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Old 26-06-2007, 07:36   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainJeff
rtbates gives good advice, but is a bit off regarding the terms.

When sailing DDW (dead downwind) one cannot fall off the wind any farther, because there is no deeper point of sail to "fall off" to.

What rtbates is actually proposing is to avoid a DDW point of sail by steering the boat higher into the wind, so as to have both sails drawing on the same side. This maneuver would be to Bear Up, Come up, Go Up, Harden up, or Head Up. The result of hardening (the sheets) up would be to put the dingy on a deep run so as to adopt a strategy of so-called downwind tacking (an imprecise term, but it describes the zig-zag downwind course that results).

Practicing downwind tacking (gybing from a starboard deep run to a port deep run, and vice-versa) is a worthwhile use of your time, but should be practiced, like most maneuvers, in lighter conditions until skills and timing are perfected. When gybing:
  1. harden up the mainsheet to center the boom, while maintaining a deep run
  2. pull the tiller to weather until the mainsail fills from the opposite side (shift your bodyweight at this moment to the new windward side to retain balance)
  3. ease the mainsheet to let the boom out quickly so as to avoid a broach, then
  4. trim the new working jibsheet and adjust your course.
This prevents the uncontrolled swinging of the boom from one side to the other in a fresh breeze, i.e., a crash gybe, and the sudden shift in balance that is hard to keep up with, and which undoubtedly caused your dunking .


Until those skills are perfected, when caught in strong winds, performing the so-called chicken gybe will leave the boat in your control and prevent damage to the boat. The chicken gybe is performed by:
  1. quickly heading up from a starboard run through a close reach, hardening the mainsheet energetically to keep the boat driven
  2. continuing the turn by steering the bow across the wind (tacking), and
  3. easing off on the mainsheet/trimming the new working jibsheet to adopt the new point of sail, a port run, or vice-versa
There is nothing "chicken" about staying in control of your boat; rather, it is the sign of a prudent skipper.

Your anecdote brings back my salad days on the bay teaching myself in my own 14' dinghy. You're going about it the right way, from all I can tell.

SkiprJohn is right: the farther off the wind your point of sail is, the less centerboard you need in the water. Just don't forget to lower it again when coming up, or you'll be side-sliding across the bay with no board to prevent leeway (been there, done that).

Note: when the breeze freshens, there is a real danger of a broach, an uncontrolled acceleration/pointing up due to over-pressure on the mainsail. In extreme cases, it can spin the boat around like a top before dumping you over. On broad reach and deeper courses in any kind of breeze, always have the mainsheet in hand and ready to release in a blink, or you could find yourself capsized and/or inadvertendly hitting someone/something.

Fair Winds,
Jeff
Thanks for the information, that's all good information. I will certainly continue to practice.

So in other words a chicken gybe means you will head up and go all the way through the wind with the bow (a tack) and then bear off until you are heading downwind but on the opposite tack as opposed to taking the shorter but more dangerous route of just jibing and taking the stern through the wind? For example, if you are on a broad reach, if you gybe your turn would be approximately 90 degrees (broad reach to broad reach) but a chicken gybe your turn would be 270* (broad reach to broad reach but goign all the way up and tacking and then bearing off). Just want to make sure I'm clear!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn
Sailing any further off would be sailing "by the lee" which is a very dangerous point of sail unless you are planning a jibe and are already sheeting in. If you have your sail way out and a preventer attached to the boom you can get away with sailing a bit "by the lee" but it can be a pretty dangerous practice ending in bent booms and strained rigging.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
Haven't tried this yet but have read about it! In practice does anyone actually utilize sailing by the lee despite the risks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainJeff
Um, John, he's in a dinghy. Doubt a preventer is standard equipment. :O
Correct, no preventer available!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoTies
It's not actually a formula, but a biological change that indicates imminent capsize but it can only be learned with experience.
As soon as a certain muscle in the body clamps shut it's time to ease sheets or head up.
LOL, I think I'm developing this muscle. With every capsize it grows stronger ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif
Only my Autopilot can sail DDW accurately. I practice and am getting better but Otto just laughs...

There is nothing prettier though than getting goose winged and running downwind at 5 kts. We don't do it much for a simpler reason. When running downwind wind the relative wind on the deck is practically zero. The boat heats up, the passengers get hot, they think their ice is melting faster. A broad reach and occasional jibe makes for a happier and cooler boat.

Dinghy sailing OTOH is a blast. Josh (9 y/o) loves two things - capsizing and man over board. Once he gets hot he will "accidentally" fall out of the boat yelling, "man over board." After getting underway he will immediately ask, "Can we do a capsize now dad?"

Capsizing any dinghy up to 13 feet is a blast and easy to right. Doing it with my son helps him learn the skills. In fact day one or two of any decent dinghy course spends at least 2 hours on capsize drills. Although Merlins boat doesn't look to be self bailing and I wouldn't drill in that boat. Laser Picos are good for that.

Since he finished his Optimist course I am back in the Laser Pico on Saturday mornings while he takes an Optimist. We play follow the leader. He's had a hard time figuring out beating upwind and tends to sail backwards a lot - LOL
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Old 26-06-2007, 12:03   #17
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Yes - A Chicken Jibe is a LONG way around Tack - a prudent practice at times.

Yes - In lighter winds, I'll sail by the lee, wing and wing. But you can believe that I have the main sheet in hand (actually all six main sheet segments - between the two triple blocks) along with one hand on the helm, one eye on the main, and one eye ahead. It is a challange, but good speed without raising a spinnaker.

In winds above 10 knots APPARENT, I'll fall off and take a broad reach.
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Old 26-06-2007, 13:22   #18
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Aloha Merlin,
I was attempting to explain sailing "by the lee." It really shouldn't be done unless you are into sailing on the edge of capsize. It is a dangerous position to be in and someone earlier said falling off from DDW. It is done in racing sometimes to keep a spinnaker full. I know you aren't using a spinnaker and I know that you don't have a preventer on a dinghy. I'm just assuming that you might be moving up to bigger boats one day.
You have a lot of help from others here so good luck and happy sailing!!
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 26-06-2007, 13:31   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn
I'm just assuming that you might be moving up to bigger boats one day.
MOST definitely. I am hooked
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn
You have a lot of help from others here so good luck and happy sailing!!
Sure do, thanks to everyone
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