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Old 07-12-2009, 17:27   #1
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Back from Another Day of Sailing with More Questions

Yet another day under my belt. It was okay, but I have more questions, I'll try to remember all of the ones i thought of while I was out.

1) How accurate are NOAA marine forecasts? They called for 10 Knots but it felt more like 5 sometimes dropping way down to where I was having problems keeping the sails full.

2) Do the winds become more consistent the further you get from shore? At one point I was sailing due west, so I could turn and sail southeast, to return back to the bay. It seemed for a bit that the wind was more even. Then I made a turn and almost at the same time the wind really dropped off for the rest of the day.

3) How much would be much heeling over? I think the most it has heeled so far is maybe 10 degrees. And that was when I was moving along at about 3 or 3.5 mph. It felt okay, I didn't get scared, just curious about how much would be too much.

Strange weather today, Started of nice then the wind died off a lot and I think I was doing more drifting than sailing. But a day of drifting is better than a day at work!

Thank for the feedback.

Ken

Oh and I now have seen the most interesting thing while sailing. Well interesting to me, for now. I had a pod of dolphins swimming alongside me for 5 to 10 minutes today. I thought that was neat, wish I had a camera or video camera with me.
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Old 07-12-2009, 17:54   #2
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Sounds like you had a nice leisurely sail today! Any day sailing is great!
As far as NOAA forecasts, I pretty much use them as a general indicator of the possible weather for the day - but I never count on them to be absolutely accurate. Others will have different thoughts also.
Speaking purely from past experience with my old Venture 21, you shouldn't ever get into any trouble with heel in the Venture 21. I used to push mine as hard as I could on a lake to see what it's (and my own) limits were. This was 20 years ago, btw...
I would never take any water over the rail and the boat would head up from the weather helm before it even came close to having problems. I tried this with all the sail configurations I had including the genoa that I had (I don't know what size Genoa it was). There are of course variables that may affect your performance such as sea state etc. If you got hit by a large gust, it could conceivably knock you down.
Enjoy and keep logging the hours!
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Old 07-12-2009, 18:05   #3
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Depends on if you like paying for things that get broken. I used 20* heel as a reducing sail point. I would sail all day with 20*, and small gust that would take me to 25*, anything after that I was reducing. The more the boat stands up the faster she will sail. Some people like sailing with their ear in the water. We all get through life differently, and this is just my way.

It always seems like thge wind has died once you get it behind the beam, because you are now travelling with the wind. To prove this to guest I would turn up wund, and then down wind as fast as I could, so they could feel the difference. BEST WISHES in more successful days on the water........i2f
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Old 07-12-2009, 18:12   #4
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Originally Posted by kcmarcet View Post
Yet another day under my belt. It was okay, but I have more questions, I'll try to remember all of the ones i thought of while I was out.
Good stuff. The main thing is keep sailing. The more you practice the more you learn. It is good in a way that you have had weak conditions. Although it seems everyone here spends a lot of time talking about storms and how to handle big winds there is great value in learning light wind sailing.

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Originally Posted by kcmarcet View Post
1) How accurate are NOAA marine forecasts? They called for 10 Knots but it felt more like 5 sometimes dropping way down to where I was having problems keeping the sails full.
There are books upon books written about the weather. The two main things are global conditions and local conditions. Global conditions are caused by the earth rotation, temperature changes caused by the "winter/summer shift" & the coriolis effect. This is how weather systems form and create typhoon & hurricanes etc.

Global weather is pretty easy to predict and track using sattelite technologies.

Local weather related to sailing is caused predominantly by heating and cooling of the land masses near the shore. Land heats under the sun faster than the water. So in the morning the land heats up, air rises and is replaced by air from over the ocean - on-shore breezes. In the evening the land cools and the opposite should happen. The temperature of the day is the main ingredient in determining the wind strength.

Another thing that happens is the shape of the land masses will affect the direction and strength of the wind. The land can shadow the wind and the winds can and will "bend" around hills and land masses.

There is also cloud cover and thunderstorm build up that create very local conditions.

