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Old 16-08-2015, 16:27   #1
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Outremer 45 sail area before reef

We have a 2002 outremer 45 (the old one), and although generally pretty fast, we seem to be somewhat slow upwind. I've tried heading off, messing with the traveler and mainsheet, even a new mainsail, and I realize lot of that is just inexperience, but I get the impression we are undercanvassed. I was told that the first reef needs to go in at 16 knots true. Anyone have any experience or guidance on this?
Thanks.
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Old 16-08-2015, 17:35   #2
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

How old are your sails?
If they're original equipment that could be the problem.
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Old 16-08-2015, 17:40   #3
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldilocks View Post
We have a 2002 outremer 45 (the old one), and although generally pretty fast, we seem to be somewhat slow upwind. I've tried heading off, messing with the traveler and mainsheet, even a new mainsail, and I realize lot of that is just inexperience, but I get the impression we are undercanvassed. I was told that the first reef needs to go in at 16 knots true. Anyone have any experience or guidance on this?
Thanks.
OK, a few items:

What do you call "slow"? What VMG do you make at, say, 15kts true? What AWA?

Likely not undercanvassed, unless you have a shorter stick than the designers spec'd. Where is your mainsail draft upwind? Forward, right? Do you have draft stripes on the sail? Do you tension the outhaul to minimize the draft upwind and slack it off the wind? Outhaul is the most powerful upwind adjustment after traveler/sheet, and is frequently overlooked. What is your luff tension, via halyard or cunningham? Where do you put the boom? What shape is your genoa/jib in? Are you sailing to the genoa/jib or does the mainsail luff first? If your genoa/jib luffs way eary, perhaps it's blownout. What apparent wind angles feel right? Where are you boards?

Sailing upwind is an art form and takes a lot of practice to be optimal and varies boat to boat. You need to be positioned at the helm to see and feel the wind unobstructed upwind. Feel and see the lifts/headers/puffs/lulls. React to each. React to the helm. Zen.

First reef at 16 kts true could be right. What is the apparent wind speed for you at that TWS? I usually put it a reef at predicted TWS of 15+ for upwind (cruising), because that results in 20+ apparent, so we're close.

Dave
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Old 16-08-2015, 20:32   #4
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

Well thanks for all the input.

Unfortunately I'm not on the boat right now, it's in the Caribbean, so some of these questions I don't have good data on at the moment. By slow, it just seems that we are wallowing, although it is very dependent on sea state. I guess we're doing about 7 knots and tacking through 110 degrees at 15 knots true.
I can certainly believe that I don't have the main set up correctly. The jib looks good to me, and the sailmakers that I've talked to think it's ok. The main was definitely blown out, so that needed to go anyhow. Luffing is about even between the jib and main, but since the jib is on a track it's easy to maybe oversheet it.
Normally I adjust the mainsheet so that the top batten is somewhat parallel to the boom, and I adjust the traveler so the boom is near the centerline. I have the leeward board down about 1/2.
I have yet to play with the outhaul and halyard, I'm planning to fit a Cunningham (don't have one yet) when I get back at start of season.

But thanks a lot for that about the 471. If you're reefing at 15+ TWS, then I'm not completely out there reefing at 16 TWS, given that the boat is fairly light and has a fairly large main.
So if it's not reefing too early, it's as I suspected, I need to learn to sail better.
Thanks everyone for their input.
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Old 16-08-2015, 21:25   #5
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

I would have guessed that you would be tacking through less with higher speed, but I am in no way familure with the boat.

My first thought is that it may be a sea state issue more than a sail trim one. I would be curious how the boat does in flat water.

Next would be that the jib is badly trimmed. It could be that the headstay is to loose, or not enough halyard tension, possibly not enough backstay preassure. Your jib leads may also be in a bad spot.

Next would be the main. Over trimming specifically to much sheet tension can close off the leech and stall the sail. It will look ok, but there's no power from it.

Somewhere on the list would be underwater appendages, and how smooth the hull is, but I doubt these are the culprit.

What it really sounds like is having a rigger spend a half day getting the mast right would be money well spent, then hiring some crew who are familure with performance cats for a couple of days to help you learn to sail the boat to its maximum may be worth it as well.
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Old 17-08-2015, 06:36   #6
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldilocks View Post
Normally I adjust the mainsheet so that the top batten is somewhat parallel to the boom, and I adjust the traveler so the boom is near the centerline.
Top batten somewhat parallel to boom? That sounds like you're over sheeted a bit. Do you have a rotating rig? Is this a square top main? Try "instrumenting" your main by adding a bunch of tell tales. Some mid way back between each batten and leach tails if you don't have them. These will tell you a lot.

Quote:
I have the leeward board down about 1/2.
Why only the lee side and why only half? I'm not familiar with what Outremer recommends but it shouldn't be too different from Catana. Our thumb rule is boards are used symmetrically and full down up to 8 kts boat speed, then half down. I usually use 2/3 boards upwind unless it's lumpy then half, but always both together.

Quote:
I have yet to play with the outhaul and halyard, I'm planning to fit a Cunningham (don't have one yet) when I get back at start of season.
Outhaul is a powerful adjustment and frequently ignored. Don't tell anybody, OK? You may not need a Cunningham. Just use uphaul on the halyard.

You should be tacking through about 100*, perhaps tighter in flat water. But what is your AWA? That's more indicative of whether your sails, boards, etc. or that loose nut on the wheel is the problem. When in the groove I would expect you should be able to get AWA around 30* +/- a few degrees with that boat.

