Heeling is SCARY! - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 61 Old 06-22-2009
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All of the above advice is sound, IMO, but I would also suggest that you get used to 25-30 degrees. That is not excessive heal for most boats, and likely where your CB T22 needs to be to "stiffen up".

Casco Bay is a great and often challenging place to learn to sail. Enjoy!

S/V Gracie
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post #12 of 61 Old 06-22-2009
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Sailing is about fun.

What ever is YOUR confort level is good.

You guessed at you healing angle so that means that there is no device aboard to tell---maybe you were at 40 degrees, who knows, that would be unconfortable.

If the driver feels like it is to much the passangers will to, fear is contages.

Go and have fun and as you do you will gain confidence and if the boat goes over you will find out something else---That is if you can actually get it to go over on its side--- the water is wet and the boat is self righting.

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post #13 of 61 Old 06-22-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, I feel much better about heeling and won't be so scared now - it's really nice to have a place like to to go and get great advice!!!

Rick's right, "fear is contagious" and my goal is to be prepared so that I may be scared but I never want to sail with fear.

Thanks again for all the advice.
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post #14 of 61 Old 06-22-2009
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There are a few different things that might be going through your head when you feel that heeling the boat is undesirable:

1) It's uncomfortable (you discovered that already)
2) It's inefficient (mentioned by previous posters)
3) Maybe the boat will turn over (which is maybe why you're scared)

When I take friends out for the first time in high winds, they inevitably ask, "Is it normal to be leaning over this far?" or something equivalent. I always tell them that it is basically not possible for the wind to capsize the boat. Most keelboats can be heeled more than 90 degrees (i.e. mast in the water) and the ballast will still cause the boat to right itself, like those stand-up punching bags with clowns on them. I just explain how stability in a keelboat works, and my guests go, "Oh... oh, okay." (You have to start worrying once the waves are more than twice your beam in height.)

My guests happy to know that I am confident that it will not be a problem, even if they're still a little scared

So that's for your edification. Let your wife know that heeling is perfectly safe. Explain to her that, for reasons mentioned in other posts, it's still not what you want to be doing if you can avoid it.

s/v Laelia - 1978 Pearson 365 ketch
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post #15 of 61 Old 06-22-2009
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IF the boat is heeling that much, it isn't being sailed properly. Keeping the crew on a boat comfortable is important, even when racing, and keeping the boat reasonably flat, so that it can sail efficiently, is part of doing that.

How much easier is it for the crew to function when the boat is only at 10-15˚ of heel, compared to 20˚+, since the crew won't be able to concentrate on their tasks if they're holding on for dear life.


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post #16 of 61 Old 06-23-2009
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20+ degrees is pretty far, I'm not surprised she was a bit scared on one of her first trips..

Putting a reef in is great.. we usually sail in 10-15knts and with the main sheeted in tight we can get 25degrees of heel.. put a reef in, in the same conditions 5-10degrees.. I often put a reef in when there's girls on the boat.. when it's just a couple of guys we put on the gloves and see how far we can get her over !!

On a seperate note, I asked an experienced racer if you could sheet out the main so far as to keep the boat upright in any reasonable conditions.. he said, "of course, but one day your knut$ will drop, and you'll WANT to go fast" needless to say when the wife is on the boat I let the main WAY out, she has more fun.. and it's boring to go by yourself..

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post #17 of 61 Old 06-23-2009
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My two cents

First, let me say I'm sorry to hear your wife had a bad experience with a previous captain. It'll likely take some time sailing before you both are able to overcome it.

Secondly, I'm not familiar with the characteristics of your boat. Most keel boats will self-right no matter what you do to them. Center-boards may not. You should probably check a reliable source or two for specifics on your boat. In any case, I have no doubt it would take some extreme sailing to lay the boat flat.

I've heard sailboats are most efficient on a tack with about 15-degrees of heel. 20-degrees is actually not bad, although you're likely to be overpowering the boat a bit at this point. On the boats I've sailed (not many), the rail didn't start getting wet until around 45-degrees. Past 45-degrees, the boats were just so inefficient, the crew so uncomfortable, the boat so unnecessarily stressed, that sailing was a chore instead of fun.

So, to answer your question...20-degrees of heel is not really that much; but is at or near the point when you should consider flattening the sails, easing the sheets a bit, and/or reefing.

As far as the yelling captain goes... That's not me! If you're always yelling at people, when will they know when things are seriously going bad?...or when they've got to do something right NOW!? Asking your crew, instead of ordering them, goes a long way...and makes for a much more relaxed atmosphere where everyone can have a good time.

Hope you start getting better weather.

Skipper, J/36 "Zero Tolerance"
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post #18 of 61 Old 06-23-2009
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Originally Posted by SEMIJim View Post
Here's the deal on a sailboat: Unless it's just a "dinner cruise": Failure to heed the captain could result in damage, injury or even death. (I exempt "dinner cruises" from that because, well, things are usually pretty light and laid-back on such.) In racing: Failure to heed the captain can result in losing, damage (very easily!), injury or even death.

Captains can be bossy because captains need to be bossy.

I agree 100% with the fact that there are safety issues at hand and that there has to be one person in command. I disagree however with your statement that a captain needs to be bossy.

