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Old 05-08-2015, 20:06   #61
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post

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
It's folks like you who have the courage to be honest about foulups and ask honest questions that allow others to learn from your mistakes or the question you ask that they wanted to ask but didn't dare. Obviously you learned long ago how to trim your sails but over all those years happened to not have a rig that included leech lines that needed adjusting very often, which also applies to most of us. There's always more to learn about sail trim, and then you have to relearn a different variation of many of those same lessons on your next boat because it's rigged differently or the sails were built differently or maybe they're just worn out. We've all been there or will be. Nobody has all the answers on all boats but only an insecure fool who was attempting to pass himself off as a modern day Slocum would fail to ask a question that would help him sail his boat better. It's been an interesting discussion and I've learned something about staysail trim issues from it, so thanks for asking!
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Old 05-08-2015, 20:39   #62
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Re: Staysail Advice

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It's folks like you who have the courage to be honest about foulups and ask honest questions that allow others to learn from your mistakes or the question you ask that they wanted to ask but didn't dare. Obviously you learned long ago how to trim your sails but over all those years happened to not have a rig that included leech lines that needed adjusting very often, which also applies to most of us. There's always more to learn about sail trim, and then you have to relearn a different variation of many of those same lessons on your next boat because it's rigged differently or the sails were built differently or maybe they're just worn out. We've all been there or will be. Nobody has all the answers on all boats but only an insecure fool who was attempting to pass himself off as a modern day Slocum would fail to ask a question that would help him sail his boat better. It's been an interesting discussion and I've learned something about staysail trim issues from it, so thanks for asking!
Well stated JT, and I couldn't agree more. Ken & Dockhead in particular often bring interesting questions to the forum, and more often than not stir up an educational discussion.

Off-topic but I also couldn't help but to heed Uncivilized's & Jon E.'s comments about big boat handling, and how it's not for the inexperienced. I wouldn't exactly put myself in that category, but can say I'm probably less experienced than both DH & Ken so it got my attention. Trouble is I'm drawn to larger boats like a moth to a flame! Ah well, time & experience will tell, but in the meantime I'm enjoying the stories & issues that come up from managing the bigger boats. (Still trying to get my head around DH's broach on his big Moody!).

And based on the experience that I do have, I am thus far finding that sailing my larger boat is both more difficult in some respects, but also more forgiving in others. Maybe an interesting discussion for another thread, although it's certainly been bandied about many times before.
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Old 05-08-2015, 23:29   #63
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
It's folks like you who have the courage to be honest about foulups and ask honest questions that allow others to learn from your mistakes or the question you ask that they wanted to ask but didn't dare. Obviously you learned long ago how to trim your sails but over all those years happened to not have a rig that included leech lines that needed adjusting very often, which also applies to most of us. There's always more to learn about sail trim, and then you have to relearn a different variation of many of those same lessons on your next boat because it's rigged differently or the sails were built differently or maybe they're just worn out. We've all been there or will be. Nobody has all the answers on all boats but only an insecure fool who was attempting to pass himself off as a modern day Slocum would fail to ask a question that would help him sail his boat better. It's been an interesting discussion and I've learned something about staysail trim issues from it, so thanks for asking!
Thanks for the supportive response. Today's issue on another thread is a stinky bilge that filled up with pond scum in the warm weather and clogged an inline filter. If it's not one thing... it's another.

Ken
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Old 06-08-2015, 00:18   #64
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Re: Staysail Advice

Ha, Ive sailed many big boats offshore, Square riggers, British steel 68's, Dynamique 62's, a radford 64 foot schooner and an old open 60, and there is no way I want to do it for fun by myself or with inexperienced crew. It can be done safely, but it requires sailing defensively most of the time. When things go wrong it is beyond the strength of one person to fix easily. You have to plan well ahead all the time. I just can't relax as well as I can sailing a smaller vessel, and feel much more reliant on engines and other gadgets. Not for me! My current boat is a 8 ton 40 footer, and she is as much boat as I feel I could handle comfortably by myself in all conditions without much stress.

