GYBING THE ASYMMETRIC
Practicing your gybing in all wind speeds means you will have fast, well-timed gybes. Equally important is knowing when to gybe. As the boat accelerates, it pulls the apparent wind angle forward. This makes it tricky to estimate your compass course and angle on the opposite jibe. A good way to estimate the opposite heading is to check the direction the Wlndex points to leeward. This is especially useful when judging laylines in light air.
PRIOR TO THE GYBE...
The skipper gets everyone ready with ‘Prepare to gybe!" The crew should be in their positions.
The bow person moves to what will be the new leeward side, getting ready to grab the new sheet and drag it aft aggressively.
The trimmer has the sheet flaked in figure eights and blows off the loaded sheet while the sail is fully pressurized.
DURING THE GYBE...
The helmsman turns the boat in a smooth radius, speeding the turn in the second part of the gybe to allow the clew to pass in front of the headstay so it can be pulled aft quickly just as the boom crosses the centerline.
The bow person pulls the sheet hard, moving the clew aft to pop the sail full on the new gybe. In heavy air it helps that the foredeck crew person pull down on the clew after the gybe. This helps the spinnaker collapse to complete the gybe.
The trimmer tails the sheet quickly, easing right after the sail fills on the new gybe. The trimmer and helm must work together to maintain speed through the gybe.
Practicing good boat handling and developing excellent crew work takes time. It is the culmination of a lot of little things done well that translate into a polished performance. On the next page are helpful tips for better off-wind speed.