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H34 jib winch and jib size for racing?

  • Thread starter Jim Lynk, ak_lynks@msn.com
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Jim Lynk, ak_lynks@msn.com

I am club racing my 1985 Hunter 34 in winds from very light (spring) to 10-15 gusting to 20 (fall). I raise the headsails manually and have a 150 and a 100. My problems I would like advice on: 1. The factory winch is too weak. My female crew cannot crank in the 150 fast enough for good racing tacks. W(wenches having trouble with winches ;<) What is a good winch size for a big jib on an H34? 2. I get too much weather helm with my 150 and too slow with my 100. I want to buy a new jib. What size would most of you H35 owners fly in 10-15 knots (no waves)? Do you ever reef your main when racing and fly a bigger jib? The guys I race with would rather die than reef (j30, cal30, c&c34)

Michael Cohn


Get the biggest winches you can afford that will also fit on the boat - OR - get a new crew member that is stronger. I really like Harken winches for racing. A 135 is a nice compromise, however, the size of the jib is not the source of your weather helm problem - try some adjustments to the main and traveler. I've won races *because* I reefed the main when others did not. MC

Mike Cummings


I just purchased and started racing my 84 34. My crew on the winches also consists of two "ladies". They best way I found to help them out is: tack a little slower than normal; partially stall the boat when it is directly into the wind; and three dont use the self-tailing mechanism on the winch. You lose minimum boat speed when doing this and it makes up for the large amount of time you spend trying to get the sail in. Also, invest in a 135% to change out when going up wind, but keep the 155% handy for downwind. Good Luck PS its ironic but the times i raced with an all "ladies" crew I did a lot better than all male or mixed crew.

Frank Pitts


Welcome to the club. The stock Maxwells (24's) on my H34 are grossly undersized. If I had the $$$ I'd have a set of Lewmar 44's. Must do slow tacks in order to crank in the big genny in any breeze. As for weather helm, do reef the main and drop it on the traveler before you reduce headsail on this boat. You will heel, but helm will be eased significantly. Also, try moving the fairlead cars a couple of holes back on the tracks. Above 15kts you will most likely have to go down a bit on the headsail. A 135 works very well.

Dick Vance


Jim, When its time to reef, Reef! Overpowering the boat simply slows it down and creates excess leeway. I recently watched a club race on the Chesapeake while there on a charter, of a fleet that went out in very gusty marginal conditions. NO one reefed, I guess it was a macho thing that no one wanted to be the first to shorten sail. I watched boats broaching and heeling over 45 degrees as they slogged it out. I kept waiting for someone to reef and pull ahead of the pack but no one ever did! With most shorthanded club race crews, its a lot quicker and easier to reef than to downsize a jib during a race, especially when you know that going downwind on the next leg you can just shake out the reef and have more downhill power. Dick


Winche on H35

Our '88 H-35 came with 24s for the primaries but these were too small and I changed them out to Lewmar 43s which were on sale due to a model change - think they went to 44s. The 24s were moved aft for use as secondaries. The reinforcing plate is aluminum so tapping is difficult unless tapping oil for aluminum is used (hard to find). The 43s make it much easier. When the boat was new I did the steering and my wife (and sometimes daughter) worked the jib. Couldn't understand why they weren't excited about going sailing. In the past several years I have my wife running the helm on tacks and I run the sheets (lots more work!) and now she enjoys sailing much more - think I know why. Even when we club race I run the sheets and after the tack I move back to the helm. Works fairly good - finished 1st out of 16 boats even beeting a Hinkley 59 boat-for-boat (he had a furling main). For 10 knots true I'd definitely use a 150 but at 15 knots true I'd recommend the 110. The 150 (tri-radial) I would run up to, say, 18 apparent (to keep from blowing it out). One can go more than that in a pinch but it you start shortening the life of the sail.


Try slower tacks

I own a H34DK 84 and race on Lake Mich near Chicago and have 2 female and a few male crew. When the wind pipes up to 15-17T I put the males on the winches but as the helmsman you can help the grinder by tacking slowly. It gives the boat more distance to windward, allows the tailer to pull the sail almost all the way in, and if you are real good you can point the boat so the jib falls right between the lifeline and the shrouds just over the jib track. You know it was a good tack from the helmsmans point if the grinder only needs 1 or 2 cranks at each speed on the winch. We fly a 155. If you are getting excessive helm at 12-15 check your tuning. A good suggestion is to find a sail loft that has a man not interested in emptying your pockets and have him aboard in good winds to look at your sails. Maybe a back stay adjuster can flaten your main & jib, move draft forward, and don't forget halyard tension to do the same. Good luck. PJ
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