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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #11  
Old 08-27-2007
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Good advice here. Even strong gusts move slowly enuf that, if you can see them a mile off, you have a minute or two to prepare. A few other ideas: heading up will depower the sails but it can leave you stalled, backing water, and inevitably veering off in a dangerous direction, usually with sheets close hauled. In bad wind, keep that mainsheet uncleated.

DON'T haul your main until the boom is straight over the midpoint; there's really nothing to be gained by sailing fully hauled, and you'll heel like the deevil. "Point-to-point" -- that is, end of boom over the corners of the transom, will suffice. 40 to 45 degrees off the wind is your best heading on a beat; but beating is never the most comfortable ride. When things get hairy, your best tactics are pinching (sailing closer to the wind than ideal, accepting a bit of luffing, and always prone to irons or heeling) or reaching. A beam reach in a small boat can be a very comfortable ride. Fast,too!

One thing to note: heading up suddenly can make the heeling WORSE for a moment; falling off tends to level the boat out, but you absolutely need to sheet WAY out as you do that or you will take the wind broadside and flip.

Finally, when a big blow hits and you are beating (tacking, pointing, waddevah), try raising the centerboard a quarter to a third. You'll lose some ground to side-slipping, but the boat will heel less. Light boats like ours require quick reactions, constant attention to sail trim & crew placement, and a relaxed attitude toward swimming. If you ain't wet, you ain't learning. Keep us posted!

Bob
Fellow sailor of a spooky 18er.
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  #12  
Old 08-27-2007
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Thanks for the video's made my day MUCH better .........Another strong black cup of Mud and damn the torpedo'ssssssssss Damn sailing is great and typing...............%^%$#$%& well YAWL know........
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  #13  
Old 08-27-2007
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I read somewhere that lasers sail faster if they are starting to deathroll, so experienced skippers may actually create that situation and walk it's edge, with the down side of course that.. well, you can see... I have enough problems without deliberately creating them. lol.

don't sweat the scary stuff VV, just keep practicing and wear your pdf....
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  #14  
Old 08-28-2007
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I learned how to sail in the mountain lakes on both a laser dinghy and a 30 foot costal cruiser. We often have BAD storms of wind come from nowhere at 3AM and 3PM. It's the wierdest thing you've ever seen, like clockwork. I HATE THAT. I know exactly what you were feeling, and I can offer once piece of advice from someone who sails a lot in these situations: Don't get scared or intimidated to the point where you will quit sailing; weather issues make up for less than 2% of the time you sail, but account for about 98% of the stories because they are flat scary.

If you just let everything go... open your hands holding the sheets and let them flog, you'll be ok. It's like hitting the brakes or opening the safety valve, the boat bobs back up like a cork, you feel relieved, and you can concentrate on having a co-pilot hold the helm while you go retrieve the sails and drop the main. Even better would be to have the co-pilot start your aux engine to help you hold steerageway directly into the wind while you drop the sails.

Our boat has a "semi-emergency" plan like that. We start the motor, engage it into gear (which provides for 1.2 kts when simply idling in gear and gives us steerageway), then we steer into the wind, drop the sails or reef, then hove-to, or heave-to depending if we end up drifting or not.

Remember, if the sail is luffing, or flapping in the wind, it isnt doing anything. If it werent for the expense and noise of the dang things, you could probably just leave them up since those squalls inland don't last over an hour anyhow.

This is a time where you could have had fun practicing this - and I'm not sure if they showed you in school, but you should try heaving or hoving to. (heaving is when you continue to make a little -1kt or so - of headway and hove is drifting at about 1/2kt in your own ship's slick.)

||WIND||
|| ||
/BOAT/
@@@@@ Slick created by your own hull
@@@@@@
@@@@@@

Simply douse the jib, slightly trim the main to leeward, about a 20 degree "close haul" with maybe a reef or two in depending on the wind velocity, and tie the tiller to about 10-15 degrees to windward. What should happen is this - you'll see the boat head up slightly in the wind, then fall off where the rudder pushes it back up. By exposing your hull to the wind about 50 degrees, you create a slick spot behind you and the boat begins to fall back into it VERY slowly. This smooths out those nasty waves on your weather side and you could actually go sleep or eat while the storm blows.

Hove to is far better than heave to where you make headway beacuse you'll start riding into the troughs of the waves. You want to stay in that slick as much as you can to get the best ride you can; I drop tissues in the water to see if they move to the back of the boat or not. That is the only way I can tell without staring at my GPS for a few minutes.

Let me know if I can help more.


Robert
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Old 08-28-2007
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Thanks for all the replies and advice. My wife and I are still learning how to sail on our own so we could use any advice. After looking at some pictures and seeing some videos I might not have been over as far as I thought I was. It was just scary to see water coming over the top on the starboard side when you are used to seeing water under your boat. When I was sailing I just kept my main in the middle and tried to sail just like that. Now I will keep the mainsheet in my hand and go out and try it again. I know I can do it, it just scared me to be over as far as I thought I was. Another question: I noticed that my leeward shrouds would lose tension. Is that normal or should they be tight enough so that would not happen...

Thanks

Mike
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Old 08-28-2007
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Viking-

The leeward shrouds on most boats will be come slack under sail, but you might want to check the rigging specifications for your boat and check to see if they're up to the proper tension level. If not, the rig can fatigue from the shockloading of the loose shrouds...and that is bad.
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  #17  
Old 08-29-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venturousviking View Post
When I was sailing I just kept my main in the middle and tried to sail just like that.
(assuming you were beating into the wind)

Ah, move your traveler towards the jib (leeward) that will reduce your heeling angle a lot. btw, get a inclination meter and stick it someplace visible, it's a nice way to get rid of your anxiety about heeling. most boats are hitting their stride at 15 degrees and are fine up to 25 or so. usually don't worry until you are over 30. my boat is initially tender (leans over in a small about of wind) but when it hits about 20 degrees it just sits there and doesn't move much more (stiffens up).

I read on the SJ24 list that people have walked up the side of a mast at 30 degree heeling angle to retrieve a halyard during races and the angle of heeling didn't change a bit. Those big chunks of lead hanging off the bottom get more and more insistent as you heel over.

Last edited by tenuki; 08-29-2007 at 02:25 AM.
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  #18  
Old 08-29-2007
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btw, I think you would be pretty hard pressed to capsize that boat, it has a wing keel and shorter rudder and should just head up at about 35 degrees or so on her own to let you know you screwed up and should probably reef.

Last edited by tenuki; 08-29-2007 at 02:26 AM.
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  #19  
Old 08-29-2007
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If there is a sailing club it would be a good idea to join it. Apart from friends, they often have training, safety boats and racing even if you are last is invaluable training, even from watching the others ahead.
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  #20  
Old 08-29-2007
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It is very much easier to sail a larger boat than a smaller one.

A larger boat gives you more time to react.

You are being hard on yourself.
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