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Squidd 06-03-2012 11:51 PM

How Far Do You Heel...?
New sailor(s) here, maiden voyage this weekend...

Previous sailing was done on a cat where you either sail flat or heel comes with lifting a hull, the whole COG feeling is different than a keel boat...

We started out in 5-10 knot winds with the occasional gust to 15...when the boat first caught the wind and went 5*-7* heel I had screamers aboard...I'm saying..."this is OK sailboats "lean", get used to it"...

Then a gust would push us to 10* or even 12* with more screaming and scrambling...(we're only doing 3 1/2- 4 knots at the time) shoal keel boat and yes swing keel is down..

After an hour or so the "crew" was starting to get into it... trusting the boat (and me) that we weren't gonna flip over (which also sometimes happens on the cat) and the screaming stopped...we could trim the boat to hold a steady 10* and a good gust might get me a "glance" as we rolled to 15 or so...

I kept telling the crew (family) that 15* was "nothing" and with more wind and more speed we might hit 20*-25* and really no worries till we get over 30*, inclinometer goes to 45*...

So, I know it depends on the boat and sail trim and a dozen other factors, but "How far is too far"... and where do you spend most of your fair-mid weather sailing time (degree wise)...?

jackdale 06-04-2012 12:13 AM

Re: How Far Do You Heel...?
Too much heel equals too much weather helm, AKA a brake. You are slowing down.

Close hauled 15 to 20 degree is a rough limit.

Broach reach - flat.

What type of boat? That makes some difference.

BTW - the safety and comfort of the crew is your primary responsibility.

Faster 06-04-2012 12:14 AM

Re: How Far Do You Heel...?
It definitely 'depends' on a whole lot of things, but generally a 15 degree heel angle is usually considered optimum, with some boats sailing flatter due to crew ballast or inherent stiffness, and others routinely exceeding that number, at least occasionally.

The flatter you can sail the more efficient the sails and foils will be.. OTOH in many designs a bit of heel reduces wetted surface to good effect, esp in light airs when the crew will intentionally heel the boat beyond what the wind will do.

But in the end, 'it depends'.....;)

Life is a whole lot better when the crew accepts and even begins to enjoy the heeling that goes with sailing upwind....

chef2sail 06-04-2012 12:36 AM

Re: How Far Do You Heel...?
Sailboats have rounded sides...powerboats are schear. As stated 15-18 degrees is usallay the limnit when you start pushing water ( braking). Weatherhelm usually only comes into play when close hauled as an indicator.

My rule of thumb is we reduce the heel angle when it slows down the speed of the boat no matter what point of sail. Easy one to rememeber.


jackdale 06-04-2012 12:40 AM

Re: How Far Do You Heel...?
C2S - Having been a boat that rounded up from a broad reach (under white sails) I can attest that weather helm can be found on other points of sail.


NewportNewbie 06-04-2012 01:16 AM

Re: How Far Do You Heel...?
15-20 is my normal range. I have seen 25 but as others have said that will slow you down.

blt2ski 06-04-2012 01:25 AM

Re: How Far Do You Heel...?
I try to stay under 90 myself! beyond that causes some major issues!......

Reality is, if the rail is in the water, time to reduce sail! 20-30 depending upon numerous things is about max in all reality..........oh yeah, 180 is a bit too far south, or down under as some might say!


chef2sail 06-04-2012 01:31 AM

Re: How Far Do You Heel...?

C2S - Having been a boat that rounded up from a broad reach (under white sails) I can attest that weather helm can be found on other points of sail.jackdale

Weatherhelm usually only comes into play when close hauled as an indicator.-chef2sail

Note the word usually. I outlined in in bold so you would see it this time as you must have read what I said too quickly and felt the need to correct me.. Of course you feel weatherhelm on other points of sail.


Too much heel equals too much weather helm-,jackdale
My statement was saying that you should not use whetherhelm to detemine whether your angle of heel is slowing you down. You will usually feel that constant weatherhelm on a close haul. Some boats sail very comfortably with a moderate amount of weatherhelm and it does not slow them down or make them round up. It also depends on wind conditions whether constant or gusty and how the boat is designed. If you sailed my C&C 35 upright with no will not go as fast. Every boat has its tipping point which depends on design...sail used etc. Its like reefing. There are many variable factors. Heel angle is similar as pointed out by stumble.

Stumble 06-04-2012 01:38 AM

Re: How Far Do You Heel...?
It really depends on the boat. My Olson 30 sails fastest flat, very flat, like less than 5degrees flat. Anything more than that and we are going slow. The Columbia 50 I sail on needs about 15 degrees to regain its waterline (stupid rating rule boats), and start performing well.

Luckily most sailboats heave a very definite feedback loup to tell you when the boat is heeled to much. As the tiller loads up it indicates the boat is out of balance, and you are being forced to use the rudder to keep her strait, this acts as a nice speed break and is slow. The fun part is this happens right when the boat has too much heel for the keel/rudder/hull design. So if you feel load on the rudder, flatten the boat and go faster.

Squidd 06-04-2012 08:53 AM

Re: How Far Do You Heel...?
These are good answers... I don't "want" to heel excessivly, just wanted to get some numbers/data to back up my "guesstimations"..

Looks like (and felt like) 10*-12*-15* is the "range" to sail in... more is not better and maybe slower...

I've read many times "the boat will round up".. and want to believe it, also want to display confidence to crew without scareing them (or me)...and with the wife I would definetly sacrifice speed to keep her happy, hoping to build a confidence and love of sailing in her so we can do this awhile...

Then maybe some day when I have my logger friend, trucker, biker buddys and we're out doing Pirate Stuff... we can lean her over and see who screams like a little girl....

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