Is my mainsail really helping?

Dec 29, 2014
42
Oday 272 Kentucky Dam Marina
Actually Not True. I still get weather-helm sailing jib-only. There is a tendancy to go off the wind when the boat's not moving, but as soon as it gets going, there's enough weather-helm to do the "poor-man's upwind autopilot" with jib alone.

And downwind it's great: you don't need to worry about the main blanketing the headsail.

druid
I've got an Oday 272 which is a masthead rig. She does well with just the jib in most situations; however, on one occasion, I was single-handing upwind in winds about 17 knots with gusts up to 22, with two foot waves (on a lake), with just the genoa (150%). I had so much lee helm that I just couldn't get the boat to handle correctly. Those waves were just pushing me around and with all the lee helm, I was making no progress. It was a different set of conditions that I wasn't used to, but I quickly learned that when sailing upwind, I definitely need the main up, perhaps reefed, in order to get the boat to go where I need her to. Lesson learned.
 
Dec 29, 2014
42
Oday 272 Kentucky Dam Marina
I tried rolling in the jib some, but had the same results. It was a frustrating day, for sure.
 
Jul 14, 2015
840
Catalina 30 Stillhouse Hollow Marina
I tried rolling in the jib some, but had the same results. It was a frustrating day, for sure.
When tacking in heavy wind using jib only, the boat wants to keep coming around to downwind only until speed is regained.
 

SFS

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Aug 18, 2015
1,982
West Marine Kayak Tampa Bay
When tacking in heavy wind using jib only, the boat wants to keep coming around to downwind only until speed is regained.
Some boats in that situation won't come up at all to initiate the tack, which I guess is the same effect at a different time.
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Come on guys -- when God created sail boats he designed them to work with both a mainsail & a jib. It's easy to learn how to make both of them work efficiently together. Personally, I hate to see a sail boat being powered by only the jib.
Very true.... sloops FOR SURE look better with both sails flying. In some ways, it was older ratings rules that created this funnness.

The old CCA rates rules measured sail area only on the JIPE numbers. For years this lead builders to play games and optimize for that by making TINY mains (PxE)/2 and HUGE masthead genoas (JxI)/2 REGARDLESS of overlap. Made for silly looking sailplans and boat that needed to sail/race with 4 headsails on board. This carried over to cruising boats as well.

Now that modern rating rules use VPPs to calculate ratings based on actual performance capabilities, performance orientated boats have ALL switched to 9/10 fractional rigs with non-overlapping (jib) headsails and big roachy mains. Fastest combination, best looking too.

In Europe they have not made a masthead performance sailboat in 30 years. Sadly in the USA, our PHRF rules allow 150% headsails and no credit for smaller, so the change has been slower here.
 
Jul 12, 2011
995
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
It's interesting that in sailing, racing rules are detrimental to the general sport. I have heard so many experts (see Jackdaw's post) that say that this or that is poorly designed because of some rule that applies to 10% of sailing participants. In other sports, racing tends to make the general sport better or have no effect at all. Automobiles became safer because companies used auto racing as a test bed for safer fuel systems, more reliable and powerful engines, etc. Professional sports gave us better running shoes, better tennis rackets, and golf clubs, etc. Perhaps the lines and blocks are lighter and stronger on my boat, but I'd like to give back many of the "gifts" of sail racing. Thus endeth the rant!
 
Jun 8, 2004
2,584
Catalina 320 Dana Point
I'd never sailed under just a headsail until last Saturday, when we raised the main on a friend's fractional Jeanneau 36i we noticed a chunk of the halyard missing. Wind was 20 to 25 kts. and we just didn't trust it to hold ( guests aboard), rather than bag the day we went out under just the genny, maybe a 135-140 laminate (new). To our surprise the boat handled just fine even in a rather horrible sea state with large waves with no space between them, just breaking wave, trough, straight up and down wave, rinse and repeat. No discernible weather helm, even when gusting and going to 30 degrees heel, pointed as good as we dared etc. We were still making 6.5 knots or better, it did make us think we aren't getting near enough out of the rather flat cut main (old, rather heavy for our area), so we're working on that.
I think I'd still prefer just a reefed main on my Catalina, the 2 boats have a much different helm feel.
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
I'd never sailed under just a headsail until last Saturday, when we raised the main on a friend's fractional Jeanneau 36i we noticed a chunk of the halyard missing. Wind was 20 to 25 kts. and we just didn't trust it to hold ( guests aboard), rather than bag the day we went out under just the genny, maybe a 135-140 laminate (new). To our surprise the boat handled just fine even in a rather horrible sea state with large waves with no space between them, just breaking wave, trough, straight up and down wave, rinse and repeat. No discernible weather helm, even when gusting and going to 30 degrees heel, pointed as good as we dared etc. We were still making 6.5 knots or better, it did make us think we aren't getting near enough out of the rather flat cut main (old, rather heavy for our area), so we're working on that.
I think I'd still prefer just a reefed main on my Catalina, the 2 boats have a much different helm feel.
Like I said in post #12, fractional boats LOVE this.
 

JSumme

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Jul 21, 2015
35
Marlow-Hunter e33 Alexandria
Agree, personally I like the dependabilty of the main/boom combination over the jib and I would rather sail with just the main than just the jib. But a sailboat looks like a sailboat with both sails up!
 

JSumme

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Jul 21, 2015
35
Marlow-Hunter e33 Alexandria
How do you lose a chunk out of your halyard? It brings to mind dry rot and such...
 
