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Discussion Starter #1
I went out in my Pearson 26 this morning. Winds were 15-20 kts when we headed out and made a comfortable 5 kts speed with a genoa and mainsail up. The wind was out of the south and when we got to the far side of the lake, I turned to the south and set a course as close to the wind as I could. We were making about 3 knots on a close reach, when all of a sudden the boat heeled about 45 degrees and I was fearful we'd capsize. I released the main sheet and turned directly into the wind and we righted just fine.

After letting my heart rate slow down, I headed off in the same direction and again was making good speed on a close reach and it happened again. This time I over reacted a bit and we ended up nearly going in a full circle when I went hard alee with tiller.

We flurled the genoa and finished our trip home only under mainsail as I felt that I was a bit over powered for my novice level. We're scheduled for our first ASA sailing course in 4 weeks and probably have 12-14 hours of sailing experience under my belt.

Any suggestions as to what I was doing wrong? I think it must have been gusts of wind all of a sudden out of the south east but don't really want to do that too often!

Thanks
 

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ancient mariner
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Dave ___ you could have partly rolled in the genny & reefed the main partly down to avoid being overpowered in the gusts.
 

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Or you could have spent sometime getting lessons on how to sail before going out on your boat...or at least read a little about it...

If you have never riden a bike and crash, the solution is not to get a helmet..is to learn how to ride the bike, and keep the helmet once you know how to do it, just in case...

Now, go here, CLICK sit down and watch these....the guy has a stupide accent but he is a nce guy
 

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Same thing happened to me on my Ranger 23 about four months ago, and I had someone else on the boat with me that knew nothing about sailing. So it was an eye opener for me because I wasn't used to that type of heel. So I only fly a jib when the wind is above 15kts, until I can get comfortable with that type of heel. I hear people talking about riding the rail in the water sometimes...wow, that's pretty scary but I see why people like it...ADRENALINE RUSH. That's what keeps me going back out time after time.

--
Corey
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks

Thanks for all the replies. We were originally scheduled for lessons the weekend that Ike it - so haven't had the chance for that yet. I've read a lot - the ASA book, several others and have watched most of those videos that were recommended - they are excellent. The reading taught me to turn into the wind, let the mainsail out or to hike out to counter the heel - I did the first two and was already sitting on the windward side when it happened (as was my partner). It was the sudden shift that scared us!

I think the suggestions of reefing the main and making the genoa smaller were what we should have done after the first time. After the 2nd time, going with just the mainsail was pretty stable.

There has been only one day with any wind the past 2 months on the lake (the day after Ike passed nearby) and so we were excited to actually sail instead of motor around the lake.

This forum is really a great resource, and thanks again.
 

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Special Delivery
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The boat should have rounded up if your weather helm is correct and not capsized. Each boat has its own optimal angle of heal for speed vs. leeway - usually around 20-25 degrees. Aside from reefing (main first) the boat can be depowered by flattening the main, running the traveler down side to spill wind and by feathering the main by releasing a little main sheet. Overhealed is not fast nor comfortable. A common mistake of new sailors is to overtrim - often sheeting out alone will allow the boat to stand up on its lines and sail faster.
 

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Dave, You would know about healing if you out during Ike. All fun aside, I used to teach ASA coastal cruising on a P26 years ago. That Boat is not going to capsize in 25 or 30 kts. To knock down that boat I would think it would take 40 to 50 kts, just my opinion but I have been out on P26's in the high 30's. You got a great safe boat. Learn to sail it and she will treat you well.
 

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Making 3 kts close reaching in 15-20 kts of wind? You were poorly trimmed at best, probably got a gust from windward and that took you on the beam with sails trimmed tight (max heel, push to lee not forward).
When learning keep to days of under 10kts, or reef early. And wear a PFD.
 

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A surprise gust can even catch your instructor off guard as it did us. We were in our Starwind 22 with just the main up. A gust hit us on a beam reach and in the water the rail went. It was a good learning experience and we found that she would round right up. Don't want to do it again but now I know how to handle it.

Like us in time you will learn to trim your sails correctly. Personally I would leave the genoa in the bag and use the jib.

I read and read for over 3 years before I purchased a sailboat. Until you experience it all the reading in the world doesn't help. I'm sure you could find an experienced sailor that would love to go out with you. Just ask around.

Did any of the schools in the Galveston area survive Ike?

Have fun
David
 

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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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I did a little racing this weekend, one on my boat, and 2 on a friends Ranger 22. The wind was blowing 19 with gusts to 29. Needless to say the little Ranger was less than pleased. My friend Bill steers, I do everything else. Most of the time when going upwind, I was watching the tiller and trimming the main to reduce weather helm. We tried to keep the heel below 30 degrees with this method. The result was a first and a third place against a pair of fully crewed J-24's.