Good luck and get some input from some Outremer folks.

Dave
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Old 17-08-2015, 14:59   #7
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

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Originally Posted by goldilocks View Post
But thanks a lot for that about the 471. If you're reefing at 15+ TWS, then I'm not completely out there reefing at 16 TWS, given that the boat is fairly light and has a fairly large main.
I should add that we reef pretty conservatively when double handed. The Admiral and I have a combined weight of about 250 lbs (114 kg) and like you we have a huge main to handle. (When we have deck apes aboard we'll be less conservative. ) When reefed conservatively upwind, we can leave the main centered during tacks and not worry (as much) about the boat weather vaning if we miss a tack. This makes tacking only about the genoa. With extra hands we do it more aggressively and work the main during a tack (if we're being "sportif").

Dave
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Old 18-08-2015, 09:46   #8
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

I have a 42' Outremer which is pretty similar, and we reef at about 20kts true upwind. We only have a self-tacking jib, so as a result probably hang on longer than you would with a large genoa. It's my second Outremer and they can be driven very hard upwind if that is your wish, the 45' particularly so. It's really a question of comfort as well as all the wisdom about boat handling that previous posts have pointed out, as 10-11 knots upwind can be quite uncomfortable.
Flatten the main with cunningham, outhaul and halliard, traveller up to just above the mid-line with the top twisted off a bit, get the boards fully down and the genoa tell-tails flowing straight and off you go.
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Old 20-08-2015, 19:46   #9
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

Once again, thanks to everyone for their input.

So to answer some of the questions, no, the mast is not rotating, and there no flat top on the mainsail. The jib is a self tacking Solent.

I'm certainly going to mess with the mainsail more, this is pretty much what I expected on this boat, it would be a better sailor than I am, and I need to keep learning. Certainly if I could find a cat whisperer to show me how to sail better that would be money well spent.

BTW, I should mention that the tacking angle is from the GPS, so that includes leeway, and possibly some current. But we're a long way from 10,11 knots upwind. If I could get 8.5, I'd be happy. I suspect that the difference between reefing at 16 and 20 would be pretty significant too. There have been times when the wind had found us with more sail area than i planned and the boat seemed pretty happy (and fast). I guess that's what's driving my question about reefing wind speeds.

Again, thanks for all the input!
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Old 20-08-2015, 20:20   #10
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

Heres a recent AIS track I saved of a 5 yr old outremer 45 (extended to 50)
sailing upwind in fairly flat water, about 15-20kn TWS but against 2-3 kn current, our track in red, hers in yellow. I wouldn't be too worried about the performance you are seeing until you confirm the currents involved. Most of the currents in the Caribbean are from the East so we tend to be tacking into them most of the time. We don't usually reef till apparent wind is over 25kn, so I guess around 20kn TWS upwind. if the plotter has a VMG upwind or to waypoint function, it can help a lot with fine tuning your best speeds upwind. Generally we would sail at around 35 degrees AWA, which without current would give us 90 degree tacks. Generally not much sail tweaking goes on onboard Sephina. Traveler is centered and sheets tight upwind.
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Old 21-08-2015, 08:22   #11
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

I'm impressed Monte. Your tacking angles seem to be about the same as the Outremer's. Not bad for a Lagoon 400.
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Old 21-08-2015, 08:28   #12
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Re: Outremer 45 sail area before reef

Hi again, goldie - just a few more thoughts:

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldilocks View Post
The jib is a self tacking Solent.
I suspect this is going to hurt you a bit upwind, based on my experience with my 140% genny vs other 471s with solents. Until the TWS gets high enough that a genoa needs to be reefed, what you gain in ease of use of the solent will cost you in speed. Yep, you maybe can have quicker tacks with the solent and not miss any tacks, but the cost comes with less power upwind in light to moderate wind speeds. I raced against a Outie 55S with a solent in one regatta and we were generally faster upwind in light to moderate wind speeds. Not in every case, but generally. Off the wind he utilized a reacher and was consistently faster.

Quote:
Certainly if I could find a cat whisperer to show me how to sail better that would be money well spent.
I hope you don't have to pay for anything. I suspect experienced upwind drivers would offer this for nothing, or perhaps a rum.... Soon, you'll be the whisperer.

Quote:
But we're a long way from 10,11 knots upwind. If I could get 8.5, I'd be happy. I suspect that the difference between reefing at 16 and 20 would be pretty significant too. There have been times when the wind had found us with more sail area than i planned and the boat seemed pretty happy (and fast). I guess that's what's driving my question about reefing wind speeds.
My boat is heavier, but I've never seen 10 upwind either. If the boat feels happy and fast, I bet you're close to its optimum. Perhaps you should focus more on AWS instead of TWS (until you can form a relative relationship) because, as you know, sailing upwind in the groove will give you 5 - 8 kts more AWS over TWS and AWS is what the boat is feeling and should be your metric for when to reef. Once you generate your mental polar you'll know what reef to put in before you raise your main just based on the local TWS forecast. Find some more Outie sailors and compare notes.

Reinforcing what Monte said, see if your instruments have a VMG calculator. This is a good training tool to help you ID your boat's best upwind angle for different conditions - and it very well might not be the tightest angle you can sail. Remember, the AC foilers tack through about 100*....

Dave
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