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Old 02-24-2011
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Heeling to windward

I hope I'm not flogging a dead horse here
I just aquired (dec 2001) a 24' (28 with sprit) wooden gaff cutter based on an expanded picaroon design(SamRabl)
a sweet and very traditional boat, no winches, belaying pins on pin rails
two head sails and a gaff main
I know cutters generally can't point as high as a marconi rigged sloop and also this is a 24' (on deck) boat with a 9.5 ' beam with a tallish cabin.
I am however new to keelboats, but not sailing so much having sailed dingies avidly and often for the past few years.
i was wondering if I want to try to keep this boat as close to upright(like a dinghy) as possible when beating to windward
I was finding it hard to make progress (it took much longer)
As I seemed to drift to leeward a lot
Is this a result of excessive heel or the windage of the boat
Or it's stout dimensions
Or perhaps all the factors above
Any helpfull suggestions and or ideas?

Last edited by Windkiller; 02-24-2011 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 02-24-2011
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Um don't know the boat. On general principles excessive heeling is due to excessive sail for the wind. To some extent this might be overcome to a much lesser proportion by keel weight, hull buoyancy due to beam (absent). How much heel was there? 20 deg is normal with a narrow boat heeling mor e then hardening up if it has a decent keel but can seem a lot. Leeway suggests a relatively small keel area and can be increased by excess heeling. In summary my guess is you have to know the boat and maybe the sail area was a bit high.
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Old 02-24-2011
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here's a couple of photos
An old one prior to my owning it on the grid
and a lousy one I took that's a little dark but you can see the profile and sail area
She's round bilged with a 9.5 ft beam and 24' on deck
I believe there's about 900 lbs of ballast in the keel with a a little more in the bow plus all the anchors out board etc (no inboard currently)
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Heeling to windward-swan-profile.jpg   Heeling to windward-swan-grid.jpg  
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Old 02-24-2011
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Pretty boat,keel looks deep enough.marc
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Old 02-24-2011
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Your boat is not a dinghy. The rig, cabin(!) and hull are creating a LOT of windage, and the whole thing is really pretty heavy for the size of the boat. Beating with some heel may increase your lateral resistance and help reduce leeway. It is not likely that your long keel is serving much as a foil to lift you to windward. Heeling is not going to increase your waterline length (i.e. hull speed) much because of your relatively short counter and bow overhangs, but it may feel like it's faster to have the water going by closer to the cockpit. Increasing sail area might help, but then you strain everything else. You're not beating a dead horse here, just a slow one. It's really a one of a kind boat - being an adaptation of Sam Rabl's design. Try different things and see what works for you.
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Old 02-24-2011
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Congratulations on a nice looking boat. Aside from sails set and wind, current speed and direction may be another factor in falling to leeward.
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Old 02-24-2011
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Man, that's a sweet ride.

I think the primary cause of your leeway or low pointing ability are the high cabin, the lack of winches which may prevent you from trimming tightly enough, and the fact that you can't trim too tightly anyway because you have outboard chainplates. The keel looks adequate to me, but I'm not a naval architect.

She's a sweet vessel, but going from dinghies to this boat is like going from a Porsche to a dumptruck. She'll go to windward like a haystack and that's just a characteristic of how it's built.

You know who could really answer this question? Bob Perry over in the Cruising Anarchy section of SailingAnarchy.com or Jeff on this forum.
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Old 02-24-2011
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From the photo posted, it looks like the cabintop was an afterthought, rather than part of the original design. It adds a lot of windage on a 24' boat... and is far higher than that of most 24' boats.

Look at the sideview of a CD25D, and you'll see that the cabintop is far lower relative to the size of the boat.

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Old 02-24-2011
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There are other considerations too. I've sailed a gaff yawl of similar size. Gaff rigs take a little study and practice to get good shape. I also notice in the picture that she has ballast bolted onto the sides of the keel. That indicates that a prior owner also found her to be too tender. Don't be afraid to add ballast inside. Also, if the sails are old and stretched, or poorly made, the won't perform well to windward. Don't give up, try little changes and keep working on sail trim.
Where are you located?
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Old 02-24-2011
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I'm in Vancouver BC
I was just trying her out in Burrard inlet here to get a feel for and used to the traditional rigging
She goes pretty good for her size and shape, just not to windward as well
I guess I could take the cabin down, as it is I can stand up inside the companionway, I guess that's the trade off
I wonder if lowering the cabin by, say , half would make a marked difference, worth the labour and decreased interior comfort??
Not eager to take the task on and or change the builder's design(have other's lined up for her) but I'm curious as to opinion on the subject
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