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Merit25lovers 07-14-2011 01:10 PM

Wind Limit
Just curious...

What is your wind limit, as in, when do you decide that it's too windy to sail? :confused:

We've had 2 days of being chased off the lake on our Merit 25. :eek:
Both days were 25+ knots and white caps. Our problem is we can't seem to maintain control of the boat: :mad:
  • Stalling when attempting to tack, then getting pushed back to the original tack
  • Excessive healing resulting in the boom out too far and main lufting
  • No response from the tiller.

Keep in mind we are a crew of 2, totaling just over 300 lbs together!

Should we just stick to our leisurely cruises up to 20 knots, or are we being too timid?

puddinlegs 07-14-2011 01:24 PM

How long have you been sailing? What sails do you have up? Without knowing, it sounds like you have a genoa (roller furling?) up with a reefed main when you might consider having a reefed main and a #3 or #4 (if the waves are biggish) headsail. A luffing main doesn't make the boat heel, but a large, full headsail sure will. Sailing well and comfortably in higher winds is about sail choice, trim, and driving skill. You've got a tough little boat that should handle those conditions pretty easily. See if you can get a more experienced sailor out with you when you're near the top of your comfort zone. They should be able to help get things sorted out.

Tim R. 07-14-2011 01:29 PM

Reduce sail.

Merit25lovers 07-14-2011 01:35 PM

Thanks Puddin!

I've sailed on and off over the years, but this is my first boat, so I'm new to the Helm!

We don't have a furling jib or main, and sail with the smallest jib (#3 I think) in wind >20 knots.

The lufting main was a result of us trying to avoid the heeling, boom was out too far.

We only reefed the main once, but had a kink in the line (i.e. prevented the clue from being pulled all the way down to the boom) and it resulted in a cup full of air in the bottom of the sail! Maybe THAT was my problem! :laugher

I like your idea of bringing someone out and helping us through this!

rockDAWG 07-14-2011 01:44 PM


Originally Posted by Merit25lovers (Post 750239)
I like your idea of bringing someone out and helping us through this!

If you enjoy sailing and want to make it as part of the life style, take a few ASA courses. It will make you more confident and gain sailing knowledge must fast.ed Since you have your feet wet, you can ask a lot more questions than other students and you will get out more from the course.

Good Luck. :)

Faster 07-14-2011 01:47 PM

Reefing improperly can often be worse than not reefing.. you need to sort out how to get a properly reefed main set up.

Small boats such as the Merit can often be sailed upwind in a breeze by what we used to call 'survival pinching', with sails sheeted tight and simply feathering the boat into the wind to keep control of the heel angle. This takes a bit of finesse, as you don't want to stall the boat, but with practice is can work quite well. A responsive boat like yours should respond well to this technique.

That said, 25 knots true wind will be a handful on a lightweight boat, esp if your boathandling is not yet top notch.

You might try sailing jib only, or main only, depending on point of sail too.

glassdad 07-14-2011 02:04 PM

Try practicing reefing in mild winds so youi know what you are doing. It looks simple but there are tricks to getting the main down and tight to the boom. 25 knots is a big wind in a light boat especially if you are over canvased.

Merit25lovers 07-14-2011 02:06 PM

Thanks All!

Funny how one can feel confident and experienced in winds below 25 knots, then quickly feel like a complete amature when it gets into high wind conditions!

Well, I suppose getting the lighter wind sailing down pat has given me a good foundation for high wind techniques!

Geez, I should have paid more attention to what was taking place at the helm while I was working the foredeck during my J24 racing days huh?

BarryL 07-14-2011 10:11 PM


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.


TQA 07-14-2011 10:48 PM

When the Christmas winds are blowing out in the Eastern Caribbeam 35 knots is my departure limit but once on passage you just have to go with whatever the wind gods deliver.

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