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Old 07-04-2009
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First Sail on my own boat - Observations and questions

All I can say is that I had a blast. My boat is a 25 C&C and I am fairly green as far as sailing goes. I have sailed on other people's boats for the past few years and taken a few sailing courses along the way as well as read every book I can get my hands on.... however none of that really prepared me for actually being responsible for my own boat out on the water yesterday.

We got underway from Flag Harbor Marina in St. Leonard around 9:30am with NW winds at 10-12kts gusting to 18-20kts at times later in the afternoon. Early in the day we took a northerly line (close hauled and close reach) which produced some great speed and a lot of fun. After going north on the bay for approximately 8 Ntmiles we headed back south. with the wind to our backs in a broad reach. Nice going it was too. We passed our home port at approximately 2pm and decided to stay out a little longer and possibly make Cove Point which is just north of Solomons Island, MD. However, after sailing just a few more miles past the marina we decided to cut it short and turn around and head back north, since we were going to try to make a cookout and fireworks later in the evening and didn't want to be rushed to get back in. (its a good thing we turned when we did)

Well this is when things got interesting and I got very nervous on my first trip out in my own boat. After we turned back towards the north it only seemed like we had a couple options since the wind was coming at us from the NW. We could head almost directly west which would only take us toward shore and not north as we needed to go, or to head north easterly again but that would have taken us back deep into the bay and further from land that we wanted. We turned the boat north and tried to stay as close hauled as possible to stay close to the western shore of the bay and closer to home. The winds were picking up now to around 13-15 and gusting to 18-20 and the wave action coming from the north was slowing us way down and it seemed like we just could not make any headway what so ever. Also I became more concerned when several times I would get the boat heading a northerly again on a close hauled line and the bow of the boat would come back through the eye of the wind and we would have to make a full circle to regain our line. We tried a number of sail trims but the boat would continue to either drive harder and heel over around 30-35 degrees until I let up on the tiller and came back to the wind or on other cases she would want to come back around and we do another donut. I know we were doing something wrong out there and in the worsening conditions it became a real concern. Since we were only a mile or two from home port and the chop and wind had picked up so much, I decided to drop sail and motor in. Even with the sails down the 9.9 motor took an hour to get us back to port.

So, today I am pouring back over all my books and trying to see what I did wrong and how to fix this in the future. One thing I won't do next time is when I have the winds coming from the North West, and getting stronger, I will not pass to the south of my marina, therefore I won't have to fight the wind to get back into port. Also, I think we may have been coming about too slow instead of just turning the tiller hard and let the jib come over quickly. I also have to learn more about my mainsail trim and sheets. I tried moving the main sheets along the traveler from port to starboard and then centered many times trying to find the optimum place during different tacks and I just couldn't find the right trim for the conditions. So I think I need to get someone down there to look at the rigging for my mainsail and show me what I'm doing wrong there too.

All in all I learned so much today that I didn't learn while sailing on someone Else's boat. I also learned that you tend to worry more as the boat owner/skipper than if you are riding shotgun on someone Else's boat.
I had a blast and want to get back out there again. Oh I almost forgot to say... Yes heeling over is scary! I read the other post and I couldn't agree more at this stage in my learning. I can still feel the boat tossing as I type this thread.

Here is a clip before things got a little hairy. My friend Mark at the tiller.

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Old 07-04-2009
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Don't know that you did anything wrong, but you're going to make a very good sailor. I'd go with you. And I won't go with a lot of people.
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Old 07-04-2009
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Sounds like a great day of sailing! In general if you are day sailing, you want to sail up wind at first. This gives you lots options. If you are down wind from your home port, your only option is to beat into the wind, or fire up your engine.

As others have mentioned in the Chesapeake threads, there is some current in the Patuxent. You might want to take that into consideration when planning your sails. You can find some useful current information at Current Station Locations and Ranges
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Old 07-04-2009
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Sounds like a good first day out.

