Don't miss the slide show at the end of this post
Once a year we like to entertain our neighbours by hoisting our storm jib whilst we’re alongside. Not much new to be learned from it, but it does force us to get it out of the bag and give it a thorough check over for any signs of chafe or other damage.
We have a hanked on staysail for our OVNI 435 Pèlerin which can be reefed, although we’ve never used that facility, but we carry a dedicated hanked on storm jib ready to go when necessary. When that time comes the storm sail comes into its own in so many ways – high visibility orange helps us to be seen by shipping amongst white water, and the sail is designed and built to cope with the brutal treatment dealt out in wild conditions without major damage. We think it’s a vital part of our sail plan.
Over the years I’ve sailed on many boats which carried storm jibs, but when I looked for them they were finally to be found buried at the bottom of some locker in a few inches of bilge water – not necessarily the best way to look after a piece of equipment your life may depend on. And in most cases it turned out that the sail had never been tested, let alone used – perhaps it was just carried as a lucky talisman?
The hard learning curve of running the foredeck on racing yachts as a young guy taught me that preparation is everything – you want to get up there and get the job done as swiftly and safely as possible. And there are many simple ways to make that all happen far more smoothly with a little planning, a great benefit when the deck is leaping around beneath you, and you’re hanging on with your eyelids.
Try it out in advance
When we first got our new boat-home, we waited for a spell of good windy weather, then took her out and tried out all of our range of sail options the hard way. That allowed us to get the storm jib set-up properly in the first place – tack strop the right height, correct sheet leads, leach line tension, and so forth.
Then we set about checking everything that can go wrong so that when the time comes to put it up in anger, we’re ready to go. Waiting until you absolutely have to put the storm jib up is no time to find out just how hard it is to attach the sheets in those conditions, that you can’t sheet it correctly, or adjust the leach line, and so on…..
The following slide show demonstrates the system we use – it works for us, but we’re sure that many of you out there have equally good ideas, if not better. If so we’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment.
You can click on the slide show to enlarge it so you can really see the details of our gear. Use the buttons at the bottom to move through the show (it does not advance automatically).
Slideshow requires a reasonably up to date copy of the Adobe Flash plug-in or iPhone/iPad or Android and that java script be enabled.