Light wind, lumpy seas - SailNet Community
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 Old 07-24-2009 Thread Starter
baDumbumbum
 
bobmcgov's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Windy Wyoming
Posts: 1,126
Thanks: 0
Thanked 36 Times in 35 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
Light wind, lumpy seas

Our trip to Catalina Island included what was, for us, a completely new experience: very light winds (<3kts true) and the usual Pacific swell. As inland lake sailors, we are used to linear relation between wind speed and sea state, and I frankly didn't handle the wallowing, slatting, and drifting very well.

Okay ... it drove me flat-out insane. Our SJ21 is a marvelous light-air boat, but we simply could not keep the sails inflated on most headings. Trying to run down from Two Harbors to Avalon was the worst. We'd catch a puff, the boat would accelerate, apparent wind would drop to zero, and SLAT ... SLAT ... SLAT. Couldn't even keep the spi from collapsing for same reason. It would backwind as each swell picked up our counter. Eventually made it there by jibing thru nearly 90 degrees: broad reaching moved the apparent just far enuf forward to keep the sails semi-filled. But God, it took forever and was way too much work.

Upwind, we could milk the apparent as long as we were willing to accept lower pointing angles, but the swell would likewise cause the boom to swing, and if we sheeted hard to control that, we'd flatten our main too much and screech to a halt (no traveler).

So what are your tricks (on each various heading) for keeping the boat moving when the swell is stronger than the winds? How do you set your sails, course, sheets, etc? Don't say 'fire up the damn motor' -- that's cheating.

(BTW, our trip also included 25 kts and short-period chop running 90 degrees to the swell ... but that at least made sense....)

Buccaneer18, Grainnia
SJ21, Diarmuid
Albin Ballad 30, Fionn

Last edited by bobmcgov; 07-26-2009 at 10:38 AM.
bobmcgov is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 Old 07-24-2009
Tartan 27' owner
 
CalebD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,751
Thanks: 4
Thanked 107 Times in 99 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
I-Ron Genny?

"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen

Everybody has one:

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
CalebD is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 10 Old 07-25-2009
Senior Member
 
patrickrea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 407
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
I go through this all the time on Lake Ontario. Upwards of 3' swells with little wind. You either just ride it out while hoping for wind, or as CalebD says, crank up the motor. Putzing around in those swells will actually break more gear than a 20knot breeze. Everything is just slapping back and forth.

Patrick Rea

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

1978 30' Hughes Northstar 1000
1964 20' Bertram Moppie
patrickrea is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 10 Old 07-25-2009
Senior Member
 
poopdeckpappy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: San Diego
Posts: 6,132
Thanks: 35
Thanked 42 Times in 36 Posts
Rep Power: 12
     
motor

1955 Blanchard 51 Custom ( I got a woody )

Lord, give me coffee to change the things I can change and Rum to accept the things I can't
poopdeckpappy is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #5 of 10 Old 07-25-2009
Senior Member
 
FishFinder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 139
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
May want to look into some kind of a preventer setup. Others will know more about this than me but the idea is, a preventer will prevent the boom from an accidental jibe (great) BUT if I understand correctly, the preventer can also keep the boom locked in position when there isn't enough wind to fill the mainsail but the boat is still rolling around. I'm considering setting one up, it happens a fair amount to me out here that I'll be in waves with no wind, and it sucks having the boom gear crash around from side to side.

For now though I just fire up the engine whenever the wind dies.

1980 S2 9.2A (30') in Anacortes, WA
Aux power 13hp Volvo MD7A
FishFinder is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #6 of 10 Old 07-25-2009 Thread Starter
baDumbumbum
 
bobmcgov's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Windy Wyoming
Posts: 1,126
Thanks: 0
Thanked 36 Times in 35 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
*checks name of website is SailNet*

There was a pretty 42ish-foot erstwhile sailboat moored in Desconso Bay that had been converted to a powercruizer -- mast removed, semi-permanent awning over the cockpit. Most of the sailboats at Catalina could undergo the same surgery without anybody noticing.

Four sailboats out of five were either motoring or motorsailing regardless of the wind. Motorsailing needlessly & incompetently, may I add. We beat up from Avalon to Two Harbors in perfect 10 kt west winds, averaging 5 kts on a bowline; it was hands down the finest day of sailing in my life, distilled joy, the sort of day any sailor lives for. We passed a 35 footer heading down to Avalon -- under power, no headsail, but with his main up and sheeted to a close reach. The swell+following breeze was causing his boom to jibe back and forth about 6 feet -- and his bow to plunge violently around. Boat was barely under control. I said, We may be about to see the world's first Motorized Death Roll.

So let's pretend that our motor isn't very reliable, or that we don't want to rebuild it every two seasons -- or that it's sixty years ago when most sailboats didn't have motors and yet Catalina Island's harbors hosted many dozens of them. Let's pretend, that is, that we are sailors. How would sailors deal with light winds combined with goodly-sized waves?

Buccaneer18, Grainnia
SJ21, Diarmuid
Albin Ballad 30, Fionn
bobmcgov is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #7 of 10 Old 07-25-2009
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: VA
Posts: 2,049
Thanks: 1
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 10
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
snip...
Okay ... it drove me flat-out insane. ...snip But God, it took forever and was way too much work.

Don't say 'fire up the damn motor' -- that's cheating.

(BTW, our trip also included 25 kts and short-period chop running 90 degrees to the swell ... but that at least made sense....)
I think you kinda' answered your own question. The conditions you describe produce the results you saw. You can suck it up and "enjoy it" or cheat.

