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Old 25-08-2008, 16:36   #1
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Jackson Long has started sailing...

Woot!

The boat was finally ready to leave the slip again as of Friday and I spent Saturday and Sunday sailing!

Now for those of you not following along too closely- this is my first time sailing without the benefit of somebody who knows what they are doing.

I had a guy with me who had never been on a boat before (but wants to do the Ha Ha with me if the sailing doesn't kill him) but otherwise no help. I'd been sailing on my boat with the previous owner twice- maybe a total of 4 hours and then sailing as crew once with a guy for about 2 hours. But pretty much all I had done was steer and pull lines. I had no exposure to knowing when to tack or how to manage it, no exposure to raising or lowering sails, or setting up the sheets...

Anyway, I hanked on the jib (which I think is like a 150% or something- it is huge), attached the halyard, ran the sheets back (over the life lines, through a pulley, and under the lifelines to a winch), uncovered the main, untied the straps on the main, and attached the (is it also a halyard?) thing to the main that would let me raise it all before we motored out of the slip.

As we motored out of the channel there is an area where it widens out and there were a lot of boats messing around there. My plan had been to go all the way out out of the channel into the bay so we would have plenty of room. But seeing all these boats made me think this was a good area to learn. I think I was right I think!

I left the motor running and idling in neutral for a bit just in case we got in trouble. Then we started with just the main. I raised it then let out enough line such that it could swing out about 30 degrees. With this we were able to sail in a couple of circles and it felt okay so I raised the jib.

This did not increase the complexity NEARLY as much as I expected and we tacked and jibbed around for a while and it felt pretty good. On thing I was doing wrong (but didn't know until that night) was that I wasn't adjusting the main so the jib and the main were often out of sync.

Anyway, after a while we felt pretty comfy and decided to try and tack our way up the creek to the bay. I found this pretty tough because I think the wind was like... I dunno... 45' off from where I wanted to go but the channel is fairly thin. So when heading to starboard we would make some progress- fairly close hauled I think- but then when turning to port we would be losing some ground. We made it out of the creek but there is a section of channel, shortly before you reach water open enough to sail around in, where it gets really narrow. Between the narrowness of the channel, the increased wind from leaving the protection of the creek, and the angle being as wrong as I think it can be- we stopped making enough progress for it to matter. We did about 5 or 6 tacks and made no progress. So we decided to run it home.

This was pretty fun. I am not really interested in racing (mostly because I'd rather cruise and I think racers break a lot of stuff) but we made our u-turn right as a couple of boats were coming in off the bay. They might not have been racing us- but it looked like it- and we had a lot of fun with it. We held them off and considered ourselves victors.

Before we went back into the marina we anchored too- also a first- and that went smoothly too.

On Sunday we went again but this time motor sailed until we made it completely out of the channel. We had more wind and more room to run. It was radical. We got up over 9 knots at one point, lots of tilting to the side, some splashing through waves, and, of course, the obligatory knocking of everything from any shelf or flat surface onto the floor.

In separate posts I will address my various technical questions.

Thanks,
J
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Old 25-08-2008, 16:47   #2
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sticky winches and sheet knots

While tacking I found that the jib would often not come all the way across. Sometimes the knots holding the sheet to the sail would get caught on standing rigging. A couple of tugs would normally knock it loose but this is something I did not experience sailing with people who know what they are doing (twice in this boat with this sail and these knots) so I felt like I was doing something wrong... Does this always happen and I/we were just not pulling the sheets aggressively enough?

I was thinking of taping around the knots so it would be a smooth teardrop shape rather than knot shaped.

Sometimes though it seemed like there was just excess drag on the sheets- like maybe they were not sliding over the winches fast enough. Maybe the wind was just too light? Do people normally flip all the coils off the winch during the tack? I thought as long as the rope was off the cleat it would be okay...

Thanks,
J
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Old 25-08-2008, 17:54   #3
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Jack - A large genoa like you have will overlap the shrouds when close hauled. Some people will use PVC pipe split and wrapped around the shrouds to facilitate the genny tacking. Same with the inner forestay if you have one. Take a look at other boats in your marina. It also may help to wait until the sail "breaks" before loosing the sheet.

You periodically have to slide the pvc pipe up and inspect the shroud turnbuckles.

Taping the knots, wouldn't look cool and the tape would soon fray IMO. What you can do is measure both genny sheets and use one continuous sheet. You just fold the sheet in half, stick the loop through the clew and run the lazy ends through the loop. This makes a much smaller profile than two bowlines although a bit less flexible and on big boats it is a hugely long piece of rope.

