Thursday, 30 April 2015

What is a Storm Jib?

Those who are new to sailing should have a knowledge about the sails that are used during storms. Even if they don’t have any plan to head toward zones that are prone to high winds, they should at least learn to differentiate between a storm jib and a trysail. Both are storm sails but are different. 

A ‘Storm Jib’ is a typical storm sail that is engineered to withstand extreme wind conditions. 

The basic features of a storm jib are—

  • It has a high clew
  • It has no foot round
  • It’s made of a heavy fabric, ideally heavy Dacron
  • It weighs between 280 gm to 400 gm approximately
  • Behind each hunk, there are reinforcement patches
  • It has oversized corner reinforcement patches
  • It has got a set of sheets spliced to the clew
  • It should have a strop spliced at the tack
  • The sail is always raised off the deck so that waves can pass without any obstacle
  • It is set either on the forestay or on the inner forestay
Sometimes sailors try to cut a storm jib out of an old sail. We shall recommend not to do that. Ordinary sailcloth is not strong enough to withstand gusty winds. 

It is not only the shape of the sail that matters, the strength of the cloth and all the other related features mentioned above are all important. Maybe highly experienced sailors can choose an appropriate piece of cloth and can build a Jib on their own but new sailors should never think of trying anything of that sort.

They should always ‘buy’ a storm jib. If they have budget issues, they can look for used sails.

While buying a Jib, pick one that has got fluorescent color. Most sailors prefer fluorescent orange as it glows in the dark and the other boats nearby can identify the vessel. 

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