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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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  #11  
Old 07-02-2012
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Re: Light Air or Heavy Air - What's Most Frustrating?

Light air in New Orleans in the summer is tolerable upwind, since you generate some wind of your own and that 4kn becomes 6kn apparent, in your face.

Downwind? absolute oven. 4k breeze from astern feels like zero. If you reach high enough with the assymmy to generate wind, you cool off a little but are no longer making progress "downwind".

Sometimes the terror of the afternoon thundersquall is almost welcome...
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Old 07-02-2012
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Re: Light Air or Heavy Air - What's Most Frustrating?

Ah, no, it ain't LIGHT air until it is down to less than two knots.

Heavy air, no time to get frustrated. Light air, time to play golf.
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Old 07-02-2012
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Re: Light Air or Heavy Air - What's Most Frustrating?

Light air with big seas (hangover after a storm)... It is so hard on the rig, you still have all the movement, but nothing to hold the boat steady. 20 to 25 is really nice sailing, over 30 the seas pick up and you can get some nasty breakers, not fun. I'd say it depends on your boat though, we have a heavy displacement full keel.
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Old 07-02-2012
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Re: Light Air or Heavy Air - What's Most Frustrating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
Light air in New Orleans in the summer is tolerable upwind, since you generate some wind of your own and that 4kn becomes 6kn apparent, in your face.

Downwind? absolute oven. 4k breeze from astern feels like zero. If you reach high enough with the assymmy to generate wind, you cool off a little but are no longer making progress "downwind".

Sometimes the terror of the afternoon thundersquall is almost welcome...
Bingo. Not a fan of light air.
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Old 07-02-2012
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Light Air or Heavy Air - What's Most Frustrating?

I agree that dead downwind is dreadful. We hardly. We hardly ever go 180 degrees to the wind. We stay at 150 or so degrees. VMG is better than directly downwind.
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Old 07-02-2012
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Re: Light Air or Heavy Air - What's Most Frustrating?

So what's the problem, you just have to follow the wind:

Less than 10 upwind, more that 25 downwind, in between you can chose
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Re: Light Air or Heavy Air - What's Most Frustrating?

Nothing is more difficult for crew morale than very light wind. Often will breed disagreement on how to keep/get the boat moving

Last edited by CBinRI; 07-04-2012 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 07-04-2012
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Re: Light Air or Heavy Air - What's Most Frustrating?

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Originally Posted by lajimo View Post
Beer, music, and an asymmetric spinnaker can help with light air. Maybe even a fishing pole.
In my experience, you have summed it up perfectly.

Light air can be managed well. No deadlines and you will get there safe enough. Motor if need be. I can motor ~1000nm if I must.

However heavy air - every one has their own definition and limits. Less experienced always seem to over exaggerate the strength of the breeze. I heard a guy today talk about recent 'gale force' winds when it was only about 25kn or half the force of a gale. [~10kn extra is roughly equivalent to double the force]

So when I hear of heavy winds, I remember a 36 hour period of 65-70kn whilst in the Capricorn channel, with huge, loud seas generated by the breeze. I vote for quiet air thanks. Actually I just love a constant 15kn from one direction - no gusts, no variables.
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I suspect I know why the prospect of light air is on Sabremans mind. Light air (often accompanied with blistering heat and morale crushing humidity) are the norm in our area this time of year and it's drawing close to a distance race we both take part in. Some years, anchoring has been a strategy in this race due to light air and foul current.

Last year (my first overnight race as skipper) the thought of having to retire due to light wind loomed in the forefront of my mind, but we were fortunate to have winds closer to 20knts for the majority of the distance. At the finish however, very light winds played an important role at the finish. As it has in past years, when the wind filled near the finish, it filled from the back. Nothing more painful than watching your sails flutter near uselessness while boats behind you are enjoying more than double your wind, so I'm in the light air is more frustrating camp.
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Old 07-05-2012
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Light Air or Heavy Air - What's Most Frustrating?

That's it exactly, Palmetto. Our first year with the race we drifted backward several miles waiting for the wind to fill. While we would ow set a tactical anchor, drifting in the heat is maddening.

When I speak of sailing in light air, I meant actively sailing (vs. drifting and fishing or motoring). To me, it's extremely difficult for a variety of reasons.

60-70 kt wind isn't heavy air, IMO. That's survival conditions and outside the scope of my query.
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