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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 01-21-2004
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mcgreggor is on a distinguished road
looking for help up wind

I AM A 2 YEAR VETERAN OF THE LAKE SAILING
CROWD,AND I PURCHASED A USED 25 FT MCGREGGOR,
THE RUDDER IS ABOUT 16" WIDE 3 FEET DEEP
THE BACK STAY WIRE IS LOOSE ENOUGHT TO HAVE A 2 " BEND IN THE WIRE THE SCHROUDS AR NOT VERY TIGHT AND THE BOOM IS BOLTED TO THE MAST
SO A VANG IS NOT PRESENT.WE HAVE A DOYLE SPINNIKER,A GENNY ,AND A OLD MAIN (BATTENED)
HERES THE DEAL: WE GO SAILING,THE WIND IS
COMING OVER THE BOAT AT ABOUT 45 DEGREES
FROM THE PORT SIDE ,WELL GREAT BOAT MOVES FINE, NOW COME ABOUT AND SHE MOSTLY SLIPS SIDE WAYS,WHY?(JUST MAIN AND JIB)ALSO TRYING TO GO TO WINDWARD IS A JOKE,WHY?
ANY MCGREGGOR 25 OWNERS OUT THERE,WITH HELP.
I HESITATE TO MESS WITH THE RIGGING.THE BACK STAY IS CONNECTED TO A FLAT BAR THAT WOULD BEND IF A TURNBUCKEL WERE ADDED AND TIGHTENED
WOULD ADDING A BIGGER RUDDER HELP?
OH YEA CRANK DOWN KEEL AND YES ITS ALL THE WAY DOWN.SHE REFUSES TO JIB ,YOU HAVE TO COME ABOUT WHEN THE WIND IS ABOVE 12-15 KNOTS
ANY SUGESTIONS
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2004
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aflanigan is on a distinguished road
looking for help up wind

It''s an interesting conundrum you have. There''s a good amount of info in your message, but perhaps we need more info to diagnose what''s going on.

How does the rudder feel in a breeze? Do you have a lot of lee helm? Neutral? Weather helm?

You say the centerboard is definitely down. Have you had the boat hauled and verified that the board goes all the way down, to the point that the pennant goes slack? Perhaps the CB is hanging up on something partway down.

You say the boat will not gybe, correct? This is odd. How much of the rudder is in the water? Is the rudder a kick up rudder (does it pivot backwards)? Perhaps the boat is front loaded so much there is not enough rudder in the water. This problem may also go back to the question about the balance of sail forces and rudder forces on your boat (lee helm vs. weather helm). It''s hard to imagine being unable to gybe a boat if the main is first sheeted in to center the boom.

What about the condition of the hull (been cleaned lately?) Dragging a propeller or auxiliary motor in the water?

Maybe your best bet would be to ask a more experienced skipper (like a club racer) to come sailing with you to try and find out why your boat won''t handle well.

Allen Flanigan
Alexandria, VA
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Old 01-31-2004
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JeffC_ is on a distinguished road
looking for help up wind

