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Old 10-11-2006, 11:48   #1
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Question for those that have done bluewater miles.

I'm curious.

Scenario: Husband and wife sailing a Lagoon 41 or Catana 45 or a similar boat. They are in the Atlantic between Bermuda and Sopers Hole, broad reaching in 25-30 knots gusting 35-40, 8-12 footers some 16 footers, carrying a single reef and solent, making 8-9 knots average and maybe 12 down the back side. The wife is asleep, the husband is in the galley making a cup of coffee and the AP is driving.

The AP shears a bolt, the boat slams through a jibe, the main is on center now because the traveler was set to leeward, and the solent backs.

Will the boat stay on its feet or is it going over?
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:58   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joli
... I'm curious. Will the boat stay on its feet or is it going over?
Yes, it will.
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Old 10-11-2006, 13:06   #3
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if you just read what happened in the latest edition of "la course du rhum" Orange skipper was on the bow taking care of the geneker in heavy weather when his autopilot went crazy.....it was over and he nearly lost his life so I am not sure about leaving the boat on AP in heavy seas with my wife asleep and me doing other bussiness. I think this is going to be the beginning of an other interesting thread! JC.
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Old 10-11-2006, 14:28   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joli
I'm curious.

Scenario: Husband and wife sailing a Lagoon 41 or Catana 45 or a similar boat. They are in the Atlantic between Bermuda and Sopers Hole, broad reaching in 25-30 knots gusting 35-40, 8-12 footers some 16 footers, carrying a single reef and solent, making 8-9 knots average and maybe 12 down the back side. The wife is asleep, the husband is in the galley making a cup of coffee and the AP is driving.

The AP shears a bolt, the boat slams through a jibe, the main is on center now because the traveler was set to leeward, and the solent backs.

Will the boat stay on its feet or is it going over?
If the boat goes over or could go over, it was not being sailed prudently. It as simple as that. If you're cruising with two drivers, the boat is always being single handed and sheets will be cleated off. You have to leave a huge safety margin, and particularly when you're watch on watch you have to be careful to manage fatigue (so you can continue to manage the safety margin).

I have sailed about 30,000 blue water miles on a catamaran with significantly better performance than a Catana/Lagoon. In a steady 25-30 knots I would be sailing with second reef and full jib. If winds were gusting 30 to 40 it would be third reef and no jib if we were trying to work to the windward, or possibly just a smidge of jib and no main at all. If the weather was worsening, I'd be even more conservative with reefing.

There are circumstances (surfing, mostly) under which most autopilots would not be able to steer very well it isn't necessary for anything to break. I did do a crash jybe very much as you describe in a steady 25 knots (vey rough seas inside the Great Barrier Reef). Didn't capsize, but did significantly irritate the admiral. This was with
first reef and full jib running low and slow (ie AWA about 110 degrees). We made 26 miles in two hours. With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been a much nicer trip with the second reef.

Anyway, we were very happy to tuck in under Cape Upstart later that night.

-Scott
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Old 10-11-2006, 14:40   #5
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Originally Posted by Joli
The AP shears a bolt
One more thing: Bolts on the steering system are something that you ought to check before any blue-water passage. Also cables, hydraulic lines, etc. Also, listen for odd sounds when you're sailing. Worry is what keeps boats afloat.

-Scott
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Old 10-11-2006, 16:57   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jean1146
if you just read what happened in the latest edition of "la course du rhum" Orange skipper was on the bow taking care of the geneker in heavy weather when his autopilot went crazy.....it was over and he nearly lost his life so I am not sure about leaving the boat on AP in heavy seas with my wife asleep and me doing other bussiness. I think this is going to be the beginning of an other interesting thread! JC.
I gather you don't know there is a difference between a pure racing machine like Orange, and a cruising boat like a Lagoon.

Well just so you know, there is and it is huge.
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Old 10-11-2006, 17:08   #7
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I think Mr. Jolie would be better served in his posts to have actually sailed a catamaran, before explaining how terrible they are.

Rick in Florida
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Old 10-11-2006, 19:10   #8
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In 25, gutsing 30-40 I'd have at least two reef in and no jib also. I wouldn't leave the helm are for more than enough time to use the head, and drink cold coffee.
On our delivery we were reefed in 20-25 with 18-20' rolling under. The AP on the worn out charter boat couldn't keep up with the motion and needed constant adjustment.
In direct answer to your question, I don't know if you'll go over or not. But I think being a little more conservative with the canvas is justified, especialy at night.
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Old 10-11-2006, 22:29   #9
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But I think being a little more conservative with the canvas is justified, especialy at night.
Loved sailing at night, but never coul bring myself to do those overnight races like Brisbane to Gladstone, the idea of charging into the darkness at 15 knots + seemed a bit hairy for me, if not unseaman like.

Always put the brakes on and set a 10 knot limit at night, and if more than 12 knots of wind had the first reef in with the second loaded and ready to go.

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Old 11-11-2006, 03:35   #10
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I did do a crash jybe very much as you describe in a steady 25 knots (vey rough seas inside the Great Barrier Reef). Didn't capsize, but did significantly irritate the admiral.
-Scott
Scott, thank you for responding to the question with real world experience. Oh yea, we gotta keep the Admirals happy.

Rick, not sure what your problem is but a case of beer might help. How is asking a question bashing a multi?
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Old 11-11-2006, 16:42   #11
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In 25-40 knots and 8-16 foot waves...Really, does anyone use an autopilot? And if you are trimmed and the rig balanced, do you really need one? Is it really going to respond in any useful manner, up and down each wave??

And can someone translate solent "carrying a single reef and solent, " into Yankee YnGlitch for me? To us Solent is a place name, that's all.

Pat, don't worry about the cold coffee, I understand Braun are negotiating to buy out Edson and the new pedestals will have frappacino makers built in to deal with that problem.<G>
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Old 12-11-2006, 02:23   #12
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... And can someone translate solent "carrying a single reef and solent, " into Yankee YnGlitch for me? To us Solent is a place name, that's all...


A “Solent” is a storm staysail, flown from a (usually removable) inner forestay.
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Old 12-11-2006, 03:00   #13
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I have to agree with smm re: winds. at those wind speeds, he better be reefed WAY down.
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Old 12-11-2006, 16:20   #14
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Hellosailer and beefy autopilots

Yes, I have been in those conditions and in a hurricane as well. It IS at those times that you need (or wish you had) an autopilot that is capable of steering the boat when you can't.

In the hurricane I briefly disabled the autopilot (so as to not lose the exact heading set) to steer around a huge freighter that was holding station directly ahead. I had a heck of a time steering because I was use to the wave motion (was relatively insensitive to the beginning of a yaw) and could not see the horizon...the compass seemed to be dancing all over the place. Well I barely made it around without blasting out the little jib and when I re-engaged the autopilot the boat got right back on her footing.

This is why you may have read my rantings for offshore cruisers to have "real" autopilots (rather than the usual "toy" ones) that have plenty of horsepower AND a gyro or compass input that will not be adversely affected by large deviations in pitch, yaw, and roll. Not many flux-gate compass sensor compasses will do that without generating sufficient error so as to potentially damage the boat.
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Old 12-11-2006, 16:55   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
This is why you may have read my rantings for offshore cruisers to have "real" autopilots (rather than the usual "toy" ones) that have plenty of horsepower AND a gyro or compass input that will not be adversely affected by large deviations in pitch, yaw, and roll. Not many flux-gate compass sensor compasses will do that without generating sufficient error so as to potentially damage the boat.
Rick,
Thanks for the excellent advice! Any brand and model preferances?
Frank
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