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Storm Jib for furlers

  • 168. Top Tips Tuesday - Stormy Weather, StormBag

    STORM-BAG-compact

    One of the first storm jibs that we ever made (after Alan Bax and I left Musto & Hyde sailmakers) was back in the mid seventies. It was destined for a rather pretty Harrison Butler and was, of course, a hank-on sail; needless to say the owner never used it in anger for some considerable time! On Hindsight, our Mystery 35, on our delivery trip from Marseille to Corfu we carried a storm jib in the guise of a STORM-BAG and guess what, little wind for the six days and what little there was on the nose so no need to use it however if we hadn’t carried one no doubt we would have needed it.  The storm jib we fitted to Dshigit (the Mystery 35 that I first fell in love with and set Jenny and I down the self build route) was a conventional hank-on storm sail. But why didn't we, seven years later, go down the storm sail route? Apart from the lack of performance  ie once you start rolling or furling your Genoa  that vital ability to claw to windward disappears rapidly and I am not talking about a few degrees! If you go down what I consider to be the old fashioned route... the 'inner forestay with a hank on storm sail scenario' yes you get a better windward performance than that from a furled Genoa. However compared to a STORM-BAG the cost implication of fitting an inner forestay which includes modifying the mast, strengthening the deck etc to ensure a strong anchorage plus some method of tensioning the new inner forestay will probably set you back  £1500-00 at least for your average 35 footer plus of course there is the cost of the sail. Over that shock? Consider the weight and windage of the inner forestay and the tensioner (over centre lever) the stowing of the forestay and then there is the safety aspect. There is at least a 1/2 hour out on the foredeck possibly in horrendous conditions away from the safety of the cockpit... it is a 'trip' forward to rig the forestay and tension it, back to the cockpit to collect the jib and then there is the hanking on (one hand for the sail, one for the boat?) of the sail, sheets to be transferred (rolled genoa secured) and then led aft and then that jib is hoisted behind a bulky furled genoa which is in itself creating turbulence. Why didn’t we go down the Storm Bag route for Dshigit? Sadly they didn't exist back then!

    Fitting the StormBag

    The STORM-BAG storm sail was designed as a safe, efficient but economical way of flying a storm sail from a furled genoa, safe in so much as minimum time on the foredeck, no chance of furled genoa coming loose, efficient - no turbulence as set on the furled genoa and with a blunt leading edge so much easier to keep the sail drawing in confused seas, less weight and windage at all times. Economical as no deck or mast mods needed, no inner forestay required nor tensioning device, jib sheets are self contained. Plus and its a big one, your existing genoa will maintain its designed shape longer as its not being used in strong winds! The STORM-BAG is available in five different sizes suitable for boats 20 to 60 feet long (custom models are possible upon request) it comes complete fully equipped with sheets, tack strop, snap shackles; its very compact and takes up very little space on a yacht. With today's weather being so unpredictable who knows when you might need one!

  • 118. Top Tips Tuesday - Maintaining Windward Performance with Storm-Bag

    As a competitive dinghy racer I have always valued my boat's pointing ability, especially competing in a championship of some 200 boats (those were the days of the big Enterprise fleets) as you can imagine the ability to get a good start was paramount! Winter racing on the river Tyne likewise, be it dinghies like National 12’s in the seventies or eighties. Nowadays we value good pointing ability on the Sports boats that we race.

    For my new build project the Mystery 35, when we eventually launch her, and with typical North East weather, the going will get tough, I obviously want to maintain the excellent windward ability these Stephen Jones designed yachts are renowned for. Instead of a very furled genoa and virtually no pointing ability or setting a storm jib on an inner forestay I am going down the Storm Bag route. An Inner forestay, apart from the cost, is extra weight and windage aloft which is something I hate, never mind modifying the mast and the purchase of a Wichard Babystay Adjuster to put tension into the stay. It invariably means strengthening the deck or bulkhead aft of the anchor locker and the purchase of a hank-on storm jib and sheets. Cost of all this for a 35 footer is going to be quite a bit over a couple of thousand pounds depending on the cost of a mast lift out/in and deck/bulkhead mods.

    From a safety aspect, with the breeze up, the less time you or your crew spend out of the cockpit the better; clip on then go forward to set up the inner forestay, come aft then take a storm sail forward, hank it on, then take sheets back and hoist probably more than 20 minutes during daylight, quite a bit longer when its pitch black! Then of course there is the turbulence coming off the fully furled genoa.

    For heavy weather sailing the Storm Bag gives superb pointing ability as its deployed round the furled genoa (no danger of the furled genoa coming adrift should the reefing line let go). Cost at £849.00 for a light displacement 35 footer is far less than the price of modifying mast/deck, purchasing an inner forestay assembly as well as the sail and sheets. Plus, and its a big one, the safety factor - on average less than eight minutes on the foredeck!

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