R 22

Rhodes 22


Heavy Air Tacking

I do use the 175% Genny but I don't have the same problem as you. Make sure that the centerboard is all the down when tacking.

Check your backstay tension. Is your forestay straight or does it have a sag? Is your traveler positioned to leeward in the heavier winds? This helps to de-power the main.

I usually sail with the jib sheets crossed over to the windward winch but sometimes I find it more comfortable to sit on the leeward side. Can't fall very far!

If you continue having this problem you might want to go under your boat to make sure that the centerboard is not stuck or fouled in the up position.

Has anyone intentionally tried to capsize the Rhodes? I wonder what would happen if I heeled it over as far as possible, I think I will wait until the water warms up before I try.

Bill Sparhawk
Spokane, WA

I think you are being a little timid in the tack.

  • 1) use the jib furled/reefed if needed, in 15 knots of wind you should be doing 5+ knots. I start reefing mine about 15-18 knots.
  • 2) set the sheets on the windward side, get the leeward jib sheet in your hand (leave a wrap round the winch) get ready to cross sheet. ("prepare to tack")
  • 3) set the tiller about 40-45 degrees (a little over the seat edge) to leeward after that it acts as a brake. ("helm's a-lee")
  • 4) move your butt, it should land right before the jib luffs (boat is flattening out)
  • 5) release the jib when it starts to luff. Get the wrap off the winch.
  • 6) center the tiller
  • 7) haul in the jib
  • 8) cross-sheet in the jib
#3-7 should happen in 5-10 seconds.

I would leave the main traveler centered for now and let the main take care of itself.

I think your wind numbers are a little high (could be wrong). The hull will catch the wind at higher speeds. You can tell by the fact the hull will heel a lot without sails. But that is a post about storm tactics.


P.S. The boat sails better as it gets more broken in. :-)

I agree, especially running the jib sheet across the cockpit. I sail single-handed all the time with no problems. Everything is laid out so conveniently, it's a pleasure.

Steve Brill

Have to run, but one tip is to use the winch as a turning block so the jib sheet crosses the cockpit to your side for quick release when coming about. Of course, adding the self-tending jib option even makes this easy move redundant.

Don't attempt to come about from a run - get on a reach first.

In heavy air, cut sail area and keep a balance between the two sail areas so that the rough weather does not overwhelm you and you are able to relax and get to the few simple duties it takes to run a Rhodes without panic or more hands.

Even with 12 on board I prefer to sail the boat single-handed. You can do it.


Could you go into a little more detail on single-handed sailing the Rhodes? Maybe a good little proven procedures; AND I realize if I fall off the boat, that would be my own fault. Remember I don't have IMF.


There are only two advantages for two people on a Rhodes. One is ballast and the other is sex. Otherwise, on a Rhodes 22, the second person is redundant. Come sail with us on the Albemarle.


When single-handing, is everyone using an autopilot or one of those hiking sticks attached to the tiller? I installed a gadget called a tiller-tamer. (has a knob that you tighten down on a rope that is attached to port and starboard stern). Bought from West Marine for about $20. I don't have IMF so I have to go up on deck to raise the main.

I have never sailed with only the main or only the genoa. What would be the recommended wind conditions of sailing with only Main or only Genoa?

Steve Little

Yep, had a tiller-tamer. I found it to be more nuisance than a help. The Rhodes actually needs 2 people to sail it, especially in heavy wind. I have IMF and still find it better with two people.


One day the winds were blowing between 15 and 30 knot (gusting). I held my sheets in tight and found that at about 40 degrees heel the Rhodes would round up. I could however hold her on course at 35 degrees fairly easy.

I have found that my tiller tamer works best if the rope is very tight. However, I don't quite trust it yet. I had used the cross sheeting method on windy days. Stan's information was welcome news that I was doing it right. I have yet to reef the main. That will be the next procedure I learn. One thing I will point out: on windy days, instead of releasing the genoa all the way at first (since your initial roll up probably from a light wind day the previous day will be a tight roll up) only let it out about half way. Because of the tight roll up, you won't have the balloon effect in the middle of your furl. This will help your pointing ability if you end up having to keep the genoa furled.

