beating in light winds - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 43 Old 09-08-2008
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Originally Posted by AllThumbs View Post
Unless I don't understand the use of the traveler, it seems to me that when reaching you could have the traveler way out to leeward, and then have the sail sheet short. An accidental jib would then be limited by the length of the main sheet. Maybe this is not how a traveler works, and I am sure this is not what a traveler is intended to do, but thought maybe this would be another advantage of the traveler....maybe not.Eric
Oh I see what you are thinking now. I can see how that would make sense in theory. Several reasons why in reality it is not an issue.

1. The traveler only lets you set the boom maybe 20 degrees off the center of the boat.
2. If you are running you will have the boom approaching 70 degrees or more off the center line.
3. Running you will want the main sheet loose to catch some wind
4. Your mostly only concerned about a jibe on a run. Unless you fall asleep at the wheel.
5. I don't think most folks move the traveler to leeward when reaching most of the time. Something about sail shape. Maybe in a stiff breeze to de-power the sail.

Good visualization but the traveler will not help with jibe prevention.

Last edited by davidpm; 09-08-2008 at 09:30 PM.
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post #22 of 43 Old 09-08-2008 Thread Starter
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Yeah I get it now. When I said reaching I was actually thinking running. My bad.

Thanks for the help.


I sail.
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post #23 of 43 Old 09-22-2008
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All of the above is wise and proven techniques. However I like a systematic approach. Trim the head sail first (if you have tell-tales it's much easier) then the mainsail using the advice given by the previous posts.
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post #24 of 43 Old 09-23-2008
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Sail trim

Originally Posted by AllThumbs View Post
I am learning to sail on my own. I know that for beating, running the sails close hauled seem to allow for better pointing in general. A few days ago I was sailing in very light winds, and noticed I seemed to do a little better upwind when the main was sheeted out just a little (as in actually making a little headway, whereas making none when close hauled). The winds were 2 or 3 knots.

Is this right?

I'm surprised no one mentioned tell-tales: Three evenly spaced on each side of the jib, one each at the ends of the main sail battens.

On the main, if they aren't streaming back, ease out. On the jib, you want the leeward ones streaming; windward too if you can.

Don't have time for a full tutorial, but I'm sure there's one here some place.
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post #25 of 43 Old 09-23-2008
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In a 15 footer you may have a dagger board (Keel.) If the wind is really light it might help to pull the board up a bit to create less resistance. This would hurt your pointing ability in a fresh wind but it might have some positive effect in light winds.
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post #26 of 43 Old 09-23-2008
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Main out a bit for light air

I agree with the previous posts but would add that dropping the traveler a bit can open the slot and thereby increase flow over the sails giving you a bit more power. Anything you can do in very light air to increase flow can help including sometimes flattening the sails to keep air flow attached to the sail.
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post #27 of 43 Old 09-26-2008
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Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
Small craft can move along pretty well in light winds, which is curiously detrimental to pointing ability. Your boat speed is a fairly large percentage of true wind speed. The net effect is a 'header' where apparent wind keeps moving toward your bows and you have to fall off. Then the boat accelerates, and the wind moves forward, forcing you to fall off again. Our Buccaneer18 is naughty that way.

As winds increase, the true wind may outpace boatspeed and seem to come more abeam -- a 'lift', which allows you to point higher. But eventually heeling force overpowers the small boat, you have to crack the sheets, and your pointing ability suffers again. In screaming winds, a beam reach may be the best you can do. Our dinghy points best between roughly 8 and 12 kts TWS.
I just wanted to say this is one of the most useful bits of information I've read yet on sailing a small boat. I've experienced this in my (very) very small boat, and wasn't sure what was going on. As it's a lateen rig most of the trimming advice isn't applicable, but this explains so much.


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post #28 of 43 Old 12-23-2008
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Polar Diagrams

I'm not sure if I caught what boat you have, but as most polar diagrams will show, you actually get more speed when you're several degrees off a close hauled setting. So you have to decide what will get you to your destination faster...sailing faster, but further off the wind, which means an additional tack or sailing slower, but closer to the wind.
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post #29 of 43 Old 12-28-2008
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Very light air

In very light air, under 3 kts, you did exactely the right thing. Another knot or so of air and you need to loosen up. Sail magazine published a book years ago that explains the physics of it all, and this is what works. The book will tell you why. Books!
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post #30 of 43 Old 12-29-2008
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My 24 [email protected] didn't come with a traveller. The main sheets attaches tothe cockpit floor with a swivel. I haven't felt it compromises my sail control. Just one less thing to get in the way. Idon't have a boom vang either although I can fabricate one with some equipment Igot with the boat. I guess I just try to finesse the sails the best I can in light air.It isn't my boats strong suit anyway as it seems to sail better over ten knots. There's always upgrades to do and it just depends on the priorities. I just put an autohelm on it this fall and couldn't be more happy with it as a solo feature.
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