Join Date: May 2012
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Re: Is it possible?
I sail my 22 footer in the Gulf. Things to be aware of- (in my case)
When swell approaches 5-7 feet it is very hard to beat into the wind against the swell. I have watched the same point on land for hours at a time, basically doing all I could do just to avoid going backwards. The boat rides fine in those conditions, I just can't get anywhere. Tacking becomes difficult because the swell stalls the boat. You have to look for your opportunities and use the swells / troughs to your advantage. There have been times when I gave up tacking after five or more failed attempts, and my solution was to jibe 270 degrees because I could not get the boat to tack.
How big is your outboard? I have a little Nissan 5HP. Lovely little motor. But it doesn't have enough power to combat wind and swell. In smooth water she'll push the boat to hull speed, but against opposing swell and wind? I get about 2knots. It works okay as a kicker when I'm sailing against opposed wind/seas as mentioned above and allows me to get some little bit of headway. The problem is that if the seas are too steep the prop keeps coming out of the water and the engine wants to over-rev. I have to throttle down, then bring her back up to speed. That's fine when you are sitting on the motor side, but when the Stbd side is the high side it's a PITA to get to the other side of the tiller to get the outboard under control, all while the boat is trying to toss you over the transom, LOL.
5 ft swell and 20kt winds are pushing it for my boat. Sailing becomes more work than fun at that point, but the boat is never in danger. It's just tiring for me- because no matter where I am going I swear the wind is against me. I don't have a roller furler, so my biggest pain is that I often have too much jib up when conditions such as above find me. I added downhauls to the jib and the main, so I can pull the jib down and sail under a reefed main when I'm way overpowered. I'm almost always singlehanded, so "The best I can do right now" is often my only choice.
Last edited by ShoalFinder; 02-21-2013 at 11:16 AM.