Anyway, back to the leechlines, I was going to say that I don't like to rely on those v cleats. They can work well, but I've had to many slip or flog out. Not much you can do about it on a main, because you need to be able to adjust them at each reef. But on a headsail I like to have a place to tie them off to as as well. Either a small webbing loop, or two eyelets just under the cleat. You can tension it on the v cleat and then take up the slack and tie it in for extra security. A big plus to a tackle (I sometimes use a truckies hitch on smaller boats) is that it makes it much easier to fine tune the tension, even when it's blowing. I also think that having them run to the luff is a good idea, but it might make it hard to adjust when the sail is furled, and will double the stretch in the leech line, making many more adjustments necessary as the wind changes. in this case something low stretch like spectra becomes even more beneficial.

I still find the idea of sailing and not being confident to go forward in most conditions rather alien. I've had to go aloft on square riggers in 40+ knots to put stows on squares. And forward on all sorts of boats in all sorts of conditions to sort out things, the more you do it the more comfortable it gets. But I guess it's also important to know your limits, and at the time you probably made the right call. But that lack of confidence is always going to be a liability in nasty stuff.

If I have to go forward in a blow running off is my preferred way, rather than heaving too. Its going to be hard with your babystay on the oyster to heave too without tacking, and in those conditions tacking is not going to be fun, or easy, and neither is tacking back or gybing around to get sailing again, once you have finished. But it all depends on how much searoom you have, and if the main is up. I guess If I had to deal with it in a blow I would run off for a short while and quickly roll away some staysail, then back it, all while its blanketed behind the main. Then luff back hove to with only a small scrap of staysail backed. it would be easy to get underway again by easing the weather sheet and unrolling more staysail. Having the staysail flog on the babystay will kill it pretty quick in strong winds, and all sorts of nasty things happen to sheets when a sail starts flogging in 40 odd knots.

In a blow like you had, in your shoes, if I couldn't stop the staysail leech from destroying itself with the leechline, I would have considered rolling away half the staysail to protect it, and unrolling a scrap of genoa (just the clew patch), and a scrap of main. (not sure if any main was up?). But it sounds like you managed ok without the staysail, and as a result of all this you learnt a lot very useful stuff that will really help if you get caught out again. Or when you go out for a blast in smooth waters and 40 odd knots to test all the modifications you have made and learn more about how she handles.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:57   #65
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Re: Staysail Advice

Thanks Snow, your post is very helpful.

Regarding going forward, confidence is not the issue, I do it all the time as well as climb the mast on my own using climbing gear. It's like you wrote, setting priorities an managing risks vs reward. That day, I did have to go forward several times to untangle the furling mechanism and twice to relocate some unused halyards. Since I didn't even know how to fix the staysail, I determined on that day it wasn't worth the risk to fool with it. So we motored ahead.

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Old 06-08-2015, 02:48   #66
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Thanks Snow, your post is very helpful.

Regarding going forward, confidence is not the issue, I do it all the time as well as climb the mast on my own using climbing gear. It's like you wrote, setting priorities an managing risks vs reward. That day, I did have to go forward several times to untangle the furling mechanism and twice to relocate some unused halyards. Since I didn't even know how to fix the staysail, I determined on that day it wasn't worth the risk to fool with it. So we motored ahead.

Ken
I understand completely what Ken is talking about. Going forward in strong weather is a calculated risk no matter how well trained and equipped you are. Like Ken, I just don't do it without a good reason. When it's necessary, I do it with confidence. Usually after heaving to or turning downwind.

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Old 06-08-2015, 05:11   #67
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Re: Staysail Advice

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I understand completely what Ken is talking about. Going forward in strong weather is a calculated risk no matter how well trained and equipped you are. Like Ken, I just don't do it without a good reason. When it's necessary, I do it with confidence. Usually after heaving to or turning downwind.