For clarity, when the original poster says <em>she will not jib </em>[sic], I think we can take it to mean with such poor windward performance on the starboard tack, she will not <em>tack</em>, not that she will not gybe.
I owned a small, deck-stepped trailer-sailer, and found that inattention to my tired and stretched standing rigging tension had a significant effect on my boat''s pointing ability when on different tacks, to the point that my boat behaved in the same mysterious way you are describing.
Since this is a deck-stepped mast, my first guess is that the starboard shrouds are allowing the mast to fall off too far to leeward when on a starboard tack. You admit that most of the standing rigging is loose, but are hesitant to snug any wire.<P>Wire stretches over time. Visual judgments ("all the turnbuckles are twisted down halfway to create even tension") can result in a mast that is not perfectly perpendicular to the athwarthips deckline, simply because the length of the shrouds is no longer equal due to wire stretch. Looking solely at turnbuckle adjustments won''t tell you how off center the masthead is.<P>Wire can sometimes stretch to the point that it lengthens more than the adjustment range of the turnbuckle, so that even when twisted down until the threads touch each other inside the barrel, you still have slack rigging. The answer is to shorten the wire so that <u>when the boat is perfectly level</u> the shroud can just be attached comfortably to a completely backed off turnbuckle, thereby giving you the maximum tightening range as you snug the buckle down. The turnbuckle should have wire retainers that prevent the barrel from slowly backing off and loosening the rigging while underway (check the turnbuckles of other boats in your marina so see what they look like and how they attack to the turnbuckle barrel and thread to stop rotation). Re-splicing wire for a boat this size is relatively simple with a bit of education and the proper tools. If the rigging is very old or shows signs of excessive wear (frayed strands, a lot of corrosion, etc.), consider replacing all standing rigging. It''s cheap insurance against a dismasting caused by old rigging. Penny wise, pound foolish…<P>
If your boat is launched from a trailer:<P>Most folks step their masts on the trailer before launching. If so, it''s very easy for the port and starboard upper and lower (if any) shrouds to be adjusted unevenly, esp. if the boat is sitting at a slight angle when on the trailer. A difference in trailer tire pressure, a gently sloping parking lot, a big guy''s weight compressing only one trailer leaf spring, uneven trailer supports or just sliding the boat up on the trailer while heeled can list the boat over enough that adjusting shrouds on the trailer by feel can result in unequal adjustment). After you get the mast sttepped, walk back 100'' or so and look at your boat on the trailer stern-on: compare the level of the boat to the horizon and the angle of the mast to both the boat and to the horizon. You may discover that you could not honestly say that everything is at either 0° or 90°. And all the standing rigging should be re-adjusted after launching, even if everything looked good on the trailer.<P>When finally underway, try making your way up to those loose starboard turnbuckles and giving all the lowers and uppers a snug while you''re on the port tack and they''re dancing loose above the leeward deck (clip yourself in first!), if there is enough adjustment left on them. If not, they definitely need to be shortened or replaced altogether. Normally they will be somewhat loose while to leeward becasue they aren''t "working" at the moment, but they should not be so loose that you can hear the hardware clinking and clanking across swells, and the outer shrouds shouldn''t be so slack that they are swinging around. Adjustment can be done at the dock, b/c your bodyweight will heel you over a bit and slacken the wire of the side you are on, but the effect will be more pronounced if you let the wind do it for you while underway.<P>I''m guessing the reason that there is no turnbuckle on the backstay is that the mast is designed to be attached to the tabernacle with the masthead hanging over the transom and then raised forward. But you certainly have a turnbuckle on the forestay to adjust fore-and-aft tension once the mast is stepped, and out of the factory, the backstay was certainly snugger than it is today. You say the backstay is loose: is that with the forestay tightened all the way down? I wouldn''t be afraid to return the backstay/forestay tension to its design limit. Since this boat has no backstay adjustment, if the backstay and forestay have stretched, the forstay turnbuckle has had to compensate for both stretches, and the mast will be slowly pulled forward from perpendicular over time, which will compromise upwind sailing performance on both tacks. I''d at least add a turnbuckle to the backstay (don''t forget to shorten the backstay to compensate for the extra length of the turnbuckle) to pull the mast back to perpendicular, and would consider the cost of a backstay tensioner (in place of that new turnbuckle) to quickly adjust rigging tension for better upwind and downwind performance. On a boat this size, get the lever-operated model, not the wheel-screw operated model. But this is a minor detail; I''m sure you''d be happy to restore the orignal performance.<P>Unless the rudder or its hardware (pintles and gudgeons) has been damaged somehow, it should be fine. And if it were the swingkeel, performance would be affected on both tacks, now wouldn''t it, so I don''t think this is the problem.<P>The way the boat is loaded can have an effect on both apparent rigging tension (boat is launched and heeling slightly at the dock due to unequal weight distribution), but on small trailerable boats this is usually not significant and can be "shaken out" with underway rigging re-adjustments described above. More noticeable is how the weight of fuel, water, ice chest, ground tackle and a big outboard motor all on the port side can can affect heeling, and therefore performance, on the starboard tack (wind crossing the boat from the starboard side), when all that weight is low and not counteracting heel like it is on the port tack when it is high. A little thought about how you''re distributing the overall weight could be insightful.<P>
Hope this is helpful. I think you just have tired, loose wire which is affecting mast geometry.

