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Old 09-04-2012, 17:22   #16
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

OK I'll try and explain myself better and get to the essence of it all, if i normally tack through 90 degrees on the compass in everyday conditions, Should i still not be tacking through 90 degrees on the compass in rougher conditions, just making more leaway? sorry leeway I don't understand why i was tacking over 110 degrees on the compass.

I know i was oversheeted, just being lazy as i was only a few miles from my destination.
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Old 09-04-2012, 17:27   #17
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Lee and Loo right ??? LOL
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Old 09-04-2012, 17:32   #18
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensuf View Post
OK I'll try and explain myself better and get to the essence of it all, if i normally tack through 90 degrees on the compass in everyday conditions, Should i still not be tacking through 90 degrees on the compass in rougher conditions, just making more leaway? sorry leeway I don't understand why i was tacking over 110 degrees on the compass.
Even if you eliminate leeway as a factor (by using compass bearings), you're still not going to point as high when you're over-canvassed.

All sails are built with an ideal wind range in mind. This is based on the weight of the fabric as well as the flatness or fullness of the sail. If a sail that is built to excel in winds of 18 knots apparent suddenly finds itself in 25 knots, it will distort. This happens even in laminate sails that resist stretching.

There are ways to help a sail adapt to light or excess pressure. For example, you may use such things as a cunningham or a flattener. However, once the sail distort from its ideal shape, it will not point as high when going to weather. Once the draft is wrong, the sail loses pointing ability.

If you have a dacron sail, you can move the draft forward with greater leech tension. Ideally, this comes from a combination of halyard and cunningham tension. Laminated sails are less easy to reshape using halyard tension since the leech won't stretch under pressure. One way to preserve shape in higher winds with full-battened mains is by changing batten pressure, especially if you can switch to a heavy-weather set of battens.
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Old 09-04-2012, 17:55   #19
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albro359 View Post
It's LEEWAY not LEAWAY !.... because you are heading to LEEWARD
I kinda like LEA'S WAY.........
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Old 09-04-2012, 18:02   #20
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

If reefing the sails pops into your mind...that's the time to do it...it will just get harder to do as the wind and sea get up. Its much easier to take out a reef when its light than put one in when its really blowing.
Over canvassed puts higher loads on everything, the boat sails inefficiently, and you will have increased leeway.
Sound seamanship means your boat should be canvassed to suit the conditions.
There is no word leaway...lea and lee are completely different things...leeway is not amercaniZed...lee actually comes from the french
If you were sailing in the lea, you'd be sailing over the grass!
Put a reef in !
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Old 09-04-2012, 18:37   #21
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

6-10 foot "square" waves are going to slow you down while with the same wind (you described) on smoother water you'll point higher because Less power is needed against smaller or more spread out waves

Plus, consider the effect of the current building the chop that may not be in line with the wind! this can make it even harder. One tack will definitely feel in troughs despite a good boatspeed...the other will feel lumpy and slow and make you "pay off" to make any boatspeed and progress.
Find comfort in that nobody (here)seems to feel this is so strange and that they offer solutions that they have no doubt used....
My scenario, however, has no solution except patience, or going a different route....
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Old 09-04-2012, 18:59   #22
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Countless options, like e.g.:
- dirty hull or caught something round an appendage (nets, lines, seaweed),
- bad trim (to much or to little canvas),
- current against you (e.g. can be a wind induced current),
- warped compass,
- etc..

b.
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Old 09-04-2012, 19:26   #23
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensuf View Post
OK I'll try and explain myself better and get to the essence of it all, if i normally tack through 90 degrees on the compass in everyday conditions, Should i still not be tacking through 90 degrees on the compass in rougher conditions, just making more leaway? sorry leeway I don't understand why i was tacking over 110 degrees on the compass.

I know i was oversheeted, just being lazy as i was only a few miles from my destination.

No, Steven.

Even properly reefed, you'll still have more leeway. But to tack well in higher winds, you have to have your canvas right. What others have said about sail shape is accurate. They're also talking about the center of effort on the sail moving to a less effective position. So you have forces that have INCREASED *and* are FIGHTING YOU.

It's simple. When your boat starts to act over-powered, reef that main. If you can't swap out your headsail for a smaller sail, pull it in some. If you reduced your mainsaila about 50% personally that's what I'd try on the headsail.

You have to keep in mind that there are a few roller furlers that won't allow allow you to reduce the size of the headsail. My Hood 810 is a great example of that. The sail will re-deploy itself full size.

I'm going to try adding a clip on line to the clew which I would fasten to the bow pulpit to provide outward force on the sail so it can't do that. Don't know if it would work, and I would have to have a skilled, coordinated crew with me. Right now if I were seriously overpowered, I would have to bring the headsail in completely.

