Jibing while racing

While out choosing a race crew to man or crew for I practiced for a few hours with a skipper who insisted that when jibing , during a race, one would allow the boom to fly across through the eye of the wind, without centering the boom and gradually letting out the mainsail.

I didn't want to argue with the skipper but this was completely against the grain as far as I could tell. I couldn't reason with this skipper.

Does this topic even deserve discussion?


Thanks in advance


In 30+ years of racing the

In 30+ years of racing the Scot I've never found it necessary to baby the boom across during a jibe.  Just have the crew grab the vang just under the boom and haul it across.  The speed at which you haul it across may vary according to the wind velocity; a little easier and slower in light wind, as quick as possible in heavy air.  

To bring the boom slowly to center and then let it out slowly (presumably by trimming and then easing the mainsheet) is way slow and results in too much time with the main overtrimmed.

There are a lot of ways to break the boom or gooseneck, but slam jibing is not one of them.  

Good luck!


Your skipper was correct.

We have actually broached and nearly capsized the Scot in big breeze trying to haul the mainsheet in to jibe. 

Best to go a bit by the lee to ease pressure, main nearly full out against the shroud, crew grabs the vang tackle and pulls hard, DUCK and let 'er rip across. Skipper needs to steer to keep the hull under the rig and not deal with the mainsheet. 

In lighter air, in order to keep the sheet from getting snagged on the rudder head, skipper grabs it ahead of the boom block to give it a flick only to remove excess slack. 

Scot main is big and steers the boat when centered, which is opposite of what is needed in a jibe. Get it from old side to new side ASAP.


Let er rip!

I also often gybe this way.  I make sure that the mainsheet does not have so much slack that the boom can hit the shroud, and let her rip.  Keep in mind that if you are sailing with two, that the skipper is managing the guy and spinnaker sheet and steering the boat with the tiller between theIr knees, as the crew moves the pole, when jibing.  This is especially true on the leeward (non-triangle) legs.

Phil Scheetz

Flying Scot 5919

Fleet 163, Nockamixon Sail Club


What if your crew is not thrilled about grabbing the  vang?

if on a run even if you go a little by the lee the boom is not coming over  without some help.

All my other boats you could throw it over with the main sheet, but not so much with the scot.

thanks from a new owner and member

jim Nighan 760!


If you are already by the lee, Ifind if you grab the mainsheet just below the block on the boom and pull the boom in slightly, it will go across.  This helps avoid the slack catching on the corners of the stern, or snagging on the rudder head.  Because you have not pulled it through the ratchet block and cleat, the sail goes back out to where it needs to be on the new jibe, and is not over trimmed.

Phil Scheetz

Flying Scot 5919

Fleet 163, Nockamixon Sail Club


I would strongly advise not getting in the habit of jibing by pulling on the vang. Main reason, the vang is the closet point on the boom to the mast. With pressure on the main, you are more than likely to bend the boom in the wrong way, especially if the wind is cranking. I jibe by allowing the wind do the work with a little assistance as needed. That might mean trimming the main a little and then letting it out as the boom comes across the boat.

Not sure what I mean, go and look at the boom on the boat. Imagine pressure is being spread across the entire length. Now picture yourself trying to move the aft end of the boom but doing it from the point of the vang. It's a long way down there!

Video of a Gybe

so here is a vid of a gybe on the Scot using the Vang...if you don't use it in heavy air, it is too unpredictable in regards to when the main comes over...



Jibing - crew pulling on vang

A couple of commenters have advised against jibing the main by having the crew pull the vang.  I don't agree.  In light or medium air the crew should have no problem getting the main across using the vang.  Remember to grab it just under the boom for maximum leverage.  There is no risk in light or medium air of breaking the boom by this method.

In heavy air, to NOT jibe by pulling on the vang is to risk capsize.  In order to get the boom to come across without being pulled by the vang, the boat must be steered very far by the lee, so that when the jibe does occur (very suddenly and often not quite when you want it) the boat will suddenly be on a broad reach on the new tack, meaning the boat will not be centered under the main, with consequent risk of heeling, dragging the boom in the water, and broaching followed by capsize.  To use the mainsheet to partially center the boom prior to jibing causes the main to be overtrimmed, with consequent loss of speed, difficulty in steering, and possible broach (either before or after the jibe).  

To jibe more easily in heavy air, do everything you can to minimize the apparent wind at the time of the jibe:  be headed as close to straight downwind as possible; jibe while the boat is surfing on a wave; jibe in a lull rather than in a puff; and leave the main perfectly trimmed (all the way out) until the moment of jibe.  If you do all these things and your crew still can't pull the boom across by grabbing the vang, then either (a) you are sailing in too much wind for your crew's strength, or (b) you will need to use the sheet to center the boom prior to jibing, good luck to you!

I don't think merely pulling on the boom by the vang, even in heavy air, will break it.  Remember, as the boom comes in, the vang eases, and pressure on the boom is lessened during the jibe for that reason.


Crew dependent

Cool video! Great discussion.  Depends on the crew...I square up downwind (esp important in hvy wind) and a quick tug under the mid-boom block (my rig is 2:1 now, 1:1 in light air...was not as effective 3:1) and let her rip. I don't like inexperienced crew (or my kids who I race with a lot) to grab the vang or anything else during the jibe, just stay clear.  Sailing with more experienced crew, the vang grab would be a good way to go so the skipper can fly the spinnaker around and keep the hull balanced and controlled, just relieve a little pressure before it goes like Jay said. 

How how about a thread on best practices on jibing the spinnaker?!


Start one!

The beauty of a forum is that you can start a new thread!

Jibe pole before main or after?

Differences sailing with two versus three in the boat?

Heavy air versus light air techniques?

Phil Scheetz

Flying Scot 5919

Fleet 163, Nockamixon Sail Club

Jibing with mainsheet

In heavy air a technique I learnt when sailing boats larger than Scots is to grab the mainsheet behind the block on the boom, leaving the tail cleated. By pulling down at that point you have a 2:1 advantage.

This helps you pull the boom in quickly, flip it over and release it quickly, but under control.

The canvas whoopie thing on a FS complicates this, but ith a little paractice this is a fast and controlled maneuver.