Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots... - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 27 Old 04-19-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

I have been in similar conditions. Open Ocean. Winds 30 , gusting 35. 12-15 foot seas. Broad reaching. It is a heck of a lot of work. I like a heavily reefed main up as you can then sail by the clew of the jib. I do use a preventer; it get rigged early and stays rigged. When the clew starts to drop, head up a little. What you really want to avoid is a round-up which will result is a slam. I was below on one which result in water coming in through a cabin top hatch - new rules- ALL hatches close and all drivers stand.

My avatar is from that trip.

I was in another round up on a broad reach in smaller seas than catapulted a crew member from the galley to the chart table.
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post #12 of 27 Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I have been in similar conditions. Open Ocean. Winds 30 , gusting 35. 12-15 foot seas. Broad reaching. It is a heck of a lot of work. I like a heavily reefed main up as you can then sail by the clew of the jib. I do use a preventer; it get rigged early and stays rigged. When the clew starts to drop, head up a little. What you really want to avoid is a round-up which will result is a slam. I was below on one which result in water coming in through a cabin top hatch - new rules- ALL hatches close and all drivers stand.

My avatar is from that trip.

I was in another round up on a broad reach in smaller seas than catapulted a crew member from the galley to the chart table.
Jack, I have been also on those conditions (going as downwind as possible) with a deep reefed main (third reef) as the only sail.... but then suddenly the wind went from 35K to 45/ 50K and I could not hold the boat anymore and keep rounding up.

Then I had to turn the boat to the wind to take the main sail out and find out that turning to the wind with no front sail, even with the help of the engine in full power was very difficult (and dangerous). I only managed at the third try.

I took the main out, let fly a small piece of the genoa, the size of a beach towel and have the boat again in perfect control doing about 9K, having fun again.

After that I am specially careful in never taking out the front sail completely in strong winds (going downwind) and if they are really strong Instead of taking out the front sail I prefer to have more work, turning the boat on the wind to take all the main down and let just a small front sail area.

Regarding the video, if that wind had increased substantially, it would have happen to him what had happen to me: He would have round up and would have troubles turning to the wind. Maybe never happened to him. I guess that if you have been on that situation you would never forget about that, I mean that it is better in high winds and if you can only carry a sail, to go with a front sail than with the main.

What's your take on this?

Regards

Paulo


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post #13 of 27 Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I have been in similar conditions. Open Ocean. Winds 30 , gusting 35. 12-15 foot seas. Broad reaching. It is a heck of a lot of work. I like a heavily reefed main up as you can then sail by the clew of the jib. I do use a preventer; it get rigged early and stays rigged. When the clew starts to drop, head up a little. What you really want to avoid is a round-up which will result is a slam. I was below on one which result in water coming in through a cabin top hatch - new rules- ALL hatches close and all drivers stand.

My avatar is from that trip.

I was in another round up on a broad reach in smaller seas than catapulted a crew member from the galley to the chart table.
Jack, my first thought watching the video was I'd be running with just a partial jib. What's the advantage of having a reefed main up in those conditions?

Thanks,
Jim

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post #14 of 27 Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

Paulo
I tend to avoid 50 knot winds if I can, but that is storm trysail and storm jib conditions.

Jim

When the main starts to blanket the jib, the clew and working sheet start to relax/drop. That is a signal to head up slightly and avoid the gybe. Even with a preventer a gybe can get you into a lot of difficulty.

Hand steering in those conditions is very tiring.

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post #15 of 27 Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

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...When the main starts to blanket the jib, the clew and working sheet start to relax/drop. That is a signal to head up slightly and avoid the gybe. Even with a preventer a gybe can get you into a lot of difficulty.
I agree that the jib is a very nice "alarm" for an impending gybe. When the river is wide enough that I don't have to do DDW, I always take the wind over the s stern quarter and keep both sails on the same side of the boat, for this very reason.

But what several of us are trying to say is that taking the main down and securing the boom completely eliminates the risk of a gybe. Sailing with a partial genoa is far more relaxing and forgiving. So why not? Those of us who have never been out in such severe conditions wonder if there are issues with control of the boat, or danger to the rigging (severe pumping, perhaps?), under genoa alone.
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post #16 of 27 Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

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Paulo
I tend to avoid 50 knot winds if I can, but that is storm trysail and storm jib conditions.

...

.
Only a foul would no try to avoid that. I sailed out of Ceuta (North Africa) with a forecast of force 7, with downwind sailing, bound to Portugal. I said that I was sailing with 30/35K winds (and I sailed with those winds most of that voyage) when outside the West end of Gibraltar strait the wind suddenly increased violently, gusting fiercely.

You did not answer my question since you din't sail in 30/35K wind with a try sail and a storm jib on

Regards

Paulo


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post #17 of 27 Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

In conditions like that my boat does well with no main and a partially furled heady. Last year about 2am Sunday the 27th May 2012, when going past the Percy Islands south east of Mackay, a front come through nothing like the forecast, we had 40 gusting 45+ from the SW with no where to hide, wind over current 15 to 20+ foot swell and having to hand steer to avoid going straight down the more than occasional cresting and breaking waves, It could have been worse but after about 3 hours the tide slowed and changed then we just had the wind with a gentle 20+ feet of rolling swell all the way to Mackay Harbour where we had to hole up for near a week for the weather to settle.

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post #18 of 27 Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

Hve been in similar setting
On a cutter find a yankee works better than staysail. Keeps bow up.
On solent . Use the solent rather than genny . Clew of sail higher up.
Find trailing warp off windward stern corner helps slow boat so don't surf into next wave and easier to hand stear. I'm a cruiser don't need to go faster. Keeping boat on a wave instead surfing constantly wave to wave scary and dangerous.
On both cutter,sloop or solent main comes down at 30kt. but rig trysail or rig lines for third reef and drop/stormjb and don't deploy.

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post #19 of 27 Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

I am a headsail kind of guy off the wind when it is honking. Might be related to relying on a Monitor vane where being pulled by the wind (headsail) rather than pushed (main) is the only way to go. We tend to reef the main earlier and much more than the jib. Might also matter what the boat is like.

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post #20 of 27 Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

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...But what several of us are trying to say is that taking the main down and securing the boom completely eliminates the risk of a gybe. Sailing with a partial genoa is far more relaxing and forgiving. So why not? Those of us who have never been out in such severe conditions wonder if there are issues with control of the boat, or danger to the rigging (severe pumping, perhaps?), under genoa alone.
Jack, Paulo, last fall we had afternoon winds piping up into the 30's. Dropped the main and took in some jib before we turned downwind for home and she was quite happy. This is my usual approach, In fact if the wind is really up I'll just sail on the jib and not raise the main. But then I'm sailing on Barnegat Bay and we get chop, not the kind of building waves you're dealing with.

What I'm asking is if I would gain something having a reefed main up in those kind of big seas? Additional control, less roll, a more comfortable motion, easier steering? Just trying to learn, thanks

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