Many other factors come into play when it comes to storm sails. Different boats have different needs, a fact that was brought home to me aboard my own boat in a gale in the Gulf Stream. With water spouts developing on the edge of the Stream and gale-force winds threatening to rip the rig out, I dropped the mainsail and attempted to make do with just the storm jib. On this boat, however, the mast was far forward, and the boat could not respond without a second sail to balance the helm. Fortunately my crew and I had done a trysail drill, and we were able to set the sail without too much trouble.
Of course, some boats will sail just fine with only a storm jib set, especially boats with long keels and balanced sailplans. The old cruisers that had keels that ran the length of the underbody, although slow and cumbersome, were very seakindly. The long keels gave them directional stability that even an unbalanced sailplan, i.e., too much sail forward or aft, could not mess with. On the other hand, many fin-keel boats without much underwater shape will suffer without both an effective storm jib and trysail set at the same time, since there is not enough lateral stability under the boat to help it ride the waves. The result is that the sails end up dictating how the boat will lie relative to the seaway. Therefore, setting only a storm jib without the trysail to counterbalance the sailplan would make it very difficult to keep the boat on a steady course.
Sea state or the boat's location also need to be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to bend on storm canvas. If, for example, a lee shore looms and the boat needs the trysail to balance the helm in an effort to claw to windward, then it's a reasonable trade to endanger the crew's lives to set the storm sails. The alternative, a grounding, makes the choice an easy and obvious one. On the other hand if there is plenty of sea room and the boat is managing okay, then leave the crew below where they will be safe since the worst that will happen is that you will end up a hundred miles off course.
In the situation aboard my boat in the Gulf Stream where we had ample sea room, the boat would not sail on autopilot with just a storm jib, so I deemed it a reasonable risk to set the trysail to balance the helm, and then keep the crew below where he would be safe rather than have him on deck hand steering. The fact that we had also practiced setting the sail played a role in my decision. Again, these decisions need to be made by each skipper on a case-by-case basis. The point is that all sailors need to look at all the factors when making decisions during severe weather. When the wind is up and the senses are heightened, it's important to consider all options, even the unconventional ones.
One final point to consider when deciding whether to set a storm trysail concerns the mast. Generally, modern masts require the support of a mainsail or trysail pushing against the trailing edge of the spar to add to the structural integrity of the mast, so setting a headsail alone could actually result in the loss of the entire
"The old cruisers that had keels that ran the length of the underbody, although slow and cumbersome, were very seakindly."
Around Alone yachts to seek shelter
An intense low pressure system approaching the Bay of Biscay in October 2002 forced many of the in Spain.
rig. The heavy masts found on most cruising boats, on the other hand, are fine without the mainsail, although you should be sure to check with the spar maker for his advice since you may need a sail set to support this kind of mast as well.
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.