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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 02-29-2008
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Heeling

OK, here is a basic question. Why is it that when you are close hauled and are hit with a puff you feather up, whereas, if you are on a reach you head down to reduce heel? Is it just because falling off all the time beating to weather will reduce VMG?
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Old 02-29-2008
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If you are beating to weather and fall off when a puff hits, you will be exposing more sail area to the puff and thus, increase its ability to cause heel.
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Old 02-29-2008
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When you're hit with a gust or puff of stronger wind, the apparent wind shifts aft, so you feather up to stay close hauled and take advantage of the apparent wind shift. This keeps the boat sailing as efficiently as possible, since, when you're sailing close-hauled, you can't trim in the sails to adjust for the wind shift.

T34C is also correct, that by falling off, from a close-hauled position, you'll be turning more perpendicular to the wind, effectively exposing more sail area, and increasing the heeling force. If you're really worried about heeling too much... ease the main sheet.
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Old 02-29-2008
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ease the main and hold your course, this can help to keep your speed up.
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Old 02-29-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
If you're really worried about heeling too much... ease the main sheet.
Or, lower your traveler to have the same affect without adding more shape to your mainsail.
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Old 02-29-2008
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Actually a combination all three, or doing either one (pinch up, ease main, or lower traveller) works and which one or combination you use depends on the boat, the weather, and the expected duration of the windshift or gust.
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Old 02-29-2008
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Typically unless you do a big ease or have a very heavy duty vang made up snug, easing the main sheet initially powers up the main and can give you more heel and require more helm to hold your course slowing you down.

In short duration and small speed increase gusts, feathering up increases VMG without losing speed Depending on your rig and how your backstay is set up, putting on a bit more backstay can help with heeling and VMG as well. Dropping the traveler works on gusts that are of longer duration and larger velocity increases.

The reason that you turn down wind when below a beam reach is because your boat speed is subtracted from the windspeed the further downwind you head, and you boat speed increases as you head down toward a broad reach.

Jeff
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Old 02-29-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
OK, here is a basic question. Why is it that when you are close hauled and are hit with a puff you feather up, whereas, if you are on a reach you head down to reduce heel? Is it just because falling off all the time beating to weather will reduce VMG?
Another -- crude -- way to look at it is that as the wind becomes more parallel to the fore and aft centerline of the boat, it exerts less side-to-side heeling force. This is true whether going upwind or downwind.

So on an upwind leg if you feather up during a puff, you bring the wind direction closer to parallel with the boat's centerline.

Sailing off the wind, by driving down in a puff you achieve the same result, only the wind is coming from further astern rather than further forward.
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Old 02-29-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T34C View Post
Or, lower your traveler to have the same affect without adding more shape to your mainsail.
Unfortunately, my old boat has a traveller with no way to control the car. There isn't and never has been any blocks or attachments on the car for that. All I can do is ease or trim. The angle of the boom is set by the amount of pressure on the main as the car free slides back and forth. Ya wanna keep yer ass outta the way when it's brisk.
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Old 02-29-2008
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Guess my take on your question is - In either case you reduce the effective sail area exposed to True Wind angle thus depowering. Spilling air out of the sail (any method) will reduce power / heel if that is your only objective.
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