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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 09-11-2006
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Steering through the Waves??

What do all the old seadogs say about fighting the rock of the boat as one rides up and down the waves.

Scenario: On a tack and pushing through the small swells at a 45 degree course to the wave lines. Approaching the swell, bow starts falling off leeward (down into the trough). Rounding the top of the sell and over, bow now falls off windward (down again to next trough).


Is it a waste of energy and added drag to input constant correction with the tiller to resist this rythm?
OR
Would it be more efficient to simply let each motion cancel each other out?

I can see validity in both. I sure the next reply may begin with "Depends . . ."

Thanks
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Old 09-11-2006
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Shack,

Whether active steering in waves is a waste depends on how quick you want the boat to go. If you do not steer for the waves, the boat will start to do a lot of pounding and go very slow. To maintain speed and for a more comfortable ride, you want to turn up as the wave lifts the bow, then steer down (away from the wind) as the bow passes over the wave. I find that locating youself so you can easily see the oncoming waves is critical, sit to windward and use a tiller extension if a tiller - the kind with a handle is great for heavy weather.

If you get the motion down properly the boat will maintain momentum and your boat speed will be almost the same as in flat water. If you get it right, you should take very little water over the bow, and the boat should not pound. If the boat pounds, its a sign you are out of synch.
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Old 09-11-2006
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
With a 65 ft. boat you can just plow straight ahead Shack!

Actually, I find that we make only very minor adjustments at sea when beating to windward. I learned this from my autopilot! This assumes fairly benign conditions...not storms!
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Old 09-11-2006
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MAN! I need to get that 65 footer - Comrad, R U selling?

Fool & Comrad-
I'm just talking about benign conditions, and I guess I'm really splitting hairs.
I do sense and feel the need to push and pull the tiller rythmically as I cross the waves. Just to resist the bow falling off course. However, sometimes I get the notion that I just throwing a brake out into the slip stream with that rudder, and impeding what may other wise be good momentum.

Everything in its proper proportion?

I'm gonna see what I can do about affecting the ride a little more next time I go out with some wave action. I'll play with putting in and out of sncyh, and see what happens.
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Old 09-12-2006
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Shack,

My personal experience with active steering in waves has involved a good deal of racing, and when done properly it allows you put a lot of distance on boats that are bashing white water all over the place! There's nothing like a fleet of 10-20 boats to sort out the theories of what contributes to performance or not...
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Old 09-13-2006
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That'll work for me. Its hard to argue with the issue that bashing waves into white foal requires energy . . . and I'll bet that energy comes out of the momentum of one's keel.

Thanks for pointer.

Off to work . . .
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