Taming the Daysailer - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  

Quick Menu
Boat Reviews  
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Marine Electronics
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here

Go Back   SailNet Community > Contributing Authors > Learning to Sail Articles
 Not a Member? 

Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 05-10-2002
Contributing Author
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 251
Thanks: 0
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 16
Dan Dickison is on a distinguished road
Taming the Daysailer

I'm having a hard time sailing on a reach. It seems as if my boat (a 16-foot daysailer) wants to topple over. What are the best ways to control the boat while the wind is hitting me broadside?

Dan Dickison responds:
Thanks for your question. Without knowing exactly what you mean by "topple over," I'm guessing that one of three areas needs attention. Either you don't have your sails trimmed properly, or your crew weight is improperly placed for the angle you're sailing, or your ballast (centerboard in this case) isn't deployed properly.

With the wind on the beam, you'll need to make sure that your crew weight is placed mostly to weather on the boat (and not too far forward) so that you counteract the heeling moment of the boat and help to translate the wind's energy into boat speed. This is particularly true in stronger winds. You'll also want to make sure that you're using enough centerboard so that the boat isn't sideslipping or heeling too much. (I'm assuming that your 16-footer has a centerboard and not a fixed keel.)

Also, it's important that your sails not be overtrimmed. If the boat has a tendency to "topple over," it's likely that you need to depower the sail plan. To do that, make sure that the mainsheet is sufficiently eased. What about your jibsheet tension? If you indeed have a jib, make sure that it's not over-sheeted, but just loose enough to keep the sail from flogging.

Each of these adjustments should keep the boat moving along smoothly and help it avoid the tendency to "topple over." Remember, sailing properly on a broad reach is just like sailing upwind or on any other point of sail: it requires that you respond to the fluctuations in the wind and water. So you'll need to make adjustments relative to the behavior of those two mediums. Try experimenting with the three adjustments I mentioned and you'll begin to get a better handle on how to control your boat while broad reaching.

Also, depending upon what other adjustments you have available, you can do some other things to depower the sail plan. First, make certain that your halyard(s) is tight so that the sail isn't too full for the given wind conditions. Generally speaking you want the halyards to be slightly eased for lighter winds and very tight for heavy winds. If it's breezy, make sure that you also have maximum tension on the outhaul on the mainsail. If your boat has an adjustable backstay, the same concept applies there: in general you want it to be tighter for stronger winds. And if your boat is fitted with a cunningham for the mainsail, you want that tensioned in the stronger breezes. The final control that can assist you is a vang, but it's unlikely that your boat is fit with one. If it is, make sure you have a fair bit of tension on that before you ease the sheets. Then, if your boat is still toppling over, and the mainsheet is eased, ease the vang.

For more indepth information on these sail controls, have a look at one of several articles that we've published here at SailNet: Mainsail Controls for Performance by Dan Dickison, and Basic Mainsail Trim for Racers by Pete Colby.  


Quick reply to this message
Closed Thread

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:28 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.