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  #31  
Old 09-16-2009
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Awesome thread Smack! Keep it coming, this stuff is GREAT! I doubt I'm salty enough to contribute, but this really is a great wealth of knowledge! Thanks!
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  #32  
Old 09-16-2009
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No worries dude. When you run across a great post like the above come drop it in here. The thing is we all have different areas of interest so we will each find great stuff in different threads. With a collective effort we should be able to build a great quick reference library of salty stuff. And hopefully the salts themselves will keep adding too.
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  #33  
Old 09-18-2009
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Going off-shore...

A great write up by Jeff/Admin. Don't know I've missed this one. Click into the thread to see some additional great comments...

Quote:
Originally Posted by administrator View Post
Advice to an Offshore First-Timer
Knowing what to pack, how to act, and when to ask questions makes the learning curve at sea easier to climb. From "Hands-On-Sailor" March 2008

Apr 2, 2008
By Andrew Burton - republished with permission by Crusing World Magazine
Andrew Burton
Two days out of Newport, Rhode Island, Sam Thornton enjoys the sunshine as we approach the Gulf Stream.
For years, Nick Thornton and I sailed together. We went through the junior sailing program, we raced against each other in dinghies and keelboats, and as adults we sailed many miles offshore together. During the spring of 2007, he called me about his son. "Sam's finishing high school and plans to take a year off," said Nick. "What do you think about taking him on a delivery with you this fall?"
 
I was a little surprised that he'd trust his eldest to me—after all, Nick knows my whole history—but I'd done something similar at Sam's age and was delighted to pass on the experience. I'd recently been hired to skipper the late Sir Peter Blake's former around-the-world raceboat, Ceramco NZ, a Farr-designed 68-footer, from Newport, Rhode Island, to the Virgin Islands for the winter. There would be plenty of room for a young and strong—if inexperienced—crewmember.

Sam grew up sailing on his family's Santa Cruz 27 on Wabamun Lake, near Edmonton, Alberta, but he had little idea what to expect offshore, so I thought about what I wish that I'd known before my first passage.

"One of your highest priorities should be to stay warm and dry."
Our route from Newport to Bermuda to the Virgins is furrowed with wakes each fall, but that doesn't mean it isn't challenging; in fact, it can be dangerous. (While we waited out weather in Bermuda, two people were lost as they tried to abandon their boat 300 miles south of Newport in the remnants of Hurricane Noel.) It would be chilly when we left in late October, but that's when hurricanes become rare and before winter storms become too frequent.

Traveling light would be difficult because the conditions demand that crewmembers carry a wide range of clothing. I told Sam that we usually start out wearing full foul-weather gear with a fleece top; a good, heavy midlayer; and long johns underneath. Gloves and a warm, windproof fleece hat round out the ensemble.
I loaned Sam my spare foul-weather gear and some fleece-lined, windproof salopettes; he had his own seaboots. "Given that temperatures could near the freezing mark," I said, "one of your highest priorities should be to stay warm and dry. Once you get wet, it's easy to get cold and then for hypothermia to set in, rendering you useless or, worse, a liability."

Take socks for the first two days only, I advised. The rest of the time you'll be barefoot or wearing shoes without them. South of Bermuda, the weather starts warming, and it eventually becomes tropical as we near the Caribbean. A few short-sleeved T-shirts, a long-sleeved shirt for sun protection, a bathing suit, and several pairs of shorts will probably be the only clothing you'll need. Bring a camera. To pack it all, I told Sam to make sure he brought soft luggage—hard suitcases would only get him laughed at. I pack my gear that absolutely has to stay dry in a Harken Squall Bag just in case of deck leaks.

"If it's really rough, shift into four-wheel drive."
Sam had my Lirakis safety harness, and I went over the quick-stop method of picking up a man overboard with him and the rest of the crew. (See Appendix D for details.) But I emphasized to everyone that their chances of rescue are slim if they go over the side. Therefore, we always wear our harnesses and clip in at night and in dodgy weather. Since most drowned sailors are found with their flies open, we never pee over the rail offshore; we always use the head.

Brace yourself. A tripod is inherently stable, so if it's wavy and you have to work standing up, find something to brace yourself against. Remember the old sea dog's advice: "One hand for the ship, one hand for yourself!"
In rough weather, it's especially important to keep a low center of gravity; if it's really rough, shift into four-wheel-drive, moving about on your hands and knees.

