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I've had my V-21 to 50* or so just for fun with no issues but she really wants to spin out there. As for swing keels, my boat handles heavy conditions better with the keel all the way down. Nothing like 400 Lbs. of iron all the way down to slow the roll in a puff.
 

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If your heeling until your worried, unless your on a 16 ft cat (I love healing on a cat because you CAN take it to the max), your not sailing correctly UNLESS YOU HAVE A CREW who is acting counterweight. Chances are, if your healing too much, your at a Reach. Just let the sail out a tad or head up wind a tad. If your just day sailing and out without a destination, dont mess with the sails, just steer the boat to maximum efficiency and power.
 

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Water ballasted experience

Sorry to be so late getting in on this thread.

For 15 years, I sailed (and still own) a Macgregor 26 water ballasted sailboat. It's the old 1991 version, not the power/sailer. I think the swing keel weighs 50 lbs.

I have crossed almost all of the great lakes in it in some wild conditions; sailed the coast of Maine with sudden blasts rolling down off Mt Desert Island and been caught off guard in squalls on the Chesapeake. (not bragging!!!!)

I never suffered a knockdown. The worst that would happen is that the boat would heel sharply then round up into the wind. Even when I put all my muscle against the tiller to hold course, the boat still rounds up.

Now, your boat isn't the same design as the Mac 26 but I want you to know that the water ballast system works fine.
 

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Sail in your comfort zone

I really think this whole thread is a great place for new sailors to see a view of how folks look at performance. I, personally (with my wife) have a 26' clipper marine swing keel boat that has the racing ability of a 90 year old nursing home patient on her way to a colonoscopy. Getting it to heel over requires some big wind or running aground while moving sideways.

But to my wife, a new sailor, it's tilting the world. So in our first times out, we have looked (and required) that the wind is light and the waves are small.

Have we had wild, crazy times burying the rail in a maelstrom of speed and power? Naw! But we've had a number of enjoyable sailing days where aside from the sunburns and the docking problems, we've deepened our like of sailing and look forward to doing a little more next time.

If you're looking to race, this is a crummy technique.

If you want to bring your performance-based lifestyle out on the water and DO A LOT, this is a crummy technique.

It's working for us to build an appreciation of the lake (we're on the great lakes-No, not lake Nicaragua...), the weather, and how we fit into that grand equation safely (and comfortaby).

If you're feeling like you're pressed into more than you're comfortable with, it's anxiety producing. Yes, it creates growth, but originallly it's just a bad feeling. Beginning sailors, in my opinion, need small winds and no waves. They'll outgrow them. Until they get cocky and the lake takes them.
 

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sehopkins said:
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.
Hi There,

We have a Mac 26 (in addition to a Formosa Peterson 46 and a Roberts 434D) which is water ballasted and I, like you, feel like we're just going to keep going over. I hear your concern about losing speed and performance when you douse the jib or let out the main in order to avoid angle of heel. Let me challenge you to think about the performance of your boat when it is heeled past a certain angle. Weather-helm is terrible and the boat is slower, right? So really, how much speed are you losing. If you're worried about performance go down to the local college and get some gorillas for your rail...;-). I would recommend reefing your sails different ways until you find just the right combo. On our formosa 46, her rig is tall (high aspect ratio) and at about 15 kts we reef and we always gain a knot or so. At 25-30k kts we're down to our staysl. and double reefed main. If we keep all over her canvas up, we're on our ears all day, she's slow and we fight the helm. Reefing is a good thing.
 

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susieq.
I grew up sailing lasers. I think after dumping them jsut for the fun of it as a kid and then later dumping them when I was pushing the limit must have desensitized me. If you're in a keel boat, what are you afraid of? I think you have to really focus on why it makes you uncomfortable. Failing that. GO out and brouch a few times. Get your spreaders wet. then you'll see that it's not so bad. Once a boat is on it's side it just comes back up. Obviously if it's not a keel boat or if it's a piece of crap boat it's no the same but all in all it's a good experience. You might even learn to like it. Then you won't get a hard time from the rest of the crew.
 

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You never go back because you cannot find a slip to put it in. And when you do, you can't afford to stay in it.

HAHA. Just Kidding with you Rick.

In all seriousness, you have a problem finding a slip for that? What's your beam?
 

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HA grease 'em up rick.

