I don''t know why some people equate pocket cruisers and trailer sailers with poor construction,as in the reply you received.
I am very happy sailing my 20 O''Day in most conditions which send the fainter hearts to their moorings.
I have learned through experience and talking to other light boat sailors that they perform better if sailed rather upright. I limit my heeling to 15 or so degrees. I change to a smaller jib and do not cleat the main sheet but as you have written use it to adjust the power.
You will also find that the fishermans reef is useful. That is a tight jib that backwinds the luffing main.
As you are I was very worried about a knock down and I spent a lot of time in harbor sailing until I got the feel for how much performance to expect from my boat. My boat is much older and has no added flotation so a knock down would be much more serious for me.
Lighten up, go slow, you may want to buy a smaller jib for those 20+ knot days, and do not listen to those who cannot sail well enough to cope with anything other than the Queen Mary...
There is nothing wrong with a trailer sailer in fact I had one for several years and enjoyed the excape it allowed. We were able to get away from the normal area we sailed our big boat in and find hidden lakes in the mountains an prairies of this great country. the trailable was a Tanzer 22 which we found to be quite well built and stable to sail and Ifeel I can make an educated statement as I owned a boat yard in the PNW for 25 years thanks and great trailing
I see that this is a common experience with new sailors. Whatever the conditions of weather or boat attitude you need to feel that you are in control otherwise the experience is less than pleasant.
I learned a long time ago that you need to steer your own course. Don''t be too concerned about what other boats are doing. Do what is comfortable for you.
Sailing your boat more upright and comfortable is Ok. In fact the more you heel the less sail area is presented to the wind and the less efficient your boat will sail. The more you heel the more power you are losing. You might think of it as your boat depowering itself.
Go slow and stay within your comfort zone. Good sailors are the one who can control their boats within that zone.Good sailors depower by reefing or changing to smaller sails BEFORE they are needed.This is what sailing is all about, adjusting the sails to provide the right amount of power for your boat and the conditions.
As you gain experience and confidence your comfort zone will grow.
So relax and enjoy. Isn''t that the reason we sail?
I also own a catalina 30 in S.Cal (my first keelboat) and I too got nervous when the heeling got over 15%. But over the past 2 years of sailing with my 21 yr old son (who is fearless as all 21 yr olds are) I have gotten more used to the healing. We have even dipped a rail now & then with puffs. The real key is learning correct sail trim and balancing the helm. When everything is balanced heeling feels natural. If you''re not balanced and fighting weather helm then it can be a struggle both mentally and physically. Good luck.
A boat with weather helm will round up by itself after it heels over enough to get the rudder out of the water. The centerboard or keel are still in the water and provide a pivot point. Heeling increases weather helm which make the boat want to head up.
Ahoy, Snorkey! Everyone has this problem when they start out. There are a couple of simple drills that will bring that home to you and a technique that works for beginners
to help them learn how to trim sails for optimum angle to the wind. I believe these will be very helpful to you at your stage. Refer to my comments under "Learning To Sail", "Sail Trim For Beginners". These drills and this trim technique helped me immediately to get control of a dinghy that was trying to eat me when I first started out. Good luck!
Ahoy, sehopkins. The marine architect that designed your boat, the marine engineer that built it and the owners of the manufacturing company (who have the liability) know what they are doing. There is nothing wrong with your boat. The Hunter is a good boat. Water
ballast is a valid concept. Some ocean racers use it as does the U.S. Navy. You must use it in the conditions and in the way it was designed to be used.
If you were heeling in a power boat, that would be one thing, but a sail boat is designed to heel.
As regards knockdown, unless you are in severe conditions or are not making the necessary adjustments, you probably won''t have one.
Visualize with me for a moment in your minds eye. You are holding a toy sailboat in
front of you. You are looking at it beam on.
The main sail is running bow to stern on the center line of the boat. Now if you blow on it, the whole sail area is exposed to your breath and the boat starts turning down away from you. The farther it goes, however, the
less sail area you can see, the less area is exposed to be blown. Shortly, the pressure in this reduced exposed area of sail no longer is greater than the effects of ballast
which is resisting the heeling. The boat starts back up, or at worse remains at this point of balance between push and pull, between heeling and righting moments.
Now, the other way to reduce this exposed sail area is to let out the sheet. Visualize
the toy boat upright again just like it was.
Now you ease the sheet, letting the end of the boom go out away from you. The area of the sail that you can see gets narrower and narrower the farther out the boom goes so the
heeling pressure gets less and less.
Probably your heeling problem comes from having your sheets in too hard. Refer to the "Learning To Sail", "Sail Trim For Beginners" message board for a simple technique for sail trim and a couple of drills you can do on the water that will let you feel these effects.
