Running vs. sailing under the lee - SailNet Community

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Old 08-05-2007
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Running vs. sailing under the lee

Seems like there is a thin line between the two, especially under changing wind conditions. Any recommendation on how to avoid the second while doing the first?
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Old 08-05-2007
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I don’t want this to sound rude but I find that paying attention helps. I don’t know of any tricks to it just have a good helmsman and watch the wind direction and your course. If you want to err on the side of safety don’t run wing and wind when the wind is fickle.
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Robert Gainer
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Old 08-05-2007
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I tend to not let the main sheet out far enough. I worry so much about sail shape, I think it actually slows me down. But I've found it really helps to keep running if you just let it all hang out. But watch the jibe, I almost got taken out the other night when my helmsman (and I use the term lightly) was chatting like a school girl instead of watching the wind.
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Old 08-05-2007
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As the ever-wise RG says, pay attention.

Running wing-on-wing can be a PITA but often is the fastest way downwind, esp in a breeze. Keeping the jib from collapsing requires careful helming (or a whisker pole).

Keeping the jib full is actually easier if you are slightly by-the-lee, but this calls for even more care and attention to avoid an unscheduled gybe.

For my money, in up to, say 18-20K true, give me a good symmetrical spinnaker for the deep stuff.
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Old 08-05-2007
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Of course, installing a boom brake would make sailing by the lee a bit safer.
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Old 08-06-2007
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As SD said, boom brake is not a bad idea but you still need to keep your wits about you. I loath straight downwind sailing for more than a few minutes. Sure it can be a blast but I don't need the grief. We usually stay a couple of degrees off dead downwind i.e. we broad reach down wind. Adds a bit of time and distance but when you ain't in any hurry who give a fkcu.
Our downwind sail is an MPS type of sail not a real spinnaker. Easy to use even with only one crew.
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Old 08-06-2007
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What a question...thats like asking if I ride my bike and look at my feet will I crash?? yes....so??

KEEP THE EYES ON THE ROAD!
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Sailing at the angle where a small change in the wind or your heading will cause a gybe by back winding the main is not a smart idea. If it is a long passage you need to run or harden up as the case may be. Why risk the stress to the rig? IN light winds itis no biggie, but when the winds are more than 18 true it seems to make no sense.

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BTW, some modern boats, mostly multihulls , will actually make faster progress sailing on a broad reach and "tacking" downwind, than they would sailing DDW.
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Old 08-06-2007
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A couple quick points here;
-As has been said, sailing downwind does require more attention than almost any other point of sail and often does not make sense in shifty-gusty condition.
-On most modern boats, in winds under 12-18 knots it makes more sense to reach than to run, both from a VMG and a safety standpoint.
-In higher winds, big jib-small mainsail sail plans, or in heavier displacement boats, it does make sense to run at lower windspeeds than in more modern designs since the VMG gain goes away.
-Keeping the mainsail partially trimmed in greatly increases the likelihood of an accidental jibe as it is easier for the wind to get behind the sail not to mention being slower and more likely to produce big roll angles.
-sailing slightly by the lee makes it easier to keep the jib full and on a big mainsail, small jib boat may be faster, but sailing on course that is a slightly headed up does the same thing while giving a wider margin for error but perhaps without the speed gain.

Jeff
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