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Old 07-14-2011
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I read somewhere that the practical limit is 1 knot of wind per foot of boat length. My boat which is pretty heavy for a 24 footer seems to bear this out. It can handle 20kts pretty easily, but when it gets above 24kts, it sort of stops being fun. Of course this will vary boat to boat, but it seems like a decent rule of thumb.
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Old 07-15-2011
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My 260 is rated up to 30 knts. The Drascombe has been in 40 knts but it's an under canvased boat and a yawl rig. The Minifish has been in 25-ish knts which is really about as much as I'd trust the mast on that one.

I've heard of boats who don't begin to reef until 25 knts. But really, it's what the skipper can handle.
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A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why ships are built.

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Old 07-15-2011
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Originally Posted by BarryL View Post

If I am just going out for a pleasant day sail, I will limit the wind speed to 20 kts, 25 max if I have an experienced crew. If the wind is from the south I may go out in higher wind, because there won't be any waves where I am (on the long island side of the long island sound). If the wind is 20 kts, and will be against the tide, I'll stay home for sure. Those conditions create a lot of chop and short steep waves which are just no fun (for me) to sail in.

I can handle more wind, but it's just not fun, and it's hard on the boat and the people. My boat can easily handle 20 kts of wind with a single reef in the main and the headsail
(140) rolled up to a 110.

Last night I was crewing on the C&C 34 I race on. We got to the committee boat and the wind was 15-18 kts from the west. Ten minutes later it was 25+ and went north. We reefed down the main, put of the #2 (no #3 on the boat) flattened the sails as much as possible and held on. Upwind was a chore, but downwind was a delight. That was with 5 experienced people and 4 novices. On my boat I would have put the sails away and went home.

Have to agree with Barry, wind direction and sea state are as important as wind speed here on the Irish Sea. Tides are not strong around here but the white horses get jumpy if it turns against the wind. Then theres the gusts to consider, after a cold front wind gusts can double predicted wind speed so you need to be wary if out in these conditions.

Anything up to 20kns from a Westerly direction is generally OK but 20kn winds from an Easterly quarter can quickly stir up heavy seas. No fun at all unless you enjoy being pasted.
I generally check Accu Weather for the local sea state predictions before I head out but stay in the harbour in any sort of an Easterly blow as this puts the local harbours on a lee shore.
I always like to follow the trawlers out!

Admittedly mi have been described as a fair weather sailor but then why look for trouble, its always looking for you.
Safe sailing
The great appear great because you are on your knees. James Larkin, Irish Labour Movement.

Last edited by centaursailor; 07-17-2011 at 04:39 AM.
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Old 07-16-2011
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spend time sailing and observing the windspeed and how much you are working. for me i sail 99 percent solo, so if i am out and comfortably cruising in 10-15, and it starts blowing hard 20 plus, its just not relaxing anymore so i haul in the jib and either head in or anchor up for a while. if i am with another person, thats a different story, reefing the main and jib while it is blowing hard can be fun, but not all the time. find your comfort level and dont be afraid to push it when you feel ready, otherwise you wont advance but do not be reckless or afraid to look stupid in front of others. years ago i would only sail sunny and 5-10 but by pushing outside my comfort zone i was able to realize what myself and the boat could handle. there will always be another day so no use in putting life, limb or vessel in jeopardy unless cornered into it like being caught in foul weather. there is even days now where im just not in the mood to fight the wind or boat and head back in.
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Old 07-16-2011
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For me on the Lancer 36 it is really all about sea state. In So. Cal. we get these winds in the Fall and Winter that blow 35-70 kts but straight off the land and the sea state is a little choppy close to shore but as you venture off shore a few miles it gets nasty. But when a strong Santa Ann is blowing, say 45 kts one can sail near shore and not even get water on the decks, crazy I know but ask around it happens all the time. So really its sea state not wind speed for me.
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Old 07-16-2011
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10 to 15kn is my preference, but 5 to 10 is relaxing sailing.
Less than 5, I like the challenge to get 2 kn SOG.

Above 15 I think hard before going out, then reefed at the dock, but once out I am OK up to 25, and really don't like anything above 25.

On the lower Delaware Bay with short period waves, where I will be until the end of July, it is more an issue of sea state, I will go out in less than 2ft sea, will think hard about 3ft sea and avoid 4ft and above.

I can easily get up to my 5kn hull speed in 10 to 15kn winds, anything more is just to much work.
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Old 07-16-2011
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since i sail on the bay there is no swell, there is however chop. chop that has enough inertia to splash above the pulpit and to get the entire deck wet. when it gets REALLY windy there is no chop, it lays flat, around 30kts plus. got caught out in that earlier this summer and still waiting on my new main.
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Old 07-16-2011
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I sail my boat in wind up to 21 knts before I need to shorten sail. If it looks like the wind will blow above 25 knts i will heave-to and reef the main if i want to stay out and sail longer. if i am ready to go in i'll heave-to and drop sails. i sail alone most of the time.
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Old 07-18-2011
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Wind Limit?

BFS answer... No.

Me: Not comfortable in anything more than teens (need to get a freek'n boom vang on this boat!)
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