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  #1  
Old 09-22-2013
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Wacky Wind

Sailing in Casco Bay, Maine yesterday was a bit challenging. Going off the mooring, we saw the wind was at 17 kts, so decided to reef and put out only the staysail as the wind was supposed to kick up. After going 2 kts in an 8 kt wind we put up all the sails.

The wind varied in direction by about 15 degrees, which made beating difficult, and the speed varied from 8 or 9 kts with gusts to 20, which nearly buried the rail and caused loss of control until we dumped the main and the jib (maybe we should have pulled in the jib and just gone with the stay?). Between this and the fog we called it a day and went back in.

Suppose we weren't daysailing and had to continue? What are your tactics for dealing with very gusty wind. Do you under canvas to prepare for the worst or set sails for the predominant speed and adjust for the gusts? I can see merits in both.

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Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Wacky Wind

Doug:
I think it would depend on the amount of effort you wanted to put into sailing the boat and how long you anticipated the conditions lasting. More a matter of personal sailing style rather than doing "what is right".
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Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Wacky Wind

as the golf slogan goes... "Grip it and Rip it!"

I prepare for the lightest condition and dump the main when it gets too "hot".. but I'm on meds for it, now!!
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Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Wacky Wind

Also depends on your comfort level... If you find it difficult to manage the puffs, you may be better off under-canvassed and "suffer" through the lulls... As your confidence grows you can lean towards the opposite.
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Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Wacky Wind

A question of philosophy.
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Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Wacky Wind

The OP describes what we consider nice sailing conditions on north Texas lakes :-)

I didn't catch the size of his boat. Our Bene31 is not hard to control under those conditions, but it behaves much as you describe under full sail when when the winds get maybe 5 kts higher.

A lot of this depends on your boat, and sail conditions. I have two strategies for these conditions. If I'm trying to sail fast, we just try to read the wind for the gusts, and drop the traveler when they happen to try to avoid rounding up. I may go ahead and flatten the main as much as I can, and move the jib fairleads back. Maybe add some twist to the main. Crew on the windward rail helps a lot more than I thought it would in a boat this size. I don't have an adjustable back stay; if you do you might see if putting on some backstay helps.

OTOH, if I'm just cruising around and don't want to make my main trimmer work so hard, I will may go ahead and reef at least the main. It will be slower in the lulls, but more controllable in the gusts.
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Last edited by bacampbe; 09-22-2013 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Wacky Wind

Thanks all for your ideas. We've been in 25 kts steady and had a blast, but this was a different beast entirely. You've definitely given me some ideas to try the next time. It seems it comes down to how hard do you want to work and how long is it going to be like that? the boat can definitely take it - it's really hard to bury the rail, so I don't worry about going over too far. For me, it was the complete loss of control (rounding up) until we dumped the main and (emphasis) jib. That was a new learning experience. I haven't reefed the jib as we usually just go with the staysail in high winds, but in this kind of situation, it may be worth a try.
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Re: Wacky Wind

What boat are you sailing?
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Re: Wacky Wind

Shannon 28 cutter. I don't think the boat's the problem.
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Re: Wacky Wind

Quote:
Originally Posted by doug1957 View Post
Shannon 28 cutter. I don't think the boat's the problem.
I wasn't suggesting that... it's just helpful to know what type/size of boat is under discussion - it can make a difference to techniques and options.
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1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

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Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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