Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Sailing under jib and mizzen

Is not something I've had to do before (once I can recall, a couple of years ago). So I basically found yesterday a steep learning curve. Certainly I found it difficult neigh impossible to tack. Consequently there was plenty of gybing to change direction! I was able to do broad reaches easily; I could just about go upwind. We were averaging 4.5 kts; faster in the big gusts and there were some really  savage 25 kt+ gusts.

What do you do with the mizzen? As we went into the tack the mizzen would immediately hold us head to wind and we stalled.  If I slackened the mizzen it seemed to make no difference other than we lost speed.

And then there was the issue of steering. It seemed to be a constant battle with lots of tiller adjustments. To keep the course I wanted the tiller would often be at an angle. Now I did try steering by releasing and sheeting in the jib but it didn't seem to work that well.

Basically it was a frustrating sail which got curtailed because the gusts became so big that I started  to feel rather uneasy.  Sometimes you have to make a call; knowing when conditions have outstripped your experience levels. Yesterday afternoon was one such occasion.

If anyone can offer advice on how to sail using jib and mizzen then I'd really appreciate some tips via my comments box. Meanwhile is some film of my awful sailing attempts under jib and mizzen. Forgive me please.



Anonymous said...


It looks like you are facing the same problem I had when sailing under jib and mizzen in Sandusky Bay. I found it to be most problematic when the winds dropped slightly, but the water was still quite lumpy. It was especially bad when trying to go upwind. The boat was making very slow progress, and would periodically try to bear off, even with the tiller hard to leeward. This could only be recovered by momentarily easing the jib.

In retrospect, I think this was due to the centerboard stalling. If you think about it, the rudder turns the boat around the centerboard. If the centerboard has stalled and is slipping to leeward and the rudder has not stalled, the boat will want to fall off rapidly to leeward, even with the tiller hard a lee.

The solution I found was to hoist a reefed main (maybe double reefed in your case) and continue that way. Based on the GPS track, I was able to point significantly higher with the reefed main in addition to sailing faster (3 knots vs 2 knots). I have found with Good Enough that the centerboard likes to stall when sailing too close to the wind at low speed. This is especially so when under jib and mizzen.

I hope this helps.

steve said...

Happy new year Wayne. Good to hear from you.Hope you and family are well.
I think your first para described the situation really well and your subsequent points, as always, make sense and resonate with what I experienced. Thanks for the suggestions. Stay in touch. Look forward to hearing about your 2013 voyages