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Anatomy of a Jibe

Anatomy of a Jibe

For when we are going this way and we need to go that way but the big colorful sail attached to the pole is in the way.

1. Ten Seconds Before the Jibe

  • Tactician – “Okay, let's get ready to jibe.”
  • Bow – Grab the lazy guy and pull enough slack into it to reach the bow. Position yourself on the bow in front of the forestay facing back with the lazy guy in your leeward (side opposite where the pole currently is) hand. Announce that you are ready.
  • Mast – Raise the inboard end of the spinnaker pole above the mark on the mast (at the top exit box).
  • Spin Sheet Trimmer – Load lazy sheet onto windward cabin top winch and take slack out. Stand between the winches just aft of the companionway and fly the spinnaker with both sheets.
  • Guy Trimmer – Load lazy guy onto leeward primary winch (three turns, handle in, high gear) making sure that the bowman has enough slack to reach the bow. Do not pull slack out.
  • Main – Put some vang tension on to avoid any “flippage” problems and keep the battens from getting caught on the backstay in the jibe.

2. Turning the Boat Down

  • Helmsman – Turn the boat down slowly and smoothly. Slow the rate of turn even more when the boat gets close to dead downwind.
  • Guy Trimmer – Square the pole back as the boat turns down. Don’t forget to ease the foreguy.
  • Spin Sheet Trimmer – Take up slack on lazy (new) sheet and ease old sheet to rotate the sail around.
  • Main – Start trimming the main in. In light air you can just grab the two parts of the mainsheet and pull the boom across. In heavy air, you must grind the boom to centerline.
  • Tactician – In heavy air, help mainsheet trimmer by grinding mainsheet in on other winch.

3. Execute the Jibe

  • Tactician – Call “trip!” when the boat is almost dead downwind. The make sure the runners are clear on the end of the boom.
  • Mast – Trip the pole away and pull the trip line down and in to get the pole moving towards the bow.
  • Pit – Lower the pole quickly so that it swings in and down and hits the bowman’s hands at about waist height. Watch the whole time to make sure that it will swing through inside the forestay. When the bowman calls “made!” pull the topping lift up quickly until the pole hits the clew of the sail.
  • Bow – Catch the end of the pole. Swing the end of the pole inside the forestay. Put the new guy in the jaws. Push the pole up and out on the new side. Call “made!” as soon as it is clear to go up (and far enough away from your face).
  • Guy Trimmer - After the trip, ease the guy a few inches to let the sheet take the load and facilitate the pole falling away. Then switch sides and get ready to pull in the new guy. When the bowman calls “made,” pull the new guy in as fast as possible until the pole hits the clew of the sail. Trim the pole back about halfway between the forestay and the shrouds. If executed properly, there should be almost no load on the guy, but have a winch handle in just in case. The pole should never hit the forestay.
  • Spin Sheet Trimmer – With one sheet in each hand, keep the spinnaker full as you rotate it around the front of the boat by simultaneously easing the old sheet and trimming the new sheet. Don’t be afraid to overrotate. If you are jibing from reach to reach this can involve a lot of pulling. Make sure to ease the old sheet enough to keep the sail from getting strapped against the forestay. Keep tension on both sheets until the end of the pole reaches the clew and the new guy is trimmed properly.
  • Main – Pull the main across the boat either with your hands or with the winch. Ease it out on the new side. Then go help tail the new guy if necessary.
  • Helmsman – Turn the boat slowly, but smoothly through this process and keep the boat relatively close to dead down wind until the bowman calls “made .”

4. Heading Back Up on the New Jibe

  • Helmsman – Turn the boat back up to the target angle or a little higher to build speed.
  • Guy Trimmer – Position the pole properly for the boat’s heading. The pole will probably have to go forward slightly as the boat turns up. Snug up foreguy.
  • Spin Sheet Trimmer – Release old sheet and trim with new sheet. Get back into whatever position is comfortable.
  • Main – Trim the main to the boat’s heading. Ease the vang off again.
  • Pit – Adjust pole height as necessary to make sure that the clews are even.
  • Mast – Lower the inboard end of the pole so that the pole is horizontal.
  • Bow – Take enough slack in the new lazy guy to reach the bow for the next jibe.
  • Everyone – Get weight down low and near the shrouds. Look back to spot the next puff.
Source: J/44