Due to its shallow depth and long fetch when winds are from the north or south (and they are one or the other about 90% of the time), the Chesapeake is renowned for the short, steep chop that whips up when a strong wind opposes the tide. Many times you'll have a light air day after a few days of wind like that, and it will produce the absolutely miserable conditions you were dealing with. When it does, all you can do is stay in the anchorage/at dock, suffer the slattering or motor to where you need to get to. We've done several races in those condtions and they were something close to torture. Any time you got the boat moving upwind, you'd soon slam into a big wave and spend agonizing minutes until the boat got going again, just to repeat it. Downwind, its constant trim and ease, trying to keep some speed as the sails fill and collapse. Like you say, "God it takes forever and is way too much work".

I wish I had time to always choose the "pure" choice, but "I got to be at work on Monday" so, its iron genny for me when I encounter those conditions.

PalmettoSailor
s/v Palmetto Moon
1991 Catalina 36
PalmettoSailor is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #8 of 10 Old 07-26-2009 Thread Starter
baDumbumbum
 
bobmcgov's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Windy Wyoming
Posts: 1,126
Thanks: 0
Thanked 36 Times in 35 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
Oh, it's not that I'm a purist so much; our electric trolling auxilliary takes motoring off the table. It's that "Fire up the engine" is the obvious -- and therefore completely uninteresting -- response. I have no idea what among the following ideas would help and what wouldn't, and most I only came up with after the fact ... but a discussion of these or other tactics might actually improve everyone's sailing knowledge:

1. Induced heel. Twenty degrees or more? Move ballast in boat?

2. Full-batten mains: better or worse? Should we drop the main and add pre-load to the battens?

3. The 0.5oz nylon Drifter: why it is your friend. Design, attachment options, and use.

4. Best TWAs; ways to make apparent wind angles work for you.

5. How to present bow or stern to waves to optimize performance. Swell vs. chop.

6. Active sheeting, sail pumping, rudder sculling, hull rocking.

7. Best mast rake; shroud & stay tension; sail draft adjustments.

8. Fake up a traveler. Shorten topping lift and sheet down hard to stabilize boom without flattening main. Rig similar topping lift to jib clew. Bungees, preventers, corn starch, weights hung from reefing points....

9. How to work a symmetrical spinnaker in these conditions, from beam reach to DDW.
-------------
See? There seems plenty of room for trying stuff. Perhaps it's all crap and the choices indeed boil down to "Suffer, Motor." Perhaps, tho, there are clever and arcane methods of eking motion out of nothing. Sailing is about cleverness, arcana, negotiating passage, doing things the hard way ... isn't it? Or are we secretly just powerboaters with pretensions?

Buccaneer18, Grainnia
SJ21, Diarmuid
Albin Ballad 30, Fionn
bobmcgov is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #9 of 10 Old 07-26-2009
Senior Member
 
FishFinder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 139
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
Sailing requires wind. Believe me I've tried to get more out of my boat in conditions like your original post stated (calm or <3kts). Easing backstay, outhaul, and halyard tension. Rudder skulling I did in sunfish when I was a kid it worked kinda but even in that light boat with light me in it, with calm winds I was stuck until a puff came by. In my boat now nothing seems to make much of a difference no wind=no go. Like I said the preventer is probably the next upgrade I will make for light-air sailing so I can at least wait it out longer before going nuts. If I had a code zero or some gargantuan sail it would help but that's more money.

It may seem completely uninteresting to you, firing up the motor ... to me, when I've got a current moving me backwards and waves are causing the gear to crash around the boat I think going to the iron genny is the prudent thing to do.

1980 S2 9.2A (30') in Anacortes, WA
Aux power 13hp Volvo MD7A
FishFinder is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #10 of 10 Old 07-26-2009
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,006
Thanks: 5
Thanked 18 Times in 18 Posts
Rep Power: 12
     
You could allow time to pass, that usually works for me. Play a game, fix some dinner, take a nap, that kind of thing. Given enough time the wind always picks up, might take hours, days, weeks, but it will eventually show up. The best solution to not having enough wind is to have enough wind.

Of course I am being a smart ass, but there do seem to be a lot of people out there on the ocean who do not have enough patience and don't account for the fact that they are going to be becalmed a good bit of the time. Even in the middle of the ocean sometimes you just have to sit there on the glassy water and entertain yourself while you wait, right ? Too many sailors seem to treat windless days like they are broken in some way, when that is just the way it goes, sometimes there isn't any wind, doesn't do any good to wish it were different ... it is sort of like going camping and getting upset because it rains, it just rains sometimes, that's camping! Windless hours and days on a boat aren't deficient in some way, they are just part of the experience.

What are you pretending not to know ?

Please support my
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by wind_magic; 07-26-2009 at 06:20 AM.
wind_magic is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.


User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Summer youth programs on board Inland Seas (Harbor Light) NewsReader News Feeds 0 05-24-2006 01:15 AM
The Lessons of Fear Kristin Sandvik Her Sailnet Articles 0 08-28-2003 08:00 PM
Understanding Apparent Wind Steve Colgate Seamanship Articles 0 11-10-2002 07:00 PM
Understanding Apparent Wind Steve Colgate Racing Articles 0 11-10-2002 07:00 PM
Weather for 'Round-the-World Sailing Michael Carr Seamanship Articles 0 03-27-2002 07:00 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome