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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  • 1 Post By bobmcgov
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Old 07-29-2010
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I am not overpressed with sail

Went out singlehanding again last night from White Rocks Marina in Rock Creek, outside Baltimore, MD. Last week when I did this the winds got up gusting to 20, and I struggled to control the weather helm and deal with the sail trim.

This time I went out with a Cajun tiller tender (a flat 4' bungee cord I stretched across the cockpit) and winch handles to hand. I also made sure the backstay tension was off a bit from last time. The wind got up again, amazingly, though not so bad -- only gusts to 18 kt instead of 20.

It was quite a difference. Being able to leave the tiller and not have the boat fly up into the wind was a great improvement, and being able to winch that genoa in when necessary was just what the doctor ordered.

One question: it seemed that by oversheeting the genoa just a bit helped cut the weather helm by quite a bit. Could this be due to spoiling the air flow and making the foresail more resistant to the wind, pulling the center of force more forward? I did quite a bit of close reaching/hauling, and it really seemed to help.

All in all a much nicer ride. I got some nice photos too, of the sunset and a boat in the distance, and a much closer photo of one of the racers heading back into the creek. I'll get 'em posted this evening.
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Old 07-29-2010
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Caution: 'oversheeting' a big genoa, will induce MORE forestay sag, which will cause the draft in the genoa to 'go aft' and will also tend to cause the leech to become 'hooked up to weather'. Too much sheet tension will cause a genoa/jib to become 'very mishapen'.

Better to use a 'barberhauler' which pulls in the clew perpendicular to the boat's centerline than to put 'gorilla tension' on a jib sheet and drastically change the jib/genoa's shape. But.... the higher the wind strength, the further AWAY the jib/genoa has to be from the mainsail.
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Old 07-29-2010
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Remember, I said "slightly oversheeting." As in an extra half-turn on the winch beyond normal trim. No "gorilla tension" was involved.

So, are you saying that the apparent reduction of weather helm was not caused by the slight oversheeting? What is the theory behind your statement "the higher the wind strength, the further AWAY the jib/genoa has to be from the mainsail"?

Not calling you out on it, but I'm just wondering what the physics of the thing are.
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Old 07-29-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
Caution: 'oversheeting' a big genoa, will induce MORE forestay sag, which will cause the draft in the genoa to 'go aft' and will also tend to cause the leech to become 'hooked up to weather'. Too much sheet tension will cause a genoa/jib to become 'very mishapen'.

Better to use a 'barberhauler' which pulls in the clew perpendicular to the boat's centerline than to put 'gorilla tension' on a jib sheet and drastically change the jib/genoa's shape. But.... the higher the wind strength, the further AWAY the jib/genoa has to be from the mainsail.
Barberhauling is very effective in heavy air but I think you mean "pull the clew AWAY from the centerline" (or outboard). I think the only situation in which you'd want to barberhaul the clew in board would be in lighter air and flat water when you need to point higher.
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All depends on the beam dimensions of the boat... and if the angle that the clew makes with the boats centerline is somewhere near 10 degrees. On narrow boats obviously you need to let the barberhauler go 'out' but on beamy boats the barberhauler normally 'come in'. ..... and the 'usual' in or out typically will be at ~10° away from the centerline from the tack point.
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Old 07-29-2010
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Oh yeah -- I wuz going to post a photo of our El Cheapo tiller lock. Here it is: simply a notched piece of plastic loosely screwed at the front and tightened by a knob at the rear. Thru the V notch runs a grippy length of 1/4" line that is tied to the stern cleats. Ta da.



Works amazingly well.

Oversheeting the genoa: it would tend to increase the sideforce on the sail, pushing the nose off the wind. So yes, it should counteract weather helm. Next time out, try the converse relationship, keeping the genny at ideal trim while undersheeting the main slightly. We often sail the Bucc18 with the mainsail luff 'soft' for several feet. This is SOP on that boat, which has wicked weather helm & few depowering options. It's also a way to stabilize the boat when you need to go forward: the basis of heaving to is an oversheeted (generally backed) headsail and an undersheeted main.

The comment about keeping the slot open in heavy air is a good one, but not especially germaine to your helm issues. Cheers!
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Old 07-29-2010
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Thanks, I'll try that next time I'm out in similar conditions.

The tiller tamer looks good. I'll see about making one like it for my boat.
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Old 07-30-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
Oh yeah -- I wuz going to post a photo of our El Cheapo tiller lock. Here it is: simply a notched piece of plastic loosely screwed at the front and tightened by a knob at the rear. Thru the V notch runs a grippy length of 1/4" line that is tied to the stern cleats. Ta da.
I use more or less the same setup, except I splurged the 20 bucks for the mass-produced version. (Don't bother. Bob's probably works better and is certainly more durable.)

I have never sailed any other way than single hand, so that little guy has been pretty necessary for me. In fact, I was just thinking today that I may have developed some bad habits as far as letting go of the tiller while tacking is concerned. Do you guys worry about that?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
We often sail the Bucc18 with the mainsail luff 'soft' for several feet.
Is this what you call it when you ease the main and get a big, backwinded bubble in the forward third or so?

The other day I was in ~18mph or so and hadn't reefed, and doing that seemed to be giving me a good ride. I was concerned it was making me look like a dope, though, so I hove to and reefed before long. ;-)
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Originally Posted by lydanynom View Post
Is this what you call it when you ease the main and get a big, backwinded bubble in the forward third or so?

The other day I was in ~18mph or so and hadn't reefed, and doing that seemed to be giving me a good ride. I was concerned it was making me look like a dope, though, so I hove to and reefed before long. ;-)
No dope. It is also called a "fisherman's reef", because it's easier for a busy, shorthanded crew to sail with a soft (not flogging!) main than to reef while standing up to your hips in a pile of dead cod.

Downside is that your main is already depowered, so there's no easy way to shed additional heeling force. If the breeze is gonna stay high for a while, I believe it's worth putting in a proper reef, flattening the main, and reserving the option of a cracked mainsheet for further gusts.

Buccs (normally) don't have reefing or backstays or travelers, so undertrimming the main is the only way to keep em upright and moving.

If the bubble shows up when you don't want it to, and it doesn't go away even when you center the boom, it prolly means your slot is too tight for the windspeed and you need some twist in the jib.
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