Bottom line is that weather prediction is a science but not as accurate a science as we are led to believe. I was watching a documentary about the Apollo shots and they interviewed the chief meteorologist. He described all the cool technology they had for predicting weather. At the end he said, "But the very best thing we have for knowing the weather conditions is this window that we can look out of."

The more you learn about the weather, the better you will be able to adapt to conditions ion the water.

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2) Do the winds become more consistent the further you get from shore? At one point I was sailing due west, so I could turn and sail southeast, to return back to the bay. It seemed for a bit that the wind was more even. Then I made a turn and almost at the same time the wind really dropped off for the rest of the day.
In general yes. Less disturbed by land mass influence the wind will be more steady. I suspect at the end of the day, things were cooling off and wind speed could have been dropping. There is a lull between offshore and on-shore breezes. Here it is almost dead between 6:00 and 7:30 with sunset almost always around 7:00.

Also do not get fooled by the apparent wind. If you are close hauled or close reaching, you are likely on a faster point of sail for your boats performance. During the day, heading out against on-shore breezes it feels fast and it is fast.

Then you turn around and are broad reaching or running which might be slower points of sail for your boat as well as reducing the apparent wind over the deck because you are going with the wind. It also feels slower.

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3) How much would be much heeling over? I think the most it has heeled so far is maybe 10 degrees. And that was when I was moving along at about 3 or 3.5 mph. It felt okay, I didn't get scared, just curious about how much would be too much.
This depends a lot on the design of the boat hull and keel. I suspect 10-15 degrees is optimum for the Mac 21 but maybe a mac expert will chime in.

The keel offsets the tendency of the boat to move sideways - downwind. The keel is generally more efficient as it is more upright. A little heel extends the waterline and allows the boat to go a little faster than theoretical hull speed. Too much heel and the keel starts slipping badly and you start losing ground to leward. You also start spilling lots of wind out of the sails. Also when the boat is going too slow and the keel can't generate the lift it should and you also lose to leward.

However there are conditions you will allow more heel. If strong conditions are local and not permament, you may not want to take time to reef, change head sails or other sail shortening techniques as you will have to reverse the work in a short period. In these cases you can depower the boat in other ways.

Predominantly by flattening the main sail and allowing the jib to twist off if you have adjustable jib cars.

Quote:
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Strange weather today, Started of nice then the wind died off a lot and I think I was doing more drifting than sailing. But a day of drifting is better than a day at work!

Thank for the feedback.

Ken
That's sailing for sure. We did a 5 1/2 hour race a month or so back and we had 20 kts and 0 knots in the same race.

A couple of weeks later we sailed the same course for fun in 2 1/2 hours in 15-20 kts steady. They say that most folks can sail in 15 kts. The races are won in periods of less than 5kts...
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Old 07-12-2009, 18:53   #5
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NOAA is a known liar. They try but don't rely on them because there is too much micro climatology affecting local weather.
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Old 07-12-2009, 19:02   #6
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What does NOAA stand for?

Not
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:53   #7
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Oh I just remembered another couple of questions about rigging and sails.

1) I think my the jib I am using might not be the right one/size for the boat. It just seems that I can't pull it back far enough to "flatten" it out. It seems more like a parachute. How far past the mast should you be able to pull it back, and how flat should it be at that point?

2) I also think that the jib sheet may or may not be rigged right, it's just one line and doesn't pass through any pulleys or anything at forward of the mast, it just rubs/rides on the front of the mast. It passes through two guides on the side of the cabin just forward of the cockpit.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:31   #8
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If you could give us a photo of your jib set up that would really help us sort it out.

The jib you have may be a genoa which would be cut fuller and hard to flatten. If it overlaps the mast by a couple feet then it probably is a genoa or lapper.

My rule of thumb for amount of heel is 15 degrees and its time to reef. Most modern boats are designed to go fastest at 0 degrees of heel so the object is to not heel if you can do it by adjusting sails. You'll notice that the more you heel the more your tiller will pull away from you when you are sitting on the weather side. That's called weather helm and the more it pulls the more your rudder is acting like a brake. So, its best to try to trim your sails to get rid of almost all the weather helm.

