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  #21  
Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

I don't see any problem in sailing downwind with a reefed main and a small jib or a reefed genoa, even with 30 or 35K wind and I think the boat will be better balanced.

But if you have already the main all reefed, the wind increases and you need to take sail out I think it is a mistake to take the front sail and go only with the main. That seems it was what that sailor in the video had done.

If you go only with the main you have a lateral component bigger and the boat tend to roll more and worse, if the wind continues to increase it will reach a point where that lateral component, even going as much downwind as you can, will be too much and will force a round up.

Then you have to turn the boat to the wind to take the main down and that is very very difficult without a front sail, specially if you are sailing alone or with an inexperienced crew, even with the help of the engine.
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  #22  
Old 04-21-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

I did this trip once but in the opposite direction. We had been motoring for a long time and the forecast said we were to get a favourable wind. We waited and waited for the wind to arrive and it finally did a few miles before The Rock. So we got to roll out the genny and continued on. By the time we got to Tarifa we had 45 knots sustained and with just a scrap of the genny out we were making record boat speed. The wind was coming straight out of the Med (I believe they call it a Levanter) and the the tide was coming in so we had big seas and were being pushed around a lot. I was at the helm and I had to spin the wheel as hard as I could one way then hold it for a couple of seconds then spin it the other way in order to maintain a course. I actually got a large blister doing this but only backed the sail once with a minor flutter. It was the most thrilling experience I have had sailing. I should also point out that this was my first time sailing ever.
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  #23  
Old 04-21-2013
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Talking Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

Not that impressed. He's sailing a J Boat. Awesome share. I've had my fights with the furler putting so much load on it with a partially furled genoa on 30+conditions. I'll suggest that genoa shouldn't be more than 25% out. Furling rope can overtighten and pinch itself inside the drum, and THAT is a potential big problem in those conditions. That's where a continuous-line furler would be great to have. Also, make sure you have adequate hardware for furling line. Not all furling lines are rigged to work under sail load.

Man, I could play that video again and again. Haven't been out since july!!

Cheers,

Hans
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

Howdy!

I have trouble keeping up around here. I go away for a few days and a nice little thread develops. I'm really enjoying the discussion.

In this case, I think most of you have discovered what we discovered along the way. I mentioned in the captions when we furled the genoa whether we should have doused the main instead and later in the evening we did douse the main and unfurl just a few feet of genoa. That worked great and it was easier to steer, but it was slower. We sailed that way all night to get some rest. It wouldn't have made nearly as interesting video though.

If we were to do it again, we would probably douse the main first. We sailed that way a lot crossing the Atlantic. That said, this was a better experience. We both got some great practice driving and the driving was probably a little more challenging (which was a good thing) given the absence of a headsail and the tendency for the boat to want to round up if you weren't square to the waves. It was a beautiful day to work on some sailing skills.

We had a preventer rigged, but not engaged because I was more concerned with sticking the boom in the water and breaking something than accidentally gybing.

It does look a bit tiring, but really the helm was very light. The only thing tiring was standing up for a long time, so we switched off, or just let the autopilot steer. The autopilot could have steered the whole time, but it wouldn't have been as fun, nor as smooth, since the autopilot can't see or sense the good waves or the bad waves.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottUK View Post
I did this trip once but in the opposite direction. We had been motoring for a long time and the forecast said we were to get a favourable wind. We waited and waited for the wind to arrive and it finally did a few miles before The Rock. So we got to roll out the genny and continued on. By the time we got to Tarifa we had 45 knots sustained and with just a scrap of the genny out we were making record boat speed. The wind was coming straight out of the Med (I believe they call it a Levanter) and the the tide was coming in so we had big seas and were being pushed around a lot. I was at the helm and I had to spin the wheel as hard as I could one way then hold it for a couple of seconds then spin it the other way in order to maintain a course. I actually got a large blister doing this but only backed the sail once with a minor flutter. It was the most thrilling experience I have had sailing. I should also point out that this was my first time sailing ever.
Here's to thrilling sailing!
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Old 04-25-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

Cheers Smack and I wish you well in finding your next 'thrilling ride'!
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Old 04-25-2013
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Re: Skilled helmsman steering downwind in 30-40 knots...

After reading all these stories I am so glad I bought a full keel canoe stern sailboat. When we have been in over 30 knots our boat loves it. The autopilot barely has to do anything, she just surfs down every wave on course, none of the fighting of the helm. Into the wind is a different story....
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