Steve Little

Sounds like you've got all the help you need, but I'll add my 2 cents. Tacking with the main alone is difficult on all boats because the center of effort of the main is usually behind the center of lateral resistance of the hull/centerboard/keel. In this case the main acts just like a windvane keeping you pointed into the wind. This is also basically extreme weather helm. My Newport 17 has its mast stepped quite far aft and is particularly susceptible to this. Once when I tried sailing with only the main, I was unable to come about and simply oscillated +/- 20 degrees into the wind. I had to severely backwind the main and develop reverse steerage to get out. Lesson: always use a little jib (or your outboard, that's why its called an iron jib) in heavy weather.

Dave Walker

Be aware you probably shouldn't even be out there in 30+ knot winds... great way to tear up stuff, plus get VERY wet! Try back-winding the main by pushing the boom a little toward the old windward side for a few moments to bring the boat around. Or, you can always fall off and wear ship like the old guys....

Larry s/v "Sailsman's Bounty" Cincinnati

I have a new Rhodes 22 that I sail on a large lake in Colorado. The winds are either non-existent (mornings) or strong and gusting.

Most of my time is single-handed. When out in winds over 15K (often) I have been using the main only with the sail low on the mast and the pop-up down. I will soon have a smaller Genoa which will help, however when tacking in these winds going from a close haul at about 3.5 knots I usually am unable to tack. It would appear that the windage on the boat stops the boat pre-maturely and I can't carry enough way to make the bow come about.

I have tried with all variety of tiller "speeds", board up, board down, etc. I do better with the lapper out but I rarely use it in high winds when by myself since gusts to 40K are quite common and very difficult to recover from.

The problem may be the un-roached, un-battened main and its lack of power.

Comments... Help?
Peter A. Douglas

Okay all you sailors with more experience we need some advice.

This past weekend my wife and I went out for our first season sail. It was blowing hard at our slip but our slip is quite protected so consequently we were unsure how hard. As we will be traveling for a month and unable to get out until we return we wanted to get at least one good sailing day in.

We left the slip and headed into open waters. We killed the motor and decided because it was our first day out to be somewhat prudent and start under jib alone. We sailed for several hours averaging approximately 4 knots rigged like this and then decided to raise the main even though it was blowing like stink (I estimated 20 knots).

Now here is where my stupidity becomes a factor. We were getting pretty beat up under full sail and as I foolishly decided earlier to leave without rigging our jiffy reefing system it was going to be tough to reef the main under those conditions. We (I) decided to head up to drop the main and get the boat somewhat flat again.

Here's where the fun begins: I got her headed up and as we were dropping the main we got hit hard with a gust (we later found out that there were gusts reported in excess of 30 knots) that spun us completely around to where we were now going to jibe. I hauled in the mainsheet to put it down the center of the boat (sort of an unplanned controlled jibe) and we were now heading straight downwind allowing us to drop the main and regain full control of the boat.

I really didn't feel we were in any big trouble but it sure as hell got us to thinking what we should have done differently. I try and learn EVERYTHING I can about sailing in general and our boat in particular. Should have tucked in at least one reef for sure. I'm thinking that was probably my biggest mistake.

Anyone out there have any comments or suggestions? What would you have done differently besides using your noodle, as I obviously did not.

Thanks in advance
Ralph Bibbus
S/V Milagro

I sail in pretty much the same conditions on Lake Pen d'Oreille, Idaho. The lake is 55 miles long and 6 miles wide at its widest point and 1200' deep!

I don't think that it is a wise idea to sail with main only. I furl my genny up to where the clew is even with the outer stay. I try not to heel more than 25 to 30 degrees. What about you?

If beating and I want to tack, I bear off a little to pick up speed, then tack. The vast majority of the time I single-hand also.

Bill Sparhawk
Spokane, WA

At last, someone who appreciates the fine technique required in mountain lake sailing. Are you using the 175% genoa? My difficulty with it is that when I furl it down to about 110 or so the "sausage" on the stay creates so much air disturbance that I cannot point up much past a reach. This causes my tacks to cover a lot of the compass.

The suggestion to cross the sheets to the opposite winch is VERY good. This keeps me on the correct side of the boat and not feeling exposed in the lee. My slip neighbor does this while racing.

Peter Douglas

I typically cross-sheet except in lightest airs when sailing forward of the beam. The convenience and security offered far outweigh the strange looks from your passengers! It sure helps to ease off both the genoa and the main from one position.

Larry Sparks
s/v "Sailsman's Bounty", 1984

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