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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-26-2010 12:18 PM
Ajax_MD ZZ- agreed. I either center it, or set it for a range. I'm catching my breath financially.

Frostbite: Down in Solomons. I'm sorry to say, I think I took the last free spot. It's the final race of the season apparently.

BL- I sympathize. Our winter was bad enough. Yours is even longer.
03-26-2010 11:15 AM
bljones Bubbles, I gotta give you props for sharing your experiences. It makes for an enjoyable and envious read for those of us whose boats are still frozen to the hard, and I always learn something that i didn't know i didn't know.
03-26-2010 11:08 AM
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
I appreciate that. I've been invited to crew for a Frostbite race on Sunday. I'm pretty excited about that.
Where are they having a frostbite race? And are they looking for more crew?
03-26-2010 11:06 AM
zz4gta bubble, I wouldn't worry about the traveler too much until you get rid of the pin stop car on it. It really needs to be a ball bearing car with lines to control it. With the pin stop car, by the time you get it adjusted, you'll need to adjust it again.
03-26-2010 11:00 AM
Ajax_MD I appreciate that. I've been invited to crew for a Frostbite race on Sunday. I'm pretty excited about that.
03-26-2010 10:58 AM
JohnRPollard Okay, I have a better understanding of the limitations with your sail controls now.

I remember that I previously suggested you centerline the traveller for the time being as you learned to sail. Here I was changing that suggestion now that your skills are increasing. In those gusty conditions, you might be wise to "pre-set" your traveller a notch or two lower than might normally be optimal for upwind work. Then you can work the mainsheet a bit more, leaving the traveller "as-is" for the most part (until you tack, of course).

Also, given the limitations of your traveller arrangement, you might favor a reef a bit earlier than if you had a really handy traveller.

Again, when trying to beat to weather, moderate feathering is usually your first, best approach. Feathering doesn't mean a huge, abrupt turn into the wind. It should be a gradual course change to windward of 5-15 degrees or so, depending on the strength of the gust, as the puff builds. You don't want to stuff it up too high and stall.

But when the gusts are as strong as they were yesterday, you will usually need to feather in combination with easing (via traveller and/or mainsheet) a bit.

Also try to anticipate the puffs/gusts as best you can by watching the water to windward. With practice, you should be able to predict their arrival to within a few seconds. This gives you the opportunity to feather up a bit ahead of the first knock, and to have your sheets ready for the ease.
03-26-2010 10:50 AM
Jeff_H Bub,

It sounds like you are doing a great job taking your time to experiment and learn a step at a time. I still owe you a sail!

03-26-2010 10:11 AM
Ajax_MD Yes, John it does help. I would say that I'm choosing my words badly AND I lack full understanding of what's happening.

I did drop the traveller but I have an old, small boat with a narrow stern and the traveller doesn't go very far so it's effectivness is a little limited. My boom is end-sheeted and the traveller is on the stern. It is not possible to relocate it to a wider point due to a step in the cockpit and the sliding cabin top. It's just a limitation that I'm learning to live with. It sounds like I should have had my vang tighter as well. I am still learning how to coordinate all of these tools into a smooth, cohesive system.

I'll make an effort to get my language right in the future.


I appreciate you sharing your knowledge of the local weather patterns. I know that this is vital to understanding what is happening to me out there.

I'm not saying that I did great out there, but I learned a lot and the boat was under control and did what I wanted once the jib was up.
03-26-2010 09:50 AM
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
... I don't know about other boats, but my boat doesn't point worth a fart on the main alone...

Your boat is similar to most in this respect. There are some designs that will do okay on main alone, but most will need their jib to make decent progress upwind.

One suggestion: Especially when it's gusty or the wind is trending upward, try to spend the first 2/3 or 3/4 of your time working your way upwind. That way, if the wind continues to build and begins to get borderline unmanageable, you can then ease off and run back to your protected waters, without having to fight your way home upwind.

This assumes you're just out for practicing, without a particular destination in mind, and that you have "water" to head upwind in.

Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
You know, the more people I talk to, the more I can divide people into two schools of thought:

1. Point higher to reduce power and heel.
2. Trim the sails.

Some people really seem to have a preference. I think the "hold course and trim" method matters most when you have a specific point on the water that you're trying to reach, perhaps as in racing. If you're just out fooling around, with nowhere specific to go, pointing higher is the easier method requiring less work.
Also, I don't think you're quite stating the two options properly. It could be that you understand fully and are simply expressing what you mean somewhat inartfully. But in case you're still trying to get your head around this, I'll elaborate a bit more.

When sailing upwind, close hauled in gusty conditions, we usually use a combination of procedures to deal with the sails as they become temporarily over-powered in gusts.

One option is to reef down. But sometimes this option can be frustrating, as it can leave us seriously underpowered when the gust subsides.

On a monohull, the other option is to adjust both trim and heading in the gusts (this is not a good options for multi-hulls, which should reef to the gust conditions).

When a gust hits while sailing close-hauled, you should really employ a combination of procedures. What exact order depends somewhat on the boat and conditions, as well as the heading objective. The usual options and order are to feather up into the wind somewhat, drop the traveller down, and finally ease the mainsheet.

When beating to weather, feathering up is very advantageous. This is because it takes you farther to windward, while simultaneously maintaining boat speed (as a result of the boost from the gust).

But if you were simply sailing on a close-hauled course (but not beating), you might choose to drop traveller and ease the mainsheet instead. This would allow you to maintain course more easily, which might be important if there was a shoal or other obstruction to windward.

But, just to avoid confusion/misunderstanding, we usually don't say "trim the sails" when we actually mean to let them out. It's more clear to say "ease the sails". "Trimming" suggests bringing the sails in tighter, which would not be one of the basic strategies for responding to gusts.

Hope this is reasonably clear and helps some.
03-26-2010 09:34 AM
Jeff_H A couple quick thoughts here, yesterday there were a lot of vertical gusts, cold air dropping down through a comparatively slower moving warm air layer. This is tough conditions to sail in for a variety of reasons. For one since the gust is vertical, it fans out as it hits the water and so depending on where you are relative to where the gust hits the water, it can mean a very big wind shift relative to the prevailing wind, but also there is a big difference between the gust and the ambient wind speed.

While feathering up towards the wind is usually the fastest tactic in gusty conditions, in vertical gusts, heading up does not help as much and so you need to be prepared to decrease the angle of attack of the mainsail. Ideally this is done with the traveller since easing the mainsheet will power up the sail just when you want it at its flatest.

If you are not close reaching or beating (and perhaps even if you are pointing if you think you will be easing your main sheet) your vang should be set very tightly to prevent the boom from rising and the sail from powering up in the gusts and adding to your heel angle.

If you are on a beam reach or broad reach, you often cannot ease the sails enough to prevent a knockdown, and so you can often turn closer to downwind to deal with a gust, picking up speed in the process rather than heel.

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