But the answer to your problem is to reef. It will reduce the leeway and allow you to tack. But with an ideally balanced boat, in strong enough winds you won't be able to point up as much. It's a sailboat. It does what it does.

I "get" the lazy thing, but it's not a good idea in tough situations. That's why I say -- again -- put a really good reefing system on your boat. Then, with a little practice, you'll be able to EASILy reef that main in 20 seconds or less. Really. then Reefing becomes a no-brainer -- and if you race, you'll start winning more races.
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Old 09-04-2012, 19:31   #24
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albro359 View Post
If reefing the sails pops into your mind...that's the time to do it...it will just get harder to do as the wind and sea get up. Its much easier to take out a reef when its light than put one in when its really blowing.
Over canvassed puts higher loads on everything, the boat sails inefficiently, and you will have increased leeway.
Sound seamanship means your boat should be canvassed to suit the conditions.
There is no word leaway...lea and lee are completely different things...leeway is not amercaniZed...lee actually comes from the french
If you were sailing in the lea, you'd be sailing over the grass!
Put a reef in !

Not only that, but the higher the wind gets, the more dangerous it becomes to be overpowered ...

I learned all this the H-A-R-D way, caught in winds too strong for my first little boat with a completely inadequate reefing system and a strong following sea. Every time we got down in the trough she tried to broach. it was scary. The strain it put on everything was scary; the tiller was getting sloppy and loose. We were beginners and didn't know if it was the tiller or the rudder.

We tried to lower the main and it got caught half up and half down, and we were near a a very shallow shore. I called Sea Tow and turned her into the waves, which freaked out my sailing companion, who thought we would be safer closer to shore. I knew better -- especially THAT shore. I had studied the chart; she had not.

My headsail ended up with a big seam rip in it, and it was the leech line that had caught on a stanchion, keeping it from dropping completely. I had to cut the leech line to free it.

It was a very valuable lesson. When things get bad, they can still get worse.
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Old 09-04-2012, 19:36   #25
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Not only that, but the higher the wind gets, the more dangerous it becomes to be overpowered ...

I learned all this the H-A-R-D way, caught in winds too strong for my first little boat with a completely inadequate reefing system and a strong following sea. Every time we got down in the trough she tried to broach. it was scary. The strain it put on everything was scary; the tiller was getting sloppy and loose. We were beginners and didn't know if it was the tiller or the rudder.

We tried to lower the main and it got caught half up and half down, and we were near a a very shallow shore. I called Sea Tow and turned her into the waves, which freaked out my sailing companion, who thought we would be safer closer to shore. I knew better -- especially THAT shore. I had studied the chart; she had not.

My headsail ended up with a big seam rip in it, and it was the leech line that had caught on a stanchion, keeping it from dropping completely. I had to cut the leech line to free it.

It was a very valuable lesson. When things get bad, they can still get worse.

Excuse me. It wasn't the main that got caught -- it was the genny.
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Old 09-04-2012, 23:36   #26
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

You don't actually point as high when over-canvassed, due to sail stretch, sheet stretch, heeling more, etc.

The most extreme example of this that I have seen went something like:

I was out sailing my Montgomery 17 one blustery & lumpy day. I was a little under canvassed with the small jib and full main. (I would have been faster with middle jib and reefed main, however I was single-handing and taking it easy). My course was probably full-and-by (a little less than close-hauled). Shortly I noticed that I was being overtaken by a larger boat, that was extremely over-canvassed: 150 genoa and full main. The main appeared to be fully luffing (when it got closer). 3 guys trying (and failing) to keep it flat-ish... They pointed up to pass me to windward, and started to fall back. Fell off a bit and started to out-foot me. Tried each maneuver several times before finally passing me to leeward. When they got closer, it became obvious why they couldn't point -- they were heeled over so far that the keel root was out of the water more than it was in, and at least once the whole keel was visible...

I later learned it was a Moore 24, as it later passed me like I was standing still in the marina entrance channel... (when the wind was lighter -- the wind usually dropped like it was switched off around sunset...)
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Old 10-04-2012, 00:45   #27
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Bash and others have pretty much nailed the reasons.

Were you also experiencing a dramatic change in weather helm?

If so, loose Mast tensioning in stronger winds will also affect performance and leeway
Site your masts in light winds and strong winds to see the changes

This demonstrated the problems and solutions.

johnellsworth.com: Balance your helm for speed
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Old 10-04-2012, 00:52   #28
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

"The gust hits, the boat heels, the weather helm kicks in and she rounds up into the wind. You shrug your shoulders and put that reef in. Such is the lot of many modern boat owners. Early reefing is the price you pay for beamy sterns and the accommodation they provide"

Just get that reef in early enough and she should point better...

