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MedSailor 07-01-2008 03:52 PM

Learn from our @*^#&-up
 
I was out racing in a non-flying sails club race this weekend and during a pole take-down at the leward mark we proceeded to get into the biggest line snafup that I have ever seen. During the confusion I noticed that some of this could have been avoided with a simple change.

Here's what happened: we had our 150genny up (too big) in 18kts true. As we disconnected the pole the sail immediately went forward of the headstay and there was too much slack in the lazy sheet. BOTH sheets origamied themselves all over the anchor roller (a 4" protrusion) the pulpit and the nav light. It was a nightmare! The sail kept twisting and the sheets kept fouling.

The captain called to let go of the windward sheet and just tack the sail around the headstay like an asymmetric and we could sort it out later. Here's the part where things got really ugly. In the confusion nobody could tell what was the windward sheet and what (in the tangled cluster) was the leward sheet. We tried leading sheets several times to find that we were zig-zagging them all over the boat. The captain was about to have a stroke. :D

It suddenly occurred to me that different colored sheets would have been very useful. Of course it would have also been useful to have the right sized headsail, more sheet tension and perhaps more attentive trimmers, less crap up on the bow (though there isn't much and we've never had this happen before. I've seen different colored sheets before on boats and always thought of them as a bit of a gimmick, but we sure could have used them to decrease the magnitude of our huge fubar.

MedSailor

sailingdog 07-01-2008 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MedSailor (Post 335799)
I was out racing in a non-flying sails club race this weekend and during a pole take-down at the leward mark we proceeded to get into the biggest line snafup that I have ever seen. During the confusion I noticed that some of this could have been avoided with a simple change.

Here's what happened: we had our 150genny up (too big) in 18kts true. As we disconnected the pole the sail immediately went forward of the headstay and there was too much slack in the lazy sheet. BOTH sheets origamied themselves all over the anchor roller (a 4" protrusion) the pulpit and the nav light. It was a nightmare! The sail kept twisting and the sheets kept fouling.

Hindsight is usually 20/20. THe sheets macramed...not origamied...origami involves folding sheets of paper... macrame involves knotting lines... :) The sail origamied though... :)

Quote:

The captain called to let go of the windward sheet and just tack the sail around the headstay like an asymmetric and we could sort it out later. Here's the part where things got really ugly. In the confusion nobody could tell what was the windward sheet and what (in the tangled cluster) was the leward sheet. We tried leading sheets several times to find that we were zig-zagging them all over the boat. The captain was about to have a stroke. :D
Maybe that's why the sheets on my friend's boat are different colors. :)

Quote:

It suddenly occurred to me that different colored sheets would have been very useful. Of course it would have also been useful to have the right sized headsail, more sheet tension and perhaps more attentive trimmers, less crap up on the bow (though there isn't much and we've never had this happen before. I've seen different colored sheets before on boats and always thought of them as a bit of a gimmick, but we sure could have used them to decrease the magnitude of our huge fubar.

MedSailor
BTW, it does help a bit... but requires the rigging purchaser to be a bit anal to get it all right... my running rigging is slowly becoming color coordinated, but not to the point where the sheets are color coded for which side of the boat they're on.

artbyjody 07-01-2008 04:21 PM

I am a big proponent of different color lines for everything, and was one of the first things topside I did when I purchased mine. Sorry to hear about the snafu. There is nothing more straining / tiring than trying to reign in a wrapped up / fouled spinnaker. At least no one got hurt during it....:)

blt2ski 07-01-2008 04:35 PM

Where were you? I did a cruising race to port ludlow over the weekend. Sat winds were pretty strong. We, as in royal we got down to a double reef and 110 going to ludlow around the point no point light house area, then were able to increase the main to foulweather bluff then the reach in with our 142. Broke a triple pulley along the way.......

Yes colored lines is nice to have!

Otherwise, shtuff happens!

I look at it as, no one was hurt!

Did you decide on some sails for your boat yet? ie dacs vs laminates?

Marty

nolatom 07-01-2008 05:51 PM

Assuming "non-flying" means no spinnaker, then you had the pole on a winged-out 150 genny, which then filled forward of the headstay because your capt left the pole up too long, and started to round up to windward as soon as it was released. Result is a big jib that's filling wrong-side-out in front of the headstay rather than vice-versa.

