Depowering procedure/schedule

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trswem
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Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by trswem »

Newish sailor here. Is there a best practice for depowering the Macgregors? I have a 150 genoa, 125 genoa, and stock jib in my sail plan. I usually fly the 125. I reef to the first position on the main when I start to see whitecaps, let's call that 10 knots. I reef to the second and switch out for the jib when the white caps are consistent, let's call that 15 knots. I was in a situation last summer where the forecast was wrong and I found myself racing back to the marina in 25+ knots. If I had a good plan to further depower the boat, I would have done it. Would it have been best to take down the main and sail with only the jib? I didn't do that for two reasons, I was worried it would unbalance the boat and make control an issue, and I knew if things got a little too western I would just drop all the sails and motor in. But generally speaking, is the last and final depowering schema to be out in just a small storm jib? I don't have a storm sail for my main.
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by Maraquita »

On my D I find the boat very hard to keep from rounding up with just the main, especially if you have the stock rudder. I would drop the main and sail with just the jib rather than go the other way. BUT, I'm a very lazy sailor, so if you are getting to 20 or 25 knots wind as in your example, I'm probably dropping everything and motoring home. I no longer enjoy working that hard.
Now if I can keep going dead downwind, I may keep the jib up until I have to turn into the harbor.
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Be Free
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by Be Free »

trswem wrote: Fri Mar 15, 2024 4:04 pm Newish sailor here. Is there a best practice for depowering the Macgregors? I have a 150 genoa, 125 genoa, and stock jib in my sail plan. I usually fly the 125. I reef to the first position on the main when I start to see whitecaps, let's call that 10 knots. I reef to the second and switch out for the jib when the white caps are consistent, let's call that 15 knots. I was in a situation last summer where the forecast was wrong and I found myself racing back to the marina in 25+ knots. If I had a good plan to further depower the boat, I would have done it. Would it have been best to take down the main and sail with only the jib? I didn't do that for two reasons, I was worried it would unbalance the boat and make control an issue, and I knew if things got a little too western I would just drop all the sails and motor in. But generally speaking, is the last and final depowering schema to be out in just a small storm jib? I don't have a storm sail for my main.
First reef when whitecaps appear, second reef when they are consistent is a pretty good target. I only have a jib so I have no experience with the other fore sails but I don't think I'd want anything larger than my jib up if I needed to reef the main unless I was on a run.

Sailing in high(er) winds (other than a run) with only the jib will introduce significant lee helm. That is far from ideal and I really don't recommend it if better options are available.

Sustained 25+ puts you well within small craft advisory conditions. I would be (have been) under bare poles and using the outboard only at that point. That's not to say that you could not sail a Mac under those conditions. I'm just saying I would not choose to do it (again) if the outboard is an option. Sailing in those conditions is rough on the boat, the sails, and the crew.
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Ixneigh
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by Ixneigh »

It depends on the model. How in a hurry you are. And your comfort tolerance. You can jam the boat into the wind with the board partially up, and the boat will just go sideways but won’t heel much. Good for quick squalls. Or for longer periods you can take proper reefs. I let the heel angle dictate that. Past about 20 degrees you have too much sail up.
On the M I use the following assuming I’m in a rush: reefed main, working jib->smaller jib-> 2nd reefed main->storm jib->-mainsail only, with motor in need be. If I’m not in a rush, I strike the jib and just use the main.

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Be Free
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by Be Free »

I'm with you 100%. I used the whitecaps as a gauge for him because that is what he was referencing. Your use of heel angle works regardless of the actual conditions. At 20 degrees you are just beating yourself up and not really accomplishing much unless your goal is to sail sideways :wink: I try to keep between 10 and 15 degrees if possible. That's where I've found the best speed with a reasonably small leeway.

I know from your posts that we both are primarily solo sailors. Have you done anything beyond normal "lines led aft" to facilitate making safe sail changes? I have added a down-haul to my jib (main is on the to-do list) so I only use the hank-on jib when sailing overnight. It's scary enough going on deck to strike the main in bad weather during the day. I'm not going to put myself in a position to have to do it in the dark.
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Jimmyt
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by Jimmyt »

I’ve got a 150 Genoa on a furler, and a furling main. In 25 knots and above, I have very little sail out on both. Tacking is problematic, and gybing is pretty exciting. I drop the tilt and power through the tack.