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Which reminds me of one of my more frightening moments afloat. Doublehanding on a delivery, awakened by on watch crew to take in poled out jib because an isolated thunderstorm had significantly increased wind speed and changed its direction. I donned life jacket and went forward, clipped on, with my buddy at the helm but he was more interested in watching what I was doing than maintaining our course so we jibed and I was almost thrown overboard by a poled out but now backwinded jib. I barely managed to stay aboard and understood him being fatigued at 2 or 3 AM, so didn't want to embarrass him by making a big issue out of it and went back to work, and then suddenly it happened again and if I hadn't grabbed my tether, I'd have been overboard and hanging by it. This time I was a little more emphatic that I'd prefer him paying more attention to steering and less attention to what I was doing. Made a note to self to not go to sleep again with poled out jib unless absolutely sure weather conditions will allow it all night long. The foredeck can be a dangerous place while underway and I understand Kens reluctance to go forward in 40 knots perfectly.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:25   #68
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Which reminds me of one of my more frightening moments afloat. Doublehanding on a delivery, awakened by on watch crew to take in poled out jib because an isolated thunderstorm had significantly increased wind speed and changed its direction. I donned life jacket and went forward, clipped on, with my buddy at the helm but he was more interested in watching what I was doing than maintaining our course so we jibed and I was almost thrown overboard by a poled out but now backwinded jib. I barely managed to stay aboard and understood him being fatigued at 2 or 3 AM, so didn't want to embarrass him by making a big issue out of it and went back to work, and then suddenly it happened again and if I hadn't grabbed my tether, I'd have been overboard and hanging by it. This time I was a little more emphatic that I'd prefer him paying more attention to steering and less attention to what I was doing. Made a note to self to not go to sleep again with poled out jib unless absolutely sure weather conditions will allow it all night long. The foredeck can be a dangerous place while underway and I understand Kens reluctance to go forward in 40 knots perfectly.
Well, it's too late now, but assuming you were dealing with a furling jib, that situation could have been easily avoided, no need to go on deck at all...

Had the pole been initially set up and stabilized with the use of a pole lift, foreguy, and afterguy, all you would have had to do was roll up the jib... Simply leave the pole in place, it's not doing any harm, and it's ready to go again when a squall passes, or whatever... One reason why genoa sheets should be of a length sufficient to be led through the whisker pole at full extension, while still permitting the sail to be trimmed on the opposite tack...

Hell, I've left the pole deployed for a full day or more, waiting for the breeze to return... Unfortunately, that only seems to occur after you've stowed the pole...

;-)


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Old 06-08-2015, 07:40   #69
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Re: Staysail Advice

Hi Dockhead and Ken,

Probably been a bit hard on you guys, sorry. I guess its all a matter of trying to explain stuff in words, which isn't really my forte. Anyway I suspect we are all probably closer in reality than in print. There are definitely times where I will not send crew forward (or go myself). And it would have to be something very serious before I would go aloft in nasty weather. In extreme conditions I prefer to have everybody below in their bunk with a drogue out the stern. I guess what I don't want to encourage is a mindset where people think that just because its a rough it's automatically far to dangerous to leave the cockpit, and slowly if we are not careful the definition of rough creeps down until we are all advised to never go on deck while the sails are set, or while the boat is moving...

Its interesting that the bigger the boat the more exposed you often feel when ondeck in very rough weather. My old 26 footer never felt insecure being on the bow, But the worst I have felt was punching to windward on an ex BT global challenge yacht when trying to secure an anchor. Absolutely brutal! But then there is no way I'd have even been making ground to windward on my 26 footer, whereas on the 68 footer we were doing about 8 knots hard on the wind, in about 35 knots with a nasty square tidal sea sweeping the bow. The sheer power of big yachts is an incredible thing, incredible and scary at times!
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:15   #70
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Re: Staysail Advice

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... Land people could hardly imagine what that's like on a bucking foredeck in Baltic square waves in a Force 8...
Oh man! Oh man! That one's going to keep me going for a few days. Thanks!
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:19   #71
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Going forward in strong weather is a calculated risk no matter how well trained and equipped you are. Like Ken, I just don't do it without a good reason.
I am going to suggest you are net safer pretty much always going forward. . . for two reasons:

(1) by going and looking, even if you are pretty sure you don't know how to fix the immediate problem, you might well catch something else that has occurred - cotter pin that has fallen out due to the shaking or chafed furling line. You might well prevent the so common 'cascade of failures' that turns a small problem into a big problem. My basic seamanship advice is to go look at stuff ASAP, never procrastinate or put off.

(2) by going you are building further skill and confidence. Really the 'calculated risk' on going forward should be tiny tiny tiny. Really the only time there should be any significantly non-zero risk is when solid water waves are sweeping the deck . . .and you should still know how to go forward even in those conditions.

