Cruising

Letting go a sheet

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When the boat is tacking taking the loaded jibsheet off a winch can be a just cause for nervousness. On boats up to 40 feet or so, the safest way to do this is to first ease the sheet off a few inches; keep the flattened palm of one hand pressed against the turns on the drum as they begin to surge around it. This slight easing removes the worst of the load. Depending on the wind strength ou may be able to take a turn or two off the drum, but for safety always leave a couple of turns on the drum. Wait until the luff of the sail begins to lift and when it does, pull the remaining turns on the drum positively upward, keeping your grip directly above the axis of the winch. When you hold you hand in this fashion the turns will whip off the drum cleanly, they will never foul, and your hands will be safe in the bargain.

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