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HuskerDave 10-05-2008 02:00 PM

Excess Heel
I went out in my Pearson 26 this morning. Winds were 15-20 kts when we headed out and made a comfortable 5 kts speed with a genoa and mainsail up. The wind was out of the south and when we got to the far side of the lake, I turned to the south and set a course as close to the wind as I could. We were making about 3 knots on a close reach, when all of a sudden the boat heeled about 45 degrees and I was fearful we'd capsize. I released the main sheet and turned directly into the wind and we righted just fine.

After letting my heart rate slow down, I headed off in the same direction and again was making good speed on a close reach and it happened again. This time I over reacted a bit and we ended up nearly going in a full circle when I went hard alee with tiller.

We flurled the genoa and finished our trip home only under mainsail as I felt that I was a bit over powered for my novice level. We're scheduled for our first ASA sailing course in 4 weeks and probably have 12-14 hours of sailing experience under my belt.

Any suggestions as to what I was doing wrong? I think it must have been gusts of wind all of a sudden out of the south east but don't really want to do that too often!


bubb2 10-05-2008 02:14 PM

Dave, the P26 will stand up to winds 15 to 20. At about 15 kts you want to reef the main maybe a little earlier if you new at sailing. You did nothing wrong your learning. The P26 also fly's a big head sail if I remember right it a 150 or 155. That would be your 2sd move to go to a smaller head sail.

captbillc 10-05-2008 02:14 PM

Dave ___ you could have partly rolled in the genny & reefed the main partly down to avoid being overpowered in the gusts.

Giulietta 10-05-2008 02:21 PM

Or you could have spent sometime getting lessons on how to sail before going out on your boat...or at least read a little about it...

If you have never riden a bike and crash, the solution is not to get a to learn how to ride the bike, and keep the helmet once you know how to do it, just in case...

Now, go here, CLICK sit down and watch these....the guy has a stupide accent but he is a nce guy

Coreyboy18 10-05-2008 02:24 PM

Same thing happened to me on my Ranger 23 about four months ago, and I had someone else on the boat with me that knew nothing about sailing. So it was an eye opener for me because I wasn't used to that type of heel. So I only fly a jib when the wind is above 15kts, until I can get comfortable with that type of heel. I hear people talking about riding the rail in the water, that's pretty scary but I see why people like it...ADRENALINE RUSH. That's what keeps me going back out time after time.


Giulietta 10-05-2008 02:30 PM

HuskerDave 10-05-2008 02:30 PM

Thanks for all the replies. We were originally scheduled for lessons the weekend that Ike it - so haven't had the chance for that yet. I've read a lot - the ASA book, several others and have watched most of those videos that were recommended - they are excellent. The reading taught me to turn into the wind, let the mainsail out or to hike out to counter the heel - I did the first two and was already sitting on the windward side when it happened (as was my partner). It was the sudden shift that scared us!

I think the suggestions of reefing the main and making the genoa smaller were what we should have done after the first time. After the 2nd time, going with just the mainsail was pretty stable.

There has been only one day with any wind the past 2 months on the lake (the day after Ike passed nearby) and so we were excited to actually sail instead of motor around the lake.

This forum is really a great resource, and thanks again.

speciald 10-05-2008 02:36 PM

The boat should have rounded up if your weather helm is correct and not capsized. Each boat has its own optimal angle of heal for speed vs. leeway - usually around 20-25 degrees. Aside from reefing (main first) the boat can be depowered by flattening the main, running the traveler down side to spill wind and by feathering the main by releasing a little main sheet. Overhealed is not fast nor comfortable. A common mistake of new sailors is to overtrim - often sheeting out alone will allow the boat to stand up on its lines and sail faster.

bubb2 10-05-2008 02:50 PM

Dave, You would know about healing if you out during Ike. All fun aside, I used to teach ASA coastal cruising on a P26 years ago. That Boat is not going to capsize in 25 or 30 kts. To knock down that boat I would think it would take 40 to 50 kts, just my opinion but I have been out on P26's in the high 30's. You got a great safe boat. Learn to sail it and she will treat you well.

chucklesR 10-05-2008 03:14 PM

Making 3 kts close reaching in 15-20 kts of wind? You were poorly trimmed at best, probably got a gust from windward and that took you on the beam with sails trimmed tight (max heel, push to lee not forward).
When learning keep to days of under 10kts, or reef early. And wear a PFD.

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