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Old 03-08-2015, 09:56   #46
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Re: Staysail Advice

Thanks Idorakeeper,

The criticism doesn't really bother me any more, and I figure most of the regulars are just taking light hearted jabs from time to time.

What most don't realize is that we started small back in the 1980's with a 14ft kite, moved up to several years on an O'Day 20 which predates any of the modern GPS, AIS and other gizmos we take for granted today. Didn't even have a VHF radio on the O'Day, but that didn't stop us from taking multiple trips over to Catalina Island, from Newport Beach. Then AC (after kids), moved up to a Hunter 450 and then four years ago, into the Oyster for cruising 5-6 months per year.

It's been a progression, and of course a learning curve at each step. The latest lesson: Adjusting the leech cords in order to enhance sail trim.

I took quite a few sailing lessons back in the 1970's, but now we're mostly self taught via the School of Hard Knocks. On each of our last two boats, none of the four brokers involved were in the least bit interested in giving us a tutorial, we were left to figure everything out by ourselves.... which isn't necessarily a bad thing since one really gets to know the boat fast. The quickest/steepest learning curve was aboard the Hunter 450, when the worker at the KKMI shipyard in Sausilito showed me how to start the Diesel engine, then said he had a boat expected in 1/2 hour... You can't stay here. So I ldeparted the dock single handed to search for a fuel dock, pump out station and my temporary slip.... Having never before ever even been on a boat larger than the O'Day 20. Trial by fire... But things went fine.

We'll get this staysail thing worked out.

Another thing: I don't mind posting some of our screw ups, because I've come to realize that sometimes hundreds of people look in on these threads, and learning about our mishap and the appropriate fix, might save them the same trouble later on.

Ken
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Old 03-08-2015, 11:08   #47
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Thanks Idorakeeper,

The criticism doesn't really bother me any more, and I figure most of the regulars are just taking light hearted jabs from time to time.

What most don't realize is that we started small back in the 1980's with a 14ft kite, moved up to several years on an O'Day 20 which predates any of the modern GPS, AIS and other gizmos we take for granted today. Didn't even have a VHF radio on the O'Day, but that didn't stop us from taking multiple trips over to Catalina Island, from Newport Beach. Then AC (after kids), moved up to a Hunter 450 and then four years ago, into the Oyster for cruising 5-6 months per year.

It's been a progression, and of course a learning curve at each step. The latest lesson: Adjusting the leech cords in order to enhance sail trim.

I took quite a few sailing lessons back in the 1970's, but now we're mostly self taught via the School of Hard Knocks. On each of our last two boats, none of the four brokers involved were in the least bit interested in giving us a tutorial, we were left to figure everything out by ourselves.... which isn't necessarily a bad thing since one really gets to know the boat fast. The quickest/steepest learning curve was aboard the Hunter 450, when the worker at the KKMI shipyard in Sausilito showed me how to start the Diesel engine, then said he had a boat expected in 1/2 hour... You can't stay here. So I ldeparted the dock single handed to search for a fuel dock, pump out station and my temporary slip.... Having never before ever even been on a boat larger than the O'Day 20. Trial by fire... But things went fine.

We'll get this staysail thing worked out.

Another thing: I don't mind posting some of our screw ups, because I've come to realize that sometimes hundreds of people look in on these threads, and learning about our mishap and the appropriate fix, might save them the same trouble later on.

Ken

Yep, I agree. We have a ketch rig on Idora and standard practice has been to strike the main as conditions get heavier. Recently I redesigned the reefing gear for the main and took advantage of the presence of one of my sons to see how well the new setup worked...Ho Ho Ho! What a kludge the first time...we had plenty of sea room so safety was not a factor but trying to get that reef in while rounded up and continue on the opposite tack resulted in quite the show..very un-seaman like. Backed jib, stuck in irons, sailing backwards, rounded down, jibed, back up into irons..all observed through glasses by the peanut gallery....but we finally got the sequence right, shook it out and tried it again. By the time we were done we could put the reef in while tacking and not miss a beat. Big fun.
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Old 03-08-2015, 11:16   #48
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Re: Staysail Advice

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One of the unfortunate corollaries of aging and becoming less agile, is that many of us have pretty much forgotten how to CRAWL...

Having to resort to going forward on all fours should always remain an option, I see no shame in it, at all...

;-)

I go through the center of my dodger and scoot on my posterior when the seas are up an I have to go forward.




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Old 03-08-2015, 11:43   #49
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Thanks Idorakeeper,

The criticism doesn't really bother me any more, and I figure most of the regulars are just taking light hearted jabs from time to time.

