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Old 21-06-2010, 11:19   #1
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Sail Trim Question

Posted else where, but will try here.
I am sailing close hauled in 20-25 knots apparent wind. Everything is sheeted in tight for maximum speed, with full sails up. But I am getting strong weather helm. What would be the best way to decrease weather helm, ease the main a bit, sheet in the head a fuzz, or put a reef in the main, 20 to 25 is the top end for full main on our boat. I have to maintain course so changing course is out.
It really wasn't an uncomfortable ride, and if it got above 25 I would bear up a bit to decrease speed, then bear back off to course. The weather helm was just a PITA!
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Old 21-06-2010, 11:26   #2
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the point comes when weather helm is counter-productive. you compensate for weather helm with the rudder(s), which mean you're applying the brakes.

You may find that my depowering the main your VMG remains just as high. You can do this by using a traveler, or by flattening the main, or by taking in a reef.
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Old 21-06-2010, 11:54   #3
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Reef.
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Old 21-06-2010, 12:23   #4
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don't know if it is different on a cat but on a mono you flatten the main, then travel down, then reef. On a race boat you would change headsails before reeefing.
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Old 21-06-2010, 12:27   #5
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On the instructional DVD I watched this weekend, it went over this situation. Their proposed solution was to slide the traveler over.
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Old 21-06-2010, 13:03   #6
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Reef the main

What would be the best way to decrease weather helm, ease the main a bit, sheet in the head a fuzz, or put a reef in the main?

I haven't worked out how to include part of the OP's quote (above) before replying - Can anyone help me please?

But in answer to the question - on a short handed cruising boat of all the options I would reef. If you reef now to balance the boat, should the wind gust you still have the option of dropping the traveller or easing the main. If you don't reef now you've reduced your options if the wind picks up.

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Old 21-06-2010, 13:30   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleebana View Post
I haven't worked out how to include part of the OP's quote (above) before replying - Can anyone help me please?

Greg
Push this button

and then delete the crap between the
HTML Code:
 [QUOTE=Eleebana;473265] and the [/QUOTE]
When I am editing your posts I just keep the good stuff. Thats normally about 2 words.


Now can I get back to the original post: REEF.

Does anyone really carry a full main at 25 knots? or 24? I hold it at 20 for about 2 minutes with the traveler so far to leward the dolphins dive deep.

But then we need our sails to hang in for a lot of miles and I have to pay for any new ones!


Mark
PS Greg I was only joshing!
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Old 21-06-2010, 13:37   #8
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I'd reef. You aren't doing any favors to your main and more than a few degrees of weather helm is slow. Traveler ease is a good way of dealing with a gust (or even with series of gusts) but if you need to do it full time you've go too much sail up. If you have consistently got too much main but don't think it's worth the time to reef it it may be better to twist off the top by easing the sheet to the point where at least in the lulls you can traveler the boom to near midships with only modest amounts of helm. It might also help to move the jib cars aft a bit and add a bit more trim to match the mainsail twist and if possible move the jib sheet lead outboard a little. Of course this is all very boat, sail and condition dependent. If the helm is a chronic problem you may have blown out sails, too much headstay sag, or improperly rigged sails... Things to think about might include adding a bit more pre-bend to your mast, reducing batten tension, and adding headstay tension (may require more rake or runners and if the boat is twisty may not be appropriate). If you have a sailmaker with some multihull experience and may be in the market for new sails you might see if you can get her out on the boat to look things over...

Tom.
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Old 21-06-2010, 14:42   #9
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Denny,

I think there are three general approaches to your situation. You have to decide whether you'd rather:
1. Steer
2. Trim
3. Drink

Close haul in heavy air dictates flat sails. So let's assume you've flattened your sails as much as possible. Choice 1: traveler out, point as high as you can and determine if you need to ease the main sheet by how much weather helm you've got. Choice 2: set the auto pilot. traveler out, hand tend the main sheet. Choice 3: put in a reef, set the autopilot and mix a margarita.

OR go to a close reach, which even with a couple of tacks should be faster than continually having to head up.

Brett
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Old 21-06-2010, 14:44   #10
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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
When I am editing your posts I just keep the good stuff. Thats normally about 2 words.
Two words to you to!

Hey Mark, me only joshing too. I'm not real technical so let's see if I can get this quote box thing working. Thanks for the tip.

Two more words - "it worked!"

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Old 21-06-2010, 14:49   #11
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Does anyone really carry a full main at 25 knots? or 24? I hold it at 20 for about 2 minutes with the traveler so far to leward the dolphins dive deep.

But then we need our sails to hang in for a lot of miles and I have to pay for any new ones!


Mark
PS Greg I was only joshing! [/QUOTE]

Mark, the book on the boat even says reef at 20-25, but the morning weather report said 15-20, so I raised it full. That morning the Admiral ask if I was sure that I shouldn't put a reef in!!!!!!! Naturally she was right
We were in the lee of the Exumas so the seas were some what flat. We did make record time and it was fun!!!!!!!!! But there were a few oh **** moments, I guess I should have put in a reef!!!!!! Is the best answer
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Old 21-06-2010, 15:22   #12
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Mark, the book on the boat even says reef at 20-25, but the morning weather report said 15-20, so I raised it full. That morning the Admiral ask if I was sure that I shouldn't put a reef in!!!!!!! Naturally she was right
But we did make record time and it was fun!!!!!!!!! But I guess I should have put in a reef!!!!!! Is the best answer
1) weather reports are speculative fiction.

2) the book may be saying that it is potentially dangerous to sail the boat without a reef somewhere around 20-25 knots (ie that reasonably expected gusts might put you in danger of capsize/breakage)... Stipulating fastest, wisest or most comfortable might give a lower number...

3) the wife is ALWAYS right. If your wife isn't right you need treatment for anosognostia.

4) but fun is good...

Cheers,

Tom.
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Old 21-06-2010, 16:05   #13
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[JusDreaming; Does anyone really carry a full main at 25 knots? [/QUOTE]

I've heard a few people claim they can do 25knots without reefing but I have never felt comfortable at that and we are talking about cruising. If you're doing close to hull speed what's the use of having more sail up?

I'm currently getting a meduim to heavy displacement boat built and the builder claims that his boats sail in 30 knots before reefing. I did a delivery with him on one of his boats and went off watch with full sail up and about 15 knots of wind. When I woke up the wind guage at the Nav station said 25 knots apparant and it was coming over the rear quarter. Me thinks, Hmmm boat still feels good. I was really happy until I went outside, looked up and he's got 2 reefs in the main. So there is a lot of hot air out there. Everyone exagerates especially someone trying to sell a boat.

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Old 21-06-2010, 16:07   #14
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Ease the traveler. If it is already eased, then reef.

I do not know your boat but mine calls for a reef before we hit 25.

b.
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Old 21-06-2010, 16:23   #15
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G'Day All,

A surprising degree of agreement in these posts!

But, no one has asked the crucial question: Are we talking TRUE or APPARENT wind speed? Big difference here... on Insatiable II we can carry the full main up to 25+ apparent with ease, but we're doing 8-9 kts at 35 degrees apparent at this point, so the true wind is more like 18 or so. If we are really trying to get to windward we will have switched to the stays'l (really a #4 jib on a Solent stay) by then, and have the traveller eased well down.

If we are in our more usual lazy mode we will have 2 reefs in the main, 'cause this allows us to leave both runners set. And, this costs us less than a knot in VMG, is more comfortable and eliminates worrying about further wind increments.

Guess which happens more often?

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying in the Broadwater, Qld, Oz
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