Stay sober. Alcohol is a frequent separator of boats and crews, so I run a dry ship. When we arrive, it makes the first one taste that much better.
 
One last thing about crew overboard: If you're below and you hear the cry that someone's gone over, grab your harness and get it on before you head up the companionway, then clip in when you get topside. Know where your harness is and how to put it on in the dark. It's easy to go over the side in the confusion of a crew-overboard situation, and two people in the drink is way worse than just one.

"On watch means keeping an eye out for things we can bump into, but that's not all."
When you're on watch, the boat and everyone aboard are in your hands. First of all, you're on watch. Keep a good eye out for ships and other things we might hit. But it doesn't stop there: In addition to scanning the horizon and the sky for impending weather, a good offshore sailor will be looking around the boat and the rig all the time. A small tear in a sail is easy to fix if spotted early, but it's not so easy to deal with once the sail rips from leech to luff. A mainsheet-block shackle pin that's starting to back out is no problem to screw in if you notice it when it's halfway out, but what a pain it is to corral a wildly swinging boom after the pin disappears into orbit. Another word about being on watch: Before you go below, make sure that all the lines are coiled, the water bottles are picked up, and your personal gear goes with you. As Welsh yachtsman Roy Williams is fond of pointing out, "A tidy boat is a happy boat."

As far as possible, we standardize the way we perform certain operations. Every captain does things his or her own way—and they're all correct, as long as everyone's on the same page—but on my boat, lines are cleated with a round turn, a diagonal cross, and a half-hitch that ends with the tail parallel to the first cross. Sheets and halyards that are in use will be coiled in a figure eight between the winch and your up-turned palm. And self-tailing winches will always have a "safety turn" around the drum after the line exits the self-tailer. If we follow this routine, when problems come up, anyone coming on deck will be able to undo a line in the dark.
 
Standard procedure on the boat involves little sleep for me the first day or so. My rule is that if you see anything, call the captain. If you have any doubts about anything, call the captain. If you can't decide whether to call the captain, call the captain. I'll stick my head up and either help you to deal with the problem or decide it's nothing, but I'd always rather be woken.

"Line up the headstay with a cloud, then just glance at the compass every now and again."
The autopilot didn't work on Ceramco NZ. That was all right: With a crew of six, we'd have plenty of hands, and she's a fun boat to drive. Still, Sam found that she felt a little different from a 27-footer on the lake. Sam had shown me that he was a good helmsman during sea trials on Ceramco NZ, but he'd be sailing in waves for the first time.
 
When we're offshore, we sail a compass course, and the waves are always trying to send us off course. A common mistake neophytes make is to fix their gaze on the compass and try to keep the boat right on the mark. But that's almost impossible; you end up overcorrecting because the lubber line only tells you where you are at that moment. Besides, it's boring to just stare at the compass. To keep the boat on course, line the headstay up with a cloud or a star—remember poet John Masefield's desire for "a star to steer her by"—then just glance at the compass every now and again for reference. The other secret to steering in waves is anticipating what the boat will do when a wave rolls under it. Part of this involves getting a feel for the boat you're on, but generally boats behave in the same way. Quartering seas—that is, seas that are coming from the aft corner of the boat—are the most difficult in which to steer. Try to keep the boat under the mast. When a wave comes and the boat rolls to leeward, it'll want to round up to weather. You'll feel it in the soles of your feet and from pressure on the wheel as the wave first starts to pick up the stern; this is the time to put the helm up, steering to leeward slightly. As the wave passes, the boat will come more upright, and the wave will try to pull the bow to leeward—you'll feel it; this is the time to put the helm down a bit. This can be trying at first, but with practice, it can be the most delightful rhythm, and it makes your watch pass quickly.

"Living on a boat is like living in a very small town."
In the big city, you're anonymous; you can be as selfish as you like. But living on a boat is like living in a very small town: All your neighbors know you far too well. They know what's in your seabag, that you snore like a Harley, and more than they ever wanted to about your personal hygiene. Everything you do on the boat affects the rest of the crew. So keep your bunk tidy, put your clothes away, do your chores without having to be asked, don't mess up the galley, and try to be quiet so you don't wake those who are sleeping.
 
