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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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  #61  
Old 06-22-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DulceSuerna View Post
This raises some questions for me. We recently had an experience coming down the lee side of a causeway. We were on a nice broad reach going somewhat slowly in light wind. Suddenly a big gust hit and almost knocked us completely down. The boat was very quick to head up or turn into the wind and she leveled herself out.
1. Shes a 31 bombay clipper, is this normal in a large gust or knockdown that most larger boats will automatically head up and right themselves?
Yes, it's called Weather Helm. The boat should be designed to round up in a gust, as this de-powers the sails. IMO, if you are sailing a 31 foot Keel boat, you should know this already. If it happens with another boat or obstacle upwind of you, it can be ugly if you don't know what to do. Well covered in a little book "The Complete Sailor" by David Seidman. The US Sailing site also has some excellent on line instruction.
2. There was no way to see the gust or predict it and it was gone as soon as it hit. What should I have done differently?
Don't know what a "Causeway" is, but I assume there is very little Fetch (water to windward, between the boat and the Causeway or shore). This makes it difficult to see a gust coming, but you should learn to read the wind on the water when there is Fetch. I would certainly allow for more Fetch until I learned how to control the boat in a gust! "Causeways" sound hard!
3. I read the "reef the main as it builds, but drop the main at 30 or above"
I have two reef points, the boat seems to really come alive in 15-20 should I just drop if it is gusting higher or was the prior statement really for a smaller boat?
My 30' boat is quite happy in 30 knots with a single reef and 100% jib. Depends on the boat. Many variables. Reduce sail WELL BEFORE you feel out of control (better yet, when you first think about it). Err on the side of too much reef. It's easier to shake out reef than put it in after you need it!
4. I understand you can furl the jib to use as a storm sail, I also understand this puts considerable force on the furling system and hardware etc. At what point do you Not want to use the Jib even furled deeply.
I will tend to Reef the main and use my 100% Jib in some pretty stout winds. I'm reluctant to reef (partially furl) the jib as it's no longer a very effective sail. I have a 90%, but find my 100 pretty effective for the stout SF Bay winds. I would think you could furl the jib down to a small triangle without damage to the furler (for what it would be worth!) but have little experience with it. I have sailed small boats and cats for years but this is our first "Bigger Boat"
We are doing fairly well and my wife is awesome crew. Any advice is well taken. and sorry to hijack this great thread
I'm surprised you are not familiar with Weather Helm from the smaller boats. In any case, I suggest you educate yourself. Plenty of info here and elsewhere. It's not rocket science, but screw up on a 31 foot boat and someone can get hurt (or worse). Keywords: Blowing the traveler (no...not a San Francisco term!), Accidental Jibe, Preventer, etc..
Thanks for the highlighting technique "Smack Daddy". Thought about it for a while, but never quite put it together. You inspired me!

