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post #1 of Old 05-16-2010 Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New England
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I hate wind......

Well not really, but I had a "frustrating" day today.

Weather called for 10-15 kt winds with winds gusts to 20, For my Pearson 10M Tall Rig, 10 to 15 is sweet with 135%. Wind over 20kts, for my boat, can be very overpowering. My typical set up is main and 135% RF Genny.

So we head out and wind is 0 kt, but then picks up to 5kt 50 yds from the mooring. Shutdown the iron genny and trim the main. Going 3 kts, so out comes the genny. Speed just shy of 5 kts, and wind has picked up to 6 to 8. Point-of-sail is reach/broad reach. Settle in and enjoy the ride. Once out of the harbor, we pass "hurricane alley", a spot where the wind is often very strong due to the land mass formation. Once pass the Alley, wind is between 5 and 10 kts and generally in the same direction. We are now on a broad run. Then the wind dies to around 2 kts and then 0 kts.

Well within a matter of two minutes the wind went from 0 to 25 kts (30 kt gusts) and the direction went almost 90 deg. With almost 700 ft of sail up, we were SOOOOO overpowered. On some of the gusts, we were lifted almost 90 deg. There were only two of us and I was sail trimmer. I thought we just went through a little wind burst area and things would return to calm. We it got worse and I couldn't get the RF Genny reefed quick enough. Even when I got reduced by 35%, it seemed like there was little effect. I finally decided to bring it all the way in but it was very hard (even down wind and blanketed by the main).

Once in, we had much better control just sailing under the main, but had enough after a half of hour getting pounded with delta 25+ wind gusts and multiple wind direction changes.

Since May and Oct in New England seems to be full of these No Wind - Gusty Wind days, I think I am changing my sail configuration to a very small 95-100% RF Jib and a main during these months. This will reduce my sail area from roughly 700 ft2 to about 520 ft. I will sacrifice speed/performance in low wind times for safety during the high wind times. I could go with the main only, but upwind pointability suffers. A Genny only makes controlling the boat somewhat difficult as there is a little less weather helm and is more difficult to trim. I think a balanced sail plan is best. Worst case scenario, main reefed and jib reefed to about 80% of fore triangle.

What do others do in these constantly variable wind speed and direction situations with re: sail plan management.


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