One thing that can be pretty unpleasant—especially once we reach the tropics—is the head. It's important to keep it clean or it will reek, and when the hatches are all closed, it's worse. If we're in rough weather, gentlemen are requested to take a seat. If your aim is momentarily bad, clean up after yourself. After taking a shower, dry the head with a chamois or an old towel.

Unless we've eaten it first, we never put anything in the head—with the exception of a minimum amount of T.P. I don't need to tell you what kind of a job it is to take apart and unclog the head while we're bouncing around at sea.

"Things never go quite as planned, so keep a positive attitude."
If it's windy and rough, just remember that nothing lasts forever. The worst weather will pass, and the seas will subside; eventually, you'll have the memory of some incredible scenery and a couple of good sea stories. Keep your head, and the fact that we were all terrified will fade away by the second telling of the tale. Above all, keep a positive attitude. If you bitch and moan about how terrible the situation is, you'll just bring everyone on board down. They already know things are bad; they don't need you to tell them. Life never quite goes as planned when you're at sea on a small boat—and they're all small boats out there—but if you have the right outlook you'll be able to accept that some things just can't be changed. Morale is much better if we all just grin and joke and try to make the best of any situation.

In the course of sailing nearly 300,000 miles as a professional delivery captain, Andrew Burton has trained many crewmembers. Visit the CW website to read Sam Thornton's story (www.cruisingworld.com/0308sam) recounting what he learned on his passage and to read Andrew's blog (www.cruisingworld.com/0308andy) about the trip.

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  #34  
Old 09-18-2009
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Wonderful thread smack. The advice in your last post (quoting Jeff) is all you need for your list.

There was an old saying on the square riggers. " Grumble you may, but go you must" - just get the job done!
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  #35  
Old 09-21-2009
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A lot of good advice in this thread, can't say that i'd agree with all of it. E.g.: I don't agree with Jeff's putting CCA or Universal rule boats in the same category as IOR when it comes to seaworthiness- In fact the opposite is true. IMS can make for a good boat but IMHO CCA made for a very good heavy weather boat as I can attest from personal experience. Tippy and wet is a good trade off for easy motion and an aversion to floating upside down- something (much) more common in IOR (and some later) boats. Universal rule boats are very narrow but if you avoid those with the extreme cutaway of the forefoot, also make good (albeit tippy)sea boats.

End of rant.
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  #36  
Old 09-28-2009
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Sailing without a rudder

Here's a good summation of what to think about if the unthinkable happens. It's from one of the past SN greats, Robert Gainer. It's a great thread...check it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tartan34C View Post
It’s funny how we are all trapped within our own experience and education. I have used a drag, that is to say a bucket on a dock line, to steer a single engine powerboat that lost steering. A drag is fine and it’s worth knowing about the technique because it might be appropriate one day. After all you might lose steering on a sailboat while motoring near shore. Of course on a powerboat with twin engines the loss of steering is a minor annoyance at worst.

But while under sail I think steering with balance and if absolutely necessary the smallest jury rudder possible might be a better choice then a drag. A drag doesn’t lend itself to use during severe weather for one thing. The response time isn’t adequate and the strain is significant when you are sailing with any reasonable speed. You also have a greater chance of problems popping up with a jury rig like a drag. You can expect problems ranging from the sea sweeping a crew member off the deck to fouling the gear because of the boats movement during a storm if you try to steer using something that requires an exposed crewmember and lots of line run all over the place.

On the other hand I have sailed warm and dry in the cabin during a storm while the boat sailed herself with the tiller tied and in fact she would sail just as well if the rudder was gone as long as the boat could sail a reasonable course using balance alone. The bottom line is there is more then one way to handle a problem but my experience is that planning ahead and selecting the simplest solution with the fewest chances of failure is the best way to go. And each boat is different so you need a plan that works with your boat, rig and gear. You also might consider things like this when you are selecting a boat. I am sailing to Greenland this summer and I picked a Tartan 34C because she is suitable for offshore work. Among other things she will sail herself without the need of a windvane system. This is handy if my windvane fails or the rudder decides to become argumentative.

