Join Date: Feb 2010
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My first year with my boat, I mostly sailed in under 15 knot winds until I got comfortable months later. Then, I have sailed in as much as 25 knot winds. The more I sailed the more I learned how to adjust my sails in higher winds. I also became more familiar with my boat. My last trip in 25+ knot winds was in May. I was able to keep my boat going on a broad reach with only a 5 degree heel flying a full main and 110. Too bad this was the day when I overstressed my rudder causing it to snap clean in half. Even though many here would suggest to use two sails, I have found my boat does pretty well running a single sail in high winds. In fact I can get nearly hull speed in higher winds with a full main. As long as I am out on a sailing to nowhere day. If I was trying to maintain a course or hit a destination, it maybe more practical to have a reefed main with my smallest headsail. Problem is, my smallest is a 110 jib, I don't have a storm jib. So I am still trying to determine what my best sail configuration is in higher winds. This all said, I still prefer the under 15 knot wind days especially if I am single handing. The average day here is usually under 15 knot winds anyway.
Bottomline from my experiences, I would say whatever starts to make you feel uncomfortable is probably where you draw the line. That little voice that tells you "maybe I should not be out here" could be correct. Then you can say too much wind for you and your sailing experience but not necessarily the boat. Its like if you are comfortable in 15 knot winds, then you start to feel like its getting easy to sail, try in 20 to 25 knots, see how you do. At first you probably will feel uneasy then after you do it a few times you will get more comfortable. Right now my personal limit is 30 knots, so I try to avoid going out if its over that. For one thing I am not tearing up my boat, next thing putting myself in harms way is not my idea of fun. With my limited experience going out in 30+ knots is just asking for trouble.
s/v Pirates Lady
"The sound of the sea, is becoming very familiar to me."