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I own an Alerion 28 and love sailing it but am having trouble pointing high enough. When coming about, I go through as much as 130 degrees sometimes before the mainsail stops luffing. I've tried different rigging tuning but to no avail. The mast has a lot of rake, (maybe too much? How much should this boat have?) All suggestions will be much appreciated.
 

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1. Check rig tension http://www.riggingandsails.com/pdf/selden-tuning.pdf
2. Check mainsail for correct luff/halyard tension How to properly RAISE a woven dacron mainsail - SailboatOwners.com (post #1) every day is different and every day the mainsail luff tension should be set to optimize for the present day's conditions. If this doesnt solve 'weather helm' problems, then and only then re-rake the mast.
3. Check forestay (backstay) tension vs. the day's wind strength .... (prevents the boat skidding to leeward due to too loose backstay) ... corrects for aggressive heeling, too. http://www.ftp.tognews.com/GoogleFiles/Matching Luff Hollow.pdf
4. Be sure when beating that the leeches are flat and mostly parallel to the centerline of the boat. Typically the second from the top batten should be close to parallel with the boats centerline, also applies if the jib has battens (when the jib is connected to a hoyt-boom or clubfoot - use outhaul tension to get the correct leech shape).
5. Learn how to 'roll tack' a boat - do websearch. Suggest following those procedures, especially when going into a tack to pull STRONG tension on the mainsheet in order to cup-up the mainsail leech to help turn the boat (less need for rudder action) ... youll get used to the excessive heeling during the early stages of tacking. Also, dont FORCE the rudder over when tacking ... use only constant light to moderate finger-tip pressure on the helm; otherwise, you'll risk stalling/stopping the boat instead of using boat momentum to assist in the turn.
6. If your chartplotter has a VMG function (to a waypoint directly upwind), use/'experiment' with it.

Do all trials/optimizations in water that has NO tidal flow/current.

Hope this helps. ;-)
 

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Really pretty boats by the way! I think that is the biggest issue with the self tending jib on it's club boom is that that set up is not as good to windward. I think you should be able to do better than you describe. The two above posts should help.
 

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One thing that can have a negative effect is too much sail area and especially too much Genoa. If a boat is being overpowered and starts getting weather helm, it's a matter of reducing sail to balance it better. Also, if you have a Cunningham and/or a downhaul, try those. +1 on rigging tension, especially on the forestay. If the forestay has been in service for a number of years, it may need shortening to get the rig further forward. I wound up shortening mine by 1.5" when I replaced the rigging. It made a marked difference.
 

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I own an Alerion 28 and love sailing it but am having trouble pointing high enough. When coming about, I go through as much as 130 degrees sometimes before the mainsail stops luffing. I've tried different rigging tuning but to no avail. The mast has a lot of rake, (maybe too much? How much should this boat have?) All suggestions will be much appreciated.
I wonder if you put your finger on the issue with your mast rake. If you put a weight on your main halyard and let it dangle down by the deck, how far aft of the mast does it hang? Shortening your forestay and lengthening your backstay will pull the mast more vertical, reducing weather helm and helping you point up into and through the wind on a tack. I like to have just a few degrees of tiller angle off the centerline to weather when the boat is cooking along upwind in a decent breeze.
 

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There is a lot of good advice, but if you're tacking through 130* of true wind, then something very basic is wrong.

Try a lot more mainsheet and move the traveler up. Boom should be on centerline going upwind. Next time you're out, take a photo of your sails starting at the midpoint of the foot and looking toward the mast head. Google image search "sail shape" and you'll get the idea.
https://www.google.com/search?tbm=i...ape&ei=KLPJVOuGNvLfsAS91oH4Cg&ved=0CAkQ9C8wAA
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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As others have said, when you talk about only being able to tack through 130 degrees, then something is very very wrong. With that large a tack to tack range it is highly unlikely that the issue is mast rake. These boats point very well, especially the Alerions without the Hoyt booms. These boats use a spar and the most of the rig from a J-27 and so they do have a bit more mast bend and rake than most.

