I'm the FNG still...
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Help me figure this out - planing upside down, or sailing a torpedo?
I just got my 14' racing dinghy out on the cold Colorado water after a long winter in the gulf of Mexico cruising around for some stuff to write about in my book.
I should explain the conditions and then I'll tell you how the boat sailed and perhaps someone can either explain what is happening, or what I was doing wrong.
The breeze was a steady 20-25 mph, waves were about 2 feet and I had 100% main and Jib out. The boat would heel if I sheeted in too far like a racing boat - to about 30-35 degrees (where the water would just start to spill over into the cockpit from the wake).
Going upwind was fast and comfortable, but when I reached my turning mark, I put the helm over gently and started to go downwind. Almost as soon as the boat began to reach, a wave would break over the bow, like the boat was digging into the waves for a moment and completely covered the boat from stem to stern under the wave as it rolled over the boat. Several times after that, I was expecting to get wet when I turned, so I didn't think too much of it UNTIL I turned downwind, and the boat STUCK under the water and waves almost like it was trying to plane or something downwards! This lasted for at least 30 seconds, as I kept thinking it felt as if it was going to come back up at any moment, and to just hang on.
The entire boat was under water from 4 inches to about 1 foot from my measurements this morning. It stayed "stuck" underwater, and I was getting nearly torn off the boat from the water pressure, not to mention almost drowning from getting little gasps of air between surges over the bow. I thought I was about to drown, so pushed the helm over to weather and the boat stood up and bobbed like a cork, dry and with the sails smartly luffing in the wind, almost like a slow-speed forereach.
I thought something might be out of balance, or I had too much sail on either end, but after adjustments, I could not get the boat to stop shooting underwater on the downwind turn like a torpedo 6" under the surface. I tried turning faster, and that increased the problem. The only way I kept the boat above the waves was to turn it VERY slowly - about 1 degree of helm per second.
Can someone help me figure this out? it would be a great learning thread or addition to my book, but I can't figure out a resolution to it.
Was I in too much wind? Going too fast? Last winter I took this boat out and never, ever had a problem like this. I was soaking wet and was near hypothermia when I brought the boat out, so I didn't have a lot of time to "troubleshoot".
I reject your reality and substitute my own.
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