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Re: a newbie question

Assuming this is happening when you're under sail, it sounds to me like you're being overpowered. My standard rule in the beginning (and I used to singlehand a lot) was that if there are clearly visible whitecaps, I should use the small jib. You might also read/ think about sail balance. If a gust of wind causes you to point more into the wind, the boat is behaving more or less normally (you have "weather helm", a tendency to round up into the wind). One way to counteract excessive weather helm is to ease the traveller car down, while keeping good mainsheet tension (that is, allow the sheet to pull down on the boom rather than down and sideways). If it's a steady strong wind, don't be shy about reefing the main. Having too much sail up in strong wind is much like having one foot on brake and one on gas--you and the boat will be happier if you reduce sail, and you'll go just as fast.


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