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post #11 of 43 Old 06-10-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

Every boat is different. Some sail OK with just the jib/genny but some do not. Some sail fine with just the main. As noted, best is a reefed main and a small headsail. Note that as you start to become overpowered, the first step is depowering by trimming the main and genny. As the wind speed increases, then you begin reducing sail area.

As you have learned, if you wait for the perfect day with moderate winds and sun, you aren't going sail much. Days with small craft advisories can be among the best sailing days, as long as you know how to handle the higher winds.
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post #12 of 43 Old 06-10-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

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Originally Posted by Charrob View Post
...yesterday we decided to reef our jib and not put up our main sail at all, to not go too far from the mouth of our creek, and to take our chances. Only 5 times did I look down and see the wind gust go to 20 knots (and that was at the very beginning of the day). For the most part, at that time, gusts ranged around 16 to 18 knots and non-gusts were around 14 to 15 knots at most. Waves ranged from 1 to 3 feet.

So we sailed around for a while and felt comfortable so decided to head for the Key Bridge towards the Baltimore Harbor. Sailing straight under the bridge we were on a broad reach on a port tack. As we were on this tack, the wind showed as 5 to 8 knots and everything was fine. After about 15 to 20 minutes we decided to head back home. And this is when we experienced something we still don’t understand.

Winds were coming out of the southeast. When heading for home we decided to remain on a port tack but close hauled. So I moved the tiller to turn the boat windward and we brought the reefed jib in as tight as she would go. But the furthest we could turn the boat is a beam reach, and unfortunately a beam reach still headed us into the Baltimore Harbor rather than back home.
With the head sail only, and particularly reefed, the center of effort of the sail would have been too far forward to allow you to sail to weather. One can sail to weather with a head sail only but not reefed as you describe (and in the conditions you described you probably didn't need to reef the sail). As noted by others, above, next time start with the Main, only, reefed if necessary.

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post #13 of 43 Old 06-10-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

I think Davidpm has it mostly right, but I believe you were able to point on one side of the bridge and not the other because, by unrolling the jib, you greatly reduced the imbalance that Davidpm described. By raising both the jib and main, you balance the pressures ahead of, and aft of, the keel's center of lateral resistance. To an extent, you can do the same thing by unrolling a large, overlapping genoa. Part of the genoa extends forward of the CLR, and part of it extends aft of the CLR, and, although that doesn't achieve a perfect balance, it is adequate to enable the boat to point fairly well to windward.

If you are going to sail on jib alone, don't roll it up deeply. If you do, you won't be able to point to windward or tack well.

The better choice to balance the sails and to enable the boat to sail to windward efficiently in stronger winds is always to raise both the jib and mainsail, reducing the size of each in proportion to the strength of the wind.
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post #14 of 43 Old 06-10-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

This is a great thread, by the way. I have definitely seen boats sailing with either only the jib or the main, and I've always wondered why they do this and the implications for pointing and tacking. And I too have gotten inconsistent advice on how to reduce sail area in higher winds (jib only, main only, reef main and jib together).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charrob View Post
Hi,
We’ve been sailing for about 4 years now. One problem, it seems, with sailing on the Chesapeake Bay is that on weekends it seems like there are always small craft advisories or, once into July/August, no wind at all. In the past 4 years since we’ve had our 1978 Catalina 27’ we’ve only been able to sail her 6, maybe 7, times. So last week when they were calling for ideal conditions for Sunday all week, including late the night before, it was very discouraging to wake up Sunday morning to see that they updated the forecast to a small craft advisory.
I feel your pain. I was standing on my boat Sunday, cursing the inexperience that was keeping me on the dock. I'd been looking forward to that sail all week, but when the forecast turned, I decided to work on the boat instead. I was disappointed, but mighty glad when the breeze picked up even earlier than forecast that I wasn't testing my rusty and limited docking experience on a stiff wind pushing me right into my slip.

E.

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post #15 of 43 Old 06-10-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

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I feel your pain. I was standing on my boat Sunday, cursing the inexperience that was keeping me on the dock. I'd been looking forward to that sail all week, but when the forecast turned, I decided to work on the boat instead. I was disappointed, but mighty glad when the breeze picked up even earlier than forecast that I wasn't testing my rusty and limited docking experience on a stiff wind pushing me right into my slip.

E.
You should volunteer to crew on a race boat, emcentar. You'll quickly learn the techniques that will enable you to control the boat in those conditions, and you won't have to curse your inexperience anymore.
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post #16 of 43 Old 06-10-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

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You should volunteer to crew on a race boat, emcentar. You'll quickly learn the techniques that will enable you to control the boat in those conditions, and you won't have to curse your inexperience anymore.
I'm strongly considering it. I've always been put off by a sailing instructor I had who was a screamer. How can you identify the screamers before you leave the dock?

I'm also considering hiring a captain to help my wife and I build some confidence. (Not to hijack the thread, but if anyone has any tips for either finding a good race venue near DC or a captain who does private instruction please do PM me.)

E.

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post #17 of 43 Old 06-10-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

Most boats designed with overlapping jibs (like a C-27) will not sail very well under main alone as the small main produces too little power, and in particular will not go to windward under main alone. Sailing under jib alone is far more effective and SOP.

The issue with jib alone is that the forward COE produces lee helm and requires different boat management than we are accustomed to with the usual weather helm. A boat can go to windward generally as well with lee helm and with weather helm. With lee helm the boat wants to turn away from the wind. With just a jib, it is easy to stall the sail, and difficult to re-establish wind flow. Put the two together, stalling and lee helm, and the result is that successfully sailing to windward under jib alone requires more skill and more attention. The helmsman has to carefully nurse the boat's momentum, let it bleed off a bit by inattention and suddenly the boat heads off to leeward and has no interest in answering the helm. Should that happen, ease the jib until it is again pulling, build speed back up, then slowly head up, trimming as you go. Get it right and you'll go to windward almost as well as with jib/main.

Reefing the jib makes it less effective and even more prone to stalling. Better to put up a smaller jib. To windward I'd rather make a reefed jib work than resort to main alone, which is a formula for bobbing in place.

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post #18 of 43 Old 06-10-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

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Originally Posted by emcentar View Post
I'm strongly considering it. I've always been put off by a sailing instructor I had who was a screamer. How can you identify the screamers before you leave the dock?

I'm also considering hiring a captain to help my wife and I build some confidence. (Not to hijack the thread, but if anyone has any tips for either finding a good race venue near DC or a captain who does private instruction please do PM me.)

E.
Talk to some people who crew locally and find out who the screamers are, then avoid them if you're not into that sort of thing.

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post #19 of 43 Old 06-10-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

I am a little confused, I thought small craft advisories meant, we advise that you take your sailboat out because there will be good wind, and not many power boats. It means your not supposed to go out?

Yes, reef and you will be fine.
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post #20 of 43 Old 06-10-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

Carrab

We sail out of Rock Creek on our Cat 27. Your observation about the local forecast is correct varying between light/variable and small craft advisory. Your Cat 27 isn't a small craft and can easily handle advisory conditions which are often some of the best sailing days. Pay attention to the weather radar but usually we just head out and deal with the conditions within reason.

Our jib which is probably 100%-105%, can easily over power the main's windward force. If it gets backwinded, you may have to do a complete turn.

As rules of thumb:
0-15 knots: Main and Jib
15-20 knots: Main with reefed Jib (30% reefed)
20-25 knots: Main only
25+ knots: reefed main

We sail the tall rig fun keel version of the Cat 27

Hope this helps

Josh


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