Great sail yesterday, but a little confusing... - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 10-29-2007
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Great sail yesterday, but a little confusing...

Yesterday at Valle de Bravo Lake, Mexico, was a very windy day, the usual wind speed is 10-12 Knots... yesterday was 20-25 with gusts reaching 30.
The lake is a small one, the conditions over all were very nice, a clear sky, warm, etc.
My wife is pregnant so we decided to set only the main sail. windns were shifting a lot, middle way we received a call from a friend and went to pick her up to her marina, she came with a friend of hers, then as we have a crew, the jib was hoisted....
The winds and weather remain the same, what was a little confusing was that when we were only 2 adults (my wife and I on the boat, ant only the main sail) the course felt bumpy and hard to find the correct wind direction. When the other 2 people came aboard, it was totally diferent, and we had a real nice day sail... Would you say that this is normal, sailing with main sail only is harder to point the sailboat and find the right wind direction?
by the way, our boat is a Merit 25...
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Old 10-29-2007
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Alecs,

Yes, that's normal. In gusty conditions, a smaller boat will feel more comfortable with extra ballast aboard (in this case, your extra crew). Also, most boats will sail better, especially upwind, with a balanced sailplan (i.e., havin gthe sail area distributed between the mainsail and the jib/genoa). You were wise to keep the sail area reduced when sailing with your pregnant wife, but next time you might consider tucking a reef in your mainsail and using it along with a small jib or a partially furled genoa.
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Old 10-29-2007
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Well, first of all, you've added three hundred pounds or so of additional human ballast. That will help the boat out quite a bit. Second, when you picked up the other two people, you raised the jib... which probably balanced the sail plan a lot better—making the boat handle much more responsively. Both of these points are points that JRP made...and his suggestion to sail with a reefed main and small jib is an excellent one.

BTW, some boats sail well on just the main, others sail well on just the jib... and others really require both sails to balance properly. You might want to consider taking the Merit 25 out and playing with different sail combinations to get a better feel for what she does under certain sail combinations and wind conditions.
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Old 10-29-2007
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your description sounds totally reasonable. This is the way your boat behaves, learn it. I would try sailing under jib alone instead of main alone, I bet it works a whole lot better. I have a more cruiser oriented 24 footer and if I only have one sail up it prefers it to be the genny.

The Merit 25 is a great little boat. I've never sailed on one, but it's generally regarded as a 'better J24'. I do know the J24 requires 4 to race to rating, so it could have just been the right number of crew. I suspect however that you will find running on headsail alone is more desirable, one of the difference between the j24 and the merit is the merit is almost a masthead rig, it's something like 15/16, so it is friendlier to jib alone sailing than the j/24. Try it, then you'll know!
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Old 10-29-2007
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Smile

Thanks for your answers... Next time we have those conditions I'll try only the Jib... I think I'll feel more comfortable with one reef on the main and a working jib, the boat felt jus beautiful with a balanced sail plan...
As said on the initial post, the winds were much higher than normal, so lets wait for similiar conditions...
I'm trying to find out a crew to race with next december 8th. It's the annual lake round regatta, where all sailboats race against, no matter class or type...
Regarding the Merit 25 being a better J/24, I think the only downside of the boat is a very limited fleet, actually there are only 2 Merits in Valle de Bravo, mine and one that it's for sale ...
Thanks again guys....
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