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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds
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Thread: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-21-2012 08:46 PM
smurphny
Re: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds

The main issue sounds like simply too much mainsail. Things quickly cascade when wind overpowers helm balance. The angle and efficiency of the rudder is thrown all out of whack when the boat is heeled too far, causing extreme weather helm. The shape of the immersed part of the hull and the position of wind on the sails are all completely changed. I find that easing the main should always occur simultaneously with changes in course so as to try to keep the heel angle steady and avoid "bouncing" the heel angle up and down. If the boat can't be balanced after falling off or the main has to be eased so much as to luff, there's way too much sail up. It took me quite a while to learn that my boat handles SO much better when I'm more conservative in the amount of sail and reef early. Having the main up with much more than ten knots is inviting having to fight weather helm. Why fight it?

Also check your rigging tension, downhaul or vang tension, outhaul adjustment, halyard tension, and use of a cunningham to minimize weather helm by keeping the c/e forward. These things can really add up if not in tune.
07-13-2012 06:24 PM
St Anna
Re: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
Saint Anna,

You may have missed that this is an older yawl. On a boat like this, if one wants to bear away that much in a stiff breeze, they first ease the mizzen sheet to roughly its final adjustment, then ease or release the main sheet, then play the genoa on the way down. The short travelers of that era do not have enough range of adjustment to accommodate that large of a change in the angle of attack, and mizzens did not have adjustable travelers.
Yeah I missed that it was a mizzen or a yawl. I'll read more carefully next time.

I have crewed on a yawl. My experience was a little different as the mizzen has far less effect than a mizzen on a ketch, but the ketches I have worked are gaff rigged. They had/have no main traveller but used a weather and leeward sheet system - [acts like a vang]

Righto then. thanks for that. I'll upgrade the spectacles.
cheers Jeff, have a great day

DC
07-13-2012 04:46 PM
jaschrumpf
Re: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds

Quote:
Originally Posted by aeventyr60 View Post
When in doubt, let it out.
"Toward the boom to avoid doom."

(for preventing a accidental gybe when the foresail starts to backfill)
07-13-2012 10:42 AM
Jeff_H
Re: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds

Saint Anna,

You may have missed that this is an older yawl. On a boat like this, if one wants to bear away that much in a stiff breeze, they first ease the mizzen sheet to roughly its final adjustment, then ease or release the main sheet, then play the genoa on the way down. The short travelers of that era do not have enough range of adjustment to accommodate that large of a change in the angle of attack, and mizzens did not have adjustable travelers.
07-13-2012 09:41 AM
St Anna
Re: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds

I just came across this post and apologies if I misread a reply, but the first an easiest way to reduce weather helm is to ease the main traveller. This will have a huge impact on your sail trim. A main sheet can be released but you may find the rudder unresponsive when on certain points. Traveller first, mainsheet and genny next.

Anyway I'm still learning after almost 5 decades which means to me, that there is a lot to learn and I am slow. [must have been poor teachers earlier on]

Club races will tune your abilities and get you to know your boat.

Go singlehanded - its also a great way to learn to manage everything.
07-08-2012 10:36 AM
Southcoasting
Re: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds

Thank you all for the replies!

I have been sailing a few times since and know I have quite a bit to learn about balancing my sails/rudder/centerboard, etc.

I look forward to continue to learn and one day will be confident in knowing how to balance my boat based on condition...

I did manage to make it to Red Brook Harbor (about a 3 hours sail from our bay downwind with just ib n jigger) and anchored overnight...The way back we had to beat against wind and waves and took 4.5 hours this time with jib n mainsail, no mizzen...my mainsail was not performing to its potential as I could see it getting backwinded...I realized my mistake as I seen my mainsail was not pulled all the way to top, it was spilling much air, and my topping lift was too tight...but then thought that it not not heeling excessively as a result which was key in letting my wife and wife's friend be comfortable on the ride back so I just left it...

Wanted to get out today but had to visit family in New Hampshire...

Can't wait till next weekend though!
07-07-2012 11:47 PM
melee401
Re: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds

Me personally in this particular instance I would have played with it. I would have run back up and down the same angles for as long as I could. I would have run them again and again and again until time ran out and or conditions ran out.
Funny thing the time thingie eh?
Nobody here can re-create, they can only make assumptions based on their own histories of a craft and conditions nowhere near what yours were.
They do the best the results are great because of the immense amounts of decades if not milleniums of experience here.
I personally would have turned the boat around and tried it again, and again, and again to see what it was I was missing in knowing how that boat handled in those conditions. Good bad or indifferent at least I would have known and that alone to me would have been worth the price is admission.
07-07-2012 11:22 PM
melee401
Re: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds

Unless there were some immediate circumstance(s) slowing you turn once the issues came upon you would have allowed for the time you needed to maintain grace. To me it sounds like the entire issue(s) could have been worked out more easily had you not been of the mind to having turn right NOW to the quadrant of your determination.
Its a heartbeat of sorts. Wind, sea, vessel. your frustration with your boat not obeying the helm misses too much in your own having been there. When a boat refuses to obey a helm order and she is in regular shape then forces beyond are at play. Unseen under currents?
Oh my,,,,I am running about the place thinking you know your vessel,,, DO YOU?
06-27-2012 10:25 PM
sailingfool
Re: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
Sailingfool - Could you explain this one a bit more. Does the increased helm pressure cause the rudder to stall? If so, I would assume that the boat was already critically unbalanced b/f trying to fall off?
A boat sailing closehauled in a breeze may be well balanced or not, depends on various factors, generally you want to tune out excessive windward helm as the rudder drag slows the boat. With some boats you can't really do that.

But balanced (little helm) or not (lot of helm) when you try to head down without easing the mainsheet, the pressure on the main prevents the boat from changing course, as it is a stronger force, than the turning power provided by the rudder. The rudder certainly stalls...I believe this experience is true regardless of the size of foresail in use, mostly dependent on the amount of wind pressure.

When approaching a crossing boat, I always ensure that the mainsheet trimmer has the sheet uncleated and is alert to the developing situation, so the mainsheet runs out if the turn is needed.

FWIW, being involved in one T-bone as the young trimmer who didn't get the mainsheet uncleated quickly enough, is a lesson that lasts a lifetime...
06-27-2012 04:03 PM
Barquito
Re: Switching from close reach to beam reach on 20 knot winds

Quote:
Many port tack/starboard tack collisions occur because the mainsheet doesn't get released fast enough, and the helmsman's frantic efforts on the filler have little effect in changing course.
Sailingfool - Could you explain this one a bit more. Does the increased helm pressure cause the rudder to stall? If so, I would assume that the boat was already critically unbalanced b/f trying to fall off?
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