Apr 9, 2016
35
Catalina 310 South Haven, MI
I am interested in some expert opinions. I have an O'Day 30 and recently tried single handing with the jib only. Getting my mainsail up when single handing is difficult so I tried the jib only like I have seen others do. It was probably a 15 knot wind I was able to fly downwind which really shocked me but to my dismay, when I did a jibe and tried to tack back to the harbor, I found it impossible to tack at all. The wind kept pushing me downwind. I finally gave up and fired up the diesel to return. Is my boat just too unbalanced with the jib only or is it perhaps another reason? The jib is no more than 120, I believe.
 

SqPeg

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Oct 2, 2014
36
Hunter 32 Vision Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbor
And you call yourself Head Sail ;)
My concern with sailing a huge genny alone is visibility. That sounds like more continuous work than prepping a mainsail.
My Hunter is a fractional rig with a huge main and smaller genny. I prefer to use the main when I'm short handed.
Sounds like a Vision.
 
May 17, 2004
3,539
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
I am interested in some expert opinions. I have an O'Day 30 and recently tried single handing with the jib only. Getting my mainsail up when single handing is difficult so I tried the jib only like I have seen others do. It was probably a 15 knot wind I was able to fly downwind which really shocked me but to my dismay, when I did a jibe and tried to tack back to the harbor, I found it impossible to tack at all. The wind kept pushing me downwind. I finally gave up and fired up the diesel to return. Is my boat just too unbalanced with the jib only or is it perhaps another reason? The jib is no more than 120, I believe.
I wonder if you were sheeting in the jib too soon, before you had come up to the wind and established some momentum. You may find that as you come off the run, you could head up first, slowly bringing the jib in just enough to keep it from luffing too much. Once you're established on a close hauled course and get good flow over the rudder you should be able to keep the bow up even with the jib full. Similarly you need to practice the timing of tacks to keep speed and not let the rudder stall with the jib turning you down.
 
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Jun 8, 2004
2,584
Catalina 320 Dana Point
How do you lose a chunk out of your halyard? It brings to mind dry rot and such...
Well, we'd previously noted some damage to the cover and were expecting that, but somehow a little piece of core seemed to be missing at that spot now, it's mechanical damage, gonna have to check further but I suspect where it exits the mast it chaffs when the main is raised.
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,964
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Well, we'd previously noted some damage to the cover and were expecting that, but somehow a little piece of core seemed to be missing at that spot now, it's mechanical damage, gonna have to check further but I suspect where it exits the mast it chaffs when the main is raised.
In addition to smoothing any rough sports, paint that areas with Yale Maxi Jacket. It reduces wear ~ 5 times. I use it on the furler line, dock lines, and eyes were there is no thimble. Impressive stuff.
 
Jul 14, 2015
840
Catalina 30 Stillhouse Hollow Marina
I am interested in some expert opinions. I have an O'Day 30 and recently tried single handing with the jib only. Getting my mainsail up when single handing is difficult so I tried the jib only like I have seen others do. It was probably a 15 knot wind I was able to fly downwind which really shocked me but to my dismay, when I did a jibe and tried to tack back to the harbor, I found it impossible to tack at all. The wind kept pushing me downwind. I finally gave up and fired up the diesel to return. Is my boat just too unbalanced with the jib only or is it perhaps another reason? The jib is no more than 120, I believe.
David is correct. With the Jib only up, the boat loses more speed on a tack. My 30 will almost stall if I am on auotpilot and simply push back down wind. To remedy I turn slower. If it stalls, I let it go to build speed and slowly bring it back up into the wind. Once into the wind in runs very well.
 
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Dec 29, 2014
42
Oday 272 Kentucky Dam Marina
I am interested in some expert opinions. I have an O'Day 30 and recently tried single handing with the jib only. Getting my mainsail up when single handing is difficult so I tried the jib only like I have seen others do. It was probably a 15 knot wind I was able to fly downwind which really shocked me but to my dismay, when I did a jibe and tried to tack back to the harbor, I found it impossible to tack at all. The wind kept pushing me downwind. I finally gave up and fired up the diesel to return. Is my boat just too unbalanced with the jib only or is it perhaps another reason? The jib is no more than 120, I believe.
Y'all correct me if I'm wrong here, but when I'm sailing with just the jib (or flukey wind), I always hold the line of the side I'm tacking from until the wind pushes me all the way over to where I need to be. For example: on a starboard tack, I hold onto the port line and allow the wind to fill the sail on the port side, pushing the boat on around. When the boat has enough momentum to come on over (it just needs a little bit of wind on that port side to give it that extra push), I'll let go of the port line and let the wind push the jib all the way over, then grab the other line and pull in. This was a trick taught to me last year and I haven't had any trouble getting through a tack since.
 
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SFS

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Aug 18, 2015
1,982
West Marine Kayak Tampa Bay
That's a good trick for helping get the bow around once the tack is initiated. But what I think garymadhatter is talking about may be related to what several of us have said. For some boats, while flying just a genoa/jib, it is not possible to initiate the tack. You put the helm over, and the boat doesn't want to turn into the wind. It just won't come up, because of the relationship between COE and CLR.
 
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Dec 29, 2014
42
Oday 272 Kentucky Dam Marina
That's a good trick for helping get the bow around once the tack is initiated. But what I think gaymadhatter is talking about may be related to what several of us have said. For some boats, while flying just a genoa/jib, it is not possible to initiate the tack. You put the helm over, and the boat doesn't want to turn into the wind. It just won't come up, because of the relationship between COE and CLR.
Oh wow. That's interesting. I wouldn't like that one bit!