Sounds like a fun sail. Also sounds like you were overpowered when the wind picked up. As the wind picks up you can do some tweaking of controls to compensate some, but nothing is as affective as putting up a smaller headsail or reefing the main. Either of these would ease the healing, maybe the weather helm and actually make the boat go faster. You may want to practice this a few times when it is calm. Not so easy to do your first time when it is blowing hard. Sounds like you had a current as well. I which I had a boat to celebrate the 4th on.
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Old 07-04-2009
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Same story

We had a similar story over the Memorial Day weekend. A thunderstorm came up quick from a clear sunny sky and we needed to head into it to get to the marina. It got a bit choppy before I could reef the main comfortably (when you think you should reef, you probably should) so I reeled in most of my jib (roller furling) and then pulled my boom vang tight to hopefully spill some air from the main.

I cranked up the outboard to give us a little more push. We made it back in finally but had a few waves over the bow and I got pretty soaked in the cockpit. My wife went below and I put on my pfd. Although I wasn't to the point of fear, I was concerned. I was running out of sea room but tried to keep tacking to the minimum. We did a couple of donuts too

Because of the waves, I didnt feel comfortable going up to the mast to reef.
I suppose I could have dropped the main and anchored but the waves would have also made that difficult. It worked out ok but next time I will probably be more careful about reefing when there are storms in the area.


Quote:
Originally Posted by donhaller View Post
All I can say is that I had a blast. My boat is a 25 C&C and I am fairly green as far as sailing goes. I have sailed on other people's boats for the past few years and taken a few sailing courses along the way as well as read every book I can get my hands on.... however none of that really prepared me for actually being responsible for my own boat out on the water yesterday.

We got underway from Flag Harbor Marina in St. Leonard around 9:30am with NW winds at 10-12kts gusting to 18-20kts at times later in the afternoon. Early in the day we took a northerly line (close hauled and close reach) which produced some great speed and a lot of fun. After going north on the bay for approximately 8 Ntmiles we headed back south. with the wind to our backs in a broad reach. Nice going it was too. We passed our home port at approximately 2pm and decided to stay out a little longer and possibly make Cove Point which is just north of Solomons Island, MD. However, after sailing just a few more miles past the marina we decided to cut it short and turn around and head back north, since we were going to try to make a cookout and fireworks later in the evening and didn't want to be rushed to get back in. (its a good thing we turned when we did)

Well this is when things got interesting and I got very nervous on my first trip out in my own boat. After we turned back towards the north it only seemed like we had a couple options since the wind was coming at us from the NW. We could head almost directly west which would only take us toward shore and not north as we needed to go, or to head north easterly again but that would have taken us back deep into the bay and further from land that we wanted. We turned the boat north and tried to stay as close hauled as possible to stay close to the western shore of the bay and closer to home. The winds were picking up now to around 13-15 and gusting to 18-20 and the wave action coming from the north was slowing us way down and it seemed like we just could not make any headway what so ever. Also I became more concerned when several times I would get the boat heading a northerly again on a close hauled line and the bow of the boat would come back through the eye of the wind and we would have to make a full circle to regain our line. We tried a number of sail trims but the boat would continue to either drive harder and heel over around 30-35 degrees until I let up on the tiller and came back to the wind or on other cases she would want to come back around and we do another donut. I know we were doing something wrong out there and in the worsening conditions it became a real concern. Since we were only a mile or two from home port and the chop and wind had picked up so much, I decided to drop sail and motor in. Even with the sails down the 9.9 motor took an hour to get us back to port.

So, today I am pouring back over all my books and trying to see what I did wrong and how to fix this in the future. One thing I won't do next time is when I have the winds coming from the North West, and getting stronger, I will not pass to the south of my marina, therefore I won't have to fight the wind to get back into port. Also, I think we may have been coming about too slow instead of just turning the tiller hard and let the jib come over quickly. I also have to learn more about my mainsail trim and sheets. I tried moving the main sheets along the traveler from port to starboard and then centered many times trying to find the optimum place during different tacks and I just couldn't find the right trim for the conditions. So I think I need to get someone down there to look at the rigging for my mainsail and show me what I'm doing wrong there too.

All in all I learned so much today that I didn't learn while sailing on someone Else's boat. I also learned that you tend to worry more as the boat owner/skipper than if you are riding shotgun on someone Else's boat.
I had a blast and want to get back out there again. Oh I almost forgot to say... Yes heeling over is scary! I read the other post and I couldn't agree more at this stage in my learning. I can still feel the boat tossing as I type this thread.

