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  #1  
Old 04-24-2013
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centerboard day sailer: raising/lowering sails in stronger winds

Just took delivery of my American Sail 14.6 day sailer a few weeks ago. Took her out in super light winds for a shakedown and had no issues tacking, jibing, getting under way, launching, retrieving, etc. Last weekend the forecast was light but instead it ended up being a little on the strong side given my experience level.

One thing I encountered that I don't know how to deal with:
My motor is not in yet so I am sailing with no aux power other than a canoe paddle. We paddled away from the ramp and turned the boat into the wind to raise the main. Almost instantly as soon as I got up to raise the , the boat lost all headway and obviously all steerage. Even though I was quick, I only had the main up 3/4 of the way and the boat was spun *in place* by the wind almost 180 degrees. With the main free and only 3/4 up, it filled with air and flung out until the boom was against the shroud. We nearly capsized but I managed to grab the tiller and make adjustments now that we had instant steerage. The same thing happened when we dropped sails at the end of the day. As soon as we pointed into the wind, no headway, no steerage, and we spun. Granted these were fairly strong winds.

Until I have my motor to hold me in a controlled fashion head to wind, how do I deal with this situation in strong winds? What am I doing wrong? So far, I really love this boat. There are various characteristics I felt it had which suit my personal needs and liking. Besides that, I like the company back story and there is just something I like about the lines of the boat :-)
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: centerboard day sailer: raising/lowering sails in stronger winds

Sail close hauled on the jib and the main should be free to be raised without hitting the shrouds and filling...works on my 55 ft boat. If the main is reefable put the reef in before you launch and then you will not have too much sail for the conditions.

Phil
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: centerboard day sailer: raising/lowering sails in stronger winds

I usually raise sails at the pier, and sail off. Can be difficult if the wind is blowing onto the pier. I figure the paddle will only be of use in light wind conditions. Sailing on a lake, I sometimes choose which side of the lake to launch from, depending on the wind.

Here are a couple of things I read. They may be a little specific to location and boat, but, still good basic dinghy sailing info:

http://www.hoofersailing.org/sites/h...files/Tech.pdf

http://www.uiowa.edu/~sail/skills/ra...s/index3.shtml
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Last edited by Barquito; 04-24-2013 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: centerboard day sailer: raising/lowering sails in stronger winds

I have a Holder 14 that I launch without anything other than a paddle all the time. When the wind is up I make sure a figure eight is tied to the mainsheet and hoist away.....making sure there is nothing to get in the way of the sheet running free. My boat may fall off a little, but the sail is luffing, so no problems with the boat heeling. I then trim the main and sail to the dock to pickup my girls. I don't raise the jib until we are all on board and away from the dock. Did your tiller swing hard over and the sheet catch on something in the boat? If so a tiller tamer might could keep your rudder amidships and keep your bow into the wind.....
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: centerboard day sailer: raising/lowering sails in stronger winds

This is what your boat looks like: AMERICAN 14.6 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

I would not try to sail it with just the jib as suggested. It is a bad idea on a small boat like yours unless you only want to go downwind. The main is a much bigger sail than the jib and will hold the boat pointed into the wind just fine without the jib (provided you are still steering it). Once the main sail is up and you can control the boat then raise the jib and take off. Reverse the process when you return by dropping the jib first then the main when you are close to your disembarkation point.

I know this from sailing a 19' Lightning which is nothing like any keel boat. You don't really need a motor either; a paddle should be fine if the wind drops that low. A half knot of wind was enough to keep my Lightning moving while keel boats would be turning on their engines.

If you can't raise the main at the dock or launch ramp, at least have the main sail attached to the boom with the halyard attached and ready to launch.

What works on a 50' keel boat that has a genoa almost as big as the main sail will not work so well with a sporty little boat like yours.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: centerboard day sailer: raising/lowering sails in stronger winds

I have a Holder 14. I tie up to a pier with a loop, raise both sails allowing them to luff, and when everything is in place I sheet the main in, release one end of the loop and sail away. It just takes a bit of practice. When sailing with kids I always had them inside and helping with the launch. Don't bother with the motor, IMO. On the way back I would get close to a pier, drop the sails, and use the paddle for the last few yards. Of course, when the wind is strong and not in your favor it requires quite a bit more skill to avoid a lot of paddling.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: centerboard day sailer: raising/lowering sails in stronger winds

Like the others have said: Raise the sails at the dock and be ready to sail (centerboard down of course). I have done this many, many times in a Lido 14, launched by hoist at the end of a narrow channel. No matter what direction or strength the wind was, we always managed to get out of the channel. Just practice, it becomes fun. Also, there is no reason to get a motor for a 14 foot boat. Again, as others have said, when there is absolutely no wind, use the paddle. Otherwise you should be able to make the boat move with the slightest breath of air.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: centerboard day sailer: raising/lowering sails in stronger winds

Eh, I don't live in these folks perfect world...

The lakes I've sailed had terrible ramps, and terrible depths at the ramps (after all you only need 1.5 feet of depth to launch your 16 foot motorboat).

Our local lake has it's ONE AND ONLY public launch on the windward side of the lake, with a narrow cut for the ramp. it's got a nice dock though, with 5 feet of depth, but 100 feet from shore, and 30 or so from the dock the lake depth drops to 1.5 feet, and is ONLY that deep 30 feet between 2 buoys (huge sand bar, thank god sand not rock).. Talk about threading the needle!

YES if the wind is right (where you can put your centerboard down) and you can launch away from the dock... You're good (that covers at least 270 degrees of wind you should be safe - again if there is enough water and if there is a dock).

If you have NO dock, and have to launch from the beach, and the wind is anything forward of beam... it's gonna be a real chore. The nice part is you'll have a wild beaching downwind run back to shore when you come back though!

Here's how I made it all work when I had my Capri 14.2. If I was head the wind, and in shallows for the first 100 feet or so of water... I'd launch out straight, with NO sails up... I'd paddle if I had to... then grab the halyard for the main, and crank the main up as fast as possible with the centerboard down... mainsheet free. JUST like you said! Got to have a clear sail path and no ginks in the lines.

If you aren't fast enough, you'll be swimming, but hey that's part of the fun.

For the record... I did this for 1 year then, I decided enough of that garbage, and bought an electric trolling motor. The private lake I sailed at NEVER had the wind from a favorable direction from launch.

The electric trolling motor was reliable, easy, and just worked. It allowed me to lock the tiller, go forward and raise (you know that 4 or 5 feet forward), or I could raise at the beach push off into the wind, motor into the wind a while, then sheet in and fall off.

Again without a motor, or a willingness to paddle pretty hard, it's gonna be a bear into the wind. This is why I laugh when people recommend a small centerboard boat to start with. It's 100 times less forgiving, and usually nothing but work. IT WILL TEACH YOU TO SAIL though.

Good luck. Don't wait for the motor, but taking a swim now and again builds character. Besides you have a plan for getting back on the boat right?
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Last edited by SHNOOL; 04-29-2013 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: centerboard day sailer: raising/lowering sails in stronger winds

I took lessons in An American 14.6 - those are great boats! We always had the sails up before we left the dock. The sheets were slack and the headsail was on the roller furler, but it was ready to go, too. I think that's the way to go, if you're on a dock. If you're on a mooring or leaving from a beach, I'd still consider raising the sails first and leaving the sheets slack. That's my plan for our Albacore when we launch in a few weeks.
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Old 04-29-2013
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centerboard day sailer: raising/lowering sails in stronger winds

I agree with jimgo, get your launch plan together in advance, know where you'll push off from for the best point of sail, have the sails up and sheets slack, push off and sheet in.
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