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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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  #1  
Old 05-16-2010
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I hate wind......

Well not really, but I had a "frustrating" day today.

Weather called for 10-15 kt winds with winds gusts to 20, For my Pearson 10M Tall Rig, 10 to 15 is sweet with 135%. Wind over 20kts, for my boat, can be very overpowering. My typical set up is main and 135% RF Genny.

So we head out and wind is 0 kt, but then picks up to 5kt 50 yds from the mooring. Shutdown the iron genny and trim the main. Going 3 kts, so out comes the genny. Speed just shy of 5 kts, and wind has picked up to 6 to 8. Point-of-sail is reach/broad reach. Settle in and enjoy the ride. Once out of the harbor, we pass "hurricane alley", a spot where the wind is often very strong due to the land mass formation. Once pass the Alley, wind is between 5 and 10 kts and generally in the same direction. We are now on a broad run. Then the wind dies to around 2 kts and then 0 kts.

Well within a matter of two minutes the wind went from 0 to 25 kts (30 kt gusts) and the direction went almost 90 deg. With almost 700 ft of sail up, we were SOOOOO overpowered. On some of the gusts, we were lifted almost 90 deg. There were only two of us and I was sail trimmer. I thought we just went through a little wind burst area and things would return to calm. We it got worse and I couldn't get the RF Genny reefed quick enough. Even when I got reduced by 35%, it seemed like there was little effect. I finally decided to bring it all the way in but it was very hard (even down wind and blanketed by the main).

Once in, we had much better control just sailing under the main, but had enough after a half of hour getting pounded with delta 25+ wind gusts and multiple wind direction changes.

Since May and Oct in New England seems to be full of these No Wind - Gusty Wind days, I think I am changing my sail configuration to a very small 95-100% RF Jib and a main during these months. This will reduce my sail area from roughly 700 ft2 to about 520 ft. I will sacrifice speed/performance in low wind times for safety during the high wind times. I could go with the main only, but upwind pointability suffers. A Genny only makes controlling the boat somewhat difficult as there is a little less weather helm and is more difficult to trim. I think a balanced sail plan is best. Worst case scenario, main reefed and jib reefed to about 80% of fore triangle.

What do others do in these constantly variable wind speed and direction situations with re: sail plan management.

DrB
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  #2  
Old 05-16-2010
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Sounds like exactly the kind of May sailing day we had last year here in Boston harbor. Except in our case, the roller furler jammed, and there was no way to furl the foresail, while the wind was howling in the rigging, the jib flapping, and the aux motor (outboard) barely able to keep the boat headed into the wind. Finally had to crawl forward and pull the jib down out of the furler track (losing the internal halyard up the mast in the process).

Very scary start to the season, and lesson learned that it's not possible to be too careful about these No Wind - Gusty wind days.

Sounds to me, that your sail plan management is a prudent approach.
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Old 05-17-2010
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May I ask...Should you have reefed the main before you left the mooring? You did know what to expect but you didn't reef the main. Easier to shake out the reef if the wind pipes down later. You may be surprised to find out you don't loose as much speed and more importantly control, with less sail in that situation. I know I was amazed how little sail I can get by with in wind 15-20. It's really not necessary put all that stress on your rigging and steering unless that's what you really want to do! Others with more experience may have better advice then me but I know what works on my boat, which isn't too much diff from yours.
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Old 05-17-2010
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Either too much or too little!
Either right on the nose or right on the tail.
It never changes...

The prudent thing is to balance your sails for the gust and sail slow in the lows. But what fun is that?
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Old 05-17-2010
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I have a 34' sabre so with that forecast, typically we single reef the main and run a full 135% genny. Gusts to 20 with higher puffs gets a little pushy and creates a weathered helm. If we are working to hard at the helm, we then reef the genny. Winds over 25 we double reef and run half of the head sail, unless we are on a downwind run then full genny. The boat operates better. At times in stronger winds 20+ we just run a full genny which is surprisingly a very smooth controllable sail because I do enjoy good winds but do not want to beat up my boat, crew or myself.
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Old 05-17-2010
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Forecast was wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
May I ask...Should you have reefed the main before you left the mooring? You did know what to expect but you didn't reef the main. Easier to shake out the reef if the wind pipes down later. You may be surprised to find out you don't loose as much speed and more importantly control, with less sail in that situation. I know I was amazed how little sail I can get by with in wind 15-20. It's really not necessary put all that stress on your rigging and steering unless that's what you really want to do! Others with more experience may have better advice then me but I know what works on my boat, which isn't too much diff from yours.
I don't normally reef in conditions at 15kts or below. So when the wind is about 5 on the mooring and then a little stronger in the "fairway", then we don't reef. Two reasons, 1) wind in the harbor is 90+ % of the time stronger, wind is often different (direction and gusts) than outside the harbor. Yesterday was a rare anomaly.

Outside of the harbor, the wind did as predicted dropped some and changed direction. For 1/2 hour or so we had a pleasant sail until the "hurricane" rolled in and started putting 30 kt gusts and wide wind direction shifts.

The weather forecast called for 10-15 kt winds, gusts to 20, then quickly dropping off to 5-10 kt winds in the afternoon. We had the appropriate sail plan for the wind conditions predicted, not the wind conditions actual. Once we got the genny rolled in we were fine, but it was not fun until then.

It seems that May and October have a lot of these days up here, so I probably am going to get a 100% jib and lose the 135 until the more tamer summer months. This is only my third full season, so I am still learn the wind patterns around here for the various months.

DrB
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Old 05-17-2010
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sounds like spring sailing to me, i usually start with a 110 at the start of season and then go to a 130 and then maybe even a 150 for the june and july light winds
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Old 05-17-2010
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Doc, sounds like a normal day of lake sailing in Texas.
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Old 05-17-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailortjk1 View Post
Either too much or too little!
Either right on the nose or right on the tail.
It never changes...

The prudent thing is to balance your sails for the gust and sail slow in the lows. But what fun is that?
Dude, you're finally seeing the light!
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Old 05-17-2010
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My ankles and arches hurt when the boat is heeled 15 degrees or so. When it's 80 degrees I just stand on the sides of the cockpit (on another boat!)
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