Racing vs Cruising boat control - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 05-24-2010
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Racing vs Cruising boat control

For those of you who sail your boat like a cruiser (set and forget), how much do you have your hands on the traveler, mainsheet, etc to keep things under control in puffs?

On my boat (a Catalina 22), I can have the proper amount of sail up for 95% of the day, but, the other 5% may include some big puffs, that if I don't ease the sheet, the boat will round up quickly.

Obviously, this is directed toward those who are sailing in conditions that are highly variable.
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Old 05-24-2010
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I also have a C22. I usually enjoy adjusting the sails constantly, because it makes you go faster- and limiting the heeling angle makes the passengers more comfortable.

That said, it's not necessary. Even if the C22 gets knocked down, or rounds up it will stand back up and keep sailing
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Old 05-24-2010
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Probably the only tangible difference in how we sail while racing vs cruising is the decision whether or not to fly the spinnaker... while cruising there's a lower top end wind threshold, and it's often based on how energetic I feel.

Otherwise, it's trim and ease as required, to the occasional exasperation of my first mate as she tries to relax and read.....
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Old 05-25-2010
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It all depends on the day, the crew, and where I going. If the gusts are intermittant and rare, and I am not going anywhere in particular, or if I have a skittish crew, I will feather up as much as I need to keep the boat moving well and on her feet. If I am heading some where or big gusts are cycling through, I will play the backstay and traveler in the gusts.

On small boats, having the mainsheet handy is a part of sailing safely on gusty days.

Jeff
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Old 05-25-2010
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Mostly depends on the sail, and who is onboard... When I've got another experienced person onboard, I usualy try to have the sails trimmed at least every 5-10 minutes, sooner if conditions or course changes.

If it's just me and my girlfriend, and we're just out for a long lap out and back with no schedule to keep, I'll watch the main, and if I hear the jib luff I'll go forward and check the trim, other than that, unless conditions or course changes require action sooner I will go ~30 minutes between checking the sail trim on lazy cruises...

As for the main sheet, it's just a arms length from the tiller should a big gust come in and start to round her up (usually takes a gust about 1.5-2x the average wind speed that the sails are trimmed for to cause her to round up, so it's not often a problem)
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Old 05-25-2010
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Only difference for me is how much junk I have below decks. Some people look at you funny when you ask for a little more jib halyard, good crew just do it. I look at sailing as the reason I go sailing. I don't go sailing to read, or drink beer, or get a tan. I go to sail.
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Old 05-25-2010
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I'm just not a "set and forget" kind of guy. I don't usually play with the traveller all that much, but I'm constantly on the sheets.
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Old 05-25-2010
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Keeping a hand on the mainsheet and not cleating it off in gusty conditions is really key.
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Old 05-25-2010
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Very mood-dependent for me... but when I'm at the helm, I always have a hand on the mainsheet, and my crew are instructed to do the same when they're at the helm. On a longer trip, part of the joy of my day is tweaking sails, but only part of the joy. Another big part is knowing the boat and crew can tend to themselves for a while... very liberating feeling
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Old 05-26-2010
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Game On.......

I own a PHRF club racer. It's a performance oriented boat, so my goal is to maximize the performance that I can get out of it every time I sail. My goal is to always catch the boat, that is on the same tack as me, in front of me and not get caught by any from behind.

I usually let someone else drive and I work the sails. That being said, I don't constantly tweak the sails for every little puff or lull. If I am driving, I will adjust the main as needed, but leave the jib/genoa adjust to someone else. I will instruct them what to do, if they they don't know.

I make it sound more anal than it really is. Basically we set a course and we steer to it as best we can. If the tell tales aren't flying back, we tweak the sails until they do. I can do it all myself if need be and guests can just enjoy the ride.

DrB
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