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Thread: How far can I heel over? Will I tip? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-05-2011 02:38 PM
rgscpat You will undoubtedly heel over and tip if you're learning to sail on a Laser or other small dinghy in a strong breeze -- and it would likely make you a better sailor with a strong intuitive understanding of the physics and physical side of sailing!
09-05-2011 02:24 PM
Ask around

It would also be useful to ask other owners of that hull form what they find the optimal heel is on your boat. Asking someone with a lot of racing experience out for an afternoon to put your boat through the paces will help. When I first started sailing keelboats, I was in the same situation as you. Going out with someone I knew to be experienced and competent in the class of boat I was sailing on a breezey day showed me just what was possible.

I've seen water to the windows on the racer/cruisers I've been on, but as others have mentioned, that's probably not super efficient. You might try crewing for a year of weeknights on a racer of similar size. Then you won't put the stress on your rig, but will see boats being pushed for optimal performance - it's a great way to learn beyond the basics.
08-30-2011 08:30 AM
b40Ibis You are afraid of what you don't know, but that is normal. You have to understand the physics of what is going on with a sailboat. Imagine a weeble-wobble toy, If you take a blow dryer and blow it over, it will pop back up once the wind is off of it. If it blows hard enough, it will lie on its side or get blown aside. A boat is like a weeble-wobble. Look at a racing boat out of the water, That big thing at the bottom is a weight that is solid lead, or steel. It keeps the boat upright while in the water,like a weeble-wobble. All sail boats have them (most, not cats,etc.) Other forces are going on with the sails, they actually form a negative pressure on the lee side and pull, not push, the boat along.
It is all simple physics, not like the physics in college which I failed! Once you understand the forces going on you will feel safer.
08-30-2011 07:45 AM
Armchairsailor2 As people have said, it's very difficult to get a displacement boat over - I was helming a Sadler 25 under full genoa only in a F6 through the bridges on the Forth and we got laid flat by a sudden gust. Water came over the coamings and we were hanging on to the stanchions, but the boat rounded up and came back up as the sail depowered.

I hasten to add: the sail plan was not my decision!

Other boats like to be sailed on their ear: Elizabethan 29's have a 3' longer wetted area if heeled hard. They apparently sail best when you see mullet through the window. I always liked it when my Dad sailed our boat like that - it's fun when you're a kid.
08-30-2011 02:36 AM
rgscpat Pinching all the way into the wind can bring you to a stop and make it hard to keep control, but if you "feather" or pinch partially while still keeping some control and forward motion, you can calm things down quite a bit. Also, old, baggy sails are not your friend when the wind comes up -- you will want the sail relatively flat, with controls adjusted for the wind (usually that means some outhaul pulled out, some cunningham down, traveler eased a bit and able to ease yet more in puffs, backstay more tensioned if you can do that, etc., depending upon your boat). For many boats, "tuning guides" are written to suggest settings for different conditions. A rigger, sailmaker, or experienced sailor could give you tips on how to get the most out of your boat. PS Most chicks don't really dig excess heel.
08-30-2011 12:17 AM
CalebD Furl, furl, furl.
Get a genoa with foam sewn into the luff and the shape will be better when you try to furl the jib in and still get decent sail shape.
Otherwise, reef the main as deniseO30 suggests.
08-29-2011 10:04 PM
deniseO30 Reef, reef reef,
08-29-2011 09:39 PM
Sublime Here's a video that demonstrates what will most likely happen if she goes too far over:
huntercapsize02 - YouTube

You won't be up a creek but it'll cause a mess. Hopefully you can hang on until she pops back up.
08-29-2011 08:52 PM
MikeinLA If you're out and the wind builds, but you don't want to reef the main, letting the jib out will spill some of the wind and decrease heel. It's not the most efficient way to sail, but I've done it myself on occasion when I had "sensitive" passengers onboard. Also, if you ever get real scared, just point the boat straight into the wind. Everything will stop, the boat will right itself from heeling, and you can take a second to gather your thoughts.

08-29-2011 02:40 PM
Shadbjohnson Wow! Thank you all so much for such quick replies with fantastic information!!!

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