Speaking of Cats, I had a Hobie 16 for many years (i know it's not a keelboat but as long as we are talking about going over...) I learned early on that you need to keep the weight AFT in that quick little boat. The first time I had it out in a good breeze, I had my younger brother, who wieghts about 70 lbs more than me, forward of me manning the jib. As soon as we came around onto a broad reach where the weight of the boat was substantialy on the lee hull, the nose of that hull just took a dive and we went stern over bow surprisingly quickly. I was actually launched clear of landing on the mainsail. We floated around with just the tail end of a hobie cat sticking up out of the water until we got it righted again. When it finally came up I had quite a bit of lake-bottom mud on my masthead. Man, that little boat was fun.

If I ever come close to a stern-over-bow manuever these days in my Pearson 26' fin keel, well, god help me.
 

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Rickm505 said:
To those who are uncomfortable heeling while otherwise enjoying sailing, please look into catamarans. Once you get a cat you never go back (smile)

Rick in Florida
Of course if a cat is just too wide for ya, trimarans are also a low-heel option, and the folded beam on mine is less than 9'. Opened up for sailing it's 18' or so. :)
 

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Re: Heeling paranoia

I see that this thread veers from "heeling paranoia" to the fun enjoyed when sailing cats and trimarans. To go back to the original question, in my view the heeling problem does not arise from a real risk of turning over but from the feeling of discomfort experienced mainly by new, occasional and sometimes by female sailors. I want to point out two important statements made by previous contributors:
i) "Heeling increases weather helm which makes the boat want to head up", by goduke, and
ii)
"I can't even imagine capsizing in anything less than huge, breaking beam seas", by divad, in combination with "I don't believe any large (over 20'') displacement vessel of a production type can be flipped except in a combination of wind and waves", by BigRead56.
Conclusion: Try to suppress your fear of capsizing (it exists only in your imagination) and concentrate on trimming the sails, early reefing and watching how any eventual waves hit your vessel. As far as you sail with the boat under control and balance, be sure that you are perfectly safe!
 

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Once again we have proven that old threads on sail net never die.
I wonder what ever happened to the original poster from five years ago?
Maybe she divorced her husband because he liked small boat sailing and would not buy a bigger boat. Maybe she got so scared she does not sail anymore or maybe she has circumnavigated. Will we ever know?
 

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Hate to be a cynic but while sailing with the boat under control and balanced goes a long way to making it safe, but isn't the only thing needed. Even small breaking seas can easily have the energy to roll or knockdown a small sailboat.

BTW, BigRead56 is very wrong. Even relatively small waves can capsize a monohull sailboat, under the length of 35' or so. IIRC, the energy required to flip a sailboat goes up with the cube of the waterline, so a 40' boat requires eight times the energy to flip as a 20' boat. One study that is a good read is Don Jordan's work with the USCG after the 1979 Fastnet race, which is available at www.jordanseriesdrogue.com.
 

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susieq tell your beau to back off on your gut feelings. everything takes time to come to grips with especially heeling for a lot of people. my wife was terrified of it and refused to go out for a long time with me. my prob was i was only looking my having fun ie sailing the boat hard. this was in a Lightning then Bombadier 4.8 and now our Gulfstar 37. i have always sailed not bragging, i was lucky in that my father taught us young so it was always natural to sail hard and experiment with the boats and how they reacted to different conditions. just take it slow and find your groove(you will) and tell beau this is what you like and are comfortable with. the newer style hulls (yours) are desinded to sail flatter than the older CCA and early IOR boats. if your beau equates heeling to speed (he's wrong!). when sailing a boat like yours heeled over you increase the the likelyhood of rounding up more easily because you get near the edge of over powering the hull and rig. if the boat is hard to steer (wants to round up into the wind) it is overpowered for conditions. good luck smooth seas and blue skies
mike
 

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"Even small breaking seas can easily have the energy to knockdown a small boat"

Sorry SD, we talk here just about "heeling paranoia", not "defying the forces of nature"! Every vessel has its own limit of weather conditions where it is able to sail safely.
 

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Have you ever been over?

