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Old 05-16-2011
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Rounding Up - sail trim advice?

Hi all,

I am puzzled on what I could have done better and I would appreciate some salty or expert insight. We had a beautiful day with a good breeze and solid crew but we were rounding up frequently beating to a windward mark.

The fearless crew and I were beating to the windward mark, really flying along with a reef in the main, full overlapping jib out, and the main traveller to windward so that we could have the boom on the centerline with the leech open. Telltales nicely trimmed. We were heeled over quite hard (45 degrees plus) but had manageable weather helm (maybe 10-15 degrees tiller offset max).

Basically we were overpowered on a proper beat, so I helmed pinched or lifted which didn't seem to slow us down at all, and gave us a line on the windward mark without tacking. This was all fine and good, except that every couple minutes the wind would be that little bit stronger where we would heel further and round-up - the rudder had no chance of fighting the round-up, so we would round up a bit, then lose some heel and power, and then bear off slightly to a beat again, heel like a demon, and then a lifted beat until the next uptick in breeze rounded us up again. It turned out to be pretty controlled, but just over the edge. We went fast but I felt like I wasn't sailing well and it really bothered me.

This was in a little Catalina Capri 22 keel boat (club boat) in maybe 14-16 knots, maybe a little more. We had main reefed and the vang the outhaul on and the jib cars were almost all the way back.

My thought is that we should have had the main halyard, the outhaul, and the vang on a wee bit harder, and the jib car a couple inches further back, all at their maximum. But would that have been enough to give us control? I would have taken a second reef in the main and don't think I'd have lost speed doing so - the main had only one reef point.

I wonder: were we totally off base to have the main leech open? We had the traveller high, because to point high and have an open the leech, the traveller had to be to windward. There was no backstay adjuster...

We tried furling a little bit of the jib and it really didn't seem to make much difference, or if it did it was offset by increasing wind.

How would a better sailor have trimmed? Thanks in advance

A picture of these boats on a much lighter day here - this is Potrero Reach in SF bay BTW

Capris on a calm day
This picture was too big for the post - so linking to it

Last edited by kulokoo; 05-17-2011 at 01:27 AM. Reason: Linked picture was too large!
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Old 05-17-2011
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Man that pic is friggan huge!
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Old 05-17-2011
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Umm. I dunno. Some observations not knowing the boat. If you were heeling forty five, which I doubt, but is excessive, I suspect the wind was greater than you thought.
A few degrees of weather helm is okay but shows the sail balance is behind the mast. Therefore the force on the jib is less than on the main.
So the issue is then reducing the force on the main. Forget the jib tracks for the moment.
There are three aspects to force on the main. One is draft the second position and the third effective area.
You were overpowered seemingly by a lot which is not that consistent with the wind speed reported.
Your approaches to tackling draft seem fine. Maybe you could flatten it more who knows. You reefed. Ok. You shouldn't probably need to in that windspeed if that is correct. I suspect people often underestimate the size of the reef required. But I doubt that is the issue.
Freeing the leech is another way of lessening sail area in effect (except in light winds) luffing the top part of the sail reducing heeling moment.
There are two things there. Having the traveller to windward increases twist which decreases force high on the sail thus decreasing heeling moment. Dropping the traveller flattens the sail and can have a marked effect even if it tightens the leech, because of decreased heeling moment because the arm of the force is below the centre of buoyancy. This seems odd but can be because the force is above the centre line increasing heel rather above akin to a person sitting to leeward rather than windward except that the forces are opposite , ie sitting down v pulling up. I imagine the nett effect varies from boat to boat depending on sail size etc.
The third aspect is boom position. There are two aspects to consider. Side force and forward force. Having the boom on the centre line increases the sideways force ie heeling.
I have some doubts about this. I prefer forward drive. This is where it all gets interactive.
This may involve letting the main out and luffing on the leading edge. That is treating the main as the balancing sail not the driving sail. I haven't seen an advantage in having the boom quite on the centre line but different boats different folks.
In general terms I think you did very well and have a good grasp of the fundamentals. When marginally overpowered rounding up and heading up in gusts is normal and ok. In fact desirable from a boat design point of view.

Last edited by chris_gee; 05-17-2011 at 02:31 AM.
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Old 05-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kulokoo View Post
Hi all,

I am puzzled on what I could have done better and I would appreciate some salty or expert insight. We had a beautiful day with a good breeze and solid crew but we were rounding up frequently beating to a windward mark.

The fearless crew and I were beating to the windward mark, really flying along with a reef in the main, full overlapping jib out, and the main traveller to windward so that we could have the boom on the centerline with the leech open. Telltales nicely trimmed. We were heeled over quite hard (45 degrees plus) but had manageable weather helm (maybe 10-15 degrees tiller offset max).

