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post #12 of Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I have been in similar conditions. Open Ocean. Winds 30 , gusting 35. 12-15 foot seas. Broad reaching. It is a heck of a lot of work. I like a heavily reefed main up as you can then sail by the clew of the jib. I do use a preventer; it get rigged early and stays rigged. When the clew starts to drop, head up a little. What you really want to avoid is a round-up which will result is a slam. I was below on one which result in water coming in through a cabin top hatch - new rules- ALL hatches close and all drivers stand.

My avatar is from that trip.

I was in another round up on a broad reach in smaller seas than catapulted a crew member from the galley to the chart table.
Jack, I have been also on those conditions (going as downwind as possible) with a deep reefed main (third reef) as the only sail.... but then suddenly the wind went from 35K to 45/ 50K and I could not hold the boat anymore and keep rounding up.

Then I had to turn the boat to the wind to take the main sail out and find out that turning to the wind with no front sail, even with the help of the engine in full power was very difficult (and dangerous). I only managed at the third try.

I took the main out, let fly a small piece of the genoa, the size of a beach towel and have the boat again in perfect control doing about 9K, having fun again.

After that I am specially careful in never taking out the front sail completely in strong winds (going downwind) and if they are really strong Instead of taking out the front sail I prefer to have more work, turning the boat on the wind to take all the main down and let just a small front sail area.

Regarding the video, if that wind had increased substantially, it would have happen to him what had happen to me: He would have round up and would have troubles turning to the wind. Maybe never happened to him. I guess that if you have been on that situation you would never forget about that, I mean that it is better in high winds and if you can only carry a sail, to go with a front sail than with the main.

What's your take on this?



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