Last edited by L124C; 06-23-2010 at 11:41 AM.
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  #62  
Old 06-22-2010
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I appreciate the insight and advice. To be more specific on the causeway it was a mile long strip of land with another 2 mile island at the end of it. We were on the Lee side of it in very light wind.I can usually spot the indications of a change in wind speed. But where we were it was tough. I probably answered my own question just now. We did have the engine running in the event the wind died completly, I am familiar with weather helm though on the smaller raqcing cats you have to guide them to weather to ease them off, they usually dont "head up" on their own, and can flip or pitchpole if overpowered, or sheeted in when a gust hits. I probably should have asked The question differently but I understand now.
I will definitely get the book you reccomended.
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  #63  
Old 06-22-2010
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While thinking about weather helm, you should realize that it is not a fixed thing on a boat. While mast rake and other factors will combine to produce weather helm, lee helm or balanced helm, the specific loading of the boat and the configuration of the sails will affect it significantly. Weather helm or lee helm are largely determined by the relative position of the center of effort of the sails (COE) and the center of lateral resistance of the hull (CLR). The further forward the COE relative to the CLR, the more lee helm; the further aft the more weather helm. Thus, weight distribution on the boat can affect the fore and aft tilt, and the position of the COE. Usually the center of lateral resistance stays about the same, though this is not true with a lifting keel or centerboard. Lots of weight in the bow will tilt the boat forward. Lots of weight in the stern, the reverse. For example, heavy anchor chain moves the weight forward and thus the COE. On my boat there is a 42 gallon water tank near the bow. 42 gallons filled equals about 350 pounds. Thus the state of the tanks can affect weather or lee helm. In addition to the fore and aft balance, the sail plan will move the COE. Bigger jib moves the center of effort forward. No jib moves it aft. Reef the main and the COE moves forward. Reef the jib and it moves aft. As you adjust, learn about the variables and plan for them. Some sailors tend to ignore slight weather or lee helm in lighter conditions, but this can be a big mistake, because the effects will be greatly exaggerated when the wind pipes up. Most people want slight weather helm in normal conditions. Too much weather or lee helm slows the boat because of the drag from the rudder. Slight lee helm in light winds means strong lee helm in that sudden gust, and that lee helm means you can't turn to weather to spill wind and can be very dangerous. Slight weather helm in light wind may mean strong weather helm in strong winds, but strong weather helm will turn the boat into the wind, a much safer result.
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  #64  
Old 06-23-2010
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I just came across this thread. I am not even going to try and act like a tough guy, this is some scary stuff here! Anyway, I have never had my boat in any kind of bad weather but I can see how this happens. From my experiences as a power boater, many times that weather will change QUICK. Someone said a power boater usually will just run from the weather, well that is correct. When I was with my dad, as soon as we seen dark gray clouds developing, we would hit full throttle back to the launch. Just this past Saturday, I was out with a friend and the weather was kind of unpredictable. It looked dark in the north as soon as we got out. I kept an eye on it and turned on my VHF. At the moment, there was only a light chop and winds just over 10kts. Then we got a slight drizzle and I started to wonder if things were going to pick up. We were not even 1/2 mile from the harbor, I stood nearby just in case. So I was NOT going to bring my boat back to the marina only to see the sun pop out and turn into a nice day. I decided to stay out and just incase we got some super strong out of nowhere winds, I dropped all sails and put the anchor down. We went below decks to stay dry until the drizzle stopped. Then, that was the extent of it. This got me to wondering many "what ifs", common sense told me to get the sails down and drop anchor. This was fine in our situation but it could have became ugly if the waves would have kicked up a lot. Good thing for us, it remained a light chop and the rain drizzle stopped within 15 min. Right now I only sail on Lake Ponchartrain, I can only get in so much trouble out there but it is a large lake and still should always be respected. Once when a hurricane was near, it looked like a storm in the north sea! Many boaters lost their lives in that lake through the years. Just recently, one person was killed on memorial day weekend in Ponchartrain, then a few others in the smaller Lake Maurepas. These were not from weather, but just boating accidents in general, none sailboats.

This all said, I have a really good kayaking story I can share here if anyone is interested. I am still a kayaker and was doing that a year before I got into sailing. My kayaking story is probably scarier then alanr77 sailing story here and even more unbelieveable. Just put it this way, I thought I would never see my 40th birthday. This happened to me Saturday Oct 17th, 2009, my personal date which will live in infamy, I will never forget that day.
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  #65  
Old 06-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L124C View Post
[QUOTE, did several trips to Monterey and several from Santa Barbara out to the Channel Islands as well as many seasons of SYRA racing.
Quote:
Several trips from SF to Monterey (and back?) in a 22' Catalina???
Yo Da Man!!!
An experienced couple just died sailing a 33' Ranger from Half Moon bay to SF (1/3 the distance), in unpredicted 30-40 plus Knot winds! The boat survived (fully reefed).
I think that couple you referring too is in this article. The video that plays shows the boat...

