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Old 14-01-2010, 09:07   #46
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Good link norm- I learned alot. Dockhead- what type was your old boat. I have never heard of a full keel becoming imposible to claw off a lee shore. I hope my Valiant preforms better.
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Old 14-01-2010, 09:26   #47
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Experience with wide boats in heavy weather led of to skinny AVERISERA. We had a knock-down at the start of a distance race once.

The headsail blew out of the plastic head foil. Headfoil off this year and hanks installed!

Skinny AVERIERA boat lay over about 45 degrees and stayed there. The wind in the headsail dragged us sideways for a bit scooping a lot of water up onto the side decks and into the cockpit. Headsail came down OK.

It was scary. We didn't swamp because the seas were flat. We have some new procedures for swamping, too. We sail. We learn. We sail better. An endless loop we embrace.
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Old 14-01-2010, 12:42   #48
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"The headsail blew out of the plastic head foil."
What brand foil/furling? And are you sure the loft that made the sail, put it the correct size boltrope to match it?
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Old 14-01-2010, 13:12   #49
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Good query:
The short answer is that we were off Marblehead before the start of a summer overnight race. That time of year, time of day, and place on Earth is prone to some kick-butt summer squalls. This one was memorable.

A big black cloud arrived and I started to strip the 107% headsail from the stay. About halfway down the sail gets to shaking violently and the plastic foil extrusion opened up. Out flew the sail which then filled off to leeward in the "damnit" position.

My wife released the sheet and I hauled the sail down to the foredeck as she continued to monitor the halyard. It was on deck in under a minute. In the short time the sail was blowing out in the aforementioned "damnit" position, we lay over hard.

No damage just pretty scary. Then the real squall arrived. We loafed around under double reefed main and no headsail, had a cup of tea, watched some other boats struggle, admired some fast, skillful crew work on other boats, and talked about the new strategy for the race.

Noteworthy: Headsails in foils are secure either all the way up or down. The half way position is always risky. Everything was properly fitted and sized. It just took too long between seeing the squall change direction towards us, get in a second reef, and get the headsail off. We were double-handing. The lesson has paid off in subsequent races and cruises.

The big "take away" is that for our type of sailing and budget, hanks are practical, cheap and safe. So... off comes the foil and on go the hanks.
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Old 14-01-2010, 13:21   #50
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I was in a ... Bristol 33? ANyway, boat flexed a lot in heavy waters.

Years later, took off the overherad liner and discovered that the bulkheads weren't tabbed to the underside of the deck. Of course normally there's a slight bit of space there to prevent a hard spot but we're talking a good inch of clearance, andno tabbing. All hidden under the ceiling liner.

LESSON: avoid boats with liners.
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Old 14-01-2010, 13:25   #51
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Good link norm- I learned alot. Dockhead- what type was your old boat. I have never heard of a full keel becoming imposible to claw off a lee shore. I hope my Valiant preforms better.
Pearson 365, which is not the worst sailing boat in the world. Modified full keel with cutaway forefoot. Very stable and seakindly. But even under full sail well trimmed, she would tack through at best 110 degrees true. With the gennie rolled in and the main deeply reefed for heavy weather, you can add another twenty or thirty degrees to that. That geometry means you really cannot get off a lee shore under sail. You simply cannot make progress upwind, and over 40 knots of wind you will actually be pushed to leeward whatever you do.

If the muck in the bottom of your diesel tank gets stirred up by the big waves and clogs your filter -- not an uncommon situation in a big storm --so you can't restart the engine, then you are well and truly fu***ed, if this happens off a lee shore.

Our new boat with the bulb keel can make progress upwind in any conditions. She's a cutter rig, so when the wind gets up over 40 knots you take in the yankee, and sail on the self-tacking staysail and reefed main. The sails still have an efficient shape -- you leave the staysail rolled all the way out; it has 1/4 of the area of the yankee so cannot overpower the boat. So you still tack through maximum 100 degrees. So you can still sail anywhere you want and loss of the engine would not be a life-threatening situation. Center of effort of the rig has moved way down, so you don't heel much even in 50 knot gusts. A wonderful feeling of control and security. Besides that, with the yankee taken in, the rig becomes fully self-tacking, so the workload goes down, a nice bonus in heavy weather.

Another bonus is that in good weather when the day's passage calls for going upwind somewhere, we can sail there instead of using the engine. It seemed like we were motoring 50% of the time with the old boat. We hardly ever need the engine on the new boat except to get in and out of port.

