bury the rails...wait a minute - SailNet Community
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bury the rails...wait a minute

This scares me! How safe is it? Is there a formula to calculate when your mast might touch down? Is there a safe degree to heel your boat to?
I am just trying to find comfort with a husband who loves to sail fast and he says fun! Our boat is a 32' Iona
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: bury the rails...wait a minute

Quote:
Originally Posted by jillmstar View Post
This scares me! How safe is it? Is there a formula to calculate when your mast might touch down? Is there a safe degree to heel your boat to?
I am just trying to find comfort with a husband who loves to sail fast and he says fun! Our boat is a 32' Iona
In normal conditions (not storm or heavy sea state conditions) your boat will not capsize. And unless you are carrying a spinnaker in a big breeze, a broach or knockdown is very unlikely to happen as well. Relax and enjoy the ride. Your boat will take care of you.
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: bury the rails...wait a minute

Remember a couple of things that will keep the boat from going over: As the boat gets to extreem angles of heel there is less, and less sail area facing the wind. (Down to zero when the mast is in the water). And also, as the boat heels the effectiveness of the keel increases, with the longest lever arm being with the boat is knocked down. The thing that made me more comfortable with heel, is to know we have control. Take control of the traveler, or mainsheet on a frisky run to weather (hubby can stay at the helm). Play with it until you are convinced you have control over heel, then oversheet a bit to increase heel.

Valiant 32
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: bury the rails...wait a minute

Unless you have a boat that's designed to sail faster that way (i.e., long overhangs), you're not sailing at your best by "burying the rails" no matter how macho it seems. Others are right that you're in no danger, so if you like it that way (and you like fighting unnecessary weather helm), so be it.

You want as much of your sail exposed to the wind as possible and by burying the rails, you reduce that (because you are listing to leeward, thus spilling the wind from the top of your main). The boat will be easier to handle, more comfortable and go just as fast, or faster, if you let down the traveler, put a reef in or whatever else it takes to keep the boat upright.
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: bury the rails...wait a minute

Heeling is safer for the boat than you think it is for you.

20 degrees is sporty, 30 is scary, 40 is downright religious-experience, but the boat will recover. It's almost impossible to capsize a keelboat like yours without the assistance of a monster wave that turns it over.

With wind as the only force, the boat reaches a point where the wind actually begins to spill of the tops of the sails, so heeling can't increase much more. And the only reason you got that steep is by not having eased main, then jib, earlier.

"Death rolls" with spinnaker up in heavy air, can put the mast over near the water, but only because the spin is by then dragging in the water. This is not typical for cruising folks. even then, the boat recovers either on its own or because someone released or cut the spin halyard.

So the boat will recover--but will the humans? yes, if they hang on. Stay on the high side, let the sails out, and the boat will thank you. It *wants* to be vertical. Even in winds over 100 knots (last years Mackinac race during a horrible squall for example) people hung on to their near-horizontal boats while sails shredded, and once wind eased the boats came back up.

Hope this helps. Not trying to scare you.

Implicit in all this is you closed the hatches and cockpit lockers. If water gets into the hull in mass quantities, what i said is inoperative
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Old 05-29-2012
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Husband is doing it "wrong"

As others have mentioned, "burying the rail" or extremely heel sailing is very inefficient sailing and often "slow" sailing. Most boats are designed to sail fastest form 10 to 20 deg heel. Higher heel angles induce excessive drag and will typically (on a properly designed boat) cause the boat to round up into the wind. To counter this design aspect, to continue to sail straight at high heel angles requires counter effort on the rudder to steer back downwind. If you need more than a few degrees of rudder angle to do this, your rudder is actually acting as a brake and slowing the boat down. This is called weather helm as others have mentioned. A little weather helm is good, too much is bad.

To achieve a good balance of speed and control, as others have mentioned, work the traveler and main sheet to achieve a more balanced helm. With the sail well trimmed at closehaul, drop the traveler until the boat flattens out. If the traveler can't get you there, let out the sheet, if that can't get you there, reduce sail area (reef).

While it is fun once in awhile to "bury the rail", it is not fast and is actually pretty stressful on the rig and rudder.

DrB

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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: bury the rails...wait a minute

Boats sailing around carrying too much sail and heeling excessively just scream "Look At ME! I don"t know how to SAIL!"

Every boat has it's magic number when it comes to heel angle, but typically you want to avoid exceeding 15-20 degrees.

So tell your husband to straighten up and sail right!

Last edited by SchockT; 05-29-2012 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Husband is doing it "wrong"

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrB View Post
While it is fun once in awhile to "bury the rail", it is not fast and is actually pretty stressful on the rig and rudder.

DrB
This.

I think is where your husband is coming from. He is confusing the adrenelin from "fun" with going fast.

A keelboat like yours will only heel over so far before the sails spill wind, and the keel's moment is too great to overcome. Barring some other event like large wave action, or a spinnaker, you'll be safe even if a bit uncomfortable.

If he wants a quick rush...sure hang on and let him "bury the rail". But if he wants to go fast, he'd be better off watching his telltales and trimming properly than watching the water come over the leeward rail.
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: bury the rails...wait a minute

As others have said too much heel will slow down your boat. But there's always that occasional gust that will put the rail in the water with no danger. I was ancored in Boot Key Harbor, Florida Keys with many other boats when a waterspout roared through the ancorage. As it hit each sailboat, the boat was knocked horizontal, then poped up immediately after it passed. The harbor was soon littered with loose stuff from the decks but no harm was done to any boats or crew. I was below when I was hit, and had to dodge flying kitchen knives ( I was prepairing supper). Exciting for sure but no great danger.

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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Husband is doing it "wrong"

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrB View Post
As others have mentioned, "burying the rail" or extremely heel sailing is very inefficient sailing and often "slow" sailing. Most boats are designed to sail fastest form 10 to 20 deg heel... While it is fun once in awhile to "bury the rail", it is not fast and is actually pretty stressful on the rig and rudder.

DrB
What everyone is telling you is true - burying the rail has no real danger and certainly no speed advantage. I take exception with Dr B's statement though; any modern, well designed and properly built boat shoud be able to handle the stresses of extreme heel and weather helm without problem. For example, the rig can generally support the weight of the boat (it HAS to, if you think about a knock-down). For example, there are documented cases of boats that have been caught by the mast in lift bridges that sustained only superficial damage. Most modern spade rudders are built very strongly, since they are supported only at one end. A keel or skeg hung rudder will be stronger still. Only abuse such as grounding or hitting a submerged object are likely to damage a well built modern rudder.

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