What's new

Tips on gybing the Sunfish

I was out in 15 to 20 knot winds yesterday and had a heck of a time gybing my Sunfish. Anyone with any tips on how to handle a gybe in a Sunfish, especially in heavy wind?
 

LAuman

Member
Tough one, as there are a few different things that might be adding difficulty.
Practice in medium air. Have the boat moving fast (not slowed by a wave or something) and flat (or heeledslightly windward) when you cross. Don't have the sail all the way out before gybing . . . but be sure to release the sheet when the boom crosses. The boat may be heeling to leeward sharply after crossing. . . if so, steer a bit to leeward to "get the boat back under the sail". . . but not enough to gybe again! Good luck.



practice
 
Look up references on the S-gybe. This technique requires that you turn the boat past DDW almost onto the new board, then as the boom starts to cross you steer back downwind rather aggressively until the boom is on the other side. This is essentially driving the boat back under the sail to keep things balanced. When it is heavy, I will S gybe in just about any boat. It also reduces the load on the rig, vang and mainsheet when the boom slams over....mainly because the boom doesn't slam over so much. When you are complete, you will have made a shape like an S in the water.

Another trick is to be mindful of when the sail wants to flip to the new gybe. A good indicator is watching along the leech (trailing edge of main), It will start to "fold" or look floppy. At this point, if you can give a tug on the mainsheet, it will encourage the boom to go over when you want it to, rather than when IT wants to.

Also, as others have mentioned, it is best to gybe when you going fastest, as that puts less load on the rig and will actually minimize your chances of tipping over. This may sound whacky, but it's true. Speed is king.

Good luck and stay dry!
 
Thanks for the tips, everyone. They were very helpful.

Now to go and see if I can do them! Fortunately I am a good swimmer incase I get something wrong!
 

herbaker

Member
In heavy air I do a controlled Jibe, which consists of pulling the sail in all the way and grabbing the boom as I jibe when I am on the new tack I then release the mainsheet to the desired sail position.
In heavy air and swells, sometimes it is necessary that I pull up the daggerboard a bit . I usually do not have to do this on a jibe, but sometimes when I am coming about
Herb
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
snfish60 said:
In heavy air I do a controlled Jibe, which consists of pulling the sail in all the way and grabbing the boom as I jibe when I am on the new tack I then release the mainsheet to the desired sail position.
In heavy air and swells, sometimes it is necessary that I pull up the daggerboard a bit . I usually do not have to do this on a jibe, but sometimes when I am coming about
Herb
Pulling the sail in while running in heavy air will make the boat lean to leeward (not good); this will slow you down as well. As has been stated prior in this thread, you really want to keep the boat flat during the jibe. Having the board up to some extent is good, until the point where you loose stability, but make sure the boom won't hit the board as the boom/sail comes across during the jibe, or you will swim :eek: ....
Initiating the jibe with a quick pull on the sheet or the boom is good :) . Also remember to let the sheet run free through your hands to prevent capsizing or rounding up.
 

triguy46

New Member
Is raising the daggerboard prior to gybe recommended? I'm used to doing that in centerboard boats as a means of limiting and/or preventing the boat from 'stumbling' on itself. New here, would appreciate comments.
 

LAuman

Member
Well. . . if you're gybing, you'll normally be off the wind, and you'll have your board up between 1/3 and the height at which it interferes with the boom crossing, just because you don't need it on those points of sail. However, rudder action requires SOME board; o'wise, the boat just slides sidewise. On the other hand, the board does provide lateral resistance and full board does contribute to heel . That said, you should practice gybing in light to medium air with the board in any reasonable position. It's not a bad idea to know how high you can pull your board without blocking the mast.
The stumbling, "death roll", or whatever, when the the boat rolls as the sail fills on the new tack, is generally a result of gybing too far around and/or having the boat slowed with the wind still blowing hard. If the lee gunwale goes under in the process, you'll take a bath. In those conditions (sometimes a wind shift is involved, too), the "S" gybe (steer the boat back under the sail) might be necessary. Hmm! Anyway, the board immersion makes a difference, but it's not the most important component of capsize upon gybing.
 
LAuman raises a good point about the daggerboard height. I have several markings on my board I made with a Sharpie that tell me with a quick glance exactly where my board is. One of those markings is a "crash gybe" mark I can slam the board to to avoid the boom.
 
Top