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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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Old 04-30-2003
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preping for heavy weather

Hey all,

Sorry for the onslaught of questions reciently.

Next up: I''ve spent some time making sure my 50% goes on fine, and I''ve reefed my main, and hove too in the strongest winds I''ve been out in (a whopping 15 knot breeze) My mind must be blanking, because I cant think of anything else I can do to make sure I know how to handle her in heavy weather. I know experience is the best teacher, but taking her out when I know the weather sucks just sounds completley idiotic to me. What do I do to get myself and my boat ready for heavy weather when I eventualy hit it.

Thanks agian to all of you for the help.

-- James
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Old 04-30-2003
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preping for heavy weather

I would think that going out in heavier conditions than 15 knots would be the next step. The balance of a boat changes dramatically as the winds build and the sails stretch and become more rounded. The 50% jib is probably built of a very heavy and low stretch cloth while your mainsail is built of a lighter fabric made to stand up to normal sailing conditions. As a result the mainsail will power up to disproportionately greater extent as compared to the 50% jib. Steering in waves with heavily reefed sails is also much more difficult. When you are in the troughs there is way less wind than on the crest. As a result you need to develop skills in keeping the boat moving up the back of each wave while blanketed and still be avoid a major knock down on the crest. Low stretch halyards become more important as they are now longer and exposed to greater forces. Being able to properly tension the foot of the sail and properly tension the vang in high winds becomes very critical as well.

Jeff
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Old 05-01-2003
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GordMay is on a distinguished road
preping for heavy weather

As always, Jeff offers good advice.
You , also, make an important point. Although you will find it instructive to test your set-up & yourself in heavier conditions - please do so in mannageble increments (having experienced 15Kt, you might try 15 - 20 Kt), and under the otherwise most favourable conditions (unobstructed waters, shore to windward, closer to shelter, etc) possible.
You will eventually get caught out; but as you say, to start out (in foul/deteriorating conditions) is madness, unless you have VERY COMPELLING reasons (cannot think of many).
You ARE on the right track, and I''m certain your forsight & prudence auger well for your future cruising.
Regards & best luck,
Gord
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Old 05-01-2003
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DuaneIsing is on a distinguished road
preping for heavy weather

Jeff, Gord, and others:

What would be your advice for James regarding the preparation and use of a preventer for the main boom, and for jibing in heavy air?

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Old 05-01-2003
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preping for heavy weather

I have mixed feelings about preventers. I prefer not to head dead downwind in heavy going but to actually reach up slightly. I also think that it is important that you be able to rig and release the preventer quickly from the cockpit and that the preventer have some elasticity. The reason I hold this opinion is that I have watched and been aboard boats that have death rolled while heading dead down wind with a preventer rigged. The preventor holds the boom up to windward and backwinded. To me having to send someone out of the cockpit during that type of a death roll far exceeds the danger implied by sailing without a perventer. I think at night and in high seas a preventer is warranted and at that point I typically rig the preventer with nylon so there is a little stretch should you dip the boom.

Jeff
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Old 05-01-2003
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preping for heavy weather

Reading the USSailing ORC (Offshore Racing Council) rules on a calm day would be good prep for heavy weather. No one above has mentioned anything about getting things ready down below, either. Are your batteries strapped down for a 180-degree roll? Do your floorboards, lockers, drawers, shelves, all lock positively shut (until you want to open one)? What about your hatches and hatchboards? You don''t want a wave coming over the stern, pushing the main hatch open and leaving you to find out how fast you can pump, do you? How big is your bilge pump, anyway? I sailed with a skipper who said he subscribed to the Air Force method: plan for everything. Then when all Hell breaks loose, it will be because you planned it that way.
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Old 05-01-2003
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preping for heavy weather

Ahoy chicken hearted, mabye yees could duck down below and read the bible real hard and god just might spare yee. Better yet don''t ever go out and sit at the dock and dream. 15 knots wot in the hell is ye hove to for? What the heck you sailing a playschool rubber duck?
Pirate of Pine Island!!
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Old 05-02-2003
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preping for heavy weather

> What the heck you sailing a playschool rubber duck?

No, you''ll find that the water ballasted rubber ducks, while lacking in directional stability do have quite a bit of roll recovery (I''ve personaly seen then recover from beyond 160deg) With only 800 lbs in the keel, I''ve sacraficed that, but I can run down wind alot faster than those ducks, even with the washcloth spinnaker they run. =)

-- James
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