The moral of the story is that if the heel gets uncomfortable it's probably also slowing the boat down. Ease the main to stand the boat up. When the gust passes sheet it back in and keep going.

BTW you're not going to capsize that boat without the help of a very large (not on a lake) wave. At about 50 degrees the rudder would likely lose it's grip and the boat would round up. It's not the most comfortable feeling when you're out of control, but not too dangerous either.
 

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I think we are on the same lake. I thought of going out last night but turned back into the marina because it was too gusty for my experience. Today was just as bad.
If it is the same lake, those gusts are too unpredictable
 

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Watch the videos that the moron in post number four linked to-they're excellent.

btw,
You're right on pace with the learning curve that 99% of us followed as well!
 

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Traveler

Play around with the traveler if you've got one. Try sliding it down to take some power out of the main.

Also, I'm guessing that your boat will sail fine with just the jib in heavy winds. My 28 footer sails well with the genoa rolled up a bit and no main. Not quite as well balanced, but pretty close.

Keep pushing yourself out there, it's the only way to get better - but don't force anyone who is with you into feeling too scared. My wife was put off at first as I scared the heck out her too soon.
 

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Try going out next time fully reefed.
You can always shake out the reef if need be.
Getting knocked down is educational.... often wet and educational.
We sailed right across the Atlantic and never got knocked down once, yet got knocked down on a Summer's morning inshore in conditions like you describe. The ship weighs about 10 tonf. It happens, particularly near a steep land mass.... hills and things. "Catabatic winds" I think they call them, and they catch you with too much sail up, and the ship cannot take it unless you are very quick with the main sheet, and there is not much time before your ship is flat, in our case with all the portlights open, such was the sunny morning, and so greater was the surprise.

"Gentlemen, that's what we call a broach", then said my rather cynical captain.

At least he had seen it before.

I was left to clean up the salt water... a big puddle of it swilling between chart table and hull, soaking everything.
 

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Keep pushing yourself out there, it's the only way to get better - but don't force anyone who is with you into feeling too scared. My wife was put off at first as I scared the heck out her too soon.
Lets see- where can I start on this one.
-wife wanted boat almost as much as me
-bought boat
-wife pleased but thought it would be "nicer"
-made the mistake of showing wife brand new boat
-rode home with her screaming "I want that one!"
-took wife out in our boat in a light breeze, wife screamed "I want a faster boat"
-wind picked up a few days later - wife screamed "This is boring, take me home!"
-went out Friday in a nice wind, boat went fast and heeled, wife screamed "I'm scared, cold and now my hair is messed up. Take me home!"
-Saturday spent he day alone on MY boat
-Sunday spent the day alone on MY boat
:) :) :) :) :D :)
 

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You were carrying sails for 10-knot conditions, and you got 20-knot puffs.

So you were overpowered. Getting overpowered in a gust can be scary. But you did pretty well for someone who's still waiting to take that first sailing lesson.

Sail area is supposed to match the conditions. With the genoa, you had about 130% of your sail area, in wind conditions that called for about 80%.

You correctly realized that you were over-canvassed. That's a lesson best learned the hard way, and you learned. No shame in that, you did fine considering the cards you dealt yourself.

Next time, you'll reef the main early, choose a smaller jib, and handle it pretty well. Just remember, it's a lot easier to add sail area than it is to reduce it. The former is done in a decreasing breeze, and it's casual. The latter is done in an increasing breeze, and it's tense.
 

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practice sail handling on light air days. learn from your boat the techniques for safely and quickly reefing and practice. once you have that down, try combinations in heavier air to learn what setups work best, i.e. my boat likes a reefed main and more genny while other boats prefer less genny, more main. pay attention to how the helm feels. look up at the main as you trim and learn what appropriate sheet pressure feels like. drop the traveler to leeward, raise the traveler, tighten vang, loosen vang, play around with it. you want as little pressure on the helm as possible. learn to recognize puffs by watching the water. it's all about balance, control and anticipation. sailing with the rudder turned is slow and strains everything. when in doubt, let it out. more often than not while sailing upwind excessive heel is uncomfortable, strains the gear and scares your mate (well, my girlie anyway). you will go just as fast without dragging the rail. watch wind speeds, sail combis and boat speed.....really pay attention to how the boat feels. as you get more experienced, it will become natural and you will feel when the boat is struggling to stay on its feet. one clue is when you are struggling to stay on your feet.

out sailing this w/e.....rail down, blowing 20-25. reduced sail by 30% or so and gained about 6-8" of leeward freeboard and boat speed was exactly the same. weather helm all but gone. boat happy.

oh, don't forget to look around for the other boats.

cheers
 
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