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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 06-04-2001
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sehopkins is on a distinguished road
Heeling Paranoia

I have a problem with too much "book learning" and not enough practical experience. My husband and I just bought a Hunter 26 with water ballast last year and we sail the Chesapeake (or, a small part of it at the moment). My problem is that I know darn well that water ballast cannot possibly provide good ultimate stability because it''s located so high in the boat compared to a "real keel." Therefore, as soon as the boat really starts to heel (say more than 10 degrees), I''ve got an adrenaline rush and I''m letting the main out just as fast as I can, or worse yet, furling the jib altogether and sailing under main alone. I need to get over this because I know I''m sacrificing speed and performance. Yet, put me on a Beneteau 505 (BVI charter) with a couple tons of iron under the water and I could care less.

Does anyone out there have a realistic idea of what it takes to knock down a water-ballasted boat? If anyone has actually experienced it, I''d love to know the conditions you were in and what happened afterward. Or, if my paranoia is justified, that news would be just as welcome.
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Old 06-04-2001
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blanketman is on a distinguished road
Heeling Paranoia

I''d be worried too those boats are not put together very good. Why don''t you have your husband buy a real boat with a keel and a quality name on it. GOOD LUCK AND VERY FAIR WINDS
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Old 06-05-2001
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Heeling Paranoia

I don''t know why some people equate pocket cruisers and trailer sailers with poor construction,as in the reply you received.
I am very happy sailing my 20 O''Day in most conditions which send the fainter hearts to their moorings.
I have learned through experience and talking to other light boat sailors that they perform better if sailed rather upright. I limit my heeling to 15 or so degrees. I change to a smaller jib and do not cleat the main sheet but as you have written use it to adjust the power.
You will also find that the fishermans reef is useful. That is a tight jib that backwinds the luffing main.
As you are I was very worried about a knock down and I spent a lot of time in harbor sailing until I got the feel for how much performance to expect from my boat. My boat is much older and has no added flotation so a knock down would be much more serious for me.
Lighten up, go slow, you may want to buy a smaller jib for those 20+ knot days, and do not listen to those who cannot sail well enough to cope with anything other than the Queen Mary...
Jeffrey
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Old 06-05-2001
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blanketman is on a distinguished road
Heeling Paranoia

There is nothing wrong with a trailer sailer in fact I had one for several years and enjoyed the excape it allowed. We were able to get away from the normal area we sailed our big boat in and find hidden lakes in the mountains an prairies of this great country. the trailable was a Tanzer 22 which we found to be quite well built and stable to sail and Ifeel I can make an educated statement as I owned a boat yard in the PNW for 25 years thanks and great trailing
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Old 06-06-2001
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susieq is on a distinguished road
Heeling Paranoia

I''m just jumping in here because I was attracted to the subject title "heeling paranoid" as that fits me to a "T". I am new to this site and am looking to find others who are in the same boat, so to speak and see how others are coping, overcoming this very real fear. Heeling just doesn''t feel good to me, it makes me think we are going to go over on our side. When we are out and heeling, I see other boats in the same position and I tell myself "see they are OK" but I DON''T LIKE the feeling. I wish I felt safer, it JUST doesn''t FEEL safe. This is not rational I know, but the fear is real to me and I would like to talk to others who have experienced this when they started sailing. Thanks.
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Old 06-06-2001
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JEFryar is on a distinguished road
Heeling Paranoia

I see that this is a common experience with new sailors. Whatever the conditions of weather or boat attitude you need to feel that you are in control otherwise the experience is less than pleasant.
I learned a long time ago that you need to steer your own course. Don''t be too concerned about what other boats are doing. Do what is comfortable for you.
Sailing your boat more upright and comfortable is Ok. In fact the more you heel the less sail area is presented to the wind and the less efficient your boat will sail. The more you heel the more power you are losing. You might think of it as your boat depowering itself.
Go slow and stay within your comfort zone. Good sailors are the one who can control their boats within that zone.Good sailors depower by reefing or changing to smaller sails BEFORE they are needed.This is what sailing is all about, adjusting the sails to provide the right amount of power for your boat and the conditions.
As you gain experience and confidence your comfort zone will grow.
So relax and enjoy. Isn''t that the reason we sail?
Jeffrey


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Old 06-06-2001
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sehopkins is on a distinguished road
Heeling Paranoia

Jeffrey, thanks for your very helpful note. This makes perfect sense to me. I am aware that heeling too much actually slows you down. I guess I see other boats plowing along with a rail practically in the water and somehow think I should be doing the same. I''ll take your advice and do what feels comfortable for ME.

Susieq, I know just how you feel. My first experience on a sailboat was a nightmare. I had no idea sailboats heeled and no one told me it would happen. The sails went up, the boat went over, and I was terrified, which instantly manifested itself as seasickness. I was the color of a hospital bedsheet. The skipper smiled and said we''d be fine as long as no one pressed the "keel-falls-off button." Then, after a sensible discussion of the physics of the situation (knowledge is power), I got behind the wheel for the first time. I was hooked and never left the helm for eight days. I think the mind''s instinct for self-preservation will always send us that micro-second of doubt when the floating platform that keeps us from drowning tilts and drops out from under us. I remind myself of the physics and let logic prevail. My logical mind tells my instinctive mind to put a sock in it and sail the darn boat. I know the situation will improve as I get more experience. Just stay away from that button!
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Old 06-06-2001
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sehopkins is on a distinguished road
Heeling Paranoia

Jeffrey,

One more question if you look at this string again. Spent the last hour trying to visualize the fisherman''s reef. Are you saying that you have a tight jib with the main eased out, essentially sailing almost under jib alone without dousing the main?

Assuming I''ve got it right, sounds very cool. Will try it next outing. Would this sail position be a good one for reefing the main?

Regards,
Susan
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Old 06-07-2001
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JEFryar is on a distinguished road
Heeling Paranoia

Susan, you''ve got it. And no you would not want to try to reef your main. You will see this when you try this "reefing" sail set.
Enjoy.
Jeffrey
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Old 06-14-2001
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susieq is on a distinguished road
Heeling Paranoia

Thanks Jeffrey for validating my position. Was out Friday night for a sail and it was not my cup of tea as it was windy, so there was heeling. My beau kept the boat fairly even but there were jabs at me for being a sissy, too bad too sad. Out on Sunday, there was very little wind and the boat was even and it was lovely. My kind of sail. That is MY comfort zone.I need positive experiences out there to get use to it and at MY speed. Rome wasn''t built in a day. Thanks again for your imput really appreciate it.
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