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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Got caught in a Squall today
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-10-2011 08:40 PM
SeaLifeSailing
Furling Genoa in gusty winds

I am hearing all kinds of comments here about how poorly furling headsails perform. I just can't agree.

I sail well over 100 days a year in the pacific northwest. We get some pretty snotty days on occasion. I regularly single-hand in 25-35 knots of wind, and regularly sail in gusts to 40 /45 kts.

I run with a main that has two reefs - the first one is moderate, and the second is quite deep. My genoa is a 135%, with a cruising cut rather than a racing cut. This means that the foot is fairly high, with a deep upward angular cut toward the clew. This means that in light air it doesn't drive the boat as hard as a low-cut racing clew, but I can see where I'm going under sail, and I don't have to furl as soon in progressively heavier air. The cruising cut Genoa also maintains a better sail shape as it furls than a racing cut sail, which is an excellent attribute.

In 35 kts I can sail broad a reach with everything up, or to windward with a single reef in the main, and the genoa partially furled to slightly less than 100%. In sustained winds over 35 kts, sailing to windward ,the second reef goes into the main, and I would furl the headsail to somewhere in the ballpark of 50-70%, but every boat is different. The 100% that you were mentioning in 40kts of wind is probably a little overpowered, and a little less square footage might have reduced the heavy luffing that you were encountering. And yes, sheet in HARD.

But seriously, if you're getting harmonic vibrations while sailing to windward with a partially furled genoa, I am going to suggest that there simply may not have been enough tension in your rig, and you may not have made your sheets hard enough. Add to this, too much sail area, and you've significantly increased your chances of having to make a trip to the sail-maker after your outing, to put your sail back together.

To eliminate the harmonic vibrations you were encountering, there are a few things you can do. If you have a backstay tensioner, use it. If you don't, increase your Genoa halyard tension, and harden your mainsail. If you don't have enough tension on your rig and sails in high winds, you are jeopardizing your sails and your rig, period. This could get very, very expensive in the space of a heartbeat. Breaking your rig would be very sad indeed, and you wouldn't be the first guy to do it.

You might want to have a professional rigger look at your rig and ensure that the tension is correct, or get your hands on a rig tension gauge, and find out what the right stay tension is for your boat for heavier weather. Unless you are a racer and have a lot of quickly adjustable gear, if you sail in higher winds, I'd leave the rig tuned for heavier weather and worry less about light wind performance.

If you are trying to reduce the drive from your main (this will only really work with a main that is not fully battened), slide the traveler somewhat to leeward, while maintaining main-sheet tension. This will deliver best results if your traveler is well forward. It will allow the Genny to spill some wind into the luff of the main, partially depowering it to give you some wiggle room while giving you some backward rake on your mast, increasing your forestay tension. This isn't a great long-term sail trim (it's a quick 'cheat', but works in bigger puffs (say over 35) on a day with average windspeeds that are a little lower.

I did like the comment by one of the other sailors, to sheet in the genoa HARD, and conceivably apply some tension to the windward sheet; I haven't had to try that second part but I can see it being slightly helpful.

Sounds like heaving to was a good strategy at that moment, to ride through the gust.

Ultimately, if your genoa won't hold a decent shape when partially furled, I would suggest picking up a good used storm jib. All of us could stand to have one, especially those who are not dedicated fair-weather sailors.

When it's forecast to blow anything over 25 kts, remember: Forecasters are right about 50% of the time. The other half the time, they are WRONG. It might blow a lot harder right where you are, than the overall forecast. I have seen gusts over 60 kts with waterspouts, on a day forecast to blow 15-25 kts, but it was an extremely localized phenomenon - right where I was. Anyhow, if your boat doesn't behave all that well in 25+ kts, bite the bullet; buy some smaller canvas, and use it when it's blowing.

Remember, it's preferable to add canvas when you are bored, than to have to reduce it when you are terrified. Leave the dock ready to sail with less area to give yourself a margin of error, and plan to increase sail, rather than vice-versa. When do you reduce sail? The moment that you are wondering whether or not you should!

Also, whether or not you will make any way to windward with a double-reefed main only in such conditions will really depend on your rig's design, and the design of your boat under the waterline, not to mention how clean your bottom is. Only 1 way to find out - give it a whirl when you aren't exposed to a lee shore!

Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aac View Post
Hello Sailors

I need a bit of advice and hope that more knowledgeable salts could help; I went out today single handed for a half day sail on a 40’ monohull. The for-cast was for 20 to 25 knots in Moreton bay, Brisbane. All was fine until I noticed a storm approaching. About 15 minutes later I noticed the water ahead was white as the rain bucketed sideways. I was already on second reef on the main and the Furling jib was reefed to around 100%. The oncoming squall was pushing me toward a lee shore about a mile away and so I decided to head into it instead of galloping with the wind at 8 knots towards the lee shore. I was also thinking that the wind wouldn’t be more that 30 knots - pretty dum really. In heading into the wind I thought that I would cope by sheeting in the jib (not too tight) and the mains and simply feather the boat close hauled as I have done many times. This worked fine until the wind started to gust to 40 knots and the half furled jib began to beat in an intermittent and uncontrollable manner. I managed to keep it calm for much of the time but every now and then the rig would vibrate with the shock loads administered by the jib.

It seems to me that the windage of furled part of the jib is large in 40 knots of wind and maybe the forstay is not tight enough (even though I manage to point well). I didn’t want the rig coming down and so I heaved to; this calmed things down with a drift speed of around 3.2 knots and 10 minutes later the wind dropped to a respectable 20 to 25 knots again.

The shudders in the rig scared the hell out of me and I was wandering what others have to say with respect furled head sails and sailing into stiff 35 to 40 knot winds. Should I have furled the jib completely and simply relied on the mains which was behaving well; the argument against the main only I guess would be that I wouldn’t be able to heave to nor even make head way.

Would love to hear if others have had similar rig vibrations from a furler head sail or indeed what they might have done differently.
05-10-2011 06:40 PM
tommays Its and OCEAN EQUIPMENT surplus EP162 Catalina instrument pod 99 dollars and they still have them

It cost a bit more to fill the holes
05-10-2011 06:17 PM
rickusc
@ Tommays

I just bought a Cal 35 MkII with a Universal Diesel... I noticed that you replaced your engine's Instrument Panel.... can you tell me where you found it and how much it was?

Thanks,
05-08-2011 11:35 AM
Aac How about a furler that can also drop a sail like hank onís. This Kiwi group Reef Rite Head Sail Furler Details - Page 2 has a foil that take slugs; it allows for the sail to be furled or dropped like hank ons. It has slugs that slot into the foil grove. If it works then it would give the best of both worlds - read the paragarph under "Sail Handling"
05-08-2011 10:05 AM
smackdaddy Nice story raj. I think that qualifies as a BFS...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajhnsn View Post
Coming down the Chesapeake last year from the C & D canal found us in steady 30's out of the west for about 5 hours. Gusts were in the 40's and we had a max reading in the 50's. Luckily it was a beam reach so we could go with a single reefed main and 25% of the 135% jib. The problem was that if we sailed too low we were beam to the waves, and if we sailed too high we healed too much and the sails took a beating. We were able to find a happy medium, only taking an occasional wave over the side. We hand steered most of the time because we could not rely on the auto pilot. The boat handled it with some shuttering from time to time. I recommended after the first hour that we duck in and wait it out but the crew wanted to keep going, even after getting a few of those waves down the back. After a period of time the initial fears of the "what ifs" went away because the boat and crew were able to handle the situation. We made sure that there was a lot of communication before any changes were made. I don't know how I would have done this without crew. I'm not sure if my auto pilot would have handled it. For me single handing would only be in the best of conditions, even then I can't figure how to get this 35 Oday back into the slip without damaging my ego and perhaps other boats.
05-08-2011 10:00 AM
rajhnsn Coming down the Chesapeake last year from the C & D canal found us in steady 30's out of the west for about 5 hours. Gusts were in the 40's and we had a max reading in the 50's. Luckily it was a beam reach so we could go with a single reefed main and 25% of the 135% jib. The problem was that if we sailed too low we were beam to the waves, and if we sailed too high we healed too much and the sails took a beating. We were able to find a happy medium, only taking an occasional wave over the side. We hand steered most of the time because we could not rely on the auto pilot. The boat handled it with some shuttering from time to time. I recommended after the first hour that we duck in and wait it out but the crew wanted to keep going, even after getting a few of those waves down the back. After a period of time the initial fears of the "what ifs" went away because the boat and crew were able to handle the situation. We made sure that there was a lot of communication before any changes were made. I don't know how I would have done this without crew. I'm not sure if my auto pilot would have handled it. For me single handing would only be in the best of conditions, even then I can't figure how to get this 35 Oday back into the slip without damaging my ego and perhaps other boats.
05-08-2011 03:47 AM
centaursailor My old Centaur has boom roller reefing and handles the weather well, I generally put a couple of rolls in both the genny and main and keep the traveler tight in heavy seas, wind gusts don,t bother a Centaur so much anyway with the bilge keels and heavy displacement. She just heads up into the wind if pushed to hard.
If I need to take more than 50% down I generally drop the lot and bring on the Yanmar.
Safe sailing
05-07-2011 10:25 AM
TQA
Quote:
Originally Posted by dpex View Post
Roller reefing on a headsail is absolutely fine if all you will ever do is puddle around in modest weather; or go with a full reef and start the iron spinnaker.

