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post #25 of Old 06-14-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

Too many cooks spoil the broth! Good work on sorting through all this advice. But a lot of it is piecemeal and you need to get a comprehensive, but basic understanding how a boat sails through the water in various wind and current situations and sail configurations.
Basically it starts with lift created by foils. One set, the hull also creates CLR center of lateral resistance and the keel and rudder create a turning lever. The other set, the sails create the major driving force and the combined area is expressed as the CE center of effort. The sails are manipulated to balance the CE just aft of the CLR, creating weather helm, which means you use a little windward pull on the tiller to keep the boat from rounding up into the wind. In your situation, you moved the CE so far forward you created lee helm, having to push the tiller downwind trying to force the bow to windward. Too much rudder with too little movement through the water starts the stall. Sheeting the jib to tightly before headway is established completes the stall and you are left to the mercy of the current.
Okay, so that is a quick summary of two or three chapters in a how to sail book. Who ever said "balance man!" Said it better than I have here.
My recommendation is for you to get a good sailing primer (ASA has one) and get the concepts fixed in your head and then experiment like crazy in all kinds of conditions and situations, always remembering you really can't force a sailboat, you finess it by balancing the forces you are working with.
You can see this fine tuning at work on really good race boat. The interaction between the crew to fine tune the boat for maximum speed is impressive. The hotshot position on a race boat is the helmsman and what he does affects all the other crew. A good helmsman develops a light touch that let's him feel the boat and guide it through the water to the destination.
Now, while I do not recommend you sail out into the eye of the storm, your boat can easily sail during SCAs I.e. winds around 20 kts with gusts to upper 20s. That amount of wind will not capsize your boat because as you heel over the wind spills off the sails and the surface area of sail presented to the wind is reduced. Your CLR is also reduced as you heel over, and making too much leeway becomes a problem, so you reef. On most boats you reef the main first. Then the main again. Then the jib. But your tiller will tell you when you have the CE in the right place fore or aft and the heel will tell you when you have the right sail area.
Hope this helps.
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