When is the wind speed too much? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 10-22-2012 Thread Starter
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When is the wind speed too much?

I realize this is a wide open question. Yesterday it was blowing 18 and gusting to 25 or so. Normally we have about 15 boats show up each week for our Sunday race, but yesterday, only four boats. I had decided to not participate, but I did watch them start and they were all having trouble. There were two Hunter 31's, a J92 and another similar sized boat. On the upwind leg they were all heeled to the rails and water spraying everywhere. At what point do say "forget it" and do something else?
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post #2 of 35 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

Sailing gets fun in that wind. It depends on what you like. I see people coming in to the marina any time the breeze goes above 10 kts. Others go out when it is putting a little white on the wave tops. I like 15 to 25 kts. No need to reef and having a blast. I do sail single handed though.

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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

20 is fun, 25 is interesting, 35 sucked. Reef and hold on!
My boat doesn't go well in less than 10.


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post #4 of 35 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

Obviously each skiper has to make a judgement call based on the abilities of his crew and boat. As a racer I look forward to the big winds. 20kts should not worry a good crew, although mistakes are more likely to result in equipment damage or injuries. In regions where the average wind speeds are lower boats tend to be under-rigged. As a result, over 20kts can be a "gear-buster". I have seen masts come down in those conditions. They shouldn't, but they do!

Some of the most fun I have had on the water was heavy air sailing! That is when high performance boats really light up! The Olson 30 I race on can easily reach 15kts in those conditions!

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post #5 of 35 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

I'm going to guess that they were all over-canvassed. ( I realize that we no longer use that material) ;-) In those conditions, I would have set a reef in my main before leaving the dock and deployed a smaller headsail. The boat will sail faster flatter on the upwind legs.

If they had rails in the water..struggling to stand-up, they were not sailing efficiently.
It may feel exhilerating, but you aren't going as fast as you can.

So, imho, the wind was not too much, they had too much sail up. Just a guess.
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post #6 of 35 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

25 certainly is not too much for the boat. t may be for the people. Learning how to control and sail you boat in 25-35 knottss is great experience, Above 35 is challenging but certainly can be done.

It is all about sail area, reefing sail shape and angles. It can be as uncomfortable as you want to make it. Racing with full sails up in that kind of wind is a horse of a different color. Most of us do not want to stress our boats with that.

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post #7 of 35 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

They were over powered for the situation. Same as I was when a squal suddenly came thru on saturday. Wind went from 15'ish to 25-30 in less than 2 min. With three of us on board, we dropped the 155 to a main only. We were not the only one! 15 min later, wind was back down to 15-20 a few min later to 15'ish again. took a few more for daughter and a friend of mine to shake off the squall, then the genoa was back up. If I would have had a few more on board, a reef and a 110 or storm ib with full main would have been switched out to a bit sooner. Helps to have more folks that know what to do than less in those situations. its when you get into the 40's that it get a bit hairier!

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post #8 of 35 Old 10-22-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

This is what it looked like yesterday.
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post #9 of 35 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

When you have too much sail up for the conditions. Also depends on where you are sailing, 25 Kts in the open sea can be enjoyable. 25kts out of the N-NE in Southern chesapeake bay will be a very bumpy ride and wet ride on my Alberg. 25Kts out of the S is a great, dry and fun sail.


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post #10 of 35 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: When is the wind speed too much?

No no no it is not the wind speed which keeps us in the slip, it's the sea state.
Santa Annas blow upwards of fifty knots but it is nearly flat near shore. So for me it is sea state. A 20 ft swell at 20 seconds is no big deal, but 10 ft at 8 seconds is no weather I'm going out in.
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