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  #11  
Old 09-30-2009
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Andrew, was this heavy weather you experienced on Friday 9/25? We were out in Boothbay that day. I too had an inexperienced crew. We had a good run going downwind, but too much sail up for the beat back home.

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  #12  
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The tide was actuallly falling, which meant it was going with the wind (one of the things I couldn't quite figure out). My postion relative to the coast at that point was basically south and the wind was out of the north. I was guessing that the steepness of the waves and their tight spacing was due to the fact that they were just getting a chance to properly build and that as they moved further offshore, they would start to separate more - again, I have no real basis for this theory other than speculation. I have read here and other places of 15-20, 30 ft waves and can only surmise that they must have much greater separation and not be as steep, because at 7-10 ft these gave me a lot of trouble. I ultimately decided not to test my theory by moving further offshore as the near knockdown scared me and I didn't want to deal with the consequences if my theory turned out to be incorrect - I figured if I was wrong that I would be beating back into it for twice as long with possibly higher seas and more wind - no thanks.

As for the staysl, it's on a roller and I absolutely could have reefed it - that probably would have been the thing to do to maintain better balance. Honestly, part of my decision to take it in was that I had only one relatively inexperienced crew and he was starting to say he felt seasick, so i figured let's get it in rather than make him tack it back and forth.
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Catamount - that's definitely the same day, but out where I was the seas were all whitecapped and definitely larger this would have been 7-11 am. Sunday was great - managed to stay on a broad reach almost all day and had winds around 25 - was awesome!
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hillerpd - thanks for the response. That's what I was guessing at, but like I said in my other response, I didn't want to be wrong about that! Great to know.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewMac View Post
Catamount - that's definitely the same day, but out where I was the seas were all whitecapped and definitely larger this would have been 7-11 am. Sunday was great - managed to stay on a broad reach almost all day and had winds around 25 - was awesome!
Yeah, we had whitecaps too, but they don't show up in the photo because it's looking back downwind. The seas were not terribly large where we were because we were still in close to shore.

Just curious, what's the basis for your wind speed numbers? We certainly didn't see anything as high as 40 gusting 45, more like 20 to 25 gusting 25 to 30...
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  #16  
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I was going off my instruments and making very little headway would say 2.5-3 knots, so while I'm not making an adjustment for apparent wind, I wouldn't think it's much. My position at the time was probably about 3 miles outside of Marshall/Swan and Long Islands in between Jericho Bay and Blue Hill Bays.
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Old 09-30-2009
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I sail a 'Perryboat' with similar configuation.

1. Was going beam-on a dumb idea in those conditions?
**** Probably. I find alternating between close and broad reaching is better for less roll. Most of these designs seem to be a bit 'top heavy' and with slow roll periods; beam reaching in heavy seas will give the maximum roll.

2. Beating into the waves/wind was no fun (buried the bow a couple times, another first) - I actually considered falling out into more open water - this would have allowed me to be on a close reach straight to Winter Harbor. My thinking was: (a) that if I got further from land, the seas might have more room to separate and be more manageable - I have no basis for this, but was briefly tempted by my theory - does that make sense to anybody?; (b) I Could be on a close reach, which seemed preferrable to beam-on or close-hauled and (c) I could still make my intended destination.
*** as another poster listed - you may have been in a tide/current vs. oncoming waves situation, therefore magnifying and shortening the wave period. This is a time when you definitely want the boat 'ends' to be light so that the ends dont 'plunge' when the boat starts hobby-horsing. Bearing off slightly from a beat until 'the timing of the pitching' is more comfortable, etc. is IMHO a better tactic plus giving more time for the bow to rise will result in increased speed overall. In conditions like these I 'scallop' up over the waves - turning at the bottom of a trough so that the bow doesnt bury/stop into the face of an oncoming wave .... and doing the same at the top of the wave so that the boat doesnt 'launch' and 'fall off a wave'. Bearing off from a beat will lessen the pitching and increase the 'time period' of the pitch and roll; the less pitching, the faster and further you go vs. VMG.

