Okay, I have a better understanding of the limitations with your sail controls now.
I remember that I previously suggested you centerline the traveller for the time being as you learned to sail. Here I was changing that suggestion now that your skills are increasing. In those gusty conditions, you might be wise to "pre-set" your traveller a notch or two lower than might normally be optimal for upwind work. Then you can work the mainsheet a bit more, leaving the traveller "as-is" for the most part (until you tack, of course).
Also, given the limitations of your traveller arrangement, you might favor a reef a bit earlier than if you had a really handy traveller.
Again, when trying to beat to weather, moderate feathering is usually your first, best approach. Feathering doesn't mean a huge, abrupt turn into the wind. It should be a gradual course change to windward of 5-15 degrees or so, depending on the strength of the gust, as the puff builds. You don't want to stuff it up too high and stall.
But when the gusts are as strong as they were yesterday, you will usually need to feather in combination with easing (via traveller and/or mainsheet) a bit.
Also try to anticipate the puffs/gusts as best you can by watching the water to windward. With practice, you should be able to predict their arrival to within a few seconds. This gives you the opportunity to feather up a bit ahead of the first knock, and to have your sheets ready for the ease.
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Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62
NEVER CALLS CRUISINGDAD BACK....CAN"T TAKE THE ACCENT
Last edited by JohnRPollard; 03-26-2010 at 11:23 AM.