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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 04-29-2003
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Safe angle of heel

I realize it differs from boat to boat, but what is considered a safe angle of heel for an average long-keel cruiser? I''ve been reefing down at about 20 deg., but that''s well before the rail is buried, which is the point at which the boat''s pvs. owners claim they would generally reef. If I wait that long, could a gust by any probability knock me down?
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Old 04-29-2003
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Safe angle of heel

That is hard question to answer. Narrower boats tend to tollerate larger heel angles than wider boats but often need higher heel angle in order to generate enough drive to make max speed. Long keel boats are generally sailed at very large heel angles because they typically have less stability as compared to their overall drag.

Modern designs are faster when sailed flat (less than 15 to 20 degrees) and are generally sailed at flatter angles of heel since they generally have less drag as compared to stability and so do not need to be heeled as much to make more speed.

I usually begin to blade out the sails at around 15 to 20 degrees of heel on the boats that I own. My current boat gets pretty squirely to steer at heel angles approaching 45 or so degrees. Longer keel boats that I have owned seemed to tolerate these big heel angles more easily although with massive amounts of weather helm and would only get squirely at heel angles over 50 or more degrees.

Jeff

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Old 04-29-2003
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Safe angle of heel

that''s interesting. It''s very similar to a Cheoy Lee Offshore 27, specs as follows:

LOA: 28''
LWL: 20'' 9"
BEAM: 7''9"
DRAFT: 4''6"

She has 3,064 lbs of ballast.

The discussion in fact might be academic, as I don''t think the wife would tolerate much more than 20 deg. of heel in any case - but it would be nice to know how much she would handle.

Cheers,

Scott
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Old 04-29-2003
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Safe angle of heel

By long keeled do you mean full keel? As jeff answered, many of these older full keel boats are narrow. They will typically have an intitial tendency to heel quickly (tender), but often settle into a groove which one can easlily feel. If the boat is reasonabley well designed, a gust often will dip the rail under, but they ride it out. I had an old Paceship Eastwind 25 (''64) and she used to regularily put the rail in. She would even keep going with water splashing over the cockpit combing. I was young, daring, and foolish back then, but this boat never did lay flat over, though we took some mild knock downs that brought solid water into the cockpit.

The boat will tell you when it is unhappy - weather helm is a great indicator, Also, use your knot meter and determine where the boat is fastest - that is where it is happiest.

Until you are sure, continue to reef early and reduce headsail as well. The previous owners probably know their boat.

My guess is that you are probably being a bit conservative, but there is nothing wrong with that. Give it some time - you will learn the limits of your boat and easing into that is a good thing. Generally speaking, our boats can take more than we can give them.
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Old 04-30-2003
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Safe angle of heel

I think he means long keel. There are very few full keeled boats out there, although the term gets used very loosely these days. Looking at ads and reading discussions, most of the boats that people think of as ''full keeled'' have cut away forefoots, and rudder posts that are pretty far forward and raked. Some of these are in fact fin keeled (by the traditional definition of a fin which is the bottom of the keel is 50% or less than the length of the sail plan) boats with attached rudders (the worst of all worlds) and others are actually just long keeled boats. If I remember correctly the Offshore 27/28 was a variant on the Newell Cadet and that both had long keels that bordered on being fin keels with rudders attached.

I always liked the Eastwinds. Like many boats of that era they were at their fastest with the rail just clear of the surface.

Jeff
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Old 07-17-2003
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Safe angle of heel

I''ve always liked the Colvin Gazelle, though I''ve never had the opportunity to sail on one. They are supposed to be narrow, shallow draft, full keel, with high ballast/displacement ratio.

Has anyone sailed one? And do they perform as Irwin32 indicated, that is, heel quickly and then stiffen with a high heel angle?

Chas
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Old 07-19-2003
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Safe angle of heel

Ahoy, Safe is relative. The Pirates vessel has the ability to layover at 40 degrees at which point me ports go under. Don''t have a rail, and with a full keel she''ll layover to 20 degrees in a 15 to 20 Knot wind with full working sail and just plain stop. Gusts roll her very slowly after that.
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Old 07-22-2003
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Safe angle of heel

You should be safe, if miserable, at any angle of heel you can get your boat to deliver. I haven''t experienced a keelboat sailing upwind get "knocked-down" (add a spinnaker and you have the formula right...). Centerboard boats can capsize upwind, but I doubt many keel boats would.

I don''t think safe is the concern for heeling rather than comfort and speed.If you heel excessively, the boat will slow down and eventually round up into the wind as the weather-helm overrides your steering. If the boat doesn''t round up at excessive heel, something is wrong with your rig or balance.

A good guide is "reef as soon as the question comes up". Your boat will go faster, and everyone is more comfortable at moderate heel angles. Why be uncomfortable for the pleasure of going slowly?
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Old 07-22-2003
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Safe angle of heel

As our boats are about the same size, I''ll give you this: Watch your wife. When her eyes start to bugger out of her head, back off!

Actually, healing angle, righting moment, hull form, ballast and a host of other considerations work together to make up what would be a minimum and maximum angle for best performance. In light airs I use crew weight to get her over towards 5 degrees. This puts on some weather helm and helps the sails hold their shape. As the winds pick up, I let her go to about 15 degrees before I start to flatten the sails and reef as needed to hold that angle.

There are times when I''m out playing or getting the adrenaline flowing where I''ve pushed her well over past 45 degrees. It''s fun but it wrecks havoc on the rig and sails.

Safe? As a general rule of thumb, your boat will reach the "point of no return" somewhere between 120 - 135 degrees. At that point she would want to rest upside down. It will take more then the wind to push her over that far. If those conditions continue, your boat would try to right herself sometime within two or three minutes.

Weebals wobble but they donít fall down!
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Old 07-23-2003
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Safe angle of heel

If you have a boat built in the last twenty or so years you will want at least 5 degrees of heel in light air as the Pirate says. 15 degrees is optimal after 25 degrees you are building up substantial weather helm. The boat will be going slow and will be difficult to control. Most boats will round up after this point. It is difficult to heal more that 35 degrees. This is not a saftey issue, the boat will not tip over from excessive heel unless we''re talking spinnaker broach here. In most cases if you are beyond 25 degrees you are sailing badly. The saying goes" any damn fool can put up sail. It takes a sailor to know when to reef".
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