What most don't realize is that we started small back in the 1980's with a 14ft kite, moved up to several years on an O'Day 20 which predates any of the modern GPS, AIS and other gizmos we take for granted today. Didn't even have a VHF radio on the O'Day, but that didn't stop us from taking multiple trips over to Catalina Island, from Newport Beach. Then AC (after kids), moved up to a Hunter 450 and then four years ago, into the Oyster for cruising 5-6 months per year.

It's been a progression, and of course a learning curve at each step. The latest lesson: Adjusting the leech cords in order to enhance sail trim.

I took quite a few sailing lessons back in the 1970's, but now we're mostly self taught via the School of Hard Knocks. On each of our last two boats, none of the four brokers involved were in the least bit interested in giving us a tutorial, we were left to figure everything out by ourselves.... which isn't necessarily a bad thing since one really gets to know the boat fast. The quickest/steepest learning curve was aboard the Hunter 450, when the worker at the KKMI shipyard in Sausilito showed me how to start the Diesel engine, then said he had a boat expected in 1/2 hour... You can't stay here. So I ldeparted the dock single handed to search for a fuel dock, pump out station and my temporary slip.... Having never before ever even been on a boat larger than the O'Day 20. Trial by fire... But things went fine.

We'll get this staysail thing worked out.

Another thing: I don't mind posting some of our screw ups, because I've come to realize that sometimes hundreds of people look in on these threads, and learning about our mishap and the appropriate fix, might save them the same trouble later on.

Ken
A+ for attitude, bravo!

You can tell the more experienced people first of all by their lack of sensitivity to criticism, even when it's off-base.

Sent from my SGP521 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:58   #50
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Our Oyster 53 foredeck with all the safety gear and extra handholds. The Jacklines straps are put away. The staysail sheet cars are in view.

I look forward to trying out the new leech cord adjustments on Thursday or Friday. 'Will definitely report back with results.
Looks like you have an inner forestay, the stay sail stay, and head stay. Do you keep the inner forestay up with just the foresail ?

Your staysail sheet lead tracks look to be in the same general location as ours.

When you went to staysail only, and were close reaching (?) and the bottom 1/3rd started flogging a bit, did you also have your running back (opposite side) tight ? I'm assuming helm balance was good, and that would be the configuration I would go with too.

Was the mast pumping at all when the flutter started ?

What is the cut of your stay sail ? (level to deck or high clew ?)

The sail maker will be able to tell you whether there is to much draft in it or not.

Last thing I can think of, depending on how high your clew is, is that it may be possible with a deck salon and a dodger on top that the dodger is back winding it some.

Looking at these images, the factory staysail cut is a deck sweeper.

Oyster Yachts | 53 | Overview


On the other poster giving him a hard time about too much boat, I'm sure was just in fun.
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Old 03-08-2015, 13:05   #51
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Re: Staysail Advice

On my 47 I used the staysail in 35 knots or so and it was perfect. I loved that boat with a double reef and staysail alone. How heavy is your staysail? mine was pretty heavy as I didn't carry a storm jib.... and was built by a premier sailmaker.
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Old 03-08-2015, 13:09   #52
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Re: Staysail Advice

Ericson38,

The inner forestay remains in place when flying the staysail. The opposite running back stay was tensioned at the time of the flapping. I believe it was tensioned enough as was the backstay.

I'll have to get back to you on the cut of the sail, all I can tell you right now is that when I worked on tensioning the leech cord this morning, the clue was chest height. When the jib is tensioned by the sheet, there's probably only three feet or so from the clue to the car block.

No, I didn't tension the opposite sheet during the flapping.

Did I do something wrong regarding the sheet? This is my first cutter rigged vessel, don't know anyone else around here with one. Never thought to ask these questions.

Ken
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Old 03-08-2015, 13:17   #53
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Re: Staysail Advice

my clew was probably only2-3 feet off the cabin top. I always had a barber haul tackle I used a lot on the staysail to get trim right. They are hard to trim on all points of sail in all conditions for sure..... especially with just the standard hardware arrangement.
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Old 03-08-2015, 17:07   #54
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Re: Staysail Advice

Our leach cords all had 3:1 tackles. The sail maker standard seemed to be 2:1 but Beth had trouble pulling those strong in winds so I speced 3:1 which she could pull.

Our leach cords usually needed 2 adjustments, once at about 25 kts and again at about 40 kits.

We would often bear off a bit when we adjusted the leach cords, to reduce the loads and level the boat a bit.