El Sobrante couple dies in sailboat accident - Inside Bay Area
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  #66  
Old 06-23-2010
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US Sailing link

Quote:
Originally Posted by DulceSuerna View Post
I will definitely get the book you recommended.
Here is a link to the US Sailing site I referred to. Online sailing courses, calculators, videos and quizzes on sailboats, navigation and safety from US SAILING, the sole National Governing Body for sailing in the U.S. Good stuff!
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  #67  
Old 06-23-2010
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I'd like to emphasize that this is a good tactic that is often overlooked, and quite an acceptable one for short summer afternoon thunderstorms and squalls. Of course, it really only works if you have a decent anchor and rode that can be relied on and know how to use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailguy40 View Post
I just came across this thread. I am not even going to try and act like a tough guy, this is some scary stuff here! Anyway, I have never had ....Then we got a slight drizzle and I started to wonder if things were going to pick up. We were not even 1/2 mile from the harbor, I stood nearby just in case. So I was NOT going to bring my boat back to the marina only to see the sun pop out and turn into a nice day. I decided to stay out and just incase we got some super strong out of nowhere winds, I dropped all sails and put the anchor down. We went below decks to stay dry until the drizzle stopped. Then, that was the extent of it. This got me to wondering many "what ifs", common sense told me to get the sails down and drop anchor. ...
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  #68  
Old 06-24-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DulceSuerna View Post
I am familiar with weather helm though on the smaller raqcing cats you have to guide them to weather to ease them off, they usually dont "head up" on their own, and can flip or pitchpole if overpowered, or sheeted in when a gust hits. I probably should have asked The question differently but I understand now.
I will definitely get the book you reccomended.
Cats are very different from a monohull (and I don't simply mean faster!). Read the book, you will see why.
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Old 06-24-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailguy40 View Post
I think that couple you referring too is in this article. The video that plays shows the boat...

El Sobrante couple dies in sailboat accident - Inside Bay Area
Yep...sadly, thats them. Did a thread here "Couple die Sailing to San Francisco" if your interested.
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Old 06-24-2010
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GeorgeB, thanks for the advice though plans for this boat should not be to elaborate as I am upgrading to a C27 within the next 6-8 months. The C22 is now kept in a slip so at least I can leave my sail controls attached. I recently received a really nice used sail from Bacon sails. It is a jib from an Etchell 22. This jib equates to about a 90-95 on the C22. The boat balances much easier now. I returned the Harken reefing system and installed a simple line and carabineer setup to allow easy reefing. The system is much simpler and faster to use than the Harken system. I am aware of the corrosion on the mast and boom; the boat is 33 years old. The cost of replacing this equipment rivals the total value of the boat. I am running into the dilemma of ďbeing that I am selling the boat within this sailing season- do I want to invest money that I will not get back?...Ē Itís a shame about the kinked shroud. It is brand new and I received it that way from Catalina Direct. I didnít know any better when I installed it. The wires are not broken or unraveled. ??? The hole on the coach roof is filled with West system and sealed with boatlife caulk, as are all the holes. Is this not enough?
Regarding someoneís comment on a furling system; I am partial to hank on headsails. They donít jam, get stuck and with a downhaul I KNOW the sail can be dropped on a whim. The extra work is worth the security to me. My opinion is not unfounded, my friendís Hunter 22 has a furling system on it and it seems to jam right when we really need to drop sail. Works great when the suns out thoughÖ
On another note, I must say that since I took up sailing it has almost become a lifestyle. I seem to always have something to do either to or with the boat. This seems to be a lifelong process of learning.
One other thought, someone noted that a bigger boat leads to bigger and more complicated issues. I fully agree. However, the walkways and foredeck of the C27 seem to be MUCH safer to work on compared to the C22. Itís like a jungle gym on the C22. Everything seems to be right where I need to stand.
All in all, I have learned much from this experience. Thank you all for the replies and advice. Hopefully others have read it and taken the advice and lessons with them as well.
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