Nonsuch 33 (I don't get it)
I just spent the last three days taking my wife and the new owner of a Nonsuch 33 to Block Island from Essex, CT. Nice trip great weather but I have some non complimentary observations regarding the boat.
I'm assuming I just don't get it, as the Nonsuch is a very popular boat with many serious fans and a strong users group.
I'm assuming I just don't get the boat or maybe there was a problem with the way the rig is setup.
I'm afraid of getting my head bashed in on this boat. With the topping lift tight, the end of the boom is about two feet over my head, I'm about 6' tall. I was motoring into light 2' chop in 15 knots. The boom was lashed down to both stern cleats with dock lines the main-sheet was as tight as possible. Keeping everything as tight as I could, sheet, topping lift and boom stablizing lines, the top of the boom would still bounce up and down 12" to 18", because of mast bend I'm assuming, scaring the crap out of me.
With the sail up motoring upwind which I can do in numerous boats in similar conditions by sheeting in the main hard, setting the boomvang and maybe falling off 5 degrees to control the bounce and keep the sail filled. On the Nonsuch there was no way to do that safely. The end of the boom would bounce up and down wildly and I had to fall off about 20 degrees or more and rig a preventer. I had to drop the sail eventually.
On a tack I found and was told that the boom can not be sheeted in further than the corner of the boat. For poor but better sail shape I had to release the topping lift. With the topping lift slack a tack was terrifying as the end of the boom would really drop.
Without slacking the topping lift the leach was too loose.
On a run looking at almost 100 feet of main sheet stretched out over the water gives me a really bad feeling. I can visualize a jibe with that sheet removing my head from the body and depositing the two parts off the boat. It would be hard to coordinate swim strokes with no head.
So you end up being able to do no better downwind than a broad reach.
I know about the flattener. Front of boom towards mast to flatten the sail. It helped but if the topping lift was too tight the leach was still too loose.
In short why is this boat considered a success?
Is it only for short people?
Only for reaches?
Is the main cut wrong?
She has a Bimini but it is a bear to raise, with the topping lift all the way up and me with my back lifting the stackpack two people can force the bimini frame up. We can only use the bimini at a mooring it will not clear the sail during a tack.
Mast too bendy?
Maybe someone with the same boat would be willing to take a measurement for me.
Sail down, release the topping lift block and tackle system so the boom hangs on the safety line.
What is the distance from the lowest point of the boom to the the top of the cockpit seat hump?
That would be a start anyway.
Or am I just an idiot?
PS despite what the web site and salesperson said it pointed about 110 degrees, really bad.
I want to like this boat but so far it is just too scary.
It sounds like the main might be cut wrong or stretched out at the leech. Another problem might be that you weren't getting full hoist on the mainsail. If the main wasn't at full hoist, it might exhibit similar problems to what you're describing.
I'm thinking of hoisting the main on a calm day at the dock with a tape measure and measure the leach and find out.
I'm a straight-up noob when it comes to sailing, but on the mention of the possibility of mast flex, I find myself wondering about the condition of the boat's forestay.
Shouldn't the forestay prevent that kind of extreme mast flexing/bouncing? Have you given it a once over?
My observations are based on owning and racing a 30 - no experience with a 33. My first reactions are two: the sail may be really badly cut or stretched and don't try to sail a Nonsuch in exactly the same way as a sloop. It is designed to be sailed simply and should be done so.
Some specific comments:
- motoring in a chop I would make no particular attempt to tie everything down tight; I would have the main snug only and perhaps tie off the boom to one or other side with a line - not really tight. This was to stop the boom from swinging sideways - no problem with up/downmovement.
- closehauled the end of the boom would be just (inch or two) outside the edge of the coaming; don't try to point too high, vmg is much better if the boat is footing well; with the Nonsuch in two years of Wednesday night white sail races we won about 74% of them. Weakest was in winds from 5 to 8 knots. You should be able to tack much inside 110*
- jibing takes some comfort building; there seemed to three ways to do it depending on wind. 1. in light winds, grab the whole set of sheets and pull it in to the center line and then gybe. 2. in moderate conditions, crank in the mainsheet to the center line and then gype 3. in moderate to stronger winds you can crash gybe just fine. The sail starts to come in very fiercely but then it is slowed down by the movement of the sail. It goes across quite docilely. Most importantly, with 2 and 3 you need to get your body and head below the level of the knob on the steering wheel and don't stick your head up to see how things are going.
You left from Essex, you (of the owners) might want to talk to someone from Eastland Yachts there as they were largest dealer for Nonsuches
I'd point out that there is no forestay on the Nonesuch. It uses a free-standing mast and is basically a large cat rig boat with a wishbone boom.
Right after I posted, I thought to myself "I should probably look that boat up and see if there's something wacky about it that I'm not thinking of."
If only my brain could keep up with my fingers :o
With enough decades . . . hand eye coordination tends not to get easier. :)
Responding to a very old post...
To the gentleman who had trouble with the trim of his Nonsuch
1. If the sail is cut correctly, and the sail is hoisted fully, it should be impossible for the boom to bash you in the head. I am 6' 2" and have no trouble.
2. The leech of the sail will always flap if the topping lift has tension on it, and it needs to be completely off of tension to allow the sail to get the correct shape when the full sail is out.
3. The choker, which this man called the flattener, is critical to the operation of the sail, and when used right will give the sail a beautiful and aerodynamically efficient shape.
4. Yes, the boom is vulnerable in a run, in in light breeze and heavy swells can be a handful. A preventer is not a bad idea in this situation.
5. Look at the photo of the Nonsuch below. It is a great picture, but look how the sail is resting on the boom. It should touch the boom only about one third to one half of the width of the sail, otherwise your sail is not under enough tension and will not achieve the correct aerodynamic shape.
6. Sailing a Nonsuch is just different than sloop rig, and needs a different sequence of actions than the sloop. I still haven't figured out (yet) how to sail to weather efficiently in heavy breeze....I recently couldn't get a nice shape with my sail reefed in 25-30 knot gusty breeze when I had to tack directly to weather. I think that perhaps a smaller storm sail would be good to have, but I can't find information about one ever being built.
I have a Nonsuch 33
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