double braid polyester. Hove to in a steady 38-40knots gusting 50 knots (Bass Strait with short nasty breaking seas), you could see the sheets shrinking to 50% of their original diameter in the gusts and water would squirt out of them! So whatever you do with your tack fitting needs to be strong (as does the sheeting system etc). In addition you need to ensure that you are not setting up a "crumpling" force by tacking to 2 separated cleats with a weak area of deck between them. My memory says that force increases as the square of the wind speed, so be wary.

IMHO I'd either go for a gale sail style of connection with parrell beads around the rolled headsail (added bonus is the rolled headsail has some further containment making it harder for it to get loose) OR I'd set up and properly reinforce a "removable" inner forestay with a Highfield style lever. However answer the first question first: "What is my intention with this sail?".

Regards

Mike
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Old 07-04-2005, 04:50 PM   #17
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I'm not sure about elsewhere but to go offshore from NZ we are required to have both trysail and storm jib.

I agree that, depending on boat type (particularly keel configuration) the trysail might be a better first choice as a storm sail, although in my pre-roller furling days I had the storm jib on the forestay before I even thought the trysail might be needed.

What we are talking about here is cruising/passagemaking in a sloop with a rolled headsail. In this context the storm jib can be more than a storm sail (though clearly it's set-up must take this into account).

If a headsail of even modest proportions (say 120%) is roller reefed in hard going, it is going to suffer serious distortion and probably damage. A storm jib can be a better alternative to keep the boat balanced (with, say, a deep reefed main). And the question is, how to set it?

1. There is no argument that a dedicated (perhaps removeable)inner forestay is the best choice.

2. Maybe the next best bet is to bring down a spectra halyard to a proper forestay fixture and hank the storm jib to this. But even with soft hanks there is going to be some chafe.

3. I've given an option, which I currently use, and which my sailmaker saw used on Vendee Globe boats. Set it flying aft of the forestay. This has to be well thought out and the sail is difficult to control when hoisting and dousing.

4. Pelorus32's option of parrell beeded luff rings might well be better, although (unless I'm much mistaken, and please say so if I am) there is an issue of removing the headsail sheets (which on my boat are out of reach) in order to hoist the storm jib up the rolled sail .

5. What I am sure about is that the wrap-around systems (where a luff sleave is zipped around the rolled headsail are diabolical. Even in calm it is difficult to hoist and douse.
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Old 07-05-2005, 10:55 AM   #18
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I Like Baggywrinkle's summary.

Interestingly after my post yesterday I went to a meeting last night and the speaker was a very experienced local sailmaker. He spoke among other things about storm sails, including some things that have been tried and found less than successful.

On his "don't do it" list for storm sails were:

Jibs set free flying;

Luff sleeves;

Sails set low to the deck;

Sheeting the trysail to the boom;

On his "successful storm sail ideas" list were:

A dedicated inner forestay;

Sails set well off the deck;

Parrell beads used around a roller furled sail (see below);

Sheets always bent to storm sails;

A dedicated separate mast track for your trysail.

He was specifically asked the question about "what do you do with the sheets of a roller furled sail when you use parrell beads?". The answer was: Wrap the sheets 2-3 times around the furled headsail by just keeping on furling it, then bring them to the deck at the base of the headsail stay. They don't need to be hooked to anything, just enclose them in the parrell beads.

When you come to think about using a storm sail you should visualise what it's like moving on the deck in 50 knots of wind. Then add consideration of the likely movement from the sea state and the amount of breaking water on the deck. In my experience it's a bit hard to stand upright in 50 knots, then you add the movement etc. In greater than 50 knots it's very hard to do anything but crawl, you certainly have difficulty seeing anything and you can't look to windward. Handling a "complex" stormsail setup or trying to hoist or (more likely) dowse an unstayed sail in those conditions would be very hard and would potentialy result in the loss of the sail, the halyard and in extreme situations maybe the mast.

Regards

Mike
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Old 07-05-2005, 04:20 PM   #19
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Thanks Pelorus for that explanation re beeded luff. Do the beads not get hung up as they pass the rolled sheets?

Your comments re trysails are most a propos!:-

When I rebuilt the mast in my previous 39 foot sloop, I installed a separate track which paralleled the mainsail track and then led (via some nice gentle curves past the main gooseneck)right down to the deck, where the trysail lived (permanently while at sea, and with it's sheets and tack bridle attached) in it's own zippered turtle bag.

Incidentally, when this was installed, I overlooked fitting a stopper which is necessary to position the trysail headboard at the correct height for the sheets to lead properly (in this case back to the spinnaker turning blocks on each quarter). The first time we hoisted the trysail we pulled it out of top of the track with slightly alarming results.

The mast in my new 44 footer has several fittings and a winch pad in the way of such an arrangement so, against my better judgement, I have delayed doing anything about installing a separate track.

But the thought of having to feed the trysail through the track gate disturbs me greatly, and your reminder is most timely.
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