To me (and as others have suggested) I would start with the very basics;(And I realize that some of these are basic and I don't mean them to be insulting.)
  • Is the topping lift eased so that the boom is hanging on the sail not the lift?
  • Does this boat have a rigid vang and does it allow the boom to drop enough to tension the leech?
  • Are the right battens in the right pockets?
  • How are you measuring the 130 degrees? If by compass, is the compass accurate from tack to tack? If by sight, or GPS, was there a current running?
  • Do you have adequate prebend for the luff cut of your mainsail?
  • Are your halyard and outhaul tensions right?
  • Is your traveller in the right position?

Beyond those comparatively painless suggestions, it may just be that your mainsail may be way past its 'use-by' date. These boats are raced one design in a number of areas of the country. I would contact the sailmaker who made your mainsail. If it is a major (North, Quantum or the like) they may have a tuning guide for your boat.

Good luck,

Jeff
 

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I would suspect that you are getting backwind from the jib, rather than actual "luffing" in the main. The original post talks only about the main's luffing, and that apparently is driving the "130º" tacking angles. What is the JIB doing? Is it luffing too? Or not? We sometimes sail upwind with a quarter to a third of the main backwinded, but with the jib full and our angle at about 35º off the wind, and we're moving well. We work at reducing the backwind as much as possible - vang, backstay, main traveller and sheet are all involved, but sometimes the slot between the jib and main is simply too narrow for all the breeze to get through it, and you get backwind. Barber-hauling the jibsheet outboard might open the slot and reduce backwind. Doing this reduces your pointing angle, of course, but at your stated 130º tacking angles, you don't have much to lose by giving it a try.
 

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I sail pretty often on a friend's A28. It definitely goes upwind very nicely. He races it and does pretty well. I don't remember a lot of mast rake, so that would be the first thing to look at.

Do you use the self-tending jib or do you have a regular genny? The boat I sail on has removed the self-tending gear and uses a RF genny. Makes a big improvement in performance.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/...wMRVA6ntoN3rzkm6LKjCJDuCGWF_GXkREfOw7_WDoefLw

Do you ever try to increase airflow over the main by letting out only the outhaul?
The jib sheet is always at the same tension.
I'm trying to keep the concept simple.
With all due respect, unless the outhaul was way over tensioned, this makes no sense at all.

But I do think that the comments about backwinding raise a very valid point, which is the improper adjustment of your jib can have a negative impact on pointing ability as viewed from the mainsail.

To begin with in order to evaluate proper trim on your jib you should have teletales on the luff of the jib set around 18" aft of the forestay. There should be one a quarter of the way down the luff from the head, one at the middle and one a quarter way up from the foot.

The sheet tension should place the leech of a non overlapping sail a couple inches inboard of the spreader tip, and the leech of a genoa a couple inces clear of the upper and lower shrouds.

To get the lead of the sail right, when you turn the boat up towards a luff, all three inside teletales should 'break' at the same time. If the upper teletale breaks first then the lead block position needs to be moved forward, or if you are using the hoyt boom, then the boom needs to be allowed to move to leeward a little and the outhaul be made tighter. If the upper teletale breaks late, then the lead needs to be moved aft or the hoyt boom moved to windward and the outhaul eases just slightly, until all three break at the right time.

Once the jib is set properly you may still get backwinding on the mainsail. As PaulK rightly pointed out, a small amount of backwinding is not unusual for a fractional rig. But similar to the jib, there should be teletails at the aft end of each batten and all of these should be flying (with the upper one flying intermitently in light to moderate air). If the upper teletales are stalled (sucked forward to leeward of the sail) then the traverler needs to be lifted to windward and the mainsheet should be eased until the boom is in line with the backstay.

Good Luck,
Jeff
 
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