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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 07-23-2010
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One item I haven't seen discussed: cunningham. If/when you haul on your backstay adjuster, it will flatten and depower the main while tensioning the forestay. Both desirable in heavy air. But backstay tension, combined with wind-induced fabric stretch, will also move the mainsail draft back by quite a lot, which can lead to acute weather helm -- less total power, but that power is concentrated farther aft. While not as good as tensioning the mainsail halyard/downhaul -- and certainly not as good as reefing -- a moderate tug on the cunningham (or forward reefing grommet, if that's all you have) should move that draft right forward again. It's a temporary fix, that vertical wrinkle in the luff, but not to be despised.

My tiller tamer is a length of 1/4" line strung between the aft cleats; a 3"x3/4"x1/2"t piece of notched HDPE plastic loosely screwed to the underside of the tiller, 1 foot from the front end; a T-nut epoxied into the tiller, and a knob that screws into the T-nut. Cord runs in the notch. One clockwise rev on the knob pinches the cord against the tiller and holds it in place. One rev the other way makes it loose for hand steering. Cost, two bucks. Makes reefing and heaving-to dead easy. I'll try to get a photo tomorrow.

I forget -- do you have a roller furling headsail?
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  #22  
Old 07-24-2010
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No, mine is hanked on.

I'm looking forward to seeing a photo of your tiller tamer.
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  #23  
Old 07-24-2010
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Do you have a downhaul rigged on your genoa? I ask because making the jib go away has proven the key to reefing our main singlehanded.

I head up, furl the jib, and ease the main -- not blowing it completely, but setting it for a beam reach while the boat is above a close reach. The upshot is something like heaving to: the boat keeps a little headway on, which maintains it head-to-wind even w/out the tiller locked. I find the boat takes care of itself in this setup while I go forward and reef.

Might be too much hassle with a hanked-on sail, tho.
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  #24  
Old 07-24-2010
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Yes, I do have a downhaul on the genny. It is the single greatest upgrade I've made on the boat since I've had her, I think. I had a bit of a hassle getting it set up so that it didn't get pinched by the hanks -- I had the line led up through all the hanks, and when the sail started coming down the lower hanks would pinch the line, making it impossible to lower the sail any more.

I found that not putting the line inside the hanks at all worked best. I have a small turning block right at the base of the forestay, so the line stays parallel to the stay regardless of the tack I'm on. Since it can't be pinched by the hanks, I never have problems getting the sail down.

I thought I read in another thread that heaving to was a good way to put in a reef. What advantage do you think making the jib go away gives you over just heaving to?
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  #25  
Old 07-24-2010
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Once you drop the jib (or furl it) you will lose a good bit of forward speed which might be desirable in conditions where the waves are close together. Without a jib you can hold most points of sail but with more leeway and less speed. 'Fore reaching' is pretty easy to do with just the main which is basically pinching as much as you can into the wind with plenty of luffing but requires someone at the helm.
If you can heave to you should be able to tie/lock your tiller/wheel over to one side and go forward. This assumes you have the room to drift to leeward.
Heaving to can be fun. Try it on your Newport 28'. You might like it.
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  #26  
Old 07-24-2010
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Maybe I should start a "Big Freakin' Heave-To" thread.
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  #27  
Old 07-25-2010
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The 24:1 is a combination of 2 triple blocks and a couple cascade purchases. Pretty common for a backstay setup. In larger boats that don't allow hydraulics they go to 48 and 72:1 purchases. What is your purchase on your backstay?

I also asked how close was the race boat? Racers are not going to change course unless they know they are going to hit you. You moved out of the way. My guess is that they were at least 100yds or more from you when you changed course. This has nothing to do with racers being A holes, they're racing and trying to take the most direct route.

I do not ignore colregs. If that's your impression of racers than you're completely off base. Racers are used to maneuvering boats in very close quarters at speed in challenging conditions. They're always pushing it. If it makes you uncomfortable, then you did the right thing, and got out of the way. It's not going to cost you 2 or 3 places in a race if you change course by 10*. My guess is you never had to change course in the first place.
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  #28  
Old 07-25-2010
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/rant
I passed about 20 feet astern of his boat -- well within "biscuit toss." I slightly resent your presumption that I can't tell the difference between 50 feet (when I started my avoidance maneuver) and 100 yards. If I tell you I went into irons and still only missed him by 20 feet or so, does that tell you how close we were? 100 yards would be nearly eleven boat lengths; if he were that far in front of me I wouldn't have worried about changing course.

And I really don't want to hear about how "racers are used to maneuvering boats in very close quarters at speed in challenging conditions." I wasn't in a race, I was single-handing in windy conditions and trying to keep things under control, and I had the right of way. He had no business maintaining course because he thought we might miss by whole inches or maybe a couple of feet. It's required of him to make an obvious maneuver to avoid me.

And what if his judgment had been wrong, and we had collided? That would have been a lovely scene: two boats t-boning in 20 kt winds, one or both possibly dismasted and taking on water, maybe injuries. All because a racer didn't want to lose a couple of seconds in a meaningless race?

It's one thing of both of us had been racing -- if both boats have accepted the risks of racing and understand "accidents will happen," then it's an understood matter. He should have known very well I wasn't part of the race and put both of us at risk.

/rant

As for the purchase on my backstay, I think it's 4:1; but here's a picture of the setup.
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  #29  
Old 07-25-2010
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I see your point, did you hail to the other boat stating your rights? To me it sounds like the other boat would've crossed clear ahead if you had room to luff up and didn't catch his stern with your bow. Hence no overlap and no rights. A hail of "leeward boat" could've made them alter course to give you a little more breathing room. In any case rule 1 is avoid collision, sounds like you did that, good on ya.

I had a similar backstay setup on my boat, didn't work real well and got really hard to tension under a high load. I'd look at changing it out with some high tech line and lightweight blocks to reduce the friction and get more control over your backstay/forestay tension.
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