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Old 10-08-2012, 13:59   #1
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How Much Wind is Too Much Wind ?

I am waiting to go out this weekend on a sunday. The weather report says 25kmh winds west. My boat is a small dinghy 16 foot, my skill level is not the greatest. I usually go out when the weather report states 10kmh. Any ideas if 25k winds would be too much for a boat like mine ?
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Old 10-08-2012, 14:13   #2
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

25 km/hr is about 14 knots, not really too stiff for a 16' dinghy. Since you say your skills aren't fully developed, the key issue for you may be whether it's expected to be gusty or not. A steady 15 knot breeze makes for a fun sail in a small boat. If it's gusty, you'll likely be spending a lot of effort easing and then hardening up the main as the gusts hit and go by, which could be a bit challenging for you as far as the timing goes.

But look at it this way--if you're really committed to learning to sail, you'll have to deal with progressively higher wind levels than the 10 km/hr you're used to. So why not give it a go?
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Old 10-08-2012, 14:20   #3
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

It really depends on you. When I was young, sailing a Hobie cat, and thought that capsizing the boat was just part of the fun, I would go out in almost anything short of a full gale. Now that I usually go out with my wife (who really does not like getting wet!), I rarely take our 15' dinghy out in anything over about 10-12 knots, and certainly not if it is expected to be gusty.
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Old 10-08-2012, 14:24   #4
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

Most likely will go out there anyway, will probably only put up the main. Ive ran into gusts once before and they are a definitely a buzzkill.

Im a bit uneasy about going out there this time as i wont have anybody with me for ballast.
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Old 10-08-2012, 14:33   #5
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

Sailing is often a self thought sport. The key here is to gradually increase experience. The forces associated with wind speed rise roughly to the square of the velocity. A small increase is a large change in the forces involved. 25kmHr is only a little under 13 knots which most 16 foot boats could cope with, but if you have normally been out in 10 kph it represents a large change in wind force (perhaps 6-7 times). That is a big jump in one step and I would gain some experience in intermediate wind strengths first.

Always consider the fetch as well. Waves are more of a challenge.
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Old 10-08-2012, 14:35   #6
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

generally it's too much wind (for you) when you start asking the question
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Old 10-08-2012, 16:54   #7
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

IMO, a lot depends on the characteristics of the particular dinghy. If it is one that is reasonably easy to right after a capsize, then the downside of "too much wind" is not so bad, and in fact, learning to self-rescue is an important factor in becoming a competent dinghy sailor.

If it isn't so easy, then avoiding conditions where capsize is likely becomes important.

So, a suggestion: in benign conditions, DELIBERATELY capsize your boat and learn how to right it. Once you master this feat, fear of stronger winds will be reduced and your sailing enjoyment will be enhanced.

Cheers,

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Old 10-08-2012, 17:27   #8
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

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Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
generally it's too much wind (for you) when you start asking the question
+1. Depends more on your experience than the boat.

If you are uncertain of your skills then take along someone more experienced.

At the very least, establish a shore side check-in so you can contact someone to let them know if you do get in over your head. (Always do this by the way -- I do even when just taking students out for an afternoon of training on familiar waters).
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Old 10-08-2012, 18:10   #9
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

I think this is hitting the nail on the head. I am not sure how i would go about righting the boat if i capsize. Plus i take gear in it that id be somewhat not happy to lose. Also im affraid of damaging the boat ... as i am fond of it and do not have space / time to fix it if something ever happens.

I sail in a enclosed area and the waves do not get that big. My biggest concern is if the boat flips then what.

Thats a little video of us out in what i would call perfect weather.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
IMO, a lot depends on the characteristics of the particular dinghy. If it is one that is reasonably easy to right after a capsize, then the downside of "too much wind" is not so bad, and in fact, learning to self-rescue is an important factor in becoming a competent dinghy sailor.

If it isn't so easy, then avoiding conditions where capsize is likely becomes important.

So, a suggestion: in benign conditions, DELIBERATELY capsize your boat and learn how to right it. Once you master this feat, fear of stronger winds will be reduced and your sailing enjoyment will be enhanced.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 10-08-2012, 18:26   #10
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
IMO, a lot depends on the characteristics of the particular dinghy. If it is one that is reasonably easy to right after a capsize, then the downside of "too much wind" is not so bad, and in fact, learning to self-rescue is an important factor in becoming a competent dinghy sailor.