One alarming thing I’ve found is, starting the furl on a large headsail can be problematic when you let the wind get high before reefing (furling in my case). I’ve actually run out of the bay into Dog River to get some tree line blanketing so I could drop or reduce sail in a bit more comfortable condition. Usually, when it’s blowing that hard, it’s fairly rough where I sail.

Based on your sail plan and discussion, it seems you are using a hanked headsail. So, getting down to your smallest sail when it gets sporty is the way to go. When it starts looking like 20 and above, you probably need to be bare poles and under power. I say this because if it’s blowing steady 20-25, the gusts can be considerably higher. Even flying what I would consider a large beach towel for the head and main, the gusts will almost lay us over. If you have a very small storm jib, you might be able to keep that up and make some headway sailing. You’ll be able to reach, or run, but you aren’t going to make any way going upwind.

Unlike you pros, I never sail alone. Most of the time I enjoy having crew. Occasionally, I see why some folks make the choice to solo…

The posts above are excellent. Good stuff.
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Ixneigh
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by Ixneigh »

I do not have any halyards lead aft. At some point I may do it. It puts a lot of line on the deck though. I’m almost always in pretty shallow water. (Florida bay and nearby) which keeps the wave action down. I built a sun awning I can nearly stand on which makes a good place to hold on to. I typically set sail
For the gusts since my dogs don’t like drama. So I’m usually a bit undercanvassed. But I have been caught by surprise a few times. Year before last, in islamorada, (Lorelei for those who’ve been there) we had a 30-40 knot squall. I was in the bay there. It had been breezy so I had reduced sail and had not refilled the engine gas tank after motor sailing a few hours. So the boat went over on her side and I went up to strike the headsail (spitfire jib) get that secured and executed the jam the boat into the wind with the main flattened nonsense to see how long the wind would last. However the boat was going sideways quickly and I no or nearly no gas. I was worried I might blow onto the surrounding grass flats (shell key area) and in these conditions I would normally use the motor to ride these out. I knew I could always pitch that kedge over the side as a last resort, but the wind abated before I had to do that. That was the storm that killed the parasail rider because the tow boat lost control and cut the line and she got blown into a bridge.
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by Gotro »

For me except for running down wind when the wind starts blowing past 25 knots i start my motor and take down all sails. Below that 20 to 18 knots I will throw up my hobie 16 storm jib and fly it on the inner stay and reef the main . I find that i can sail closer to wind with this set up
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dlandersson
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by dlandersson »

In 25 knots and above, it's miller time :wink:
Jimmyt wrote: Thu Apr 18, 2024 11:56 am In 25 knots and above, I have very little sail out on both. Tacking is problematic, and gybing is pretty exciting. I drop the tilt and power through the tack.

Image
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kurz
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by kurz »

Gotro wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 12:21 pm For me except for running down wind when the wind starts blowing past 25 knots i start my motor and take down all sails. Below that 20 to 18 knots I will throw up my hobie 16 storm jib and fly it on the inner stay and reef the main . I find that i can sail closer to wind with this set up
very interesting. So you use a normal Hobby 16 jib? Where you have the attachment for the stay? Do you go to the clamps or more back to the mast? Looks like a smart configuration.
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by Gotro »

:macx: my mac has a inner stay half the distance back from the for stay at the bow where you normally attach your jib or genoa . This point on the deck is where i attach the mast raising system. I just run up the H jib like I would normally do on my Hobie 16 . I did have to rig a length of cable off the deck to make it work better. Because this sail is closer to the main is why I believe it points higher to the wind.
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Jimmyt
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Re: Depowering procedure/schedule

Post by Jimmyt »

That’s what a lot of my buddies say, too. :D
dlandersson wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2024 3:55 am In 25 knots and above, it's miller time :wink:
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