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bblument 10-15-2013 10:10 AM

More beginning sailing technique questions
 
Hello again, helpful people!

We went out yesterday for maybe our 10th or 11th sail, and had another great day. Things are coming together, and we seem to be able to control the boat when heading upwind better and better, and more efficiently. Our P26 seems to point much higher than I thought it would be able to; the new sails helped a HUGE amount. We've only flown the 92% jib; winds haven't been light enough to use the 150%, plus I'd like to place some protection on the shrouds, turnbuckles, and other places it might rub before using it. Any suggestions on what to do or how to go about that? I've seen 2"-3" diameter PVC-looking tubes over the shrouds/turnbuckles, or small diameter plastic covers for the shrouds and sailing tape over the turnbuckles. Is one better than the other? The boat behind us has a little wheel of some kind, maybe 3"-4" in diameter, on his outer (upper?) shroud a few feet lower than the spreader. What's that? Stanchion tops/lifelines? Anything else I should do to protect my new sail before dragging it across the deck a lot? We have hank-on headsails.

I could use some tips for sailing downwind. Upwind seems to make sense to me, but downwind (offwind?), not so much. You'd think it would be easier. My first point of confusion may be the relationships between true wind, apparent wind, and the direction of the waves. My friend who took me out the first time and gave me my first (and only) lesson said I could get a good idea of the direction of the true wind by the waves, and that work's great upwind. I understand the relationship between true and apparent wind. When sailing offwind at an angle to avoid any unplanned gibes, I can sail at pretty much any point from just off a beam reach to what looks like direct downwind based on the waves with my main and jib off the starboard side and the wind coming from the portside and back. However, after a gibe to the other side, I can't come close to sailing direct down wind with the sails off the port side; I have to sail at a much greater angle to downwind when the sails are off the port side. Why? Is that common? I noticed that for the first time yesterday. Was that something unique to the conditions? Will that tendency vary? Is it not really happening, and I'm just reading the wind direction incorrectly, i.e., the wind direction 10 feet and more above the water is no longer the direction at the surface, due to surface friction? It can't be a difference between true and apparent wind direction, because when sailing direct downwind they're the same, although the apparent wind (true wind corrected for the boat's heading and speed) is less in strength than the true wind.

I've tried do fly wing-on-wing w/ varied success, but it scares me a bit. We don't have a preventer, and I worry about the boom having that much freedom to swing in a gust. We don't have a whisker pole, either, so the jib doesn't stay out very far. Tips? Get a whisker pole?

We DO have a spinnaker, but no spinnaker pole although the mast hardware is there for one. Is it time to learn to use it?

One more... under what conditions should the leech lines be tightened or slackened?

Seems like everytime we go out, a couple thing make more sense, but MORE than a couple other things don't.

Thanks in advance for any help or tips. This place is great.

Best to all,

Barry

nolatom 10-15-2013 11:27 AM

Re: More beginning sailing technique questions
 
Re para 1, use tape on the turnbuckles for a start, then decide later what's "perfect". the little "wheel" your buddy's using is probably a roller to prevent the jib from dragging across the spreader tip as much. Another eminently postponable improvement, for now.

Para 2: assuming your boat and rig are "symmetrical", it's probably "you". Many of us sail better on one tack or jibe, than the other. Are you tiller steering? One arm may be more in-tune with the wind, seriously. the other will get educated as you go along, just like learning to write with the "wrong" hand when your writing hand is in a cast. Sailing downwind is much less "intuitive" than upwind, the back of your head is much less sensitive to wind than your face. For now, be satisfied that you'll just have to learn-by-doing how to get more comfortable coming down to a dead-run on starboard (boom out to port) tack.

I find that telltales on the outer sidestays ("shrouds") have become my good friend downwind (masthead fly too, if you got). If they 're pointing "into" the mainsail, you're good. If "away", you're "by the lee" and risking a jibe (jibes, like say pregnancy? are okay if planned for, and not if not). And "straight ahead" is a dead run. Your jib too is a telltale of sorts-when it gets "soft" and begins to drift over to the "wrong' side, watch out, it's a jibe warning.

Give yourself time on this and it will come to you.

Upwind, there's a lot of diff between true and apparent wind once you're zooming along--downwind, much less so, since downwind your boatspeed vector and the wind vector are not opposing each other. and while wind speed may be lower at surface than 10 feet up, there's little difference in direction.

You have a healthy sailing mind if wing/wing scares you a little, 'cause it's sailing with the jib-warning-light already flashing. And dead runs are hard for beginners to discern whether the wind is still at the dead-astern angle. I would leave wing-wing sort of alone until your starboard-tack downwind steering arm--and brain--get a little more tiller time. The added benefit is you'll have to sail more broad reaches and jibe more to go downwind, and the jibe practice will be useful.

Double ditto on the above re spinnaker. Get more comfortable with walking with dogs before walking tigers.

Forget about leech lines for now? Or leave them loose, unless the leech flutters bad in which case tighten just enough to stop the flutter, no tighter.


So I humbly suggest the first priority is to get more skill and serenity sailing deep downwind on starboard, then work on the other stuff, all of which can wait.

emcentar 10-15-2013 11:52 AM

Re: More beginning sailing technique questions
 
I may be too new a sailor myself to give advice, but I have noticed that downwind sailing in waves I need to be much more conservative in my angle to the wind because the waves are also 'steering the boat' to a certain degree. In other words, I avoid running in waves because the risk of a wave sending me into an accidental jibe is too great for my liking, and sail on a broad reach instead.

(I also don't have a preventer - yet - but I set the traveler to leeward to minimize the impact of an accidental jibe if it happens.)

Sailormon6 10-15-2013 12:04 PM

Re: More beginning sailing technique questions
 
I agree with nolatom that sailing wing and wing is difficult for a newbie, because it requires more helmsmanship skill and better focus. Wing and wing requires accurate steering, because, if you veer off your course a little, things can go bad fairly quickly. That having been said, you shouldn't be afraid of sailing wing and wing. It's a basic (and beautiful) point of sail that you should learn to do, but allow yourself a little time to develop your helmsmanship skills first. If, however, you want to try wing and wing, try it first in very moderate breezes, and make sure everyone keeps their head down.

Alex W 10-15-2013 02:41 PM

Re: More beginning sailing technique questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sailormon6 (Post 1105056)
If, however, you want to try wing and wing, try it first in very moderate breezes, and make sure everyone keeps their head down.

Also make sure that you don't have the boom out far enough to touch any standing rigging. If you do accidentally jibe the boom can then hit the standing rigging on the other side hard enough to cause problems.

The safest way to sail wing and wing is with a preventer that is rigged to hold the boom to one side. If you have plenty of crew you can instead have a crew member against the boom who warns where there is any backpressure and keeps it from crossing over on the boat. Obviously the safety of that will depend on the size of the main sail.

CalebD 10-15-2013 03:33 PM

Re: More beginning sailing technique questions
 
Forespar Sailsaver Jib Roller

Sail saver wheely dealy.

Barquito 10-17-2013 10:49 AM

Re: More beginning sailing technique questions
 
Quote:

You have a healthy sailing mind if wing/wing scares you a little, 'cause it's sailing with the jib-warning-light already flashing. And dead runs are hard for beginners to discern whether the wind is still at the dead-astern angle. I would leave wing-wing sort of alone until your starboard-tack downwind steering arm--and brain--get a little more tiller time. The added benefit is you'll have to sail more broad reaches and jibe more to go downwind, and the jibe practice will be useful.
And add to that, that on some boats you actually get to your downwind destination (VMG) faster by sailing deep broad reaches, rather than DDW.


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