Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-29-2013 Thread Starter
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Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas

I could use some advice on sail trim, specifically, how should I set my rig for broad reaching in light-to-medium wind and sloppy seas? When seas are flat, my 38' full-keel sailboat sails nicely to about 150 degrees apparent. But when seas pick up it begins rolling, and I start sailing higher and higher trying to protect the rig from pounding as the rolling of the boat knocks the wind in and out of the sails.

How do you set your rig and course for such conditions: sloppy/choppy seas and light-to-medium winds? I'm a cruiser, not a racer obviously, so comfort and care of rig and sails is paramount to speed.
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-29-2013
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Re: Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas

There is not much that you can do in these conditions to minimize roll and slating since this is a product of the wave shape, frequency, and your boats. Heavier round bottom boats tend to roll worse than more moderate designs. Full keels generally are not as effective at dampening roll as a deeper fin. Heavier cruising rigs promote larger roll angles but slower rolling rates which can take a boat out of phase with the wave train making matters worse. About all you can do is rig a preventer to keep your boom from slatting and you can head up a little changing the wave angle, apparent frequency, and dampening from wind in your sails.
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 06-29-2013 at 11:14 AM.
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-29-2013
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Re: Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas

keep your speed up. beam-reach to a broad reach (90 to 150 degrees relative wind) (Remember a beam-reach is _still_ going to take you down-wind) and keep the sails drawing. chance course to mis-match the boat's natural frequency in pitch or roll versus the frequency that it receives the waves.

Sometimes, I can find an angle at which the boat just rides over a wake (or wave) with not much pitch or roll. This is usually about 15 to 20 degrees from parallel to the wave.

If the wind is very-very light, you can also try forcing the boat to heel (use the crew for rail-meat) so the sails will tend to hang in a better shape and be ready for the next breath of wind. If it won't continuously fly, douse the spinnaker & put up a headsail, maybe a #2 instead of the Genoa as it will be easier to get it to the correct shape.

If you _are_ moving downwind, remember steer up in the lulls and down in the puffs.

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post #4 of 10 Old 06-29-2013
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Re: Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas

Furl the head sail, sheet in the main a bit to hold her over and fire up the motor.


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post #5 of 10 Old 07-01-2013
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Re: Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas

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(Remember a beam-reach is _still_ going to take you down-wind)
I thought on a beam reach, you would be square to the wind. Not going up, or down wind.

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post #6 of 10 Old 07-01-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas

Beam reach is on the apparent wind, which is forward of the true wind. So when beam reaching, particularly when you're going fast, you are indeed -- as he noted -- going downwind.

Last edited by Remittance; 07-01-2013 at 01:31 PM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-01-2013
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Re: Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas

Technically by definition beam reaching is sailing perpendicular to the true wind and therefore neither going upwind or downwind. Now then a fast boat will show its apparent wind forward of abeam even when sailing on a deep broad reach. But that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.


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post #8 of 10 Old 07-02-2013
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Re: Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas

I run a preventer on the main going forward, then another going aft - prevents the main from moving at all.
Then a vang to hold it down.
It's better than nothing.

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post #9 of 10 Old 07-02-2013
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Re: Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas

If your boat has a centerboard you can drop that. As Jeff said fin keels have less roll in general. Changing you sailing angle will help and make it easier to time the rudder movement as stated above


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Re: Sail Trim: Minimizing rolling in sloppy seas

If your boat is a cutter, try stays'l and main, furling the fores'l.
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