Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Liberty Landing
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Re: How Far Do You Heel...?
Is it a C22 or similar? (I noticed the centerboard reference). If so, be careful as those have been known to capsize and are really in between a keelboat and a dinghy. Ie, their point of diminishing stability is quite low and they may not come up from a serious knockdown.
However, if the boat is a rather typical keelboat, the boat's max righting moment is achieved around 60 degrees of heel, far more than you are likely to experience without a spinnaker in a blow. And once the boat hits 30 degrees on, the sails automatically start to depower.
I think cats are far less sensitive to being overtrimmed (I could be wrong). On a keelboat, if the main is sheeted too tight upwind you will heel more but not go as fast. Let out the main until it flogs, then just pull it in to where it's no longer stalling. A reverse "bubble" along the luff is ideal. Besides staying upright, this helps keep weatherhelm in check, and therefore keeps you off the rudder/break.
Typically you will heel over most right after a tack. In choppy and windy conditions especially the gust will hit before the boat has time to accelerate and the boat will heel way over. To avoid this (and avoid scaring the wife) you can let out the sheet a bit (inducing twist and reducing power) until the boat accelerates, then pull it back in.
As stated by plenty others, 15 degrees is normal, 20 is common and hitting 30-35 will happen in gusts esp if you don't reef early enough or release the sheet in time. Usually the rail will go under around 35, and this is entirely safe and normal in even "coastal" keelboats.
If you hit 45, most likely the rudder will loose its bite and the boat will automatically round up into the wind. To soothe the crew, show them the video of "hunter capsize" (in search) on youtube. These guys purposely over canvassed and over sheeted on a blustery day, even pulled on the boom to get the boat so heeled over as to round up. You see the rudder out of the water, and the boat just safely rounds right up. Just make sure the cockpit lockers have latches and are secured before trying that!