Here is a clip before things got a little hairy. My friend Mark at the tiller.

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Old 07-04-2009
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Yup, sounds familiar. I had a friend at the helm while I carefully inched to the foredeck to drop the jib (hank on foresail). With it dropped and lashed I came back and grabbed on the mast tightly and let the mainsail down. I just happened to have a coil of line handy lashed to the boom which I used to quickly lash the main to the boom. We had some water over the bow and rails but mostly just spray. In retrospect it could have been a lot worse than it was, but I think for my virgin sail I was just a little nervous. I think with a few more of those under my belt I'll be more confident.

The most heel I saw on the "pucker meter" was 30 degrees, but my friend Mark said he saw 35. We figured anything beyond 35 or 40 should be notated on the Clinometer as "YF" meaning "Your ______ (expletive)".
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Old 07-05-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donhaller View Post
Also I became more concerned when several times I would get the boat heading a northerly again on a close hauled line and the bow of the boat would come back through the eye of the wind ...
It sounds like you were over-powered, and the rudder couldn't keep her from rounding up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donhaller View Post
I also have to learn more about my mainsail trim and sheets. I tried moving the main sheets along the traveler from port to starboard and then centered many times trying to find the optimum place during different tacks and I just couldn't find the right trim for the conditions. So I think I need to get someone down there to look at the rigging for my mainsail and show me what I'm doing wrong there too.
Pick up a copy of Ivar Dedekam's Sail and Rig Tuning. Very good book with lots of pictures .

What you wanted to do, in your case, being over-powered, and having a traveler, was: Mainsheet, outhaul and halyard trimmed as hard as possible, to flatten the sail and get the draft as far forward as possible, then let the traveler off to leeward a bit to dump air. You could've also eased the jib a touch to de-power it, too.

Jim
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Old 07-05-2009
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Great first trip. You will learn from every experience. It sounds as though you were overpowered with too much sail area up.

You have two options.

Reef the main which you probably should practice doing in calmer winds or even at the dock till you can get that done effortless. Remember if you are thinking of reefing,,it is proably time to. Reef early. Quite it is quicker to sail upwind in shortened tacks against strong winds then motor head on into the wind and waves (chop). You will face the perpedicular face of the wave which will stop or slow you down when heading directly into the wind. Sometimes its even better to motor the same way.

Secondly if you have two headsails and you see the wind picking up it is prudent to use the smaller on. A furler will allow you to shorten the jib sail without changing sails although you lose some pointing ability as the furler sjortens the leech as it furls inward.

You will get better with experience amd time on the water. Congrats on your new boat. Maybe we will see you sometime on the water this summer. We have had our C&C for 15 years.

Dave
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Old 07-05-2009
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looking at your video clip, I didn't see any reefing points on your Main.
Did I miss them, or don't you have any?

If not, you might like to contact your nearest sailmaker to have them added.
It certainly gives you a powerful tool to reduce heel when overpowered, and as has been said earlier, you can actually find that you end up sailing faster!

Every boat has different heeling characteristics, but most small boats end up slipping to leeward when heeled hard over, and the rudder being half out of the water naturally doesn't help!

The last boat I bought, we had arranged for the owner to take me for a test sail, and the breeze was gusting in the low twenties. We put a reef in the main, hanked on the no. 3 jib, and she flew along without much of a heel.

If you take time to practice on days when you don't need to reef, you will be able to quickly develop the skill of reefing under way.
This ability will give you a great deal of confidence.
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Old 07-05-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naughtylus View Post
looking at your video clip, I didn't see any reefing points on your Main.
Did I miss them, or don't you have any?
My boat utilizes a roller reefing system which you actually roll the sail around the boom. Last fall I sent all the sails to a good sailmaker here near Annapolis to have them checked out and identified for me. (I'm a sail newbie)

I had two main sails one which was the original 35 year old sail and it was unusable. However, the other main sail is in good condition and has another year or two in it, although it is about 18 inches short on both P and J dimensions. I considered reefing and probably should have, but by that time I decided conditions were not going to get better any sooner and I decided to drop both of them and motor. Another day I will reef and ride.
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Last edited by donhaller; 07-05-2009 at 08:07 AM.
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