I do have to comment that IMHO a decent seaman is comfortable going forward in most any conditions, and knows how to do so safely, and does so routinely (to maintain his/her comfort level). You may be forced to do so in bad conditions to deal with something that must be fixed ASAP, and it's much better if you are entirely comfortable and practiced at it. It is also just simply good practice to take a "turn of the deck" to look everything over. You also get a different and very useful feeling for the wind strength and how the boat is coping from the fore deck than you do from behind a dodger.
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Old 03-08-2015, 18:35   #55
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Not constructive to tell the OP he's got too much boat when he is working out an issue with his sail. I would love to have a boat in that size range...clearly it's easier to run the boat with more hands but with due care and caution why not single hand? I would do it in a second. Maybe not well at first but progressively better and better. I prefer to keep my "oyster envy" on the positive side.
Without question, Ken's Oyster 53 is a beautiful yacht... However, even if I could afford one, such a boat would never be my style. I've had a bit of experience sailing such boats, which has only served to confirm over time the fact that a boat of that size would never be desirable, or suitable, FOR ME.... Hate to disappoint, but there are still a handful of us out there who might have somehow remained immune to "Oyster Envy"...

;-)

I doubt he was a sailor, but I always thought the wisdom of Inspector Harry Callahan - AKA Dirty Harry - serves as a most excellent mantra for any skipper, and the practice of seamanship:

"A man's got to know his limitations..."

Sure, I can't presume to speak accurately to the limitations of someone I've never met, but I do know my own...

And I know all too well, that when TSHTF, things begin to go pear-shaped, gear begins to fail, and some of those vital push buttons stop producing their desired result, the forces involved aboard a boat like an Oyster 53 can EASILY overwhelm my own physical ability to deal with them... And while I'm sometimes compelled to take that risk on a delivery, it's not one I would ever choose to take sailing a boat of my own, on my own time, for pleasure...

If that makes me a wimp by today's standards, I'm still fine with that...

;-)
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:02   #56
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Ericson38,

The inner forestay remains in place when flying the staysail. The opposite running back stay was tensioned at the time of the flapping. I believe it was tensioned enough as was the backstay.

I'll have to get back to you on the cut of the sail, all I can tell you right now is that when I worked on tensioning the leech cord this morning, the clue was chest height. When the jib is tensioned by the sheet, there's probably only three feet or so from the clue to the car block.

No, I didn't tension the opposite sheet during the flapping.

Did I do something wrong regarding the sheet? This is my first cutter rigged vessel, don't know anyone else around here with one. Never thought to ask these questions.

Ken
I didn't mean to state anything about the opposite sheet, just the opposite side running back.

The tack of our staysail is 2 feet off the deck, and the clew of it is even with the main boom at the gooseneck, making it about 6-7 feet off the deck (not the cabin top). We store the dinghy on the foredeck between the four dorade guards.

Looking at the staysail from Quantum in this image-

Destination One Design - Preparation

Nice and high at the clew, air off it flows freely aft.

Since the sheet lead track for it is inboard a couple of feet of the one for the genoa, the air from it would impact right into the dodger (at the foot), so having the clew height close to the boom level, there is relatively clear air to exit off its leach.

The clew of the genoa is a few feet lower, but that works since the sheet lead is almost at the rail, so the dodger is inboard of it.

When you sheet the staysail in for a close reach, is it possible that the dodger (already higher than mine since yours is mounted off the deck salon house) is disturbing the air off the staysail leach at these higher wind loads ?

Just a thought. I'm sure its not a show stopper at the moment, but when you get a break from the great cruising you are doing, let us know what you find out.
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:43   #57
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Re: Staysail Advice

We are still two days away from our next sailing adventure, but I did unfurl the jib today and put a couple of light tugs on the leech cords which are both located at the tack of the sail for convenience.

When we go out sailing, I'll report back on our success. Looks like it will be easy to adjust the jib.
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Old 04-08-2015, 07:24   #58
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Re: Staysail Advice

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We are still two days away from our next sailing adventure, but I did unfurl the jib today and put a couple of light tugs on the leech cords which are both located at the tack of the sail for convenience.

When we go out sailing, I'll report back on our success. Looks like it will be easy to adjust the jib.
I think you have had good advice here. I would look to first tension the sheet more. On mine, it takes a lot more than I first thought, so with your boat too probably. Then play around with the luff and foot cord tension. It will be easy and safe to do on the staysail as it is sheeted in well inboard. There are plenty of handholds (and harness hard points) nearby or set up the jacklines if you prefer, though I don't think they are needed. If the sail is sheeted in and not backing then there should be little danger from the clew.

