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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a problem with too much "book learning" and not enough practical experience. My husband and I just bought a Hunter 26 with water ballast last year and we sail the Chesapeake (or, a small part of it at the moment). My problem is that I know darn well that water ballast cannot possibly provide good ultimate stability because it''s located so high in the boat compared to a "real keel." Therefore, as soon as the boat really starts to heel (say more than 10 degrees), I''ve got an adrenaline rush and I''m letting the main out just as fast as I can, or worse yet, furling the jib altogether and sailing under main alone. I need to get over this because I know I''m sacrificing speed and performance. Yet, put me on a Beneteau 505 (BVI charter) with a couple tons of iron under the water and I could care less.

Does anyone out there have a realistic idea of what it takes to knock down a water-ballasted boat? If anyone has actually experienced it, I''d love to know the conditions you were in and what happened afterward. Or, if my paranoia is justified, that news would be just as welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Jeffrey, thanks for your very helpful note. This makes perfect sense to me. I am aware that heeling too much actually slows you down. I guess I see other boats plowing along with a rail practically in the water and somehow think I should be doing the same. I''ll take your advice and do what feels comfortable for ME.

Susieq, I know just how you feel. My first experience on a sailboat was a nightmare. I had no idea sailboats heeled and no one told me it would happen. The sails went up, the boat went over, and I was terrified, which instantly manifested itself as seasickness. I was the color of a hospital bedsheet. The skipper smiled and said we''d be fine as long as no one pressed the "keel-falls-off button." Then, after a sensible discussion of the physics of the situation (knowledge is power), I got behind the wheel for the first time. I was hooked and never left the helm for eight days. I think the mind''s instinct for self-preservation will always send us that micro-second of doubt when the floating platform that keeps us from drowning tilts and drops out from under us. I remind myself of the physics and let logic prevail. My logical mind tells my instinctive mind to put a sock in it and sail the darn boat. I know the situation will improve as I get more experience. Just stay away from that button!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jeffrey,

One more question if you look at this string again. Spent the last hour trying to visualize the fisherman''s reef. Are you saying that you have a tight jib with the main eased out, essentially sailing almost under jib alone without dousing the main?

Assuming I''ve got it right, sounds very cool. Will try it next outing. Would this sail position be a good one for reefing the main?

Regards,
Susan
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Strangely enough, weather helm is a topic that generates a great deal of discussion and attention in sail trim articles, but a balanced helm just does not seem to be a problem for me to achieve on our boat. On the other hand, I''ve never sailed long enough at a steep angle of heel to say what happens beyond 10 degrees. The previous owner tells me that the boat will round up before it will tip over. Could anyone explain to me why this should be so? Thanks
 
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