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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hoping to get out but with about 20hrs under my belt, not going out with so many gust, seems like all of April has had small boat advisories, will it or when will it calm?
 

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It's been the same here. We've been aboard for about 20 of the past 30 days. 90% of them have been howling, with the top gust near 40 knots. It's made above deck commissioning nearly impossible. Temps in the 40s too. Lowest was 33. Heat pump could not keep up with that one.

But, it's Spring. While I think the tough stuff has been more frequent, it's also common. If like most years, it will suddenly appear to turn a corner, prevailing SW consistent winds will dominate here. Can't come soon enough.
 

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Moody 376
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Key, sunday was definitely puffy, i saw 18 in the marina, but last Saturday was a nice day with winds peaking at 12, at least down in Deale. this weekend looks to be more of the same, but reversed , 17 on saturday with cooler temps, and higher temps and lower winds on sunday. as others have mentioned, reef early. easier to shake a reef out if winds go light than try to try to put a reef in while in panic mode bobbing around on the bay.

in fact you could probably do most of the legwork putting a reef in while still protected at the dock with out raising the sail. get the tack and clew tightened down.

heck nothing says that you can't just go out with the jib and leave the main stacked and packed. you'll likley have some lee helm though.
 

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This month has definitely been 'puffy'. We saw it last Friday heading down to Annapolis, and Monday heading back home again. Puffy with frequent high degree direction changes the norm so far this year. Still we had an awesome sail though, so compared to what mid-August has to offer, I'll take it.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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I understand your reluctance to sail in winds over 15 knots, especially when there are bigger gusts. But if you tie in a reef before you leave the dock and if you have a 100% jib to use, you should be able to sail pretty comfortably even in 12 to 15 knot gusting to the high teens. The hard part will be docking. But if you have a person or two along to fend off and help walk the boat into the slip, even that should not be too bad. One suggestion on that is to practice backing up and maneuvering the boat while you are not making your approach to the slip. In an ideal world try to find an immovable object (such as crab trap or other marker of some kind) and practice approaching it and making a turn similar to what you will need to do to turn into the slip. Maybe practice that maneuver 6-8 times until you are comfortable that you know how much the boat will slide sideward, how fast the boat can turn, how current and wind impact steering, how effectively the engine impacts turning, starting and stopping.

But we have had a pretty typical spring in terms of wind speeds. They tend to slow during May, and by late June you will be pining for the winds of April.

Jeff
 

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Captain Obvious
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I have a light weight boat and a nervous wife so my perspective may be skewed but there is something unsettling when you see those gusts coming across the water at your boat. Sure you can trim or reef or turn into them but its a lot of work after a while and sailing is supposed to be fun. Its been weirdly gusty this spring. The other day my son who is a pilot told me he had 15 knots of wind over the runway and 50 knots at 10000 feet. No wonder then we were experiencing gusts.
 

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My boat and sailing area are not much different than yours. If the wind is 10-15 with puffs around 20-25 I leave the slip with a reef in the sail. If it's blowing harder than that and I don't need to be anywhere, I busy myself with a boat project. April is a great month for working on the boat!

If you are more experienced or have more experienced crew with you, that's different. But for me, still an advanced beginner who is mostly just trying to have fun on the water and keep my wife interested in sailing vacations, most SCA days are not fun days to be out.

That said, it's good to get some experience sailing in 'non-picnic' sail conditions. A good way to safely get experience in harsher conditions is racing, sailing classes (take as early or late in the year as you can to guarantee challenging weather), or finding some more experienced sailors to go out with (sailing club, friendly marina neighbors).
 

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It would be nice if my answer could be they will not end. BUT, long about July you won't be able to buy wind on the bay on most days. Enjoy while we get them, put a reef or two in and sail on. The best time to sail on the Chesapeake is late February to May/June and from late September to December.
 

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MoonBeam is mostly right, but it's not that bad. It's true the wind tends to die in July and August, but there are still some decent sailing days I find. You've got a good boat for light air, you'll get out those months.