Normally, you will control the angle of your sails to the wind and thus the pressure in them by playing your sheets when you are reaching because you want to stay on your rhumb line or bearing. You will control this angle on a beat with your rudder. On a beat, you will normally have your sheet cleated and
will sail a snake like course as you alternately turn your bow into (luff) the wind for freeing shifts, and away from the wind for headers (unless it is a large header
when you will tack). On a beat you are constantly trying to get up to weather.
The "fisherman''s reef" is simply letting your main sheet out, taking the wind out of the main (depowering). This is a quick and easy fix in a hard puff but is a temporary technique at best. It is better to luff, to
shoot up to wind in a hard puff to depower because it gets you farther up to weather.
Summary: When you get sailing, start with
your foresail. Ease it out just till the luff breaks (wind just gets behind the leading edge) then harden in just till the break disappears. Then do the same with the main. Now maintain that angle on a reach by playing your sheets and on a beat with your tiller.
Finally, when you can no longer control heeling by this method it is time to reduce sail. The force driving your boat will not change because large sail area in light wind = small sail area in hard wind.
Always visualize what you want to have before you start maneuvering. What do I want, what do I have, how do I go from one to
I hope this helps. It helped me immediately when I first got started to get control of a dinghy that was trying to eat me.
While I enjoy the feeling of a boat with her shoulder firmly planted into the sea, I can appreciate the fear of others who are less comfortable with heeling. My mother, a powerboater, still is uncomfortable when she comes out on my boat. On the other hand, my wife, a total landlubber until we met, took to it immediately and has never been nervous about heeling. She finds it unpleasant when we''re past 20 degrees (Ok, ok, I''ll reef!), but she''s aware of the physics involved and doesn''t fear capsize.
I''d be more nervous in coastal waters in a water-ballasted boat, but that''s probably unfounded. I have to imagine their range of positive stability is at least 90 degrees, but certainly less than a keelboat. I''d be more worried about large beam seas or broaching. I''ve never sailed a water-ballasted boat, but I''d have to imagine that they don''t stiffen up like a keelboat when "in the groove"; a theory supported by your claim of not being nervous when the chartered keelboat you were on heeled.
My boat is pretty tender initially and will go right down to 15-20 degrees without provocation, but once her shoulder''s firmly planted, she''s real stiff and just getting the rail wet takes considerable effort. I can''t even imagine capsizing in anything less than huge, breaking beam seas.
Bottom line is, I''d rather have a keel under me in coastal waters.
the purpose of a centerboard is to resist leeway, the tendency of a boat to slip sideways. when you''re bashing along to weather, the sails are moving the boat due to the aerodynamic effects of the wind flowing over them. however, in addition to the forward drive that moves the boat, there will also be a significant sideways component. that''s just the way sails are. that sideways force is resisted by the lowered centerboard. however, the further behind the beam the wind comes from, the less the areodynamic forces are at work, and the more you use the simple resistance of the sail as the wind blows into it to move you along. on a dead run, there will be little sideways force being generated, so since you no longer need the c-board, you can pull it up to reduce your wetted surface. that allows you to go faster.
hope this helps, happy sailing
You''ve received a lot of great response to your original question of heeling. A few of my sailing "hands" had the same problem at first. I tought them firly quickly what sheeting the main was and how to do it. Once the sails went up I let them control the mainsheet. If the heel got to an uncomfortable position They let the boom out and dumped some of the air until they felt comfortable. After a while comfortable went from 5 degrees up to 15 and 20 degrees of heel.
I am familiar with the Hunter 26 water ballast and know it''s sensitive and quick to heel. Tell your b/f to let you control the main until you''re comfortable with the heel. Also suggest that he minimize the jib. If all else fails buy a REALLY large fender and if he berates you for your fear, whack the snot out of him a few times.
Good luck and fair winds...........Mike
Ahoy, Snorkey! I just saw your question from
Aug. 9th. Pelagia answered it very well for you. I will just add one thing Pelagia didn''t mention. On the face of it, it would appear that you need no centerboard at all downwind
since you don''t need to resist sidewise slip.
However, having a little centerboard down does help because it combines with the rudder
to help you track straighter. Cruising boats usually have longer keels so they will work well with self steering gear and stay on track. Skinned out racing machines with narrow fin keels are the devil to use self steering gear with. In summary, the 1/3 centerboard that you leave down is to aid you
in staying on track downwind.
Ahoy, Snorkey. I didn''t see a reply to your question about broaching and the centerboards
contribution to it so I''ll comment.
First, recall that when a boat heels, it sails on a different underwater shape and this gives it a turning moment into the wind (producing weather helm).
Second, just as the centerboard resists side slip, the rudder resists any tendency to
push the stern sideways. Thus, if the boat heels dramatically, the rudder comes partially out of the water or is much shallower and more horizontal to the water.