But in winds of serious sorts, roller reefing of the headsail increases issues.

Think about it, it's just physics. When you genny is set at full and your main at full, the vasrious centres of effort (the sails) compared to the cente of lateral resistence are in harmony...At least they should be.

Moreover, the wind on a full-set headsail passes by with minimal obstruction.

Now roller reef in your headsail. Apart from lessening the sail size, what does it do? First it creates a huge source of leading-edge eddie. Second it lifts the centre of effort by the degree of furl.

Do you all know how to calc the centre of effort of a sail? Sure you do. Tripex three lines from head, clew, and tack, to the opposite centre, (head to centre of foot. Luff to centre of leech, clew to centre of luff) and the trisect is the centre of effort.

See how roller reefing lifts it ever upward and creates and ever-increasing horizontal load on your boat?

Slab-reefing of a headsail creates none of these issues. As a slab comes down, so does the centre of effort, and the luff is still nice and clean.

Slab-reefing of a headsail is way-less arduous than roller reefing and presents none of the issues presented by roller-reefing. But it's essential only when one is playing in winds exceeding 25 knots.

I hope that helps.
Gosh do you think I should tell this sailor how dangerous her boat is, she has no less than three roller furlers.

From Hoot Mon


Whoops too late she has sailed it round the world through the southern ocean and all in record time, shame that innit.
05-07-2011 08:37 AM
moonshadow50
Squall

I have found that fully furling the headsail and luffing into the sqall so that you have minimum headway but you still have control works best for the short time it takes for the squall to pass through. Then you can happily unfurl your headsail and get back on course with the least stress to you and your gear.
05-07-2011 02:01 AM
dpex
I'll Say It Again

Roller reefing on a headsail is absolutely fine if all you will ever do is puddle around in modest weather; or go with a full reef and start the iron spinnaker.

But in winds of serious sorts, roller reefing of the headsail increases issues.

Think about it, it's just physics. When you genny is set at full and your main at full, the vasrious centres of effort (the sails) compared to the cente of lateral resistence are in harmony...At least they should be.

Moreover, the wind on a full-set headsail passes by with minimal obstruction.

Now roller reef in your headsail. Apart from lessening the sail size, what does it do? First it creates a huge source of leading-edge eddie. Second it lifts the centre of effort by the degree of furl.

Do you all know how to calc the centre of effort of a sail? Sure you do. Tripex three lines from head, clew, and tack, to the opposite centre, (head to centre of foot. Luff to centre of leech, clew to centre of luff) and the trisect is the centre of effort.

See how roller reefing lifts it ever upward and creates and ever-increasing horizontal load on your boat?

Slab-reefing of a headsail creates none of these issues. As a slab comes down, so does the centre of effort, and the luff is still nice and clean.

Slab-reefing of a headsail is way-less arduous than roller reefing and presents none of the issues presented by roller-reefing. But it's essential only when one is playing in winds exceeding 25 knots.

I hope that helps.
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