Frustration unable to beat against steady wind & current Narr Bay - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 18 Old 07-27-2013 Thread Starter
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Frustration unable to beat against steady wind & current Narr Bay

I've been learning to sail in different conditions in my 30' S2. Had sailed small boats when young but not much experience on bigger boats.

The other day I'm with friends sailing from Edgewood Yacht Club down to below Conimicut light house, a little past Barrington. Good wind, 10-15 out of N/NE, fairly flat water, fun going down.

But we start beating back against pretty quick ebb tide. I don't know, maybe 3 knots. And wind picks up to 15 steady from the N. We can't get anywhere. I'm trying to flatten sails and close haul as much as possible.

Very frustrating, and we ended up motoring, sails down, into wind, but that was also very slow going, mainly because my boat is underpowered, a 13hp Yanmar (great engine, but small). Too ridiculously long time.

Is that a situation most cruisers would be able to deal with or do simply I have a lot to learn about sail trim and close haul? I tried to get the main to that upper battens were parallel to boom, which was pulled tight in, and we had the mainsail, a 155 genoa, as tight as we could get it. Other tricks people can recommend? Any similar experiences ?
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post #2 of 18 Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Frustration unable to beat against steady wind & current Narr Bay

3kts is a lot to try and beat against, that's going to be a big part of your problem. Even if you are beating directly into the current at 6kts (probably the quickest you could go in that boat in that breeze), you're only going to be doing 3kts in the direction you want. Drop a few degrees off the current and you are going to be down to 1 or 2kts, and not long before you are just tacking to and fro in the same place.
Depending on the exact current and wind direction, you might have been better falling off a bit to get more speed (were you pinching?). Other things you can try, rig a barber haul to pull the sheets inboard more, switching to a smaller headsail might help as well, 155s generally don't point very well. Do you have a traveller and did you use it? That would allow you to get the boom centred but still have the main powered up.
End of the day, motoring straight into wind and a 3kt current is quite acceptable if you have to get somewhere, no shame it in

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post #3 of 18 Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Frustration unable to beat against steady wind & current Narr Bay

No shame at all except you may need a bigger motor.

I sail on the Hudson River where the current is either +/- 1.X knots in either direction. This has to be taken in consideration when racing or just out for a day sail. As the skipper of your boat you need to know how to work with the currents in your area, which are stronger than I have to deal with.

There is a great website which can tell you not only the wind and weather for your area but the tides and current as well: L-36.com. Find their weather page and put in your zip code and figure out how to read the info there.

You need to know when the tides and currents change (which are not necessarily at the same time). You need to know when peak ebb or flood current is happening as well as high & low tides.

Sometimes all the elements are in your favor but most of the time they are not.

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post #4 of 18 Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Frustration unable to beat against steady wind & current Narr Bay

This sounds normal to me. Hard to tack and make a lot of progress in those conditions. Like Caleb , I'm on the Hudson and I always try and plan to come back with the tide, or at least on a slack tide.
Years ago we had an H31 with a 13 HP Yanmar and it was god awful slow, the slowest thing ever. I swore my next inboard bloat would have at least 20HP.

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post #5 of 18 Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Frustration unable to beat against steady wind & current Narr Bay

One more thing - stay out of the deep water. That's where the current is fastest. (Sailed out of EYC as a kid on 420s and blue jays.)
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post #6 of 18 Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Frustration unable to beat against steady wind & current Narr Bay

As others have said, 3 knots is a lot of current to beat against.
More so since you were beating into it in a narrow river since you lose a lot of ground on each tack.

You don't say whether your S2 30 is a 9.1 or a 9.2A or a 9.2C. The 9.1 would have the kind of speed and pointing ability that you should be able to do this under sail.
It would be almost impossible to beat against a 3 knot current in a 9.2A since this design does not sail all that well, is especially less than stellar upwind in a breeze, and came with undersized winches making it very hard to tack sharply in a breeze. The problem gets worse on a 9.2C since their boom is raised and hardware leads would add friction.

If you have either 9.2, 150 is a lot of sail on that boat in 15 knots of wind. The result for most folks would be either pinching to reduce heel or sailing with a lot of heel and making gobs of leeway.

Oddly you may have done better flying a 110% Genoa which would heel you less, points higher, and which is much easier to tack.
Jeff


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post #7 of 18 Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Frustration unable to beat against steady wind & current Narr Bay

Freshman yr sailor here. Had similar experience this week in Charleston harbor. Had nice SW wind for fort Sumter run. Visitors on board we all got excited to see fort. In my exuberance I forgot we were on ebb tide headed past fort and out of harbor. Turning around reality set in - - at least 3k flow against and shifted winds now on the nose. Add narrow channel and container shop neighbors and the return was a hoot. So glad for 44 year old 30 hp A4 engine and upgraded 3 blade prop. :-) will pay better attention next time.
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post #8 of 18 Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Frustration unable to beat against steady wind & current Narr Bay

Things to think of:

You might not have been going too bad, there wasnt another sail boat to compare. Go racing.

Use the engine as well as the sails.

You sails may have been too tight in. If they are too flat they wont create lift.

Mark

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post #9 of 18 Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Frustration unable to beat against steady wind & current Narr Bay

Should have added we had all sail up and sheeted in tight. The buoys were winning at first but we eventually won the day. :-)
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post #10 of 18 Old 07-28-2013
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Were you motorsailing? Couldn't tell from your post.
Seems we do a ton of motorsailing whenever we want to get somewhere.
One thing it does is change apparent wind so you can pinch upwind more.
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