I will admit I am occasionally tired, & don't want to get wet, & don't want to put on the full foul weather gear, & don't want to turn off to level and dry the decks. Usually I slap myself in that situation and get go do what should be done but occasionally I am lazy and don't. BUT that's not because of any sort of 'risk', its just being lazy.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:22   #72
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Re: Staysail Advice

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Hi Dockhead and Ken,

Probably been a bit hard on you guys, sorry. I guess its all a matter of trying to explain stuff in words, which isn't really my forte. Anyway I suspect we are all probably closer in reality than in print. There are definitely times where I will not send crew forward (or go myself). And it would have to be something very serious before I would go aloft in nasty weather. In extreme conditions I prefer to have everybody below in their bunk with a drogue out the stern. I guess what I don't want to encourage is a mindset where people think that just because its a rough it's automatically far to dangerous to leave the cockpit, and slowly if we are not careful the definition of rough creeps down until we are all advised to never go on deck while the sails are set, or while the boat is moving...

Its interesting that the bigger the boat the more exposed you often feel when ondeck in very rough weather. My old 26 footer never felt insecure being on the bow, But the worst I have felt was punching to windward on an ex BT global challenge yacht when trying to secure an anchor. Absolutely brutal! But then there is no way I'd have even been making ground to windward on my 26 footer, whereas on the 68 footer we were doing about 8 knots hard on the wind, in about 35 knots with a nasty square tidal sea sweeping the bow. The sheer power of big yachts is an incredible thing, incredible and scary at times!
I think we agree completely. I don't think anyone said you don't go forward if you actually need to. Hell , if you actually need to go aloft in storm, then, by George, you go aloft, don't you? You do what you have to do.

Concerning big boats - I feel much safer on the foredeck of a big boat in strong weather, than on the foredeck of a small one. What are the risks? Getting bucked off, getting washed off, getting whacked by something, right? The risks of the first two, at least, go down fast with increasing size.

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Old 06-08-2015, 08:35   #73
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Re: Staysail Advice

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There's really no way I can go forward safely in those conditions alone to make the adjustment without the very real possibility of being knocked overboard by a sheet, sail or wave. Even If I was somehow able to... There's no way I'd have the strength to tension the cord under the load.

On a 53ft boat, nothing can really be done by hand after the boat is sailing, the loads are too great. Using a winch etc. yes... By hand, no... unless you don't mind the possibility of a few lost fingers.

Ken
Can't quite say I quite agree with you on that one.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:40   #74
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Re: Staysail Advice

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I think we agree completely. I don't think anyone said you don't go forward if you actually need to. Hell , if you actually need to go aloft in storm, then, by George, you go aloft, don't you? You do what you have to do.

Concerning big boats - I feel much safer on the foredeck of a big boat in strong weather, than on the foredeck of a small one. What are the risks? Getting bucked off, getting washed off, getting whacked by something, right? The risks of the first two, at least, go down fast with increasing size.

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Absolutely. And the risks of the latter can be mitigated by judicious use of strops, and other controls at one's disposal. Some things are not possible in hard weather, of course, but most things are. And I agree with you in general that big boats are easier and safer by and large than small ones. The consequences of fittings and running rig failure can admittedly be much worse, however. I recently experienced a knockdown in a 90,000 kilogram boat which ended up doing a lot of damage to the rig, including significant metal fitting failures. Was pretty hair raising stuff. But by and large the big boats have big gear to manage the big loads and all goes well if careful.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:53   #75
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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.
Hi Kenomac,

I don't agree with Uncivilized likely somewhat jokey comment that you are overboated. I do agree with his question as to the position of the staysail tracks though, and in the photo I am somewhat surprised to see them so far outboard. I have sailed a good number of Oysters and seen/worked on others. Your tracks appear to me to be somewhat unusually far ouboard, though perhaps the 53s were built like that. Can't remember offand. Anyhow moving them inboard may not be totally straightfoward (read pain in the arse) and is not the first option. I as usual very much agree with pretty much everything Dockhead has suggested. I personally suspect your sail is old and rather bagged, or else improperly cut to begin with. I would consider, if you can, getting the likes of North to make you a fresh, flat and high cut (on the foot) staysail out of something strong and heavy such as Spectra. Such would be a true "if God shows up" sail. And yes, your boat should be able to use a full cutter staysail until at least the mid to higher 50s knots if not beyond.

One further question (unless has been asked already, sorry somewhat short of time today): have you cranked on your corresponding running backstay when using it in these conditions?
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