Tensioning the headsail leech line is an operation though. I haven't found a good way to do it without hanging perilously over the side. Maybe a barber haul kind of idea could be used.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:27   #59
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Re: Staysail Advice

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I think you have had good advice here. I would look to first tension the sheet more. On mine, it takes a lot more than I first thought, so with your boat too probably. Then play around with the luff and foot cord tension. It will be easy and safe to do on the staysail as it is sheeted in well inboard. There are plenty of handholds (and harness hard points) nearby or set up the jacklines if you prefer, though I don't think they are needed. If the sail is sheeted in and not backing then there should be little danger from the clew.

Tensioning the headsail leech line is an operation though. I haven't found a good way to do it without hanging perilously over the side. Maybe a barber haul kind of idea could be used.
Good advice. My bet is on sheet tension.


As to tensioning the leech lines -- two tips:

1. Heave to to do it.

2. Tie a bowline in the end of it and do it with a boathook. You've got a cam cleat in your sail for that, right?

I almost never touch my leech or foot lines, and I don't even have any in my staysail. Good sail trim eliminates fluttering in my experience, except in very rare cases where some kind of resonance kicks in. Counterintuitively, a fluttering leech is sometimes the sign of too much sheet tension, rather than not enough (at least in headsails), so always try less as well as more. Obviously car position is also important.
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Old 04-08-2015, 15:33   #60
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Re: Staysail Advice

Our headsails don't have leech cords (other than our light air sails that have booth leech and foot cords) so this is interesting to read. I'm the one who is most interested in our rig, my husband is more the hull-and-engine guy. I've thought it would be a treat to have them, from time to time.

We have had the awful leech flutter and I've actually used the Sailmakers Apprentice book (previously mentioned) as a guide while tightening up the seams in our aged staysail to move the draft a bit forward. I didn't install a leech cord at the time--and sometimes wish I had.

Our staysail is boomed and we do have an outhaul that must be kept properly tensioned depending on winds. This is a bit tricky and, like many others have said, you don't want to be wacked in the face by the clew--or in our case the boom or the two blocks (for the staysail sheet purchase) hanging off the boom at face height. I position myself forward of those blocks facing aft (looking at them) with a very wide stance of foot and work with my hands over my head, one holding onto the boom/sail and the other pulling the outhaul (2 part purchase) through it's block and securing it back onto it's cleat. This is also a decent stance for taking the waves on the back rather than in the face. As I have horrible balance, I fall down at least once almost every time I do this, but jacklines are safeties, and with a big boat you tend to land on deck not in the ocean.

Our boat is schooner rigged about 1650 sf sail, our staysail very small compared to the rest (it is about 200 sf) and I suspect the OP's single masted boat's staysail may be more like our Yankee jib size at about 350 sf.

We have experienced a helicopter oscillation of the staystail above 40 kts of wind when working to windward and with the jib up. If the jib is not up, it does not happen. We've traced our issue to stay tension. Even if we use running backstays appropriately, we have the balance of three headstays to deal with -- jib stay, forestay, and staysail stay. Two of the three are fractionally rigged and if we apply too much backstay tension we have mast bend that also works against the staysail benefiting much from the increased backstay tensions. I don't know if this fractional rigging or multiple stay issue may contribute to the OP's problem. In our case, we decide if we're going to deal with it by reducing tension on our running bobstay (thus reducing the effectiveness of the jib as we work to windward because we're introducing stay sag), yes, moving the helicopter to the jib--which we can play with the sheets to sometimes deal with, or take down the jib entirely. If we've been smart, we've already reduced sail such that the main is down and we're working with foresail, staysail, jib, so taking down the jib is the natural next thing to do anyway. If the mainsail is still up (and reefed, of course) we cannot take down the jib without inducing too much weather helm. I'm digressing. Sorry.

Regarding working the foredeck -- we have a similarly sized boat to the OP with 54' on deck, 69 ft including 11 ft bowsprit and the boomkin. It is easier to work on a bigger boat like this with a deck you're likely to fall onto rather than off of. I really do suggest to the OP that he (and his wife) become familiar with working the foredeck in all conditions. I have awful balance due to a 20 year ago neck injury, a bum ankle, walk with a cane on land and I'm pretty sure that most people who know me (other than my husband) wonder how I make it back to the boat from the dingy, much less deal with big seas and heaving foredecks. Even so, with jacklines for safety, breastlines (good handholds if you can rig them) in place, and a smart eye to know when to crawl on all fours and when to walk the deck, I get around the deck through all sorts of nasty weather. And, whoever you are--you can too. If I can, you can.

I don't know anything about furling line problems that have been mentioned as we have hanked on sails and can deal quite nicely with dousing them with judicious use of a downhaul at top and, for the larger sails, a tricing line through the clew to scandalize the sail and help bring it down quickly.

Fair winds, Brenda
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