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Weather Wind Increase Procedures for Sailing

Wind Increase Standard Operating Procedure

As the wind increases there are several steps that are taken to keep the wind from overpowering Golden Glow. These are listed below in a general order, however specific applications vary.  These wind increase procedures are a general guideline, specific conditions can create exceptions and it is the watch lead who has the responsibility to keep the sails appropriately configured.

The general rule is:

  • If the wind increase has you thinking you may need to reduce sail, YOU DO!
  • Act quicker at night, in fact we will often reef as a matter of habit prior to night shift.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help with sail changes.
  • Check the forecasts and review with crew, we use predict-wind and weather fax as well as expert weather forecasters like Chris Parker in the Atlantic for insight into the wind and sea conditions. Plan for worst-case scenarios in your sail plan and know, before your shift, what weather is expected and what various sail changes might be needed.

We have furling on main, Genoa, and Screecher. Reefing is simple so do it early. Furling is more difficult when the winds are on the heavier side for a sail.  The roller furlings on the main, genoa and screecher all can be over powered by increased wind, so in high winds lessen the load on these prior to furling. This can be done by letting out the boom, pulling into the wind and allowing luff in the area of the sail closest to the furler.  There is a balance between the proper luff and allowing the whole sale to whip, a whipping sail can damage the sail and in the case of genoa and screecher, the whipping sheets can break a wrist in high winds.  Because the main is in mast furled, the full main is like a half reefed non-rolling furled main.  It is smaller in area.

Refer to the sail plan guidelines based on true wind direction and true wind speed for maximum wind and TWA for each sail configuration.

Remember that failure to change sail in time can cost several thousands of dollars for a damaged sail.  A reef in time will extend the life of sails.

Here are the general wind increase procedure steps for Golden Glow:

  1. Wind less than 12 knots (gust and sustained)
    1. Use Screecher into wind reefing as wind increases to 12 knots (for close hauled may need genoa as it gets to 30-35 deg app, screecher 45deg)
    2. Asymmetrical spinnaker down wind
    3. Main full sail
    4. Watch sail twist at half way up sails
  2. As wind tops 12 knots and up to 25 knots
    1. For head sail switch over to Genoa from Screecher if into the wind
    2. For downwind can change Asymmetrical Spinnaker to Parasail
  3. At 24 knots take parasail down, go to Genoa
  4. To de-power sails
    1. Flatten Sails (Tighten outhaul, move fairleads aft, loosen leech)
    2. Keep Draft forward (40-45%) move more aft to lessen power (30%)
  5. Move traveler out (Spill wind)
  6. Take reef on Main (furl to first reef)
  7. Reduce the size of the Genoa (furl Genoa to first reef)
  8. Double reef main (Additional furl in main)
    1. Use more main then jib if seas choppy; otherwise
    2. Balance boat with same size proportion of sails
  9. Reduce the size of the Genoa (furl second reef)
  10. Triple reef main and change to storm jib (#3)
  11. One sail only (jib down wind, main up-wind)
  12. Bare poles & warps