If it isn't so easy, then avoiding conditions where capsize is likely becomes important.

So, a suggestion: in benign conditions, DELIBERATELY capsize your boat and learn how to right it. Once you master this feat, fear of stronger winds will be reduced and your sailing enjoyment will be enhanced.

Cheers,

Jim
A very, very wise post (he must be quite old). When you feel comfortable swimming around and righting a dinghy windy conditions become much more fun (and safe).

If you have a high performance 2 man racing dinghy 25kilometre winds could be a handful. If the boat is more of a fun boat, in good shape, and self-righting then I don't believe 25k winds will be a problem with just the main up. In fact, you might have a real blast out there. The difference between the amount of sail up on a boat and it's weight (called the SA/D ratio or sail area /displacement ratio) can vary an enormous amount, hence the questions on the type of dinghy. On your typical dinghy sailing on a main in 25k winds is fine, on a 49er under full sail it's a bit more of a handful.

As always, keep your eye on the conditions out there.
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Old 10-08-2012, 18:36   #11
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

That looks suspiciously like Burlington Bay/Hamilton Harbour, one of my old sailing grounds. I thus might add some very good advice for you to remember. If you happen to read in the local newspaper that citizens have been complaining about women rollerblading in thong bikinis at Bayfront Park do not, I repeat do not, sail close to the water front retaining wall of the park to perform your own inspection of the propriety of said rollerblader's clothing. There are several enormous submerged boulders in that area which are, quite regrettably, unmarked. Unmarked that is, except for the blue Interlux VC17 marks on a couple of the boulders left by an anonymous (though very talented) yachtsman.
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Old 10-08-2012, 19:47   #12
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

Well. Take 2 on this reply - Chrome ate my first one :-(

I am with Hud on this. Go out and enjoy the higher wind. I did not see from the video if the main has a reef point. I thought I saw the flash of a cringle at the luff. If so just reef the main.

If you don't reef the main sailing without the jib is an option but you may get weather helm. The boat will want to point upwind all the time. This is not great but actually heading up is the right move when gusts overpower the boat anyway.

15 knots should be an easy sail. The most difficult point of sail will be downwind because you can't really release the sheet and depower. In this case sail at angles - say 45 off the wind - then if the boat feels overpowered head up furhter while sheeting out to stay in control.

If you have to sail dead downwind (DDW) to get back into harbor or whatever it would help to have an aux engine and the ability to drop the main.

For those suggesting he purposefully capsize, you may not understand this boat. It is not really a "dinghy" It is a centerboarder. I googled some images to give you an idea what he is driving.

Anyway don't be scairt and have some fun.
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Old 10-08-2012, 20:09   #13
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

Ex-C...

Hmmm! That isn't what I generally consider to be a sailing dinghy, and I agree that self-rescue might be a handful.

On the other hand, it looks like a boat that should not have any trouble handling 25 KPH winds. That is pretty light duty after all.

Hope that he has a good time...

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 10-08-2012, 20:53   #14
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

haha, that is exactly where that is. That day we headed out to lasalle park and took a dip ... not a very good idea the swim. Sounds like good advice otherwise Maybe ill see you out there


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brob2 View Post
That looks suspiciously like Burlington Bay/Hamilton Harbour, one of my old sailing grounds. I thus might add some very good advice for you to remember. If you happen to read in the local newspaper that citizens have been complaining about women rollerblading in thong bikinis at Bayfront Park do not, I repeat do not, sail close to the water front retaining wall of the park to perform your own inspection of the propriety of said rollerblader's clothing. There are several enormous submerged boulders in that area which are, quite regrettably, unmarked. Unmarked that is, except for the blue Interlux VC17 marks on a couple of the boulders left by an anonymous (though very talented) yachtsman.
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Old 10-08-2012, 21:38   #15
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Re: How much wind is too much wind ?

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post

For those suggesting he purposefully capsize, you may not understand this boat. It is not really a "dinghy"
Um, no, it's because we posted before the video came up and we thus were commenting based on the 'dinghy' description. Hence the self-righting/ easy to right qualifiers.



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haha, that is exactly where that is. That day we headed out to lasalle park and took a dip ... not a very good idea the swim. Sounds like good advice otherwise Maybe ill see you out there
Someday, I will be back. Sailed out of Burlington and Hamilton for many years and miss it. You could go for a quick dip after a day sail and enjoy it; here in Halifax you try that and you can't climb back aboard 'cause everything's so numb....
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