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post #1 of 24 Old 07-22-2018 Thread Starter
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Riding The Razors Edge

Since I’m a complete newbie, lemme ask......

Have you taken your vessel so close to the edge, under sail and at the top speed it can go, riding on the port or starboard side walls, that you nearly lost it?

What do you feel or look for, as key indicators that tell you that capsizing is imminent? What does that “Razors edge” feel like? Is there a “seat of your pants” feel to the pull or push of the wind in the sails, or a certain degree of listing of the boat that you see or sense (obviously different for different sized vessels)?

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post #2 of 24 Old 07-22-2018
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Re: Riding The Razors Edge

There are 3 Rules of Sailing:
(1) Don't fall in.
(2) Don't fall in.
(3) If you break the rules, kindly have the courtesy to drown quietly so as to not disturb
the fun of those that do obey the rules.
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-22-2018
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Re: Riding The Razors Edge

Sure, I have dumped lots of boats. Falling across the cockpit is usually a sure sign you have done something wrong

A lot of boats will "round up" when pushed to hard. Basically the boat starts to turn uncontrollably into the wind. When you feel pressure on the helm indicating the boat wants to turn into the wind, that could be a good indicator that you should back off.

When running down wind, if the bow starts stuffing into the waves you definitely want to back off before you broach or pitch pole.
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-23-2018
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Re: Riding The Razors Edge

Just dumped for the first time in a dinghy. It happens pretty quick and without much experience its hard to know whats going on or what to do about it. Shouting of your instructor is one sign. Pretty sure we rocked back and forth but that may have been me overcompensating after it was happening. We were heading pretty much straight downwind. I may not have been 100% aware of where exactly the wind was coming from. Instructor shouted watch the gybe and I wasn't sure which way to turn. I don't think we gybed though.

On a starboard tack, boom was over starboard side. I think it started to get unstable and i let out the sail and it evened out. Winds were strong. I think at speed smaller tiller movements move you more. All my experience has been in really light wind previously. They were like watch the gybe and I tried to turn idk where but i think the wind was coming from rear port, heeled pretty good starboard then i tried turning hard port not even thinking of the wind just how the boat was tipping and we ended up going over backwards. No biggie but wound up stuck in the mud and was a whole hassel. I got banged up not sure if in the flip or after wrestling with the boat. Dunked the poor instructor girl. Of course maybe we were heeling fine. I should have turned off wind more to starboard i guess though that took me toward some pillars and land. Could have turned all around and went upwind but we were going across a channel to go up a river to get out of the wind a bit. Total mess.

Edit: now that I think about it turning starboard if the wind was coming from port would have gybed so I should have turned port all i wanted. Probably panicked a bit, its hard too because there doesn't seem like an easy way to depower when you get nervous or need to. You need to turn off wind or adjust your sail and I think the sail was mostly out in this case. I may have tried to pull it in but that just heeled more. The instructor said we got a gust right around then too.

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post #5 of 24 Old 07-23-2018
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Re: Riding The Razors Edge

Sailing downwind in a dinghy is strong winds is tricky. Things happen very quickly. Even skilled sailors get dumped on occasion. The Laser sailors in my club (most of whom are quite good) talk about how hairy that boat is going downwind in a blow.

Thinks are much easier in a larger keel boat. Usually its a matter of reefing when the wind increases and then paying attention.

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post #6 of 24 Old 07-23-2018
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Re: Riding The Razors Edge

Considering most sailboats can't easily reach 20 mph, it's a pretty dull razor's edge! It is also virtually impossible to capsize a decent size cruising boat unless you are out in a gale or tropical storm. Smaller boats that do capsize easily are often designed to do so without taking water and can easily be righted, so once again, pretty dull.
Lastly, most sailboats that get set on their beam ends will not go farther because the windward rail cuts the wind to the sails, decreasing the pressure and force needed to capsize.
If you have a desire to learn to sail, the best advice is to get a small boat and go out and capsize it a bunch of times. Nobody can really learn the feeling of sailing on a bigger boat. All the world's top professional sailors started out as dinghy sailors and most return to that when they just want to have fun sailing.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #7 of 24 Old 07-23-2018
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Re: Riding The Razors Edge

razors edge, listing?
Ok listing is what happens when your boat starts to take on water, and it accumulates on one side versus another.
Heeling is the act of a boat (monohull generally), reacting to wind under sail generally under conditions working to weather (upwind) generating lift compensated for by righting moment generated by a weighted keel (or lateral resistance from keel or centerboard that also generates lift).

In a dinghy you can easily capsize. In steady air you'll know its coming. In variable air, sometimes you can easily get caught off guard (learn to read the wind on the water).

Where those of us push the envelope, we generally start messing with downwind runs. The heeling is less an issue, until ITS really an issue with a broach. Those of us driving MORC era boats, the broach happens usually during an oscillation of spinnaker from side to side. If you cannot get the boat under the spinnaker, its likely to become a broach (bad heel where the boat his held down with the spinnaker until you blow the halyard - note NOT the sheet).

Biggest wipeouts in keel boats are heavy wind/waves/downwind.

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post #8 of 24 Old 07-25-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Riding The Razors Edge

Great stuff folks!!

“Age is an artificial barrier to enjoying your remaining life.” - RMB
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post #9 of 24 Old 07-25-2018
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Re: Riding The Razors Edge

First boat was a Hobie cat. Half the fun of those things is seeing how long you can go right on the edge. Capsizing sometimes is just a normal part of it. I generally figured that if I didn't take a swim at least once a day then I wasn't pushing it hard enough.

Don't know how to describe it, but having ridden the edge many times I can tell you that you definitely get a feel for it, and know when you have gone too far. Once you get that feel, you'll get a good laugh when you're on a monohull, it heels just a bit, and someone on board freaks out... "OH MY GOD!!! We're going to tip over!"

You can tell them, "I know what it feels like when we're close to tipping over, and right now we are not even in the neighborhood."
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-26-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Riding The Razors Edge

Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
.............”I know what it feels like when we're close to tipping over, and right now we are not even in the neighborhood."
That’s what I figured, and am glad it’s a “seat of the pants” thing. I just wonder how much of a window you have, to correct for the likelihood, and fix it BEFORE your 30 foot (or bigger) vessel goes over?

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