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Old 07-20-2009
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Trouble coming about

I have a new 135% furling headsail on my Lancer 25.which was all the way out in 10 - 15 winds. Yesterday, I couldn't get the boat to come about. In the past I had trouble until I figured out that I was bringing the tiller over too hard and that was causing a braking action. This time It just kept going into irons. Anyone else with this problem? Any solutions?

Harris
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Old 07-20-2009
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Harris,
Not knowing your boat, and based on the limited amount of information, my first question would be if you've tried backwinding the jib for a sec? Or don't you get far enough to do that? Maybe you should also let the main out a bit. It is a common issue on boats with a mizzen, and the mizzen mast alone is sometimes enough to cause that. But that's not your issue
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Old 07-20-2009
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Harris, I don't know your boat either, but one of the ways to complete a successful tack is to get sufficient boatspeed on. If close-hauled, ease sheets and main a bit to get to a reach, a reach usually being the point of sail of maximum boat speed. Then, smoothly make your tack, and don't oversteer. A little past the head to wind point, start bringing the tiller back to center as momentum will carry you to your desired reaching point of sail, approximately 90 degrees opposite where you started. As you haul in the jib, feather the tiller back a bit until you are close-hauled (if that's what you want).

Basically, I am saying to go from close-hauled port to close-hauled starboard, ease out to reaching port and tack to reaching starboard, and then steer "up" as you haul in the new jib sheet. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but as a general rule you want to keep boat speed high prior to a tack, because rudder movements will kill speed just like throwing a pail off the stern...you want to minimize drag.
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Old 07-21-2009
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Another possible cause might be if the surfaces of the keel and bottom are badly fouled with slime, barnacles or accumulated layers of old antifouling paint, or if a long line was trailing in the water. Any condition that prevents the boat from slipping smoothly through the water can prevent it from coasting far enough to cross the eye of the wind when you tack. Also, don't release the working jibsheet until the sail is very slightly backwinded, because, when the working jibsheet is released, the sails stop driving the boat, and it is coasting. If the working jibsheet isn't released, it will keep driving to some extent almost until the bow crosses the eye of the wind.

It might be that, after you realized you were turning the boat too fast, and killing it's speed, now you might be turning too gradually, so that the boat can't coast far enough to cross the eye of the wind. Try putting the helm over smoothly a little farther and a little faster, but not so far or fast as to kill the boat's speed.

Your best solution, however, would be to ask an experienced local sailor to sail with you for an hour and to help you figure out why you're having problems tacking, because the best we can do is to speculate on the cause. There's always an old-timer or an experienced good-samaritan at every sailing venue who will be happy to help you. Ask the sailors on the docks or marina employees. They can probably direct you to such a person.
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Old 07-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Survivor View Post
I have a new 135% furling headsail on my Lancer 25.which was all the way out in 10 - 15 winds. Yesterday, I couldn't get the boat to come about. In the past I had trouble until I figured out that I was bringing the tiller over too hard and that was causing a braking action. This time It just kept going into irons. Anyone else with this problem? Any solutions?

Harris
A fin keel sloop like yours should have no trouble coming about in a breeze. What does the comment "which was all the way out in 10 - 15 winds.." mean - sounds like you might be trying to tack by heading up from a run...If so, as posted above, first get to full speed close-hauled, then tack...when you are running, the boat is going slowly, and trying to change course, to tack through the wind 225% is likely to burn all the speed off any small cruiser.
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Old 07-21-2009
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Under a certain amount of sail and sail settings, certain wind conditions, and a certain amount of heel, my boat will occasionally get trapped in a slot where the boat will not tack or will not turn far away in the opposite direction. Not sure what all the dynamic forrces are that cause this, but the solution is simple, change the sail settings just a little as you start encounter this resistance, and the boat will tack or turn down wind in normal fashion. The adjustment is slacking the jib/genoa sheets a bit or slack the mainsheet. Each boat is different, but I think this will help your situation.
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Old 07-21-2009
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A Lancer 25 has a very small keel and very small rudder, thus it tends to skid instead of turn ... it slows down when you aggressively try to turn it. You have to 'power it through' a tack by 'steering with the sails'.

If the forestay is slack, the jib will be carried 'bellied-out-to-leeward' which cause the boat to aggresively heel, but not 'point', and will 'skid off to leeward' and during the skid the helmsman will 'correct the helm' thinking that the pressure on the side of the rudder is 'weather helm' with the result that the rudder is 'dragged through the water' almost sideways. Remedy: high backstay tension, DRIVE the boat into the tack, but begin the tack by vastly 'overtensioning' the mainsheet so that the leech section begins to 'hook up to weather' so that the mainsail will look like an airplane wing ... with its 'flaps down'.

TIGHT backstay, HEAVY mainsheet tension as you enter the tack, use only 'fingertip' pressure on the tiller so the rudder has good flow across it and doesnt 'stall' during the turn.
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Old 07-21-2009
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If all else fails just jibe the boat instead of coming about.
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