Jeff C
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  #4  
Old 02-01-2004
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Sailormon6 will become famous soon enough
looking for help up wind

When I hear a relatively new sailor complain that the boat won''t sail to windward, my first thought is that the sails are not trimmed correctly. It is good to adjust your standing rigging correctly, but I''ve never seen a sailboat whose rig was so far out of adjustment that it was mechanically incapable of sailing to windward. If you are dragging seaweed on your rudder or keel, or have something else causing drag, that certainly could prevent the boat from going to windward, and you should check for that possibility, but it is probably not the cause.

I watched my son the first time he learned to sail a dinghy. He sailed downwind at first, because it was easy to do. But, when he got close to the lee shore, he had to turn around and beat to windward. The boat speeded up and it began to heel, and it scared him, so, he was afraid to trim the sail in close to the centerline of the boat, because he felt that would make the boat go even faster and heel even more. But, if you don''t trim the sails correctly, a sailboat can''t beat to windward. If the mainsail is not pulled in close enough to the centerline of the boat, and if the jib is not sheeted in until it is fairly flat, the boat will not sail close to the wind.

Try sheeting in the mainsail until the boom is close to the centerline of the boat. Then trim in the jibsheet until the jib is about 6-8 inches from the mast spreader. If the boat heels excessively when you trim the sails that way, then put up a smaller jib, and reef the mainsail. If you have the correct amount of sail area raised, the boat won''t heel excessively, and if the sails are trimmed correctly, the boat will sail to windward.

Trimming the sails in that way should also help the boat tack. I think the reason why it won''t tack across the wind is because you are trimming the sails very loosely, and, when you try to tack, the sails stop driving too early, and the boat doesn''t have enough speed to enable it to continue coasting until the bow crosses the wind. Remember, when you tack and the sails are fluttering loosely, they are not driving the boat, and you have to have enough speed to enable the boat to coast until the wind can catch the sails on the other side and start driving again.
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Old 02-04-2004
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Bawgy is on a distinguished road
looking for help up wind

Hello . I am a new sailor and will be out on my 24 Venture (Macgregor) this weekend if you want to come sail . I think we may be able to figure it out with all the good advice from this BB . I Have learned alot from this BB and Thank all who participate . I will be pulling my boat this weekend for a lot of restoration
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Old 02-15-2004
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BigRed56 is on a distinguished road
looking for help up wind

Ahoy matey I agree with Jeff but here''s what you do. Lay flat on de cabin top as close to the mast as possible and while sailing take a picture of your mast under load on each tack.You ought to have some comprehension of the mast bend and mast rake and with both tacks photographed you should have a nice comparision. Second while sailing take a line weighted in the center say 10 pounds, foward , and drag back under yer boat to check if the board is down and how much line it takes to clear ought to tell you how far. Of course you''ll need some help for both of these tests and I firmly reccomend well endowed buck naked young women for this purpose. (distracts those pesky on lookers from your antics ).The board may retract and drop just fine out of the water but under load it my be jamming. If you have rudder concerns (Total area/depth) bolt a couple of pieces of plywood over it and see if it helps. As far as loose rigging there should not be any. If you can''t hear middle "C" you ain''t even close.
I suspect you have a trio of problems all adding up to the poor sailing you describe or possibly your snagged on the Edmond Fitgerald. Pirate of Pine Island.
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