Furling the jib can be easy and painless, or it can be hard work and even dangerous, depending on how you approach it. Here’s a tip that will help you keep it calm, under control, and less of a workout!
Quite often, we ask our members for steps to jib furling and the first response they give us is “head into the wind”. We also observe this behavior on the water on a regular basis. If you head into a good, stiff summer breeze to furl the jib, it will take the wind pressure off, but it will also cause flogging. When the jib is flogging, we are reducing it’s life. Jib sheets are also flogging and can break dodger windows, are hard on blocks & rigging, and are a danger to crew. What if we did the opposite and furled the jib on a run?
Pick your time and place in advance. Don’t wait until you are in close quarters with no maneuvering room. Head down-wind, almost on a run. Have you ever tried to steer downwind and constantly found yourself heading back up to keep your jib from collapsing? This is because you are using the main to cover it, or blanket it from the wind. On this point of sail, the jib is collapsing because there is almost no wind getting past the main into it. You should be able to furl the jib with very little effort. Be sure to tail your sheets to keep them under control and furl the sail nice and tight. Remember, the helms-person must be focused on steering, it is easy to commit an accidental jibe on this point of sail with a lapse in concentration.