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post #11 of 20 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: handling gusts

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Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
In almost all winds, when sailing closehauled, I follow the wind in steering the boat. Whether lifted or headed, or in gusts or lulls, I steer the boat so as to keep the sails in trim and the telltales streaming. The only exception is in an overpowering gust. When a gust is so strong as to be overpowering, then I pinch to windward slightly, because, even though the sails might be fluttering out of trim slightly, it is more important to keep the boat on it's feet than to keep the sails driving at full power.
Please help me understand this tearm pinch? I have heard it used lots but not sure its meaning? is it likt jeading and sheeting everthing in tight? "Close and you can" to the wind with out luffing?
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post #12 of 20 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: handling gusts

Pinching - it's sailing higher than close hauled. Inertia keeps you going for a while, but it is not something you can maintain, except for falling off to close hauled and then pinching, and then falling off a bit, and pinching again and so on.

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post #13 of 20 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: handling gusts

Pinching is heading up so the tell tails on your sail are lifted and the luff goes soft, maybe even luffs a bit, but not the rest of the sail.

There seems to be some confusion from previous posts. When sailing close hauled and a gust hits, it's an apparent LIFT not a header.

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post #14 of 20 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: handling gusts

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Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
Technically correct advice since increase in wind speed tends to move the apparent wind direction forward ( a "header") but in practice I prefer to head up as you do, keeping her "on her feet" is faster than excessive heel.

Edit: Wait, i was flat wrong above. the puff will seem like a Lift since your existing forward speed won't pull it forward as much as it did the pre-gust wind. So the apparent wind vector initially moves aft, a lift. (then, as you accellerate, you pull the apparent wind forward so you can bear off a little after the initial head-up, and then bear off more as the wind eases but your boatspeed is still higher from the puff.

I knew there was a reason I said I initially headed up ;-)

All this assumes the gust has the exact same compass direction as the breeze just before it. Which ain't always so, gusts can "spread out" so direction can vary quite a bit. The best sailors can read the water and make an educated guess.

PS I'm talking dinghies and hotrod boats here, heavier ones may not alter quick enough to conform to a quick apparent wind direction change.

PPS I may be over-complicating the whole thing. Yeah, head up initally, discretion is the better part of valor....

Last edited by nolatom; 05-17-2013 at 12:42 PM.
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post #15 of 20 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: handling gusts

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Originally Posted by ltgoshen View Post
Please help me understand this tearm pinch? I have heard it used lots but not sure its meaning? is it likt jeading and sheeting everthing in tight? "Close and you can" to the wind with out luffing?
thanks
When you are sailing closehauled (i.e., as close to the wind as the boat is capable of sailing, efficiently), the sails will generally be trimmed in tight, (i.e., close to the centerline of the boat), and the sails will be generating their full power. "Pinching" means steering the boat even closer to the wind, so that the sails begin to lift and flutter slightly. When a boat is pinching, the power that is being generated by the sails is reduced. When a sailboat is being overpowered by a strong gust, the obvious remedy is to reduce the power that is being generated by the sails. Pinching is one way of reducing the sails' power.

If you were driving a car and you wanted to reduce the engine's power, you would take your foot off the throttle. In a sailboat, if you want to reduce the sails' power, you can do it by pinching, or you can reduce sail area by either putting up a smaller headsail or reefing the mainsail, or with other sail trimming techniques. Gusts are usually relatively short-lived, and in that case, pinching is a good way to quickly reduce the sails' power until a strong gust subsides. If the ambient windspeed increases, then the better alternative would be to reduce sail area or take in a reef.

Last edited by Sailormon6; 05-17-2013 at 02:56 PM.
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post #16 of 20 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: handling gusts

Pinch (pinch her) pointing too high to windward. Pinching could cause your boat to stall, or at the least drop some speed. To correct heel it might be better to let the main out, and stay on course.

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post #17 of 20 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: handling gusts

cruising we're usually short handed and on autopilot unless safety demands hand steering. Find just putting more twist in both sails with bottom/slot trimmed for average wind direction if getting lifts and middle to top if getting headed gives flattest ride and best vmg from reach to beat in those conditions.. down wind (don't worry be happy) but here feel safer hand steering and heading further down with gusts unless of course being wing and wing then just try to keep both full.

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Last edited by outbound; 05-17-2013 at 09:01 PM.
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post #18 of 20 Old 05-18-2013
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Re: handling gusts

When hit by a gust in a CB dinghy you "luff up" up because it might capsize, in a keel boat you STEER downwind attempting to counteract the weatherhelm and maintain a straight heading thru the gust.
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post #19 of 20 Old 05-18-2013
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Re: handling gusts

If sailing closehauled, if your boat has a fractional rig and a readily adjustable backstay, you may wish to trim the backstay in anticipation of the puff. The twisted head of the mainsail will cause your boat to fall off. When the gust hits the resultant heeling will bring your boat back to the closehauled course. After the puff, ease the backstay adjuster. This will keep your boat driving without the loss of speed that you experience if you luff.

If you've have draggable genoa sheet cars, easing them aft before the puff hits will twist the genoa which will also cause your boat to fall off.

Avoid cranking on the helm to bear off. This slow you down and further increase the heeling moment when the puff hits
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post #20 of 20 Old 05-19-2013
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Re: handling gusts

agree with husonian. on a mast head rig can pull the traveller to windward and ease the main sheet. then have crew play the kicking strap to vary twist. can use "lazy" sheet with block moved as necessary to vary where jib clew is positioned and get same effect if you have enough crew to play working and "lazy" sheets. cruisers may just let traveller down in gusts and set up jib with fair amount of twist. by letting traveller down don't get weather helm. remember anytime you steer the boat you slow it down. any time the boat is out of balance without a neutral helm it goes slower and auotpilot or windvane works harder.

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