Originally Posted by Joli
SailFast, that is the crux, at least for me it is.
When cruising short handed sail trim often takes a back seat. We cleat stuff and forget it for hours, not to say we don't keep a proper watch but sail trim gets much less attention then when we race. Maybe the Great Lakes are more unsettled then other locations, we've been knocked down on perfectly clear days with no warning at all. We've dipped the spreaders more then once. snip
"Reef early, reef for the gusts" is the mantra for safe multihull
operation. If you reef for average or maximum winds it's not much faster and it is unsafe. Racers tend to ignore this but cruisers (and guests) are much more comfortable when the boat isn't being pushed.
Multihulls and monohulls are different and should be sailed differently.
Another thing different about multihull operations is what to do when overpowered: If you're already on a beat or close reach it's the same as on a monohull -- first
you ease or release the sails and then
slowly round up into the wind
. However if you're on a broad reach or deep reach, you do not
round up -- it is better to bear off quickly deep downwind (the faster you make the turn the better). Then reef while running. Bearing off has several benefits over rounding up:
- It enables the centrifugal force of weight aloft to help force the windward hull down, counteracting wind forces.
- It reduces the apparent wind by increasing boat speed in the same direction as the true wind, reducing the overpowering effect.
- It converts wind forces to boat speed, as most multihulls are not limited to "hull speed", and (unless they bury the bows in a wave) will be more resistant to pitch-pole than a mono of the same length.
- The above actions give the crew time to reef while running. This is easily accomplished with full-battened mainsails equipped with ball-bearing batten-cars.
While some smaller (under 30-foot) multihulls might have rope
luffs, IMHO that is a dangerous configuration because rope
luffs have too much friction to allow reefing while running. All cruising and larger multihulls should be able to reef while running.
Let's continue to make broad generalities
(there will always be exceptions and different degrees of applicability): Monohull displacement
boats are like weebles -- when you push on them harder they don't go faster, they just lean over. Push even harder they lean even more. Knock them down they pop back up. Very forgiving of sloppy operation, but that doesn't necessarily translate to "safety". Soles and wet decks heeled at 30-degrees plus is normal but not safe for crew, nor comfortable. Monohull planing boats are different, and usually have movable centerboards or racing keels and require more crew participation to avoid knock-down and maximize performance. Centerboard
planing boats are also more prone to capsize
boats and require even more active crew management. As a generalization, most boats with a heavy keel
are slower and less prone to capsize but more prone to pendulous pitch
and yaw... especially downwind, and to sink when flooded. They're also roomy with cavernous interiors, and can carry heavy loads without as much performance degradation (because much of the performance has already been designed out of them). Before the advent of steam engines they were good for cargo and whaling ships and today they're good at carrying lots of gear
for cruisers who don't value sailing performance as much at other considerations... They are also more economical to build and maintain than other configurations and tend to be more rugged. So there's good and bad. All boats have different sets of trade-offs and operating parameters.
Every boat has trade-offs. When I was looking to move up in size two years ago I wanted more interior
room than my last tri and so I test-sailed a "racer-cruiser" monohull (a C&C
36). It had all the "go-fast" trappings (C-F mast
, high-tech racing sails, epoxy/foam-cored laminate, etc.). We went out in 5-15 knots of wind, and at first it was under 10 knots and we were reaching in light air. It wasn't that much slower than my tri and I figured I could live with the trade-offs. Then we got a gust of about 15 knots and the boat heeled more, and I figured "OK now we'll see some acceleration" but it didn't go any faster!
It was just more uncomfortable at hull speed
My tri would have heeled slightly (perhaps 5-10 degrees when pressed) and harden-up against the wind and accelerate to 10+ knots under that circumstance.
No monohull or cat I've tried sails as well as a tri and I'm spoiled, so I spent more than I wanted (another trade-off) but got what I wanted in a larger tri, with other compromises. Just keeping it "real".