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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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  #21  
Old 07-10-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveinet View Post
Certainly some weird wind. The one short strong blast I had, it seemed to act better, but did not want to round up. I had to turn it and drop the main sheet both. Turning alone was not enough to set the boat back down. With it heeled over, there was not much rudder in the water.
Sounds like he has no weather helm, lee helm only. Mast needs more rake.
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  #22  
Old 07-10-2010
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Lee helm caused by the center board not being deployed fully or at all.
A boat like that with no keel to speak of will not sail upwind without a center board.
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  #23  
Old 07-11-2010
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Saturday's sail certainly proved to be interesting. More wind most of the time and bigger lake, but more traffic as well. Started the day with with winds above 5-8 mph (can I say mph, or is that knot exceptable on this forum?) The boat seemed to act better, but is very slow. Not sure why, the boat just seems really heavy/sluggish. Even with strong winds, with the boat heeled over, it never really goes very fast. It is as if the main sail is just very ineffective. When I first started, I motored out into the middle of the lake. With a 3 HP motor, the boat moved surprisingly well. Hull speed is around 5 knots, mid throttle seemed to move along near that. Since it moves so easy under motor, it makes me think the main is just not doing its job. I wonder if the main was replaced at some point and is smaller than spec. I layed the jib and the main out on the ground, and they both look about the same size. The jib is wider at the base, but the main is wider higher up. Hard to say which has more area.
But anyway, the center board was down, at one point, I actually got up some speed and could hear the line humming, loosed it, so the hum went away, but shortly after the wind went away as well.

I think this boat just has some design weaknesses. The boat is only 17 feet long, but is 7.5 feet wide. Between the width and 300lbs of concrete in the shoal keel, the boat is just slow. It heels over pretty good, without much wind, although I did have a heavy blast, probably 20 knots, for about 15 seconds. I had the tiller locked down, sails cleated and was digging something out of the hatch when it hit. Dove for the tiller, grabbed the main sheet on the way, but took a little bit to get the main released. Even with all that, the shrouds never got wet. It did steer out of it. I think there is a point, where the boat will heel to, and is difficult to go past that. It would be nice to have a steady wind to push it and learn if I really have to drop the main in those cases.

Later in the day, the wind died. My conclusion is that the boat is unsteerable in anything less than 3 mph unless you dramatically depower the jib. Even at that, I had to gybe to avoid the shore. Worst case is when you are barely moving, and the wind picks up some. Since the boat is still going slow, the rudder is ineffective, and the added wind will turn the boat leaward. Nothing you can do but gybe.

Next time I have the boat out, I'll try seeing if I can curve the mast, pulling the middle aft, and the top foreward, just see how it acts. If I have read stuff correctly, that may help, someone chime in and confirm. Thursday I will go out on an even bigger lake. This last lake was only about a 1/4 mile wide, so not a lot of room be stopped and swap sails.

Since I chatting about this last sail, I had 1 case of good luck, and 2 cases of bad. The lake I was really 2 lakes connected by a narrow passageway zig-zag of about 500 feet long X 20 feet wide. I had the wind at my back going through the passage, so had no problems. When I went to return, I started the motor, however it would not stay running. It would run for maybe 30 seconds and run out of fuel. Maybe a minute if I left it choked, and only idled it. (it ran for several minutes fine earlier that day wide open) My case of good luck was, that the wind picked back up and was at my back again going in the opposite direction through the same narrow passage. When I finished the passage, the wind completely died off. Thunderstorm building in the distance. Fiddled with the motor, but after several attempts I just had to give up. Paddled a bit and just waited. I guess there was some wind. If you spit in the water, you could confirm you were moving, but that was the only way to tell. Of course all the power boats were going by and lining up at the launch. I kept having to paddle to keep the boat on course. The rain did hit, I got drenched, but no lightning, so that was good. At least by going slow, I didn't ever have to stop and wait in the line up for the launch. Kind of puts yourself in an awkward situation. With so little wind, you can't wait in line - well you can, but then you can't get going when it comes your turn to pull up. I just kept making little headway along side. People were nice about it, most the boats had cleared out by the time I got close and then they just let me in.
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Sailing a large boat on a small lake is very tacky.
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  #24  
Old 07-11-2010
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"I started the motor, however it would not stay running. It would run for maybe 30 seconds and run out of fuel"
Dave, look for a vent screw on the fuel tank, or a shutoff on the vent hose. That's the classic symptom of a perfectly good engine--which can't suck any more gas out of the tank because the vent wasn't opened.
Don't ask me why I know and remember this. :-)
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  #25  
Old 07-13-2010
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You are partially right, but the vent was open. I checked the motor last night and found the tank was bone dry. I had pulled the gas cap to confirm there was fuel in the tank. This motor is small, and the fuel tank is mounted above the engine. Evidently the odd shape of the fuel tank made it look like there was substantially more fuel in the tank than there was. I'm guessing that there was enough slosh that the fuel supply was intermittent. Since it did run for short stretches at a time, as fuel would trickle in, it consumed what ever small bit was left. Motor is old, but new to me, so I just suspected other problems. The fuel that was in it, had not been used in a few years. I suspected the fuel was dirty and had a momentary clog. Ordinarily I would have drained the tank, but since it ran fine under a previous test, I figured I might as well use up what was in there.

