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Old 09-04-2012, 14:37   #1
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Pointing ability in poor weather?

Im confused.. I can normally get the boat to do less than 90 degrees between tacks, it normally points quite well.

I was out the other day, it was a bit choppy, short 6-10ft close to the nose waves and 22-28 knot head winds, no matter what i did. i could not get less than 110 degrees between the tacks.

it was strange as the boat appeared to be pointing as close to the wind as normal, it was almost as if the wind changed direction between each tack..

can anyone explain what i was doing wrong, i was a bit over canvased,had it all up when i really should have had a reef in.
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Old 09-04-2012, 14:56   #2
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

You will not point as high when over-canvassed.

The biggest part of the problem, as far as pointing ability is concerned, is that your sails can no longer maintain their ideal shape for pointing. The draft moves aft, and as this happens the sails are not as efficient when close-hauled. This is compounded by increased leeway as the boat heels more.

Snap a picture of your mainsail shape in ideal conditions as compared with the conditions that you had yesterday, and you'll be shocked at how different the sail's shape is, especially in terms of its draft. That's where you'll be losing the greater part of pointing ability.
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Old 09-04-2012, 15:00   #3
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Don't know for sure,but if you have an overlapping headsail, that could cause your problem. Use a smaller headsail or role up the roler furling a bit and see if that works. A reefed main will reduce weather helm and put your keel deeper in the water. That should help too.
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Old 09-04-2012, 15:47   #4
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

If you had, as you said, a bit too much sail up, chances are that you were slipping sideways throgh the water a bit, so even if you were pointing high, this leeway would effect your true course angle.

We saw a perfect example of this during a race on saturday. We were racing a boat of almost identical size and performance to ours, but beating to windward in 25-28 knots true wind speed, we chose to fly our #4 (heavy weather jib) and put 1 reef in the main, whereas they stuck with a full main and a #3 working jib. Although they had almost identical boat speed to us, and were "pointing" the same, they gradually separated to leeward, as they slipped sideways through the water.
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Old 09-04-2012, 15:56   #5
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

The force of the water on the hull from the waves that size deters your course with each slap. That actually sounds pretty good for a cruiser. Are you going by your compass or GPS? A boat will wallow with too much sail up, but that is not saying that rail down is too much sail up!
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Old 09-04-2012, 15:58   #6
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

I do have an overlaping genoa, i did eventually reef it slightly and I let the main out a bit on the traveller to reduce weather helm, i just dont get what i was seeing, after completing a tack i was still pinching 30-40 degrees to the apparent wind, but the tacks appeared to have over 110 degrees in them
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Old 09-04-2012, 16:05   #7
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Leeway. You're not really traveling where you are pointing....
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Old 09-04-2012, 16:10   #8
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Sorry missed other replies, this was compass course, not gps over ground, which was why it was confusing the hell out of me, i know id be making a lot of leaway, maybe 10 percent so would expect my gps heading to be well out from the compass, it almost felt as if i was turning a 180 degrees through each tack, like heading in the complete opposite direction.


I know from previous gps tracks, i have managed consistent under 90 degrees tacks through the water, maybe the swell and the wind were making me have much more leaway than i thought, but surely the boat would still be tacking through 90 degrees on the compass?

ps i was sober , no drink or drugs involved, just well confused! also i was tacking across the tide maybe 0.5kn to 1kn current
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Old 09-04-2012, 16:13   #9
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

ie on the starboard tack id have 0.5-1 kn counteracting the leaway, on the port tack it would be adding to the leaway.
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Old 09-04-2012, 16:18   #10
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

it almost felt as if i was turning a 180 degrees through each tack, like heading in the complete opposite direction.

Yep.... you're not alone! I think the HC38 in my avatar at left really was doing about 180 degrees at times!!! That's when I motor sail!
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Old 09-04-2012, 16:22   #11
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

It's LEEWAY not LEAWAY !.... because you are heading to LEEWARD
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Old 09-04-2012, 16:43   #12
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Americans spell all sorts with a Z as well! I speak olde english with a thick scottish accent,the word "lea" came from a wind sheltered meadow ie leah, o'er time, it became americani"z"ed to lee.

Though I fail to see why it should bug you if I chose to spell it the olde way and I'm certain the spelling is in no way hindering anyone in understanding what I am saying, though this spelling problem is not helping me understand why my compass tacks suddenly grew by over 20 degrees!
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Old 09-04-2012, 16:45   #13
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensuf View Post
Im confused.. I can normally get the boat to do less than 90 degrees between tacks, it normally points quite well.

I was out the other day, it was a bit choppy, short 6-10ft close to the nose waves and 22-28 knot head winds, no matter what i did. i could not get less than 110 degrees between the tacks.

it was strange as the boat appeared to be pointing as close to the wind as normal, it was almost as if the wind changed direction between each tack..

can anyone explain what i was doing wrong, i was a bit over canvased,had it all up when i really should have had a reef in.

You were over-powered. In other words, your sails were too big for the conditions. For MOST headsails, your best option (even with a roller furler) is to put up a smaller sail, because MOST (not all) sails on roller furlers are not designed to be partially rolled in. Do it a lot and you'll distort the shape of the sail.

You should have an EASY TO USE reefing system on your mainsail so you don't ever second-guess whether to reef or not.

The time to reef is the first time it crosses your mind. If you have a good reefing system it's no big deal to put the reefs in, and no big deal to shake 'em out.
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Old 09-04-2012, 16:47   #14
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensuf View Post
Sorry missed other replies, this was compass course, not gps over ground, which was why it was confusing the hell out of me, i know id be making a lot of leaway, maybe 10 percent so would expect my gps heading to be well out from the compass, it almost felt as if i was turning a 180 degrees through each tack, like heading in the complete opposite direction.


I know from previous gps tracks, i have managed consistent under 90 degrees tacks through the water, maybe the swell and the wind were making me have much more leaway than i thought, but surely the boat would still be tacking through 90 degrees on the compass?

ps i was sober , no drink or drugs involved, just well confused! also i was tacking across the tide maybe 0.5kn to 1kn current

When you need to put in reefs and don't, you will find a difference between your compass heading and your course over ground. That is an early and not-dangerous problem. If the winds continue to build, it can turn into a more dangerous situation. There's just no reason to not reef when it's appropriate.
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Old 09-04-2012, 17:00   #15
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Re: Pointing ability in poor weather?

I have never cruised or raced a boat that didn't give up way in rough conditions. All of the posts are correct regarding over-canvas and your LEE-way will be greater even if your canvas is spot-on. Your sail shape will not be optimum either. Part of the time you are in the trough with poor wind and in general, the wind is more turbulant, less steady state. Consider that you are trying to diagonal up every wave. The effect is to increase your side-slip and each wave picks you up and and then sets you down in the direction of the wave travel. Also, you are traveling a greater distance and, no doubt at lower speed. All conspire to push you away from the wind.
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