And bad weather is not the time to start experimenting with something like this. Whatever method you select, practice it during the summer in nice warm calm weather. I have experience with sailing in bad weather and it is harder then you think. When things go bad you are probably worn out and not thinking straight so you make mistakes unless you have already thought out a plan and know where you put all the parts that are required to implement the plan.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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  #37  
Old 09-28-2009
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What is a "balanced" boat

And another from Gainer from the same thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tartan34C View Post
As you said a balanced boat is a boat that doesn’t have any tendency to take off on her own and change course unexpectedly. A lot of things need to be in place if you want to succeed at this. First the rig and boat need to work together. The shape of the boat itself is important because as the boat heels its center of lateral resistance will change if the boat changes trim. So a modern boat with a wide transom and the center of buoyancy more then 54% of the waterline aft and a fin keel and spade rudder will be almost imposable to make balanced under anything but the calmest conditions. As the boat heals the stern raises and pushes the bow done and the center of area in the sailplan moves relative to the center of lateral resistance. The boat will wander as she rolls because of this. It’s hard on a windvane system or helmsmen.

An older design such as one designed under the CCA rule tend to have longer ends then a modern boat and more importantly the distribution of volume under the waterline is more even forward and aft with the center of buoyancy closer to amidships. As this boat rolls she will not change trim so you don’t need rudder input to go straight while rolling. If you need to keep adjusting the rudder while sailing you will never be able to sail just by balancing the boat. Try this with your boat, go out on a gusty day and if you need to add much rudder as the boat heals in a gust then you will have trouble getting her to selfsteer without a windvane or the use of the rudder. If you want to be on the safe side and avoid having someone outside during bad weather playing with lines and jury-rigs to steer after you have rudder problems because your boat doesn’t steer straight by herself you might want to consider a different boat. I don’t like double-enders but that hull form is the most balanced and its one of the reasons the type got its reputation for safety offshore. No mater what else happened you could at least depend on keeping control of a double ender and that’s one of the reasons the shape was used as a sailing lifeboat in the north sea.

Your choice of sails is just as important. If you are using a large overlapping Genoa there is no change of forces in the rig as you start to turn until the boat has changed course beyond the recovery point. But if you have a 110% jib and set up the trim correctly you will have very large changes in force with small changes in course. The boat will be able to correct the course before the turn gets away from you. You should also note that the CCA style of boat has a larger main and smaller fortriangle then a modern boat. This makes your choice of sails a little more difficult on a modern boat to get the same balance as on the older style of boat especially with the difference between the semi full keel in the older boat and the fin in the newer boats. The longer ends in the older boat also move the center of effort of the headsail farther forward relative to the end of the waterline then the modern boat.

But how do you really do it? It varies quite a bit boat to boat so you need to experiment on your own boat but the short answer is simple. Let me oversimplify it a bit just to make it easy to understand. Close hauled and reaching are similar in setup with the difference being just one of degree. After you trim the boat and sails on reach so the rudder has just a small bit of weather helm you can then trim the headsail in a little more and trim the main out a little bit and then tie off the tiller. If the boat wanders off the wind the main becomes more effective and the headsail less so and the boat rounds up to the course. If the boat wanders towards the wind then the headsail is now trimmed better and the main loses drive because it's grossly under trimmed so the boat falls off to the course. In either case the boat sails a course of gentle s turns each way but averaging a better course then you would after a few hours at the helm. The amount of over or under trim is greater for reaching then close hauled and in fact I found that if the conditions were right the boat would go to windward by herself trimmed very closely to what you would consider proper.

If you are doing this because you lost the rudder everything is the same except the slight weather helm part. The boat will wander more without having some weather helm to start with but it works just the same otherwise.

I hope this makes sense to you but if I didn’t explain it in a way that you understand just ask and I will try to do a better job. Also you can point to a lot of other factors that have some affect on steering such as the shape of the leading edge of the keel and the presence of a centerboard but this is a quick overview and I hope it will get you started in the right direction so you can experiment with your own boat.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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  #38  
Old 09-28-2009
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Jeez, Smackie, keep posting good stuff in this thread and I'm going to have to assume you've actually been paying attention!
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Huh?

Actually, Val, I wish some of the gear-heads would drop a few of the best G&M responses (batteries, diesels, etc.). Personally, I don't go there much yet. So it would be great if others started dropping the good stuff in here too. There's a crap-load of great salty replies I haven't seen yet.
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 09-28-2009 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 09-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
And another from Gainer from the same thread...
Yep, trim her right and ours self steers just fine. Never been able to pull that off on a "modern" (IMS) boat.

Being a yawl helps too.
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