sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Australia Cruising USA Cruising Canada Boats for Sale Sail-World Racing Photo Gallery FishingBoating
Video Gallery Newsletters

 

Sail-World.com : Gybing, an art form in heavy weather

Gybing, an art form in heavy weather

'Gybing in heavy weather can be a challenge for the short-handed cruising sailor'    .    Click Here to view large photo

Gybing, an easy task in a light breeze, can be the manoeuvre in heavier weather that makes the short handed crew the most jittery, and for good reason.

Most sailors with some experience have shared stories of out-of-control gybes that rounded up the boat, damaged the rig, or, worst of all, ended with one of the crew in hospital. So for a short-handed crew what are the key elements to handling a gybe safely in heavy weather?


Gybing can be an energetic activity in a strong wind -  .. .  


Early decisions:
There are decisions in preparing to gybe which the skipper must make, taking into account the size and behaviour of the boat, the number and skill of the crew, and the weather conditions.

At the most conservative end of the scale, the skipper may consider that limitations on board make a gybe unwise and will choose to do a 'granny' - take the boat in a full circle the wrong way round so that one tacks the boat instead of gybing. Alternatively, a prudent skipper who finds him or herself in a bad blow with a single or novice crew may simply wind the sails in and motor through the gybe. While this is always a disappointing decision to have to make, it is preferable to ending up with damaged boat or crew.

A little less conservative is the decision to take the headsail in and gybe with the main only. This focuses the attention of the available crew on one sail alone, and is an easier manoeuvre with limited crew on board.

Being reefed helps the gybe:
In heavy weather, according to the decision of the skipper, the boat will be reefed. One loses little speed by reefing when the wind is up and the side benefit is that the gybe is made easier and more controllable.

So what about the operation of the gybe itself? There are a few rules in a standard gybe that go towards a successful completion.

Gybing - don’t do it right now -  .. .  
The role of the vang:
First, before gybing make sure that the vang is on tight so that the boom cannot lift and main is kept steady in its movement across the boat. You don't want the sail to twist, the bottom to gybe before the top, as this can have disastrous results.

Steering through the gybe:
The first element of gybing, steering the boat through the gybe, would seem to be the simple part, but the helmsman needs to be constantly aware and working together with the crew handling the sails. A helmsman is not sensitive to what the crew is doing can make the gybe more difficult than necessary.

Gybing the main:
The mainsail is a big sail and, dependent on the size of the boat, can be very heavy. The prudent way to gybe in heavy weather is to wind the main into the centre, but so that the boat keeps enough momentum to make the turn. Once it is in place, the helmsman makes the turn and the main crosses the boat in a small movement. Once there, the crew must let it out in a controlled fashion but as quickly as possible to unload the helm and begin to drive the boat again.

Gybing the headsail:
At this point the headsail, if it has not been wound in, is back-winding, and must be let off with the greatest amount of speed, while winding it in on the other side. Naturally, if there are more crew on boat, this action should be undertaken simultaneously.

The value of an autohelm:
A boat with an autohelm which includes a self-tacking feature is a great boon to a short-handed crew in heavy weather. Nothing changes except that the helmsman is freed to assist with the sails during the gybe, making the movement smoother, quicker and more under control.

Prudence rules:
Always take the course of least potential loss. Prudent gybing maintains the integrity of the boat and keeps the crew safe.

Obviously the key to mastering this or any other technique on board your short-handed boat is practice. Take a day sailing when the wind is moderate and practice heavy weather gybing, over and over again. The advantage of this is that you will also learn a lot about the behaviour of your own boat and how it reacts in a gybing situation.

A well-gybed boat in heavy weather can give so much satisfaction!

In this article we have not addressed the issue of gybing with the spinnaker still flying. This is a quite a challenge with a short-handed crew, hardly ever done by long range short handed cruising sailors, and the risk factors need to be carefully considered.




by Nancy Knudsen

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=90086

12:59 AM Sat 29 Oct 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Practical

Related News Stories:

31 Jan 2014  Ten boat safety checks every skipper needs to make
05 Jan 2014  In-mast furling - is it the 'no-no' we've always believed?
13 Nov 2013  Product of the week: One Sailor MBS for single-handed docking
29 Oct 2013  Get your DSC-equipped VHF hooked up right
14 Oct 2013  Evolution Autopilot - top honours in Marine Electronics Awards
30 Sep 2013  Product of the Week: Safer and easier docking - SlideMoor
17 Sep 2013  Mountain bike torch great for tough sailing conditions
16 Sep 2013  Product of the Week: Drawer fridge for cool-keeping and accessibility
25 Aug 2013  Rig your own sailing boat? Yes, you can!
23 Aug 2013  Product of the Week: The LED ringed switch
MORE STORIES ...

Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World





The Galley Guys' favourite shrimp recipe by Andy Adams and John Armstrong,










The final touch - which wax should I use on my boat? by Martin Flory/Sail-World Cruising,


ARC Baltic sets sail to discover Europe's 'east sea' by World Cruising Club/Sail-World,








Heart-stopping moment as whale capsizes Zodiac by Sail-World Cruising round-up,


If we stop killing parrotfish we can bring back Caribbean coral reefs by ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies,


Climate change could stop fish finding their friends by ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies,






















A Beer Bummel on the Thames River by Greg Nicoll with John Armstrong,






The North West Passage calls: Who will answer this year? by Douglas Pohl/Sail-World Cruising,










Americas solo non-stop circumnavigator crosses Pacific for research
What is an El Niño and how will it affect my sailing? (Part 1)
The Dinghy Nav Light Solution- a brilliantly dumb idea
ARC Portugal concludes in Marina de Lagos
Spike in water temperatures evidence of ‘irreversible’ El Nino *Feature
Sailing crew's battle to save yacht lost in the Indian Ocean
Five Top Tips for selecting the best boatyard
RYA Onboard gets half a million youngsters on the water
Tips for selecting the best boatyard
Predictwind unlocks more features on free accounts
Composite Rigging launches new campaign for ECsix
When is a Captain not a Captain?
RYA summary of Navitus Bay Wind Park views submitted
Free app for managing your yacht
Amazing MOB survival - 13 hours floating, rescued by fishermen
Boater hit by lightning survives: 'It was the worst pain ever'
Inauguration of the new Yacht Club Monaco - Images by Carlo Borlenghi
Lessons for sailing clubs - how does YOURS rate?
Turkey's new cruising black/gray water rules, skipper qualifications
Giving up the luxuries of a life on land for Lizzy Belle
Dehler 46, 'serious' cruising boat, debuts July   
SV Mystic to carry out OHPRI teen summer camps and voyages for adults   
Australian rescuers get bravery medal for rescuing Russian sailor   
Sailors and windfarms: Largest ever UK wind project approved   
Cooking at Sea? Which cook book should I buy?   
Fraudulent yacht broker gets jail for twelve months   
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville joins Summer Sailstice   
The Grand Pavois - What's new as at June?   
Life jackets lead to fewer deaths - the campaign is working   
Boat buying scams and the Red Flags to watch for.   
Retired yachting star to sail again - for the love of her boat   
The quest to save coral - one man's plan   
Paint Guide: Carry it with you on your smart phone   
The mouse is roaring. Newport mooring owners don't want docks   
Being a guest on someone's boat - 8 Tips to get you invited again   
Bounty sinking Coast Guard final report: rot, decay, low standards   
Carbon monoxide poisoning on boats - it keeps happening   
Own a romantic Skipjack for just $10,000   
Classics Rally in Falmouth - historic and spectacular this weekend   
New Polar Code for cruising in the high latitudes   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph, contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW CRU NH
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT