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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
 

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thanks pelagia , i think you have answered the question i had , one other thing that i would like to know about is something i read in a book im reading , it says "don''t jybe with the center board fully down " but it doesen''t explane why . can you give me the answer? also it says that having the center board down too far can cause a broach, can you tell me about this. thanks again.....snoreky
 

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SusieQ,
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
 

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Mike,

Although you have confused the originator (susan hopkins) with a contributor (susieq), you are forgiven because I believe your advice to whack the snot out of a recalcitrant husband/boyfriend with a large fender is some of the best ever offered. I plan to implement immediately.

A bit of time and experience (three months and eight sailing weekends) and much reading of sail trim material have passed since I posted the original message here about my heeling paranoia. Advice from everyone has been excellent (particular thanks to Jeffrey and dhartdallas) and I put much of it into practice on the boat. I am now completely relaxed when we heel and on my last two outings actually wished we had MORE wind--a major achievement!

In particular, I have found Don Guillette''s Sail Trim Users Guide and Sail Trim Chart to be just the right level of material to actually use on the boat. Not too much, not too little, and good enough that I won''t need it at all for much longer.

Susan
 

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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.

Regards,

dhd
 

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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
mainsail.
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.

Regards,

dhd
 

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se,
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!
 

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My first expreience with sailing was on a center board. That was the last one i ever had. I find Keel boats easier and more stable for me.
Top winds i sailed in were reported as 30 mph and i had to estimate the seas, short waves on Long Island Sound to be 6 ft.

Of course after sailing 8 years plus, this was the worst conditions. Sailing on a close reach, whith the waves coming on the port bow, it was the waves that really caused the boat to heal excessevly. To my amazement it just came right back up and this sail became the most fun i have had.

I was amazed at what a small 25ft, fin keeled boat could handle.

It just takes getting used to it and finding out how much it will handle.

Good luck from the owner of a Kelt of which very people know of.
 

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Thanks dimwit and nauticalrich. Just had an excellent weekend on the Bay with perfect weather. We logged about 25 miles on Sunday, upwind, across the wind, downwind, you name it. All without any fear of heeling, broaching, bending, breaking, sinking, etc. My confidence in myself and my boat has increased dramatically. I also found an excellent article on sailboat stability (including water-ballasted boats) written for people like me. You can find it at http://www.trailersailor.com/content/features/read.cgi?14. My heeling paranoia is officially gone.

Being over-canvassed behind the mast was once again a problem, however. We had a brilliant sail on a broad reach/run back toward home during which I did not notice that the wind speed had picked up and was starting to gust (typical reduction in apparent wind on a downwind sail). So when I jibed and moved onto a close reach to head in, I found the gusts challenging (these could not be called "puffs"). This was using Jeffrey''s suggested fisherman''s reef with a tight jib backwinding a very eased main. Time to reef! However, I''m in a channel completely surrounded by boats, and outside the channel is a sea of crab pots. Getting the main down is a challenge in the best of conditions (plastic slides w/Sailkote), never mind reefing on course when it has wind in it. Given that the apparent wind moves back in a gust, even having the main on the spreader wasn''t enough when the really big one came along. Despite my best efforts, the boat rounded up. I was lucky that by the time it happened I had passed all the other boats (I loved that part!), was in the clear, and did not cause a problem for someone else. Getting things under control and proceeding was no problem, I just knew I had broken the "good sailors depower before it is required" rule of competent sailing and felt a bit idiotic.

What should I have done in such a tight traffic situation? At the conclusion of our spin on the dance floor we furled the jib and proceeded under main alone, but at that point I had turned to a dead run so I don''t know what difference furling the jib would have made on the close reach. Seems to me it would have made the force behind the mast even greater without a jib to help balance the CE.

I will consider this a lesson learned and in the future will never play with fire when I know I''ll be in a busy channel. Any other suggestions or advice?

Thanks
 

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hopkins,
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.
Have fun.
 

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Hi!

I can pass on the advice from my sailing instructor, who always repeated:

"When is the best time to reff your sails?"
The answer: "When you think about it."

Also, why are you furling the jib, instead of reffing the main sail, or striking the main sail?

As you already know, the more less heeling (a little is good), the better the boat sails. The next time you go out with varying Beauforts, reff or strike your main sail, and sail with just the jib. This will stability to your manover abilities.
 

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Hi sehopkins,

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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Ahoy, I may be accused of being a trouble maker but I was stunned that this subject was still lingering on the site. You couldn''t flip the thing could you sehopkins? I told you so.I am a great student of sailing theory and boat design and performance just like the next guy but I can get really annoyed when simple questions get turned into academic whirlpools. Not one of the respondants to your question gave a actual experience of a knockdown of any type of boat of any kind in the waters which you ply or anywhere else. Wind and waves combined, the like of which that don''t exist in the Chesapeake , can knock down any vessel, being handled by the best of captains. I challange anyone to respond with the news clipping of such an event in your area, period. Your boat rounded up when the going got rough, well duh it''s designed too. A production boat company with a reputation for unstable... no a boat that is subject to frequet knockdowns risking the lives of the innocent customer does not exist. Never will. You couldn''t flip your boat by sailing it I don''t care how hard . Period but Iam sure this is not the end of the dicussion.Big Red 56
 

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Many good suggestions above. I think too many beginners, and we all were once, get
influenced by pictures of racing boats that are radically heeled with a batch of hefty
lads on the rail. It looks like a touchy
situation. And in many cases, likely is.
My 33 likes to sail flat, no more than 15
degrees...but I sure don''t like the feeling
of huge following seas.
 

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YAARGH Big Red! The fact that this thread has been viewed over 2 thousand times indicates how huge the problem of paranoid sailors out there. maybe a good name for a website? www.heelingparanoia.com?
advice:

Here is another hint to all you paranoid ladies out there (uh-oh someone is gonna get me for that one- get towed in a dinghy behind a boat sailing upwind with a decent breeze but in sheltered water. have the crew sheet in hard enough to really heel her over. note how stable the boat is. From the outside, it is much easier to truly believe the physics and it may translate to a nicer ride next time you are inside.
 

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Wow, weeks away from this site, I log on to check things out, and whadayaknow there are new posts to "heeling paranoia!" But maybe it''s best to keep it near the top of the list. There''s a lot of good info here for beginning sailors.

Ahoy BigRed, you did indeed tell me so, and nope, I sure couldn''t flip the darn thing even if I tried. Nor did anyone ever pop up on this or any other site and give a personal account of having it happen to them.

I''m certainly not sorry to see my first sailing season and its accompanying uncertainty/paranoia over and done with. Now, let me just check the condition of my life raft, survival suit and EPIRB for my sail to Annapolis! :)

Can''t wait for spring!!!

Susan
 

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Ahoy, again, Why wait? I''ve got a friend at an airport that can get you some great de-icing chemicals!! Ha Ha. Come on down the the big land of sunshine we don''t need no stinking winters!!. Happy Holidays to all and to all a good sail!!
 

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I'm an engineering student, and I knew that boats must be made to be able to heel... but that did nothing to calm me down. After reading this thread I went researching and found a great article that made me feel sooo much better.
http://www.sailbuyersguide.com/articles/boatpages/StabilityAndTheGZCurve.cfm
it's a great article that nicely explains how a boat reacts to heeling and it concludes with some numbers, basically, for the average boat to flip over, it needs to be heeling between 100 and 140 degrees... so the boat has to actually be almost upside down to become dangerous, and the same boat can heel to 65 degrees or so and still be far from danger of capsizing of flipping over.
Awesome!
 
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