Loosing the sheet - Yes in general you should release all the sheet from the winch at the point the sail luffs while tacking. The only case you might want to go a bit slower is when gybing in heavy air. In this case leaving the sheet on the winch gives more control. As soon as the sail gybes across and you are loaded on the new winch release the old. Don't delay this part and keep fingers clear. The sail will back wind and it could have very strong loads. You don't want the genny sheet stuck on the old winch backwinded.
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Old 26-08-2008, 01:01   #4
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I meant to have these in separate threads for a reason... Did I space and post them in one or did an admin move me?
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Old 26-08-2008, 01:13   #5
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Jack - They were in one thread. You must have "replied" to yourself.

When you are looking at the list of all the topics is when the "New Thread" button is available.
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Old 26-08-2008, 07:55   #6
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Jack,

S.F Bay can be a wicked place on a summer day. The wind is gentle until around 11am, and then she picks up quickly. YOU WILL NOT want to be caught out with a 150 jib.

I don't know what marina you are sailing out of, but do be careful, and I do suggest lessons, and a much smaller jib. Go to Pinapple Sails, and get as nice used sail. Good people, and fair on prices. LEARN TO REEF, and life on the boat will become sweet.

A rail down on your boat is WAY over powered. That's how POOP happens.....BEST WISHES in your learning curve.
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Old 26-08-2008, 13:07   #7
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Thank you Ex. I hate when I am dumb but I would always prefer to know.

"Poop Happens"... That should be a bumper sticker.

I would love to take lessons but I am not sure if the logistics are going work out. We will see.

The rail business wasn't like "whoa we are being tipped over" it was more like "a little more, okay, a little more, okay how fast now? okay a little more..." Is it really overpowered? I see people doing it all the time and have read about cruisers sustaining like that for long periods too?

I do have some smaller sails. I tried to get advice in another thread but I used some bad measurements in describing them. I need to pull them all back out, remeasure, and post again. Hopefully this week...

Thank you Image. I always appreciate the advice. Also, put up more pictures of your wife!
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Old 26-08-2008, 13:14   #8
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Jack,

I had a Columbia 30 1972, and when the rail was down in the water she was slipping sideways, and going slower. You want to reduce sail right at 20 degrees. I always started with the headsail.

On a typical summer day I would sail with an 80% jib, and a full main. When it reached 30knts I would reef the main. White knuckle sailing is fun for only so long, and it wears the boat quick. Yeah, lots of people are rail down, but look at how little, or how much freeboard they have. Lot's of people run red lights too, but that doesn't make it right.

You actually sail faster upright. Take notice of the large racers. All the crew is on the rail trying to make it stand upright. Do some reading if you can't take lessons. One last thought about rail down. If someone goes over you have 15 minutes to rescue them, or they are dead. Try throwing your ring over someday, and retrieving it. It can be life, or death on the bay
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Old 26-08-2008, 13:24   #9
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Once I have like... steering figured out I will do a lot of "drop stuff off the side and recovery it" type games. I'd like to avoid loading the bay up with my floaties right now as it would pretty much just be littering.

I guess your point is made on the rail. I thought they were sitting on the side so they could take even more power without the rail dipping further... I figured it was like hanging off the side of a sport-bike.

I have not done enough reading on specific sailing stuff yet. Trying to manage all of the electrical, mechanical, structural, navigation, etc... books and since I knew I had a few weeks before I'd be sailing I didn't want to dilute myself further. I need to get my butt in gear.
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Old 26-08-2008, 17:26   #10
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Jack - I think you are doing well. Just be careful. Imagine speaks wisely.

The keel and the sails work opposite each other and the boat speed is limited by waterline length. Two things happen on most boats when you heel. The water line length increases slightly - so you theoretically can go a bit faster. The opposite efect is the boat starts to slip sideways.

Imagine a butter knife held on its edge. Hard to drag across the bread. Lean the knife over and the butter spreads smoothly.

Once you reach hull speed any further tipping of the boat simply makes it slide sideways. This is not a problem too much unless you are actually trying to get somewhere. Many boats will sail best at about a 15 degree angle. Hull shape is a big influence on that.

Weight on the boat is a factor too. If you have lot's of large guys to sit on the rail the boat will heel less for a given wind. However rig stresses are going up. At times you won't make hull speed because you are light and the boat is tipping too much.

On our cruiser, when light, we start shorting sail at about 15 kts. When we have a full crew we wait a bit longer. With a new crew we might short sail anyway at 15 knots because we don't want to scare new people.

MOB drills are crucial. But learning how to short sail quickly is even more crucial at this point. In your early practices try sailing on main alone and then jib alone. Think about which gives you more control.

If someone goes overboard at this point I would drop both sails and get the engine going immediately.
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