Good luck on your next sail. Did you get a book yet?

regards,
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:44   #9
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If you have the lee rail in the water, you're probably heeled too much. Not that it's dangerous, but it's gonna slow you down, for reasons that others have mentioned. Fun, sometimes, though.

If you're straight up and down, you have no wind and it's no fun.

Personally, I like about 15 degrees of heel with the sails properly set .. I think that's probably a shade too much for optimum waterline length, but it feels comfortable to me.

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Old 08-12-2009, 12:48   #10
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In my minds eye you are talking about your windward or "non working" sheet as it is pulled around to the lee of the boat as you say rubs or lays against/around the mast....This is normal and the way you want it..sounds like you have a 110 or greater genoa if its coming past the mast..a 100 is right at it and anything less is a jib cut.
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Old 08-12-2009, 15:14   #11
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You've had some great answers so I'll not add to them.
In fact I'm only wanting to let you know how jealous I am being stuck indoors as gales rage over the UK south coast.
So go enjoy
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Old 08-12-2009, 15:56   #12
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1) I think my the jib I am using might not be the right one/size for the boat. It just seems that I can't pull it back far enough to "flatten" it out. It seems more like a parachute. How far past the mast should you be able to pull it back, and how flat should it be at that point?

2) I also think that the jib sheet may or may not be rigged right, it's just one line and doesn't pass through any pulleys or anything at forward of the mast, it just rubs/rides on the front of the mast. It passes through two guides on the side of the cabin just forward of the cockpit.

The working sheet -- as opposed to the lazy sheet -- should run from the clew of the sail back to a turning block and then to a winch or cleat (depending on how heavy the loads are).

I see from a picture online that the Mac21 has no winches. So you're hauling back by hand to cleats, yes?

I assume that the guides you speak of are turning blocks of some sort. On most boats their position can be varied, which changes the angle at which the sheet is attached to the boat.

For convenience we speak of the working and lazy sheets, but they can be the same piece of line -- just tied in the middle at the clew of the sail.

(Connemara has two sheets -- one red and one green -- because I thought that would be easier for novice crew. 'Pull the green line' is easier than 'pull the starboard line'.) And it was pretty.

Anyway, the sheet on the leeward side is the one you care about.

Winches would help to get it pretty tight and the sail pretty flat, but you'll have to rely on muscle power, I guess. But bear in mind that the shape of the sail should vary depending on wind conditions -- flatter is not always better. The same applies to the main, BTW.

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Old 08-12-2009, 16:40   #13
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To me it seemed this past season that NOAA was pretty much always wrong. If they said wind would be 5-10, it was 15. The best was one morning when the wind had woke me up and had been blowing 25+ for 2 hours before the "update" came on saying it would be 10-15 that day.

Heeling I can handle 20 degrees with a knock over once in a while to 25-30. But not comfortable doing it a long time. On my boat 15 degrees feels fine and I don't mind being there all day. But on the C&C I learned on it would put the gunrail almost in the water and I could drag my hand in the water. If that happens on my Cal it is time to drop the sails. In other words it all depends on the boat. If it handles easy at 20 degrees and thge rudder isn't a fight and way over then it is OK for your boat.
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Old 08-12-2009, 16:46   #14
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You can see in this photo the jib car on the side of the cabin top. You should load the job sheet on the winch and may have to get a winch handle.

If the jib foot does not reach the guide you should be able to trim the sail.

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Old 09-12-2009, 09:27   #15
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Well so far the days I have been out have been pretty light wind days. I still have problems turning thru the wind, but I figure I will figure it out eventually. I really can't see myself out in anything beyond 20 mph winds. Funny that you had a Venture. It seems like a lot of the people I have met around the bay where it's anchored have had either a Macgregor or something very similar. I guess they are a cheap way to get on the water. Mine for all the worrying I did about the condition of the hull and taking on water,has been pretty good so far. I did take a wave over the bow once, it was the wake of a power boat. Other than that no major problems yet.
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