Not much you as crew could've done. If you had a sheet lead forward of the headstay, then maybe skipper's advice would've worked, but I'll wager you didn't. So it's very hard to pull that sail back against itself so as to get it to fill on the "correct" side.

You were fighting the wind, and the wind was stronger. Colored sheets may help in general, but not here.

If I've misunderstood the situation factually, then I recant.

sailingdog 07-01-2008 05:59 PM

The colored sheets would have helped in untangling the mess made by the sheets.

MedSailor 07-01-2008 06:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nolatom (Post 335878)
Assuming "non-flying" means no spinnaker, then you had the pole on a winged-out 150 genny, which then filled forward of the headstay because your capt left the pole up too long, and started to round up to windward as soon as it was released. Result is a big jib that's filling wrong-side-out in front of the headstay rather than vice-versa.

Not much you as crew could've done. If you had a sheet lead forward of the headstay, then maybe skipper's advice would've worked, but I'll wager you didn't. So it's very hard to pull that sail back against itself so as to get it to fill on the "correct" side.

You were fighting the wind, and the wind was stronger. Colored sheets may help in general, but not here.

If I've misunderstood the situation factually, then I recant.

That sounds pretty accurate. Of course the captain blamed us (there were two of us on the foredeck BOTH fighting the pole) first, but later admitted that there was also "something that he could have done" but didn't elaborate. I suspected that he steered around the mark much too quickly for us to do our work. I would think that even in these winds you could sail an angle of approach that would keep the jenny filled for at least a few seconds to give us time to manhandle the sheet over.

We didn't have a sheet lead around the headstay but that is one of the things we attempted to do. Didn't work as we couldn't make sense of the macrame (thanks SD).

Truely colored sheets would have only helped to make a really really bad situation just really bad and many other things would have avoided the whole situation all together. I just thought I'd mention the sheets because it's an easy thing to do next time you're buying sheets.

Yes it's a good thing that nobody got hurt. In addition to seeing the huge snafu, tensioned sheets were everywhere, the pole was under tremendous force AND my watch (which I am very partial to) decided to unlatch itself and try and fall overboard.

It definitely resembled a fire drill in an oriental developing country more than a rounding.

Medsailor

MedSailor 07-01-2008 06:10 PM

Marty,

I have decided on Dacron for my sails, thanks for everyone's input, it rang true and made good sense. When I was asking my racer friends about the types of sails all they could do was espouse the virtues of laminates, but I suspected there was more to it. The gains I would see don't outweigh the problems in handling and stowage etc, so dacron it is.

I'm still not any closer to deciding what sized roller-furling headsail to get. I want to add sail area (big sail) but don't want to part a furling line or ruin the cloth when sailing with it partly furled in weather. Not sure I want to commit to a working staysail either.... To that end I'm going to keep a sailling log from here on out and note boatspeed, windspeed, sail-combo and wind angle. From that I should be able to flesh out what I need a little better.

MedSailor

chucklesR 07-01-2008 06:18 PM

Assuming it was a hanked on genny (other wise you would not have been stuck with the 150, you could have furled some) you could have released the clew if it was fitted with a quick release. That would have immediately blown the sail, and under the reduced pressure sorted it out will still sailing the boat.

color coded lines are always nice, but a real pain to set up and maintain.

blt2ski 07-02-2008 12:05 AM

Med,

A dock mate with a Hunter 27 or 28, a late 80's something of this size, just went with a dac main, and a UK tape drive genoa in a 150/155. I can find out for sure tomorrow from the UK rep whom is measuring my boat. Anyway, Larry's boat has 3 built in reefs such that he can go from the 155, to a 135 then down to a 110, examples of LP only! with out loosing shape etc on his genoa. I can let you know in a month or two how this is working for him in a month or two.

I am personally going to do the laminate all around, if for nothing else, the light lazy days like sunday trying to get back racing from ludlow to Edmonds in 0-10 and back to 0 in less time than I am typing this. Along with allowing me a bit better when the wind pipes in in winter. I was out in a few 30-35 days enough that laminates will help for me anyway in a wider band. I am sure dacs will be fine for your use. If you want to talk to the UK rep, let me know earlier than later, ie 7am at latest via PM probably best, with name and number I can have ian call you regarding his sails and what may work etc.

marty


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