First, a bit of background. I am a Captain for a major international airline. I also used to teach something called Cockpit Resource Management for the airline, a course for airline crews which teaches, amongst other things, leadership and command skills.

One of the things that many accident investigations and much research in human factors found is that a captain who is overly "bossy" or dictatorial in style actually sets up an adversarial relationship with his/her crew which results in a net loss of safety as the crew starts either tuning him/her out or they actually act in passive/agressive ways to thwart the captain's authority. It is human nature. And this is with well-paid professional crews, so imagine what happens with an amateur sailboat crew. Furthermore, captains with this type of leadership style are often further ineffective because they tend to think they are always right and not listen to crewmember input, resulting in less information with which to make important decisions. Lastly, these types of captains are usually this way for a reason, the most common being their own lack of confidence, which is overcompensated for with an overbearing and bossy approach to leadership.

A good captain will always brief the crew about his "style" and what he expects of them, as well as explain the reasons before leaving the dock. He will explain that in a pure safety/risk of injury situation he may have to issue commands in a quick manner that MUST be complied with immediately. He will also recognize that everyone, including the newest most unexperienced crewmember, may have valuable information to contribute and will let them all know this and that he truly wants them to speak up if they see or hear something that they think is not right (Its WHAT is right, not WHO is right, as any crewmember may see something the captain does not, such as a submerged piling). When a crewmember errs, a good captain will not get mad at that person or belittle them, as some captains do. By doing that he/she loses that person as an effective crewmember (they get an F... you attitude), but rather will use the error as a tool to effectively critique and teach a new skill or correct way of doing something.

Crewmembers, by the same token, do need to recognize that the captain has the final word and authority on the boat, and that with that comes responsibility for the safety of the boat and its crew. They need to recognize the hierarchy of command, and why it is necessary. Each and every time I fly, or go out on my boat, with new crew, I make sure they all understand all these things. I make sure they also know that I am not infallible, and that I want them to speak up and not just assume I know everything that is going on. I let them know their input is valuable. Other than raising my voice to be heard over the wind or to yell "DUCK" to an inattentive crew about to get hit with the boom, there is never a time when I would need to raise my voice or yell at anyone on the boat. When I hear a captain yelling at his/her crew, whether it be a professional crew or a spouse, I always think they must be very insecure to have to do that and I am thankful that I am not on their boat.

Just my 2 cents on that matter.

As for heeling, you get used to it, but I recommend staying within your comfort level with small excursions outside your comfort level a little at a time to increase your "envelope" of comfort. Knowing your limitations and your crew/passengers comfort levels is part of being a good captain. Reef early if in doubt, it can never hurt you.

S/V Liberty
1980 Morgan 461

Last edited by tausap; 06-23-2009 at 06:51 AM.
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post #19 of 61 Old 06-23-2009
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Ah ha - A T22! I love it.

Pasa Tiempo was our first sailboat - a 1972 Tanzer 22 - #117. We could sit in the cockpit, let it all out and watch the water come half way up the windows down below.

Then we (me - I am the slow one) discovered that

1 - I really much prefer Linda on board with me
2 - Linda does not like our boat over on her side
3 - The destination and trip is much more important than the ETA
4 - Easing out on the main makes a lot of difference in boat comfort
5 - Easing out on the main did not make a lot of difference in speed

Linda is now still on board as my best friend and best sailing mate. We just did 1002 nautical miles up from MD and we had three days that she did not like. All three - she knew we were in no danger, she knew that as soon as we got to the destination (Sandyhook, Gloucester and Portsmith) it would all be OK. And it was.

How many days in the 35 day trip did we sail with Mystery on her side - zero.

If you have lots of ladies to sail with - sail the boat anyway you like.

However, if you have one special person you really love being with - sail it the way she likes. You can always join somebody on a Melges or J boat for Wednesday night beer can racing.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Rik and Linda
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trip blog at: Mystery - the Trip Home
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post #20 of 61 Old 06-24-2009
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Its all been covered here

Reef early. If I remember correct the T22 is a tender boat, so if you are not wanting to push it and race reef early.

I do not agree with letting her hold the mainsheet it may be too hard to release in a big gust and if she is unable to release it, she may loose confidence in sailing and the boat.

Do not take a newby racing, unless they are an adrenaline seeker, and like working in a hostile, chaotic environment. It is overwhelming and uncomfortable to the average person and there is too much going on to learn much and too many opportunities for a negative experience. Or at least find the least competitive boat in the fleet, that does not yell. There are boats that are not competive and still yell like crazy. It gives the rest of the fleet a good laugh.

My first official date with my fiance was as rail meat on the boat I raced on back then. She likes sailing but hated the way people barked orders of where and how to sit. We went racing again recently and she was bored when the conditions were moderate and talked about how cool it was when the microburst hit and the boat was on it's ear.

There was a local women's only sailing seminar in town here and I signed her up. She sat through a class that covered some theory then spent a couple of hours in a Cat22 with a women who had spent months cruising the Puget Sound with her huband then decided to build their onw steel boat. She was allowed to helm the boat and make decisions on when to tack and such and came back with a new love for sailing. So much so when I found a boat for sale she was enthusiastic abouth the plan.

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