More beginning sailing technique questions
Hello again, helpful people!
We went out yesterday for maybe our 10th or 11th sail, and had another great day. Things are coming together, and we seem to be able to control the boat when heading upwind better and better, and more efficiently. Our P26 seems to point much higher than I thought it would be able to; the new sails helped a HUGE amount. We've only flown the 92% jib; winds haven't been light enough to use the 150%, plus I'd like to place some protection on the shrouds, turnbuckles, and other places it might rub before using it. Any suggestions on what to do or how to go about that? I've seen 2"-3" diameter PVC-looking tubes over the shrouds/turnbuckles, or small diameter plastic covers for the shrouds and sailing tape over the turnbuckles. Is one better than the other? The boat behind us has a little wheel of some kind, maybe 3"-4" in diameter, on his outer (upper?) shroud a few feet lower than the spreader. What's that? Stanchion tops/lifelines? Anything else I should do to protect my new sail before dragging it across the deck a lot? We have hank-on headsails.
I could use some tips for sailing downwind. Upwind seems to make sense to me, but downwind (offwind?), not so much. You'd think it would be easier. My first point of confusion may be the relationships between true wind, apparent wind, and the direction of the waves. My friend who took me out the first time and gave me my first (and only) lesson said I could get a good idea of the direction of the true wind by the waves, and that work's great upwind. I understand the relationship between true and apparent wind. When sailing offwind at an angle to avoid any unplanned gibes, I can sail at pretty much any point from just off a beam reach to what looks like direct downwind based on the waves with my main and jib off the starboard side and the wind coming from the portside and back. However, after a gibe to the other side, I can't come close to sailing direct down wind with the sails off the port side; I have to sail at a much greater angle to downwind when the sails are off the port side. Why? Is that common? I noticed that for the first time yesterday. Was that something unique to the conditions? Will that tendency vary? Is it not really happening, and I'm just reading the wind direction incorrectly, i.e., the wind direction 10 feet and more above the water is no longer the direction at the surface, due to surface friction? It can't be a difference between true and apparent wind direction, because when sailing direct downwind they're the same, although the apparent wind (true wind corrected for the boat's heading and speed) is less in strength than the true wind.
I've tried do fly wing-on-wing w/ varied success, but it scares me a bit. We don't have a preventer, and I worry about the boom having that much freedom to swing in a gust. We don't have a whisker pole, either, so the jib doesn't stay out very far. Tips? Get a whisker pole?
We DO have a spinnaker, but no spinnaker pole although the mast hardware is there for one. Is it time to learn to use it?
One more... under what conditions should the leech lines be tightened or slackened?
Seems like everytime we go out, a couple thing make more sense, but MORE than a couple other things don't.
Thanks in advance for any help or tips. This place is great.
Best to all,
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"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza." - Dave Barry
Last edited by bblument; 10-15-2013 at 10:13 AM.