Anatomy of a Jibe
1. Ten Seconds Before the Jibe
– “Okay, lets get ready to jibe.”
- Bow –
Grab the lazy guy and pull enough slack into it to reach the bow. Position
yourself on the bow in front of the forestay facing back with the lazy guy
in your leeward (side opposite where the pole currently is) hand. Announce
that you are ready.
- Mast –
Raise the inboard end of the spinnaker pole above the mark on the mast (at
the top exit box).
Sheet Trimmer – Load lazy sheet onto windward cabin top winch and take
slack out. Stand between the winches just aft of the companionway and fly
the spinnaker with both sheets.
Trimmer – Load lazy guy onto leeward primary winch (three turns, handle
in, high gear) making sure that the bowman has enough slack to reach the
bow. Do not pull slack out.
– Put some vang tension on to avoid any “flippage” problems and keep the battens from getting
caught on the backstay in the jibe.
2. Turning the Boat
– Turn the boat down slowly and smoothly. Slow the rate of turn even more
when the boat gets close to dead downwind.
Trimmer – Square the pole back as the boat turns down. Don’t forget to
ease the foreguy.
Sheet Trimmer – Take up slack on lazy (new) sheet and ease old sheet to
rotate the sail around.
- Main –
Start trimming the main in. In light air you can just grab the two parts
of the mainsheet and pull the boom across. In heavy air, you must grind
the boom to centerline.
– In heavy air, help mainsheet trimmer by grinding mainsheet in on other
3. Execute the Jibe
– Call “trip!” when the boat is almost dead downwind. The make sure the
runners are clear on the end of the boom.
- Mast –
Trip the pole away and pull the trip line down and in to get the pole
moving towards the bow.
- Pit –
Lower the pole quickly so that it swings in and down and hits the bowman’s
hands at about waist height. Watch the whole time to make sure that it
will swing through inside the forestay. When the bowman calls “made!” pull
the topping lift up quickly until the pole hits the clew of the sail.
- Bow –
Catch the end of the pole. Swing the end of the pole inside the forestay.
Put the new guy in the jaws. Push the pole up and out on the new side.
Call “made!” as soon as it is clear to go up (and far enough away from
Trimmer - After the trip, ease the guy a few inches to let the sheet take
the load and facilitate the pole falling away. Then switch sides and get
ready to pull in the new guy. When the bowman calls “made,” pull the new
guy in as fast as possible until the pole hits the clew of the sail. Trim
the pole back about halfway between the forestay and the shrouds. If
executed properly, there should be almost no load on the guy, but have a
winch handle in just in case. The pole should never hit the forestay.
Sheet Trimmer – With one sheet in each hand, keep the spinnaker full as
you rotate it around the front of the boat by simultaneously easing the
old sheet and trimming the new sheet. Don’t be afraid to overrotate. If you are jibing from reach to reach this
can involve a lot of pulling. Make sure to ease the old sheet enough to
keep the sail from getting strapped against the forestay. Keep tension on
both sheets until the end of the pole reaches the clew and the new guy is
– Pull the main across the boat either with your hands or with the winch.
Ease it out on the new side. Then go help tail the new guy if necessary.
– Turn the boat slowly, but smoothly through this process and keep the
boat relatively close to dead down wind until the bowman calls “made.”
4. Heading Back Up on
the New Jibe
– Turn the boat back up to the target angle or a little higher to build
Trimmer – Position the pole properly for the boat’s heading. The pole will
probably have to go forward slightly as the boat turns up. Snug up foreguy.
Sheet Trimmer – Release old sheet and trim with new sheet. Get back into
whatever position is comfortable.
– Trim the main to the boat’s heading. Ease the vang
- Pit –
Adjust pole height as necessary to make sure that the clews are even.
– Lower the inboard end of the pole so that the pole is horizontal.
- Bow –
Take enough slack in the new lazy guy to reach the bow for the next jibe.
– Get weight down low and near the shrouds. Look back to spot the next