Best sailing weather for newbies is mid-May to late-June, Sept to mid-Oct which is why the best way to extend your sailing season is to get more experience in heavy air (and get philosophical about motor sailing July/Aug).

Also, as a newbie, be conservative with reefing: if there's any question of being overpowered on the Bay, reef in the slip. Especially as you are both new and shorthanded, better to wish you were going faster than be overpowered and miserable.
 

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MoonBeam is mostly right, but it's not that bad. It's true the wind tends to die in July and August, but there are still some decent sailing days I find. You've got a good boat for light air, you'll get out those months.

Best sailing weather for newbies is mid-May to late-June, Sept to mid-Oct which is why the best way to extend your sailing season is to get more experience in heavy air (and get philosophical about motor sailing July/Aug).

Also, as a newbie, be conservative with reefing: if there's any question of being overpowered on the Bay, reef in the slip. Especially as you are both new and shorthanded, better to wish you were going faster than be overpowered and miserable.
 

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We are not newbies and we will always reef in the slip or cove it is just easier as emcentar mentioned. Easier on the sails easier for me not to fall in....LOL A lot will depend on how your boat is rigged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So just for the record, Thanks again everyone.... I was reading these and feeling better about going out, and then Ithinking about an FB group I had joined for sailing, 99% of the answers on there are total SNARK for simple questions. It is great to have this place as a resource. As an aside, I am pretty sure FB has ruined the internet.
 

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@Keyframe42 Shorten sail and go for it! Lots of learning happens in those conditions. Some points to consider:
-Be sure you can motor against the sea state.
-It's a totally different boat in those conditions.
-Don't be afraid to call it a day when it stops being fun or turns out to be more than you expected.
 

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Barquito
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So just for the record, Thanks again everyone.... I was reading these and feeling better about going out, and then Ithinking about an FB group I had joined for sailing, 99% of the answers on there are total SNARK for simple questions. It is great to have this place as a resource. As an aside, I am pretty sure FB has ruined the internet.
Agree. Turn off the FB, and go sailing.
 

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I'd encourage you to get out in all sorts of conditions, windy, gusty, rainy, even the very light wind days that are coming. Don't wait for the perfect day, just sail. Do it all even if uncomfortable, maybe avoid gale conditions for now but otherwise get out there, It might be uncomfortable at times. Some conditions will be.

Like others say, tuck in a reef or two at the dock, small jib if you have one. head out. Its easy to shake out a reef if you find that the reef was too conservative. regardless you need experience in putting in and shaking out reefs. do it and do it and then do it more.

its also good to learn what various conditions feel like ... to you, on your boat. 15 might be just fine. 20 steady might be fine too. 15 with gusts to 25 could be scary at first but youll learn how your boat converts the energy of that gust first to heeling and then to acceleration. You might bury the rail at times. you might get green water over the bow and discover your forward hatch leaks! You might find that tacking in windy conditions will get a jib sheet hung up ... on something. and you learn how to deal with all of this. Some of it specific to your boat, some general knowledge that applies to all boats.

pushing beyond the comfort zone is the best way to expand your comfort zone. It's very satisfying to grow your experience like this and, for me, it's a strong attraction to this sport.
 

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So just for the record, Thanks again everyone.... I was reading these and feeling better about going out, and then Ithinking about an FB group I had joined for sailing, 99% of the answers on there are total SNARK for simple questions. It is great to have this place as a resource. As an aside, I am pretty sure FB has ruined the internet.
I forgot what size boat you got was it a 22? When we had a 21 foot trailer sailer, we could not go out on 15 to 20 days either. We had limited sail options and the boat was just too tender. It could almost blow along with no sails, like a leaf. It was not fun at all and almost ruined my wife for sailing.
 

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Key: 'how much wind/waves is too much' depends on your experience, your boat, your crew, and the comfort of your passengers, so there's just no one size fits all answer.

Except today: when the gusts are 60 kts, stay in the slip!
 
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