Originally Posted by Mike w
What size tri do you feel is ideal? Any long passages? I am also interested in how they handle heavy seas and strong winds? 40-60 knots wind
. When do you feel it's time to drop all sails
and through out a drogue
Mike -- you're going to be ruined for sailing other types of boats. Nothing sails
better than a tri.
I have a Dragonfly 1200 and have spent some time on the various Dragonfly models from 30' up. Have owned a DF-920 (starting 2001), DF-1000 in 2005-2008, my current
boat since then. Also have sailed on a Corsair
24. Have never been in an open ocean major storm as I generally stay coastal, but have been out in some heavy squalls with gusts to about 70. Anything over 35 is a LOT of wind
and above 50 I don't want to carry more than a hanky of sail.
Capsizes happen mostly to racers who push the limits, or cruisers who reef for the average winds. The mantra for safe multihull
sailing is "reef for the gusts". If you think maybe it's time to reef, it's already late.
My first post ever on this site was about the multihull
"line of death". A tongue-in-cheek exaggeration that has some truth in it if you don't know what you're doing. Read it here and don't ever forget it -- this is great advice (equivalent in safety
advice to learning
to counter-steer on a motorcycle). Multihull Capsize Due to Lack of Experience
If you own a tri you've got to know this stuff.
With boat speed in the teens you can have a 20-40 knot
DIFFERENCE in apparent wind depending on your direction of travel. That's huge, and must be considered in your handling tactics.
Remember that also when carrying a spinnaker
-- if you accidentally round-up or stuff a wave, the sudden rise in apparent wind can put you over. Think about that when you're in a slowly-building breeze and stow the kite early unless you have a death wish. (The mono guys are probably reading this and thinking this is a multihull disadvantage, but this is no different than slowing for a curve in your car. Any idiot can take risks and spin out, and that's not a reflection of the car's safety
-- it's a reflection on the driver.) BTW -- downwind there is a lot less drama in the motion of a multihull than in a mono... Much less rocking and rolling.
When I see a squall line or t-storm approaching I always drop all sail and tie everything down until I know what wind strength we're dealing with. Once the initial wall of cold air passes I might raise sail again, probably double-reefed, until I feel max wind speed is predictable again. Generally we'll motor
slowly to windward initially so we can be more comfortable and protected behind the dodger
, and keep the bow into the wind waves. After that it's a judgment call.
One other thing -- NO AUTO-INFLATE or fixed foam PFDs. If you ever do flip and come up under the sails or nets, or entangled in lines, it's better to have the option to swim down and out rather than to be trapped by your buoyant vest. I think the safety of auto-inflate is offset by the odds of entrapment vs. the odds of being knocked unconscious as you go overboard