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Old 20-03-2012, 05:28   #1
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At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

Hi all

This may sound like a really silly question and it is slightly, but not totally

I have raced yachts of different sizes, and have done quite long distance deliveries, but always with racing crews, and have never really stopped to worry about heel, if the rail is in the water and we are flying along who cares.

Well the answer is that my wife cares, and if we are to sail off for a long period of time it needs to be on a yacht that under normal circumstances does not heel to much, if at all. It is not the motion, or that she is scared, she has been sailing for longer than I have, she just does not like it, we have a close friend with 47ft Beneteau and even sailing quite casually she heels over quite far, but again she is designed to race with an extra tall mast and sail plan.

So cat's are a serious consideration, but I am not sure that we will get the right cat for our budget.

So presuming heel is less acute the bigger the yacht, within a 47 - 55ft range what is the best sail plan to control heel whilst maintaining a sensible speed?

And what hull shapes would be considered best?

We are not interested in winning races, just having a safe and comfortable ride that is manageable by two to four competent people.

Considerations thus far are 50 ish ft ketch's with pilot houses. Are we on the right track?

Thanks All

Many thanks Fergus
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Old 20-03-2012, 06:53   #2
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

We have a Valiant 42. We have traveled long distances and we shorten sail if we want less heeling, we have even hove to to make a meal.
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Old 20-03-2012, 06:55   #3
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

It is a fact that modern boats sail best virtually upright, certainly with a max heel of about 10 degrees and you can see the enormous effort that goes into trying to keep them upright. Theres no need in a modern boat with good initial stability to experience excess heel, it does nothing and in fact slows the boat.
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Old 20-03-2012, 06:58   #4
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

Hi Patty

Pretty boats,

Thanks for the reply
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Old 20-03-2012, 07:08   #5
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

You've probably got a lot more experiance than me to answer that question! - but my take is that the rig isn't the "Big" answer, just slow down (or at least keep the last 20% in reserve / for when the missus is asleep!). My guess is that you (as a racer) probably won't be happy with something big / heavy enough that doesn't heel much - because she would very likely also be slow.

As you have access to a mates Beneteau 47, why not reef her down to standard mainsail size and see what happens when you sail conservatively?

Anyway, this post more about the bump! - as would be interested to hear what others say.
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Old 20-03-2012, 07:16   #6
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

Thanks DoJ

If keeping the Mrs happy means big and slow then that is what we will get, as whilst this is my dream that she has bought into, it is not my dream to go alone

Will be playing with the Bendy Toy (Beneteau) this summer hopfully
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Old 20-03-2012, 07:17   #7
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

We have a 40 foot cutter rigged monohull. I too dislike too much heeling, it just makes life so difficult below decks.

We probably only ever sail at about 70% of the boats capacity. Once the rail is in the water we take in a reef, in fact we mostly have a reef in the main as it's almost too powerful for our boat. With the pulling power coming from the Yankee, reducing the main certainly lessens the heel and we rarely lose any speed from that 'peace of mind' reef.

We try and stay very adaptable in our sailing and will alter course wherever possible to ensure a comfortable passage, means we often sail further but far less stressfully!

My sympathies are with your wife and well done you for taking her dislikes seriously :-)
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Old 20-03-2012, 07:36   #8
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

Boats that have high initial stability are boats that do not tend to heel much. This is usually due to their form, not from ballast. The beamer, light and fast boats have form stability and do not like to sail heeled. Many performance boats are in this category. I'm surprised that you say the Bene 47 heeled too much. Not sure which one you are on, but I just looked up the 473 Oceanis and it has a 14+ft beam. Sails set reasonably I would expect this to be pretty initially stiff.
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Old 20-03-2012, 07:47   #9
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

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Boats that have high initial stability are boats that do not tend to heel much. This is usually due to their form, not from ballast. The beamer, light and fast boats have form stability and do not like to sail heeled. Many performance boats are in this category. I'm surprised that you say the Bene 47 heeled too much. Not sure which one you are on, but I just looked up the 473 Oceanis and it has a 14+ft beam. Sails set reasonably I would expect this to be pretty initially stiff.
Maybe we do not set her right, she is a cracking boat though and goes like a train round the cans, but I have not been on her for any relaxed distance cruising.
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Old 20-03-2012, 07:53   #10
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

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Originally Posted by Sundowner Porto View Post
Thanks DoJ

If keeping the Mrs happy means big and slow then that is what we will get, as whilst this is my dream that she has bought into, it is not my dream to go alone

Will be playing with the Bendy Toy (Beneteau) this summer hopfully
If you need any tips on sailing slowly - my rates are reasonable . Am pretty sure my "techniques" will work on pretty much anything .
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Old 20-03-2012, 08:00   #11
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

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If you need any tips on sailing slowly - my rates are reasonable . Am pretty sure my "techniques" will work on pretty much anything .
nice, we pay all our staff in beer tokens, do you accept those
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Old 20-03-2012, 08:20   #12
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

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nice, we pay all our staff in beer tokens, do you accept those
Beer Tokens?

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Old 20-03-2012, 16:38   #13
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

I would pick a beamy, flat one with the beam carried well aft (Pogo, IMOCA, Class 40 - way) and with a tall sloop rig. Definitely not a narrow double-ended ketch ... ;-)

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Old 20-03-2012, 19:33   #14
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In simplistic terms propulsion is sail area. Resistance is weight, wetted area and drag.

Moment is sail area aloft. Resistance to heeling is length of keel and weight below.

Reducing height of sail area is the simplest. Ketch/yawl/cutter rigs keep sail area and lower center of pressure.

Longer keels and bulb keels lower the weight. Pilot houses would seem to put weight above the center of gravity. Lower freeboard would seem smart but then you are more exposed to the sea.

On another thought. A boat would be designed to do hull speed in XX knots of wind, after that is is all heeling. An exception might be rae boats designed to a class. Many of these were designed to take advantage of LOW restrictions whereby their waterline length increased with heeling. Most boats are fully powered at 12-15 knots of wind, after that its all heeling. Short sails...
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Old 20-03-2012, 19:55   #15
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Re: At what size, style and sail plan does heel become manageable?

I would think a taller rig would heel less for a given speed, all else being equal, as it is more efficient. So a ketch rig may tend to heel more. Certainly greater beam helps.

The best way to reduce heel is to trim her properly for all conditions. A previous poster offered 10 degrees heel as a maximum. My experience is that something like 15 degrees is needed to get the necessary power in most boats. More if there are big seas running. Also big open-interior furniture-wagon cruisers tend to be less fun heeled than tighter traditional interiors because moving around, standing, working is more difficult.

Always sailing off the wind greatly reduces heeling. But that might affect your final destination.
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