The optimum close hauled to close hauled tack
I'm not racing but am interested in making the smartest tack.
Here is my plan. Please fix, comment, adjust as necessary.
Helmsman: Ready about
Deck Hand: One wrap on lazy sheet. Uncleat working sheet and hold with one wrap.
Helmsman: Hard Alee, Starts turn of boat.
Jib backwinds, boat turns smoothly but fast, after bow passes the center of the wind the Deck Hand releases the jib by flipping off the one wrap and pulls as fast as possible on the sheet on the new tack.
When sheet stops, two more turns are taken on the winch, it is put in the self tailer and winch handle inserted.
Winching until the helmsman says OK.
Helmsman calls for any main sheet adjustments as necessary.
is that about it?
When does the helmsman stop turning? The rest is fine.
see also this:
Modified - Maybe
I have heard a few different strategies of close haul tacking. One approach is, if you have two deck hands, one frees the soon to be lazy sheet and the oother grinds in the working sheet. Also, the soon-to-be working sheet needs to have three wraps on the winch BEFORE the turn is initiated. Also, if you put the winch handle in AFTER you get your three wraps on so that the handle is oriented over as as close to the self-tailing arm and BEFORE the turn is started, you can lean a little into the handle after you have pulled in as much as you can by hand, pass the sheet from one hand to the other under the handle over the st lever and into the slot. Once it is anchored, you can immediately start to grind.
A trick that I have seen some helmsman do for a tacking (close-haul to closehaul) maneuver is to let the boat coast midway through the turn directly into the wind for about a boat length just as the headsail comes across. This does two things 1) The boat has enough speed to go a little further upwind and gain distance and 2) if grinder/trimmer of the new/soon-to be working sheet is on the ball, they can effectively pull all the necessary slack in while the sail is very lightly load or unloaded so that when the helmsman completes the tack turn, just a small amount of trim is necessary instead of 4 or 5 seconds of frantic grindering while the sail is fully loaded. The key to this is timing, if the helmsman waits too long, they lose momentum to finish the turn, if the don't turn just enough, there is a risk of the sails backfilling on the wrong side. One boat length is roughly 4 seconds at 5 knots on a 35 ft boat.
The above tactic is harder in light air, because you need to maintain momentum which is more difficult in lighter air.
Generally tacking a multihull is somewhat different. Posted at my helmstation in case I forget:
Decide if you really need to tack (stay away from hard objects or shallow (2 feet) depths. Check the speed log and or GPS to make sure you are actually in the water. Try to remember if you are anchored, if not procede, if so you probably don't need to tack after all.
Inform the Admiral that the position of the sun and direction of the wind may change momentarily, she might need to adjust her position for optimum suntan.
Put down your drink, you may need both hands.
Approach the helm, look up and forward to the jib and determine which way you will tack, left or right). Push the appropriate buttons on the Autopilot to enable the tack.
Release the working jib from the self tailing winch, do not unwrap the line.
When (if) the bow crosses the wind the jib will flap louder than the music, this is your clue that you are about to back wind the jib and you should look forward.
When the jib is backwinded, count to three, or four, slowly.
Release the wraps on the winch so the jib sheet runs free.
Walk over to the new working winch, put three wraps on the winch but do not tail the line.
Pull in the jib sheet to remove all slack, do not strain yourself as neither speed nor effort matter.
If the jib remains backwinded you are caught in irons and are possibly screwed. If anyone is watching, announce loudly that you have decided to take a break and are now 'hove to', release the main sheet a little bit and go back to your drink - it will still be where you left it.
If caught in irons, turn to the 'caught in irons' page of this manual and follow the instructions.
If the jib is not back winded you are truly fortunate, winch in the slack until at least one of the tell tales is fluttering in the breeze (sort of horizontal). You can winch until they all are horizontal if you want, doesn't matter too much.
Look up at the main and if the tell tales are not hanging limp you are done. If they are hanging limp pull in or let out on the mainsheet and observe the tell tales, play with it until at least one tell tale is fluttering.
Check the speedlog and or GPS to make sure you are moving through the water.
Check the autopilot, if it is cycling insanely and beeping you probably can't make what it considers to be a good course, hit the standby button, wait a second and hit the auto button, it will now maintain your current course as it's new course. You should probably look up to see if anything is in your way. If so blow the horn three times and flip this page to the 'Collision response directions' side and follow the instructions.
Go back to where you left your drink, it will still be there.
Admire the Admiral in her new postion leeringly (if leeringly is not a word you know what I mean).
Ponder the joy of sailing until your next forced tack.
Needless to say, if I'm racing it's somewhat different. I put the assym centerboards down so I can point better. I don't understand how a centerboard impacts how well my index finger points to the wind, but I follow instructions.
Our Lewmar STs always put three twists in the genoa sheet when the selftailer has feed the sheet. If those twists are not taken out during a tack on our CS one of them will always catch in a turning block, hanging the old sheet at the worst moment.
So in our short (or single) handed tack procedure. the helmsman releases the working sheet, grabs it ahead of the aft turning block, and pulls about 15 feet through his hands, the twists fall off as they go through the hand...then attention can turn to the new sheet.
chuckles I had to copy that for my sail upwind notes.
you don`t know where yo can find a book that gives advice on sailing cats only do you
I'd recommend looking at Mike Mullen's Multihull Seamanship as a starting point. :)
To David, our OP: that sounds about right. Whether you need the sails ever so slightly eased initially to create a "lower gear" to get the boat back up to speed, then gradually trim as speed comes up and apparent wind accordingly moves forward, you can only learn with experience. Some stuff you do to nurse boatspeed along (losing as little as possible during the tack and gaining it back afterwards as fast as you can) is subconscious, and depends on your boat, the wind and sea conditions, and is frankly difficult to put into words.
That's why racing is good. It shows you "real time" when you made an efficient tack, or a speed-killing tack, in relation to the boats near you.
And to Chuckles: The length of your post is perfect for a multihull tack, they take a long time. But you get your revenge on a broad reach. I'm a monohull guy by history, so a fast but good tack is to me a work of art. On a multihull, it's something to be endured so you can reach off and really get moving again. No offense intended here...;-)
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