Asleep at the wheel
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Re: Ideal winds for beginner?
I have a new-to-me Albacore, too. What year is yours? Where do you sail?
Gusts to 20 will give you a very "spirited" boat. It could be a lot of fun, but I'd suggest that, for your first time(s) out and out alone, that's probably more than you really want. 5-10 is good, especially if its fairly steady. That gives you "room" for gusts to 15 or so.
For the winds this week, the big questions are the condition of the boat and the rigging, and your reaction time. If you're sailing along with the sheet cleated and a good gust hits you, you're going to heel, and possibly get knocked down, unless you have the presence of mind to pop the sheet from the cleat and ease the sail. What happens if the gust puts extra strain on your rig, and a shroud breaks or chainplate pops free? Are you ready for that?
I'm not trying to scare you, just trying to make sure you're safe. After you know the boat and get more comfortable with your ability, a 10-15 MPH wind could be a lot of fun. But for your second time out, and out single handed, I'd probably hold off.
If you do go out, I'd consider running with just the jib, rather than just the main. In my admittedly very limited experience, I think a gust hitting the jib is less likely to capsize the boat. I also think it's easier to tack a jib than tacking a main, especially on a little boat like that where the boom is near head height. On that boat, all you're doing is turning the boat into the wind while holding the leeward jib sheet (the one that's actually under tension) in your hand. As you cross over and the wind is on the other side, let go and pull in the other sheet (which is now the leeward sheet) until the jib is trimmed for your desired course. No fuss, no boom hitting you in the head.
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1980 Allmand 31
1975 Albacore 15
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