How best to cope with shifty gusts while running? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 23 Old 10-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zedboy View Post
Yeah, but headed upwind if you get a little overpowered by the puff, head up and starve the sails a little too much, you'll de-power and the boat will chill out (unless there's way too much wind).

Heading further down while running without touching the sheet puts you at risk for very un-chilled-out stuff...
True that... But most boats have a limit to how far out the mainsail can go...

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post #12 of 23 Old 10-19-2010
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RDoc----
Your boat has a water ballasted drop keel, right?

Best for such a lightweight boat is to pull the keel up a bit, so that when going downwind and hit with a gust the boat will 'skid' a bit instead of having the keel 'bite' which causes increased heeling moment if the keel turns 'any direction' not parallel to the boats movement direction.

For downwind sailing in gusts, go 'down' in the gusts and 'up' in the slows .... and the most important is to KEEP THE BOAT DIRECTLY **UNDER** THE MAST; dont head up or you ARE going to heel over quite a bit. Since this is a relatively lightweight boat bearing off and going down will result in the boat starting to come on a plane .... "Nantucket Sleighride" so be prepared for some 'bodaceous' boat speed.

Pulling the drop-keel up will aid in the boat's ability to 'automatically' skid-off to a more 'downwind' attitude/direction. If the board/keel is all the way down you have increased risk of 'tripping over the keel' and then going into a 'broach'; if the board/keel is 'up' or partway 'up' you will instead 'skid' a bit instead of grossly heeling over.

Last edited by RichH; 10-19-2010 at 12:44 PM.
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post #13 of 23 Old 10-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
RDoc----

For downwind sailing in gusts, go 'down' in the gusts and 'up' in the slows .... and the most important is to KEEP THE BOAT DIRECTLY **UNDER** THE MAST; dont head up or you ARE going to heel over quite a bit. Since this is a relatively lightweight boat bearing off and going down will result in the boat starting to come on a plane .... "Nantucket Sleighride" so be prepared for some 'bodaceous' boat speed.

Pulling the drop-keel up will aid in the boat's ability to 'automatically' skid-off to a more 'downwind' attitude/direction. If the board/keel is all the way down you have increased risk of 'tripping over the keel' and then going into a 'broach'; if the board/keel is 'up' or partway 'up' you will instead 'skid' a bit instead of grossly heeling over.
I don't have much swing-keel experience (tho that may change soon) but raising the keel when you're already feeling overpowered seems ... hair-raising to say the least

Tho what you're saying makes sense if the hull really wants to get up on the plane and the keel drag is causing trouble.

On reflection, in this situation I would ease the vang to allow the top of the sail to twist off and dump air to keep the center of effort low and reduce heeling/broaching moment...
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post #14 of 23 Old 10-19-2010
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For lightweight 'planing hull' boats - Easing off the vang allows the mains'l to grossly "power up" when you try to come come across the wind to 'feather up' ... as sometimes such gusts will have components of backing/veering/backing. etc. wind.... my technique (in lightweight 'planing' boats) is to keep the main a FLAT AS POSSIBLE and 'blade-out' when necessary rather than 'feathering up' ..... to keep the board/keel going in a 'straight line' as much as possible.

If in a lightweight boat and when on a plane, if the boat starts to turn too fast you risk 'tripping over' the board/keel (going somewhat 'sideways') and that can cause a 'dumper'. Lessening the depth of the board/keel allows the boat to skid rather than broaching or 'tripping over the board/keel'.
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post #15 of 23 Old 10-19-2010
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Quote:
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For lightweight 'planing hull' boats - Easing off the vang allows the mains'l to grossly "power up" when you try to come come across the wind to 'feather up' ... as sometimes such gusts will have components of backing/veering/backing. etc. wind.... my technique (in lightweight 'planing' boats) is to keep the main a FLAT AS POSSIBLE and 'blade-out' when necessary rather than 'feathering up' ..... to keep the board/keel going in a 'straight line' as much as possible.
Hmm, yeah.

What could you do to keep the body of the sail flat but allow the leech to twist and dump air? Keep the vang tight and ease the sheet with the traveller all the way leeward?
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post #16 of 23 Old 10-19-2010
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In higher wind ranges there is usually no need to add twist as the 'gradient wind' is lessened (except for close to the water). Allowing the sail to 'twist' creates a more unstable sail shape with non uniform ability to control. Keeping the sails as flat and 'untwisted' as possible allows FAST and precise control with the sheet or traveller ... enabling one to rapidly and precisely react. When blading-out the luffing happens instantly 'all along the luff' - easy to control; in contrast, a twisted sail will have a progressive luff starting at the top panels and then progressing 'down' along the luff - too damn slow in gusts and will occasionally leave one 'underpowered' ..... at the exact wrong moment.
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post #17 of 23 Old 10-19-2010
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Nice posts RichH, thanks!

Cheers,
Shawn

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post #18 of 23 Old 10-19-2010
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Yeah thanks Rich

Guys like you are a huge resource for people like me whose limited experience has always stayed on the fair weather/easily controlled end of the spectrum.
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post #19 of 23 Old 10-19-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the comments. I don't have time to respond right now, but I'll reread and post follow-up questions later.

Before things get too far off the wrong tangent, please note that my boat has a fixed lead wing keel, as in "Catalina 250WK" in my signature.


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post #20 of 23 Old 10-19-2010
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Rick, I had a gust take my boat to starboard so hard I couldn't release the main sheet! I had just rolled in the genny to handkerchief size but I didn't have the sheets tied off. A gust took it back out full, a jib sheet got tangled, making the genny a balloon! The main was still close hauled! My boat heeled awaaaaay over, zipped across the river in just a few seconds. I nearly T-boned a friends Catalina 30 sitting on it's mooring, just as I finally released the main! My O DoomsDay righted herself and turned away just in time... with very little help from me! I don't think the whole incident took more then a minute to happen.

Gusts are not any fun when they are so strong it's dangerous.

when doing light air like 5-8 and gusts of about 8-10 tip the boat it can be fun.. over.. up... over... up...

Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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