Basically we were overpowered on a proper beat, so I helmed pinched or lifted which didn't seem to slow us down at all, and gave us a line on the windward mark without tacking. This was all fine and good, except that every couple minutes the wind would be that little bit stronger where we would heel further and round-up - the rudder had no chance of fighting the round-up, so we would round up a bit, then lose some heel and power, and then bear off slightly to a beat again, heel like a demon, and then a lifted beat until the next uptick in breeze rounded us up again. It turned out to be pretty controlled, but just over the edge. We went fast but I felt like I wasn't sailing well and it really bothered me.

This was in a little Catalina Capri 22 keel boat (club boat) in maybe 14-16 knots, maybe a little more. We had main reefed and the vang the outhaul on and the jib cars were almost all the way back.

My thought is that we should have had the main halyard, the outhaul, and the vang on a wee bit harder, and the jib car a couple inches further back, all at their maximum. But would that have been enough to give us control? I would have taken a second reef in the main and don't think I'd have lost speed doing so - the main had only one reef point.

I wonder: were we totally off base to have the main leech open? We had the traveller high, because to point high and have an open the leech, the traveller had to be to windward. There was no backstay adjuster...

We tried furling a little bit of the jib and it really didn't seem to make much difference, or if it did it was offset by increasing wind.

How would a better sailor have trimmed? Thanks in advance
There's your problem right there...

Forget the jib. If you are overpowered, the last thing you need is the boom on the centerline. All that does is heel the boat over further, making you round up, and as you discovered, that isn't the fastest way to travel forward.

Next time, in the same conditions, play the traveller - constantly - to keep the boat "on it's feet".

Have fun!
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Last edited by Classic30; 05-17-2011 at 02:50 AM.
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Old 05-17-2011
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Hartley speaks the truth. What he said, is what I do on my Coronado 25.

In a puff, ease the traveller. If you still have too much weather helm or you're still rounding up, then start easing the sheet.

10-15 degrees of weather helm is too much. 45 degrees of heel is too much. You're dragging the rudder through the water like an oar, which slows you down and you're slipping sideways because your keel or centerboard is nearly parallel with the surface of the water.

Our boats are like over-sized dinghys. In a lively breeze, you should be constantly playing the traveller or the sheet to maintain proper trim and keep the boat on it's feet.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
Our boats are like over-sized dinghys. In a lively breeze, you should be constantly playing the traveller or the sheet to maintain proper trim and keep the boat on it's feet.
As I'm learning to sail, this is how I've been controlling heel and avoiding rounding up, by playing the mainsheet and boom position during puffs....or, on a really close haul, pointing just a bit more into the wind during the puffs.

I have yet to do anything with the traveler. I keep it centered. What is the proper use of the traveler? How/when do I use it?

(I don't mean to hijack your thread Hartley, just think it's relevant)
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Old 05-17-2011
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The boom should NEVER be 'above' the centerline when going upwind; OK for the traveller but NEVER the boom. To do so will cause 'reverse flow' and stagnation stalls (drag) along the entire bottom section of the sail .... and will cause a LOT of 'weather helm'.
The boom only goes 'above' the centerline when you need to do an 'emergency stop' or to 'back-up' the boat !!!!!!!

When overpowered and developing/increasing a heavy helm, DROP the traveller until the helm is 'eased' to slightly 'weather helm'.

Here's how to get a 'neutral helm' in normal conditions when using a woven dacron mainsail: How to properly RAISE a woven dacron mainsail - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 05-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeDiver View Post
As I'm learning to sail, this is how I've been controlling heel and avoiding rounding up, by playing the mainsheet and boom position during puffs....or, on a really close haul, pointing just a bit more into the wind during the puffs.

I have yet to do anything with the traveler. I keep it centered. What is the proper use of the traveler? How/when do I use it?

(I don't mean to hijack your thread Hartley, just think it's relevant)

The traveler lets you keep the main pulled down "flat" with the mainsheet, so it keeps its heavy-air "shape", with draft well forward towards the luff and leech more open but not loose, while the traveller allows you to ease out this still-flat sail. Typically better than easing just the mainsheet, since that will give you a baggier shape with too much heel impulsion and too little "drive you ahead and keep you steering" impulsion.

As mentioned, you need to keep your 'blades' (keel, rudder, hull centerline) more vertical, giving you more control with less rudder (less "brake", if you will) and less overall sideslip.

"Flatter is faster", for both sails and hull angle, in a breeze.
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Old 05-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
The traveler lets you keep the main pulled down "flat" with the mainsheet, so it keeps its heavy-air "shape", with draft well forward towards the luff and leech more open but not loose, while the traveller allows you to ease out this still-flat sail. Typically better than easing just the mainsheet, since that will give you a baggier shape with too much heel impulsion and too little "drive you ahead and keep you steering" impulsion.
So, in heavier winds move the traveler leeward and in lighter winds move the traveler windward?
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Old 05-17-2011
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Jah.

In light air, centerline or a little windward, as your leech telltales permit. And halyard/Cunningham eased to move draft from forward to middle of the main, and foot eased a little to deepen the curve overall. Jib leads, which were aft for the windy stuff, back forward.

Last edited by nolatom; 05-17-2011 at 12:39 PM.
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