Possibly dumb sail trim question - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-25-2007 Thread Starter
 
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Possibly dumb sail trim question

I have a Columbia 26K and she really doesn't like going to weather. Others' experience with that boat, and the 26 MkII, is that she's not bad.

I'm assuming here that it's a sailing mistake, and not a boat problem.

So, I have a large genoa and the main. The main I can sheet in pretty tightly, but the headsail clew is farther back than the shrouds, so it needs to run outside the shrouds and outside the lifelines. I have a block on the toerail (no inner track yet - it's on the list), and then the sheet leads to the winch.

When we're head to wind, and the genoa is sheeted in about as tight as she'll go, the best I can make is about 60 degrees off the wind (I haven't measured it, but that's what it seems like). Otherwise, the genoa isn't trimmed correctly.

Is this a "wrong sail flying" problem, a "wrong sheet position" problem, or just a "skipper's an idiot" problem?

Cheers!
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-25-2007
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Someone who actually knows your boat ay be able to give a real answer but maybe this can help..

how are the telltales flying on the genny when you point as high as you can?

If you point higher does the genoa luff?

If you have indications that your trim is correct at 60 degrees (telltales are flat/no luffing at that point and the inner ones drop or you luff if you point higher then your sail is trimmed for the 60 and it's a trimming problem.

With out seeing it it's hard to say but it's possible that your fairlead needs to be moved to improve your sail shape or the sail may just be too big to trim any higher to wind on your boat. Just my novice guesses.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-25-2007
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With a full genoa out (No. 1 or 150% size), the genoa car should be all the way back. If your telltales are flying well, I would suggest experimenting with the traveller setting. I would also suggest flying just the genoa with the main down to see if you can see any differences. I would also see if your tiller pressure changes over much when you close-haul as high as possible. You have to work through the variables one by one in order to see if a "problem" is actually a "characteristic".

After you try all that, you can perhaps use a barberhauler to get an extra couple of degrees, but it's hardly worth it unless you are an A-type racing maniac.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-25-2007
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First of all, these boats never were very good at going to weather, even when compared to other boats of that same era and certainly as compared to cruiser-racers that came after it. That said, if indeed you are tacking at 60 degrees either side of the wind, then there is something very wrong here.

As a benchmark, I suggest that you look at your compass for a while on one tack so that you get a sense of the average course on that tack and write down that average course before you tack. Then tack over and do the same on the other tack. After a while you will get a sense of the angles between tacks. In a moderate breeze, I would expect the angle to be somewhere between 90 to 95 degrees.

But onto the other probable causes. First of all, the rig geometry of boats like the Columbia 29 preclude sheeting of the genoa inboard the shrouds. On some boats of this era, we would use the genoa track on the rail but skirt the genoa inboard when going to weather. (I can't recall if we were able to do that on the Columbia.) It was not pretty since the foot of the genoa laid against the lifelines. As a first step you can try that. It will recquire someone skirting the sail on each tack. We actually rigged a second set of sheets outboard of the lifelines which were used when reaching.

Then there is the shape of the sails. Most of these older boats that I see either still have original sails, or some poorly cut sail that was bought cheaply from a bargain loft, or else one which was bought used, substituting one blown out sun rotted sail for a blown out sail that was not sun rotted.

Boats like these benefit from well cut sail even more than easier driven designs but rarely get well cut, well made sails because they cost such a large percentage of the overalll value of the boat. Few things hurt pointing ability as much as blown out sails.

Then there is sheet lead. With all due respect to Valiente, most of whose advice is very good, these boats were built to be sailed and raced with 170 % genoas. Most of these boats that I see are sailing around on all-purpose 135 to 145% genoas and so the sheet lead will be well forward of the aft end of the track.

As XTR suggests, you should have three sets of teletales (one a quareter way down from the head one roughly halfway up the luff and about a quarter way up from the tack), arrayed along your luff set roughly 16-18" back from the luff of the sail. By watching how these teletales 'break' you can see if your lead is correct. If the upper windward teletale breaks first then your jib lead is too far foward and if your lower windward teletale breaks first then your lead is too far aft.

Barberhaulers won't help with your genoa on these boats since the real limit on sail trim is the wide spreaders and shroud base and the real limit on pointing also comes from the poor by modern standards hull and keel design.

Once you have played with Jib lead and halyard tension, as well as mainsail halyard and outhaul tension, I would go back and check your tacking angles to see how you made out.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-25-2007
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Another thing you might want to do is check your mast to make sure you have a little rake in it,not bend necessarily, but rake. Also If your mast is deck stepped you might have some compression problems with the rig.
I would suggest going to the Columbia owners association website and getting the e-mail addresses for some of the owners of this type of boat. I own a Columbia sabre and was able to get lots of useful info there.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-25-2007
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Jeff's right about perceived angles off the wind. I thought mine was sailing too low but after some checks, found it to be about 40* off the wind when pinched up to the point of luffing. My highest point is when I bring her up to luff, fall off a couple of degrees until the luff quits stalling and trim the leech of the jib until it's almost dead astern of the luff with the windward sheet. That won't work with your Genoa but any trim to windward you can get will help. That's why you want the Genoa tracks as far aft as you can get them. I also sheet the main up to windward, the same as sheeting tight and moving your traveller to windward. Doing these two things does change your sail's angle of attack and allows you to go deeper without stalling or flogging. Since I don't have taletells, I watch the jib's luff. When ya pinch up too much it will curl to windward slightly before it stalls. Just bring her up to that point and then fall off a bit until the luff fills in again. Listen to your boat, she tell ya when she's fast, mine sure does.
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-25-2007 Thread Starter
 
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Excellent advice everyone. Jeff, as usual, thanks for the detailed information. I am indeed sailing on older sails. My daughter and I just attached teltales as you prescribed. I'll have her out tomorrow or Sunday, and I'll do exactly what you suggest (monitor the compass and point as high as possible). Maybe it's just my perception that she's 60 degrees off. A little actual measurement will help a lot (as will proper teltales!).

I'll report back on results....

Cheers!
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-25-2007
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Saweeet! You folks have a ball! I know what ya mean about older sails. Mine are circa 1976. Ican hardly wait until I get the new Kevlar Jib and new main. The new Assymetrical Spin oughta be fun too.
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-25-2007
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without telltales you can just watch what part of your sail breaks first when you pinch upwind, it should break more or less together.

btw, audio cassette tape makes really good telltales, save your money and get rid of your old technology in one easy step.
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenuki
without telltales you can just watch what part of your sail breaks first when you pinch upwind, it should break more or less together.

btw, audio cassette tape makes really good telltales, save your money and get rid of your old technology in one easy step.
I am very afraid that if you cant afford telltales your in deeeeeeepppppp _________



Just kidding

Shawn


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