I learned to sail when I was 14 years old in Manahawkin Bay in New Jersey. My first sailboat was a 16 foot Barnegat Bay wooden sneakbox with a metal clad wooden centerboard tied to a rope to pull it up and tied to a cleat, with a 30 foot mast.
I used to sail from one end of LBI to the other. If anyone knows this type of boat they will understand that no matter how hard the blow or how far the heel you can't put this boat over. I know because I have tried many times. I have had this so far over that the air would actually spill out of the sail and she would snap upright. however if it is flat out speed you want get a following wind put the main to one side and the jib to the other side and lift the centerboard. Now you are sailing.
Now for the good part. Have I ever been over? The answer is yes and I particularly did not like the experience. My friend took me out for a sail in his 18 foot Lightning and we were going at a pretty good speed across the bay and we were almost close hauled when we were hit by a gust of wind that knocked us right over into the water. It happened so fast that I didn't have time to take a breath of air before hitting the water.
Why I don't ever want to do it again. First, you have to make sure everyone is accounted for and ok. Second, you have to lower the sails, try doing this with a wet canvas sail. Third you have to tie a line to the rigging then stand on the centerboard to try and right the boat. Fourth, now you have to bail the boat out and keep her righted at the same time. Very time consuming especially if you didn't tie eveything down on deck and your bailing pail sunk.
The worse part of this event, you could have been sailing all this time instead.

Just so everyone understands how I and a number of my friends learned to sail. We did not have motors to get in and out of the lagoons where we docked our boats. We sailed up the lagoon. If you want to learn how to tack, try doing it across a 40' wide lagoon in a head wind.
 

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I did a survey of trailer sailer owners in a class I used to be involved in - most admitted being nervous at times. This was not helped by a few idiots with their macho tales of essentially foolishness.

I think some nervousness is perfectly normal particularly with a new boat. Remember learning to drive a car?

Rational explanations of why a boat is stable are all very well but are only part of the story. While a trailer-sailer will usually round up, some years ago a 22' flipped and stayed inverted while racing at our club, the owner drowned, while his kids were rescued from inside the hull.

I have also seen a keeler go straight up and nose down to the bottom in about ten seconds. It was heeled in about 20 knots and making no headway against the tide. It looked like they were shipping some water, until the water put the bow down and it all ran forward. Bye bye boat. Both incidents were close to land.

That a boat would heel to say 90 degrees and come up, is all very well - but would the crew still be on board unless they abandoned any controls and just held on to what they could? Even at a much smaller angle it can be difficult to maintain a footing or seating.

Confidence takes a while to acquire, and is certainly best based on competence. I think this relates to faith in the boat, the skipper, and the crew acquiring some knowledge and skill.

An unhappy wife or girlfriend is not in a sailor's best interests. A women only sailing course can help. However even before this, I think any competent skipper should be attuned to where his crew is at and able to build confidence by gradually building their experience in lighter conditions, reefing early, and showing them how things like mainsail trim have an effect. By teaching them and letting them take responsibility for say the mainsheet gives confidence by having control.

Probably the best way to learn to sail is in a dinghy even with the kids learn to sail classes.

There is a big gap in learning between the odd sail essentially as a passenger on a jaunt, and being competent in a yacht under any conditions.

Forget the macho jerk who just calls you a girl. If you persist with a good skipper, and in time become competent and confident you will enjoy it far more, instead of being turned off early on.

A water ballasted yacht requires a degree of skill - you would hardly want to be caught with the ballast on the wrong side.

Good luck with the sailing and the skipper.
 

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My turn!
Wow this heeling stuff is very popular. Like the Hunter 260 the MacGregor 26M is also water ballasted, it is what I own & sail. I have to agree these water ballasted boats are a bit tender initially and heel quickly, but they do harden up fast, at around 15 degrees. I find it takes substantially more force to continue heeling it over further. I have had mine over 35 degrees and more on the inclinometer and never capsized, it does take some getting used to though. Optimally 25 degrees is the maximum heeling after that it is very inefficient. I notice even climbing aboard my body weight makes it tip. There is a photograph of the designer holding the Macgregor on it's side rail, mast parallel to the water and when he lets go it just bobs back up, never goes upside down. The water ballast boats are a different concept and take a bit of getting used to but they are very versatile and easily trailered. I have twin/dual rudders on mine so when it is heeled there is still at least one rudder fully in the water, so steering is not lost. I really like the option of the 50Hp Honda on the back for getting through tidal currents or getting anywhere when the wind is under 5 knots. I sail mine in the Pacific Northwest.
PS
on another note what is the problem with "quotation marks" on this board and why does ;&quot keep appearing instead of " " it seems every poster has this problem, why?
 

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CaptKermie said:
PS
on another note what is the problem with "quotation marks" on this board and why does ;&quot keep appearing instead of " " it seems every poster has this problem, why?
I'm not a computer programer, but it is my layman understanding that certain codes from the old SailNet programs are incompatible with the new - and vastly improved system. Therefore, when an old post is regenerated from the forum archives (such as this one from 2001), some of the incompatible codes show up that way.
 
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