Answering your OP, you say that even though you have to tack through 110 degrees she will point at around 45 degrees on either tack. This will happen once she gains way, the sail efficiency begins to max out, and you cut better through the wave action.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:33   #29
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensuf View Post
OK I'll try and explain myself better and get to the essence of it all, if i normally tack through 90 degrees on the compass in everyday conditions, Should i still not be tacking through 90 degrees on the compass in rougher conditions, just making more leaway? sorry leeway I don't understand why i was tacking over 110 degrees on the compass.

I know i was oversheeted, just being lazy as i was only a few miles from my destination.
No, because leeway is not your only problem. You lose pointing ability as the wind increases above the optimal speed for your sails and rig. And you lose either way -- if you don't reef, you lose pointing ability because of heeling too much and being overcanvassed; if you reef, then you lose pointing ability because reefed sails are less efficient to windward.

Of course, you should reef -- you will lose less that way, but with the combination of less sail effiency and greater leeway, you quickly lose the ability to make miles to windward when the conditions get rough.

Tacking through 110 degrees on the compass in those conditions sounds actually very good performance for a cruising boat. Unless you have giant leeway, you should still be actually making a little progress dead upwind, which is good.

You say you were oversheeted -- weren't you getting a lot of weather helm? That will kill your progress upwind, because the rudder starts to act as a brake, and leeway will go up massively. It's important to trim out weather helm when going to windward in tougher conditions. You really never want to be oversheeted in such conditions. On my boat, in such conditions, the traveller goes down all the way, the outhaul is put on tight as a drum, mainsheet is loosened a bit, and maybe a touch of vang is applied. All that keeps the sail flat and draft forward to keep it drawing as long as possible, as the wind rises.

My boat's optimum wind speed is about 20. Above that wind speed, I have to take in some jib, which costs me a good 10 degrees of tacking angle right off the bat, and more and more as the wind rises. What is frustrating is that if the wind is, say 18, where I can otherwise sail ideally without any reefs, but gusting to 22 - 24, I still have to take in some jib; otherwise I lose all the ground in the gusts.

Above 30 knots of wind, I have to take in the jib altogether and sail with staysail and main alone. Like that, it is almost useless to try to tack towards a destination directly upwind (it might be better if I had better sail controls on the staysail -- it's self-tacking and impossible to trim for sailing hard on the wind). In such conditions, on my boat, it is time to divert to a different destination.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:12   #30
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Sailing closehauled is a delicate balancing act. To get to the purest essence of the dilemma, I think it helps to group the issues into bite-sized chunks, and I can see that you (OP) are trying to do exactly that.

You're right to try to head off the people who keep trying to introduce leeway, not because they're wrong, and not because it's unimportant, but because they're not answering the question you're actually asking.

I'm assuming when you say 'tacking through 110 deg' that this is not literally true, and that you're checking the compass headings when the boat has settled down to a steady state on each tack. If so, that eliminates the valid point raised by Pillum.

If not, you'll still find your 'steady state' tacking angle will increase as the wind increases above a certain optimum, which varies from boat to boat (and between seastates).


To answer your question as I understand it, it might be helpful to undertake a thought experiment which eliminates as many as possible of the distracting elements.

Imagine an ice yacht on dead smooth ice, pointing as high as it can. If you pointed any higher, it would stop.

Now roughen up the ice, and add a bit of snow for good measure.
The closest angle to the wind, when it's pointing as high as it can before it stops, will now be broader.

This in spite of the wind and the sail being exactly unchanged.

The reason is that, when you're closehauled, the force on the sail contains a large sideways component and a small forwards component. The highest you can point is when that forwards component exactly balances the resistance to forward motion.

Now in this simplified case, the sliding resistance of the runner blades is the only thing we've changed. Since the drive force hasn't increased, we have to bear away to increase it, so it will match the increased resistance.

So that's one reason you can't get the bow as close to the wind when the waves are bigger, even if everything else is unchanged. It's worse with a monohull, where heeling causes extra water drag.

A similar argument can be used for wind strength increasing above an optimum level, while keeping everything else the same. There will be an increase in drag which outweighs any increase in drive. Even if you reef, the unused top mast section will be providing drag but no drive. And, once again, with a monohull, increased heel makes the sail less efficient, as air starts to flow more up the sail instead of across it.

(For simplicity I've left out other elements like increased sideload on the keel, but essentially they're all bad news for increasing wind strength)

So, once again, you have to drop the bow down, further away from the wind, to restore the delicate balance between drive and drag.

Good advice above on what to change, to maximise drive and minimise drag.
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