3. Did I leave the staysl up too long, or maybe I should have left it out for the duration for better balance.
*** Perry has designed quite large staysail plans for most of his boats. Generally I fly the staysail up to 40+kts and after that I 'severely' flatten it on its club via outhaul .... better able to 'feather/blade-it-out' when momentarily overpowered. A problem with extreme flattening (staysail or very deep reefed main, etc.) is that you wont have the sufficient draft in the sails(s) needed to 'power punch' through large waves. My preference is to deeper reef and then 'power-up' by easing the reef outhaul to create more draft (power) in the sails ... for 'power-punching' into waves. If the staysail is hanked-on, consider to modify the staysl so that you can manually reef the staysail.
If the staysail isnt on a clubfoot where the twist is better controlled, a 'free-flying' staysail (when not beating) will usually be overtwisted at the head and radically overtrimmed in at the foot ... leaving only the middle panels effectively operating with aerodynamic flow. On a staysail (not on clubfoot), you really need a means to control the fore/aft position of the clew (fairleads if this were a 'sloop') .... but the 'usual' on a Perry cutter is an athwartships traveller to control the staysail (for hands off 'short-tacking'); hence, no means to control the fore/aft lead sheet angle of staysail. Simple speak: without a clubfoot you dont have any means to control the twist in your staysail ..... and on any course less than a full beat, only the 'middle' of the sail will be 'working'. The hoyt-boom solves all these 'problems'. The hoyt-boom solves all these 'problems'.

I can beat (high close reach actually) into huge seas (up to 50kts+) with a triple reefed main and FLAT (clubfooted) staysail on a Ty37. The amount of rolling and pitching determines how close or how far down from a beat. I 'scallop steer' up/down wave faces to prevent the bow from plunging and stopping the boat (if possible).

4. My dumbest move - not pulling up the tender and lashing it to the deck before we left - my greatest fear once I was out there was that a wave would flip the inflatable and I'd end up having to just cut it loose - was amazed that it just bobbed like a cork and never was an issue.
**** Very dumb IMHO.... imagine what would have happened if the tender swamped and became a 'sea anchor' or got lifted into the cockpit by a big following wave?
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Old 09-30-2009
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Must have been on the flood tide, as the current runs pretty strongly north nearshore on the flood. The currents are weaker farther out, but that's not taking you to a safe harbor. I would think that the staysail would help keep you balanced and powered up. In those conditions, from IAH, the other Winter Harbor (on Vinalhaven) might have been a closer, well protected destination, as would Burnt Coat on Swan's Island, which was pretty close. A strong NW-NE in Pretty Marsh, up Blue Hill Bay, is downright bucolic.

This time of year the breezes are cooler, hence denser and pack more power than a warm summer breeze of the same velocity. 40-45 kts true is a lot of wind anyway, make it cold and it's a LOT. I would think the staysail and a scrap of main approximating a storm tri would be the appropriate.

I never tow a dink if anything over 10-15 kts is predicted. Get it up on deck, well lashed. If it's inflatable, deflate and toss in a cockpit locker.

Your observation about the real issue being sea state, not wind strength, is spot on. My guess is that, had you pointed the nose on a broad reach or run, you might have found the trip relatively peaceful. I cross the gulf of Maine several times a year with my wife and young son. I'll gladly head out in 30+ downwind. I'd rather motor in no wind than go upwind in 15-20 kts true (which turns into 20-25 apparent) offshore with family aboard. I want them happy and comfy, so they'll keep sailing with me.

So, was it fun?
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Rich H - thanks for taking the time to give the feedback. Very much appreciated. As for number 4, I imagined both of those scenarios and was extremely unhappy with the position I put myself in there. Got lucky and learned my lesson. As for the "bobbing" effect you describe, I had a lot of it. I had two spare anchors and full propane tanks in the stern lockers and several hundred feet of chain in the bow, which I am sure significnatly exacerbated the problem. Not sure where else to put it in the future, but my guess is getting it more towards the center of the boat in preparation for heavier weather would be a smart thing to do..
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sahara - thanks for the reply. I'd have to say that it was and wasn't fun. There were times when it was great, and other moments where I was majorly stressed (not least because of failing to pull up the dinghy). I think most of the stress resulted from not having been in that situation before and being worried that I'd do something dumb. As I said, I had total faith in the boat, it was my relative inexperince (and my crew's) that worried me. Trying to straddle that line between just doing it to get the experience and getting myself in over my head.
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