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  #1  
Old 04-22-2008
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Single handed with too much wind

Hi all gurus , Last time I was out single handed,in a 23 foot Crown Sloop, dumb but sometimes thats all u got.

I my guess the worst gusts were about 20 to 25 knots. (seeing whitecaps) I was unable to get my main and jib down in time and was trapped

I pointed the bow into the wind and just let the sails flap like crazy. I found the if I just got the bow to within apx. 5 degrees to the wind and both sails pulled in tightly I could keep them full and tame the insane flapping.

Does anyone know of a good way to ride out a big blow with both sails up and no reefing and no way to get em down in time ?

Also if I could get a sail down in a big blow, which sail should comedown first ?

Thanks everybody
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Old 04-22-2008
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Singlehanded

What you want to learn is how to "heave to." It is essentially like putting a boat in "park" with the sails up. How do you do this? Think of it like tacking except that you never release the jib sheet for the tack. You keep the tiller or wheel over as if you were continuing to turn the boat for the tack. By keeping the jib sheeted over it provides an opposing force to the mainsail. The boat will stop head to wind and be pretty stable. You will eventually start to drift slightly but you'll be amazed out how much of relief it can be.

As for which sail to douse first, I would probably try to get the main down first. It will have the most surface area and be likely to force the boat to heel more than the jib. This is also a good case for roller furling! I have always been able to get my jib furled quickly even in windy conditions!

Jon
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Old 04-22-2008
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Well, without knowing what to do, you did pretty well. You must've been more than 5 degrees off the wind, I suspect probably more like 15-20 degrees, or you'd be mostly still luffing with the jib aback. What you were doing was pointing, or "pinching" way up so that you made little or no progress, but weren't heeling too bad.

What to do next time (besides "don't go out in 20-25 knots if you don't have reefing")?

Depends a little on whether you have to get upwind or downwind. Upwind, sheet the jib in and luff the main all the way out if you have to in the puffs. It's called a "fisherman's reef" and you'll grow arm muscles easing and trimming. But it's the best you can do if no reefing, though kind of tough to do singlehanded. If you're still overpowered, you'll have to take the jib down (if you can) and tough it out on a close reach with just the main

Reaching? Same advice as above, though maybe you could do it with main alone, mostly aluff.

Broad reaching or running? Try it with just the jib. Or maybe you could do it with just the main, but try jib-alone, less overpowering.

Trouble is, it's hard to lower and secure, or raise, either sail once you're out there in all that wind and sea. So my fallback advice (see above) is "don't go out in 20-25 knots" if you can help it.

But you live and you learn. Sounds like you're learning.

Maybe go see your sailmaker about putting some jiffy-reefing cringles and reinforcing on that main. Doesn't take too much additional hardware to rig it. Then you can forget my advice above, just reef and go.
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Well, without knowing what to do, you did pretty well. You must've been more than 5 degrees off the wind, I suspect probably more like 15-20 degrees, or you'd be mostly still luffing with the jib aback. What you were doing was pointing, or "pinching" way up so that you made little or no progress, but weren't heeling too bad.

What to do next time (besides "don't go out in 20-25 knots if you don't have reefing")?

Depends a little on whether you have to get upwind or downwind. Upwind, sheet the jib in and luff the main all the way out if you have to in the puffs. It's called a "fisherman's reef" and you'll grow arm muscles easing and trimming. But it's the best you can do if no reefing, though kind of tough to do singlehanded. If you're still overpowered, you'll have to take the jib down (if you can) and tough it out on a close reach with just the main

Reaching? Same advice as above, though maybe you could do it with main alone, mostly aluff.

Broad reaching or running? Try it with just the jib. Or maybe you could do it with just the main, but try jib-alone, less overpowering.

Trouble is, it's hard to lower and secure, or raise, either sail once you're out there in all that wind and sea. So my fallback advice (see above) is "don't go out in 20-25 knots" if you can help it.

But you live and you learn. Sounds like you're learning.

Maybe go see your sailmaker about putting some jiffy-reefing cringles and reinforcing on that main. Doesn't take too much additional hardware to rig it. Then you can forget my advice above, just reef and go.

Or if you have the searoom and the jib's not too big, try heaving-to as mentioned above, though it may heel you too much when the main occasionally fills too much.

Sorry, double-post, wrong button while editing.
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Old 04-23-2008
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Thanks for that guys. on the topic of "Pinching or pointing up", you're right I was making very little progress but I felt I had a little control (not heeling to bad) and not tearing my poor sails to pieces..

When the boat is "Heave To" where is the bow in relationship to the wind?

Any info I can get would be great, Im learning quick there is no STOP switch on a sailboat. So if your caught you gotta ride it out ! I've scared myself a few times already, on the North Coast we get some good squalls and they seam to come outa nowhere.
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Old 04-23-2008
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When you are hove-to (that's the past tense of heave-to) you're probably about 40 to 60 degrees off the wind, wandering between the two--at 60 the main fills and heads you back upwind, at 40 the main luffs and the jib is the stronger turning force, and heads you back down to 60, then repeat, repeat. Done properly, the tiller is tied down to leeward and you don't have to touch it. Takes a while to get the sail and tiller position right, but once you do, it's self-steering really. Whether it works well for you in a strong breeze you'll have to find out by experience. Try it in the lighter stuff first.
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Old 04-23-2008
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Take a look at this ...

Here's a video on heaving-to ...

Heaving-To Video

It's even with a boat about your size.

Kurt
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Old 04-23-2008
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Go to google and enter heaving to. You will see a number of items describing it, and some videos.
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Old 04-23-2008
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Wouldn't the proper old English be "hoven-to" ?
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Old 04-23-2008
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Heaving-to does not get him home.
What if the strong winds continue for hours?
Some how you've got to reduce sail area.
If you have a large Genny up, I would get that down first.
If you have a small head sail and your main sail is larger, I would drop the main. Depending on how your boat is set up, accomplishing these things might be rather difficult. Heaving - To is great advise, but your going to have to regain control of the vessel at some point. If the wind continues to blow and your caught on a lee shore, you have got to make head way somehow.

Best advise anybody can give you, try not to let this happen again.
We always say on our boat, too late for that now. We got ourselves into this mess and somehow we have got to get out of it. (funny, we same the same thing in everyday life)

Reduce early, watch for weather patterns, listen to the radio, check your barometer, etc...... I know, I know, easier said than done, and we have all been there. Stuff happens.
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