I would never have another full-keel boat after this experience.
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Old 14-01-2010, 15:35   #52
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Norman, your headfoil was strictly a headfoil then? Not roller reefing/furling? I admit I still like hanks but when it comes to "wild ride on the bow" versus rolling 'em up...Well yeah the ride is FUN but I'm quite happy to stay aft & dry if I can, too. :-)
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Old 14-01-2010, 16:07   #53
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Once in heavy weather was in a boat that had a nasty, nasty habit: She would lose her heading at the top of waves; had a tendency to lie ahull, broadside to the wind and waves. Only discovered this too late. It was a long night...
Poor design. Windage?
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Old 14-01-2010, 17:41   #54
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Big storms made me think more about how to prepare and handle the boat, than which boat I would buy. The flip side of 'big boats are always better' is 'there's always a storm bigger than any big boat'.

If you want to use passive options other than heaving to (agree with MarkJ it amazing how much difference that makes) then you need to prepare the boat. A series drogue, or any approach leaving stern to the waves, requires strong stern anchor points & rear hatches.
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Old 14-01-2010, 18:13   #55
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Originally Posted by Cyrus Safdari View Post
Once in heavy weather was in a boat that had a nasty, nasty habit: She would lose her heading at the top of waves; had a tendency to lie ahull, broadside to the wind and waves. Only discovered this too late. It was a long night...
Poor design. Windage?
If you were broad reaching, I would suspect that this is a case of rounding up as you are exposed to more wind at the top of a wave. (been there, done that, went through one slam.)

If you were close-hauled or close reaching, it would be lee helm.

Jack
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Old 14-01-2010, 18:28   #56
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Someone mentioned to avoid bowsprit.. Can anyone clarify why that is, and what it may cause??
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Old 14-01-2010, 20:59   #57
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I did a lot of sailing on my Dad's Cape Dory, including some moderately heavy weather. For my own boat, I wanted something different -- a boat that could sail to weather, not just across the wind (see Dockhead's posts above), and one that could sail well in light airs but still hold her own in the heavy stuff, and I wanted a reasonably fast boat (to sail circles around my Dad, of course). I wanted a smaller boat, but that would be big enough, and seaworthy enough, to make ocean passages. I also needed a boat that I could actually afford. I ended up with a Peterson 34 (fin keel, spade rudder, tall rig). I am quite happy with it (even -- especially? -- in Force 8 conditions)!
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Old 19-01-2010, 22:08   #58
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I have chosen a westsail 32, The best boat I've been on for my taste in cruising and weather. I owned a hinckley b-40 that was constant attention in heavy weather and sailed fairly well. A Cal 34 felt like we got washed out more than an auto pilot could maintain and only fair sailing because of our tracking. I wouldn't consider a boat over 40 personally as the demands placed on labor seem to grow out of control with a larger boat and I'm alone or with only one most of the time. I've played on smaller pearsons and had fun but not enough boat for my comfort in heavy weather or cruising. The "pixie" is now a veteran of three hurricanes and alot of hard nights of sailing and you can still sail, make a cup of coffee, read, and most important, I can deal with sail/deck issues myself so my counterpart can be rested to replace me. We didn't have a motor (working) for a number of years and a full keel wide boat can sail into slips or off a shoreline in unforgiving conditions with good sailing practice.

For me, she's just fun to sail and easy to keep an eye on and confidence in my tools is as important as a cutting edge on that tool.

In my opinion, too many people think the boat is more of the equation than it should be relative to the skill and decisions of a captain. Find a good solid boat that fits you and make yourself its equal.
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Old 19-01-2010, 23:24   #59
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As with most of the replys, but always....

1. Steel.
2. Long Keel.
3. Big Diesel swinging a big prop.
4. Structual integrity (see steel).
5. Watertight integrity.
6. Engineered to overkill.

I love big Steel Motorsailers, speed is not a factor for me...
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Old 19-01-2010, 23:44   #60
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Lots of topics being brought up here. Cyrus- I sailed a Bene 34 that was doing the same thing when we would sail to wind and the swells got above about 6 feet. I thought it was the narrow keel, which would loose its ability to keep a track when we topped a wave. Since I have sailed Island Packets (full keel) and Valiants I have not had that issue, but maybe I just need a bigger wave.
Dockhead- my Valiant does sail better than the 365- which I have sailed/chartered. I have not been on a leeshore in a blow however. This summer I hope to get it out in some larger swells, and then I can talk about its keel shape and ability to go upwind in said conditions.
Jack- you state that lee helm is the cause. With the Bene, the problem was the wind would be so much stronger at the top of the swell than at the bottom. Do you have a solution for that?
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