I need to develop a routine, making sure I get all my ducks in a row when I go out. It is a new setup for me, so I just don't have all my thoughts together of everything that is required. 2 items I forgot, extra fuel can and drinking water.

Still wanting to know what to do with the sail next. Should the whole mast just be tilted back, or should just the middle of the mast be pulled aft.
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Sailing a large boat on a small lake is very tacky.
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  #26  
Old 07-13-2010
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Mast rake refers to the whole mast... I can't think of many situations where you'd want to bow the mast backwards like that. In fact, babystays are usually put on many boats to prevent that from happening.
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Still wanting to know what to do with the sail next. Should the whole mast just be tilted back, or should just the middle of the mast be pulled aft.
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  #27  
Old 07-17-2010
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I've raked the mast back as far as it will go, but have not had a good test. Out today with what had to be 20 mph winds. The boat is still pretty slow and poor steering. Wind was too intense for the size boat and the crew's lack of experience. I eventually dropped the jib, reefed the main. Most of the time that was pretty reasonable, although I still found I was de-powering the main to keep from getting knocked down. The boat does not seem to steer into the wind very well, even with only the reefed main. I'm concluding that some of the steering issues are just the fact that the boat is so slow that there is always a disproportionate amount of boat speed compared to the amount of wind speed. Does that make sense? Are some boats just like that?
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Sailing a large boat on a small lake is very tacky.
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  #28  
Old 07-17-2010
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Well.. sailing under main alone always restricts windward ability. So i wouldn't form any opinions based on that day's events.

Here's what I'm sort of getting from this... sail more, think less. I know, I know.. that's horrible advice. But I rather get the feeling that you are a well-read, analytical guy. And also, that you haven't had that much time at the helm of this boat yet. Sailing is a mental game, for sure. But sailing also has a lot of touch stuff... and that just takes time.

I think, my friend, you are just thinking too hard. Yes, the mast rake may need to be adjusted. Maybe the main sail is blown out, too old, too small, too battened, not battened enough, maybe the halyards aren't tight enough, maybe the cunningham is too tight, maybe the boom rides too high or the backstay is too loose or the vang is too far foward on the boom to be effective or the mainsheet isn't far enough aft. Could be that the headstay is too loose and that lets the masthead fall off in a puff, or it could be that your jib sheeting angles are too tight so the jib foot is too full. Might be the leach line on the main is too tight, and that's building too much belly in the sail and causing the angle of attack to be too fat. maybe the lower gudgeon is out of plane and the rudder is entering the water at a bad angle and causing laminar deflection. Maybe the centerboard trunk is restricting the centerboard in some way, and maybe martians are using your mast as a remote antenna for their plankton mining operations.

But, here's the thing.. there's no way to know. Those are all relative issues, which is to say, there's no 'correct' leach line tension. You just either loosen it or tighten it. Sure, there are rules-of-thumb, but at the the end of the day it's a judgement call. It's hard to make that judgement until you have a good idea what 'normal' feels like.

And, to wind up this book, I think maybe it's time to just sail for a few trips. Relax, see what the boat feels like. She sounds like a safe, basically well-found boat. You beat her up a bit, she held together fine. So now it's more about fine-tuning things.

At least, that's what I'd do. Just sail the 'ol gal for a while.. few days, week, month, whatever. Then you won't wonder if the sail is too small or big.. you'll be able to look at the boom and masthead and know if there is too much/little room there for more canvas.
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  #29  
Old 07-17-2010
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"Out today with what had to be 20 mph winds. The boat is still pretty slow and poor steering. Wind was too intense for"
Well, try to "divide and conquer". That's the only way you can beat something that's more powerful than you are, like a boat.
First off, as you noticed, 20mph is just too miuch for the boat. Heck, even keelboats 30' long benefit from reefing well before 20 knots and not being familiar with your boat, I'd have to ask just how effective your reefing options are to begin with.

"The boat does not seem to steer into the wind very well, ...the boat is so slow...Are some boats just like that?"

Some boats are simply unbalanced pigs, yes. If your boat is an "1981 AFC T for Two Made by American Fiberglass Company " there are some photos at AFC T for Two sailboat for sale which show one. As someone else asked, what about your centerboard? Is it locked down (LOCKED down) and is the correct original centerboard there at all? That would be critical to proper upwind operation.

Have you been able to locate any other owners (past or present) on the web, who might have some insight into what is normal for the boat? A 17' boat, even at its best, will probably have a maximum hull speed around 5 knots--so don't expect lightning fast speeds from this boat.

If there are any dinghy racing programs in your area, even though they will be very different from what you are sailing, you might be able to ask one of the instructors or more experienced sailors to come out and take a ride with you, and share their hands-on insight. Most sailors will be glad to come along and help, for the price of a coke or beer.
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  #30  
Old 07-20-2010
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Center board was down, although when I first started, I forgot about it. It really didn't make much difference, as this boat also has a stub keel. Actually I think that is one of the problems. The keel is kind of fat and blunt. There is another forum dedicated to this brand. There has been mention that the boat is a pig (their choice of words). I don't think I'm hitting haul speed. While it has been many years, I learned to sail on a Interlake and a Javelin, both boats having similar haul speeds to this boat. I just don't remember them being so sluggish or unresponsive.
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RL 24 NEW to me April 25th 2014
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Sailing a large boat on a small lake is very tacky.
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