Third, imagine you are pushing your boat with your hand on the back of the mast. It is
on its feet so the push is down the centerline, thus the boat goes straight. Now,
heel your boat and push with your hand on the same spot on the mast. Because of the heel, your hand is now outside the boat so that when you push there in not only a forward moment, but a turning moment as well.
Broaching is when the boat turns violently,
uncontrollably into the wind. It happens when
these three elements come together. That is,
excessive heeling, changed underwater shape, and no resistance to turning from the rudder coupled with the sail''s drive being outside the boat.Basically, the boat just spins around on its lee side.
A broach can happen on any point of sail,
but it usually happens on a reach or run. The main causes are rolling, having a mainsail area that is too large relative to the foresail or spinnaker, heeling under spinnaker, and following seas striking the boat on the quarter.
If you have too much sail up, roll largely, moving the push well outside the boat, getting over on the rounded portion of the hull, with the rudder coming out of the water, the windvane effect will cause her to spin around on her lee side.
If the main is too large relative to the spinnaker or foresail, it will aid and abet the broaching tendency.
Because the spinnaker is so large and powerful, and because it rides so high on the
mast, if you heel well over, there is a large and powerful turning moment out on the end of the mast well outboard. This happens in racing quite often when they are close reaching with spinnaker.
Finally, if you have large following seas and are flying a lot of canvas you can have a
problem. If you are boiling along, rolling your scuppers out, and you take a large swell
on your quarter, it can lift and push your stern, adding to and aiding the turning tendency that you already have from heeling.
This happens a lot in dinghys that can''t really reef and are running with large mains
in too much wind.
Finally, the solution is to keep the boat on her feet. You have less turning moment, and more rudder in the water. If you get hit by a broach, get all the weight you can outboard, ease sheets, and bear away a little. If you are fighting a tendency to broach, not just an isolated incident, reduce
The only contribution that the centerboard
makes to broaching is that the boat will trip
over it. The boat has strong forward momentum, then suddenly spins around broadside to the wind, tripping over the centerboard. A little centerboard to help tracking, but no more. About 1/3 is right.
I recommend my comments under General, to
Bob Ohler, regarding mast rake, for additional info. relative to windvaning.
I hope this helps.
After all this has been said, and you have more hours at the tiller, it looks as if your confidence has risen. Just two short thoughts that may be helpful:
Your initial concern was as much about water-ballasted boats as about heeling per se. Water ballast is a proven, effective method of ballasting boats. The only time they''re likely to knockdown is if you forget to open the cocks and let the tanks fill. Then you''re asking for trouble. That water is plenty heavy to keep the boat sailing just fine. Remember, if you heel to starboard, all that water weight is on the port side, and the more of it is lifted out of the water, the heavier it is.
Secondly, all this talk about broaching, running to the wind, and lifting centerboards is mostly for small dinghys. You have a "swing-keel" on your H26 (unless you have those little wing keels, which don''t retract anyway). That is not the same as a "centerboard" on a two-man open-cockpit Lido 14. For them, it all makes perfect sense. For you, it''s impractical to be cranking up the keel every time you bear away to run before the wind, unless you''re starting a 25-mile dead downwind leg, you''re racing under spinnaker, and you need another quarter knot of boatspeed to be competitive.
The discussion about not being over-canvassed behind the mast and making sure you''re steering straight downwind and avoiding quartering seas in a blow have merit. If it''s really nasty, head up, strike the main, and run under headsail only. Now the bows will be constantly pulled downwind, and the likelyhood of broaching is near zero.
See you out there!
trailorsailor is a good site w/ much useful info.
Sounds as if you''ve got it all down. I think you answered your own question. If you''d taken in a reef earlier, it would have been much more manageable. Nothing like that loss of control feeling when your boat rounds up TOWARD something you''re trying to avoid!
And if you know your last leg is going to be downwind, try dousing the main and coming in under headsail alone BEFORE you approch tight quarters. Of course, this will limit your ability for maneuvering, but if it''s a straight shot between the traffic and the pots, and then rounding up to strike all sail and motor in, it''s a good maneuver.
I, like you, own a Hunter 260 water ballasted boat and have also sailed Beneteau''s in the BVI. There is quite a difference in handling between these two boats types of boats. The Hunter definitely has more weather helm, however I find her to be a very responsive boat even in light winds. In terms of heel and the possibility of knock down, you might be interested in a discussion thread on the Hunter Owners website - www.hunterowners.com Go to the discussion forum archives and type in the key word "knock down". Although we generally have not gone beyond 15 - 20 degrees. It sounds like, according to this discussion,you would really need to be closer to 25-35 degrees before the boat would naturally round up. In truth, due to the degree of weather helm you will feel the boat''s tendency to want to round up long before that degree of heeling particularily on a tiller rather than the wheel. Although rounding up to the degree described can still be, in some cases, dangerous (i.e. falling overboard)your boat should not be knocked down. I agree with the all of the other comments to sail to your comfort level.
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