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Old 15-04-2008, 08:54   #16
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Use an unstayed mast. The harder it blows, the more it flexes, automatically reducing sail without you having to do anything. In extreme conditions, you may still be overpoweredm but you will have won precious seconds to do something about it. An unstayed rig also allows you to dump the sheet, the sail will weathercock and the boat stop. No worrying about luffing or bearing away, channel markers or other boats.

Check out to see what I mean. This mast is also lighter and cheaper than a stayed alloy one for a boat with similar righting moment.

regards,

Rob
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Old 15-04-2008, 14:18   #17
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Originally Posted by Thenaz007 View Post
OK I'm sold on Cats but I'm concerned about the sudden severe wind I experienced walking on the beach in Naples FL last month. Sunny day light breeze scattered clouds when seemingly out of nowhere a wind hit me that forced me to turn around and simply brace myself for a good 15 to 20 seconds. Long enough for me to try to turn around and attempt to make some headway and simply could not. I am 48 and in excellent physical health. I swear I had absolutely no warning, maybe 3 seconds, that a cloud of stinging sand was coming my way. Presumably an alert pilot, undistracted by beach scenery, would have more warning? Are the weather reports accurate enough to reef your sails by? Tell me I won't get knocked over in a 40' cruising cat, even if I have a little too much sail up when this happens?? I am not looking for a rehash of mono vs. multi, just some feedback on what happens when you're sailing a big cat and get smacked...
On most points of sail, you can just dump the sheets.

If you're sailing downwind (sheets already eased) the boat will accellerate which will reduce the apparent wind. If needed you can release the headsail sheet too.
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Old 15-04-2008, 15:44   #18
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On most points of sail, you can just dump the sheets.

If you're sailing downwind (sheets already eased) the boat will accellerate which will reduce the apparent wind. If needed you can release the headsail sheet too.
Yup.... that's what to do. They sail exactly like monos in these kinds of situations. Only difference for me was that these FL gusts that I would have found uncomfortable in my old 45' mono just heeled me a bit more than usual in the cat (I think it was 5 deg or so). Nothing weird was happening, so I didn't bother easing the sheet. In fact, I was hoping for a little speed boost.

I found a new love for cats today. We had some pretty strong winds off the GA/SC coast - gale warnings were up, etc... Well, there were spots where the current was against the wind due to tidal changes and there were confused seas. Usually a nightmare in my old boat. In the cat, I seemed to pop up on top of them and stay flat, going peak to peak.

To be fair, the old mono would have done better with some of the standing waves at the inlets, but the cat really shined in the confused seas today. You know the kind... wind-driven waves coming at 90 degrees to swells and a whole load of wind? I was impressed. Got my cabin top soaked (yes... way up on the top of the salon), but it was fun because the boat handled well.
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Old 15-04-2008, 19:58   #19
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Dave, do you hand steer when near land? When do you feel its prudent to disengage the AP?
We almost never hand steer Exit Only, but when we are near land, I am never far from the autopilot or the helm.

I am either sitting behind the helm on watch, or I am sitting in a chair in the cockpit within an arms reach of the autopilot ready to disengage or change the heading if necessary.

The most common reason for disengaging the autopilot is when I am in rough seas, and I have too much mainsail up creating a great deal of weather helm. In that situation, the combination of quartering rough seas pushing the stern around and too much mainsail may overwhelm the autopilot, and even with full Autohelm 7000 engagment, the autopilot can't make the course correction. In that situation I disengage so that the epicyclic gears don't strip trying to make an impossible course correction. 99.9% of the times that I disengage, I am doing it to protect the autopilot from self-destruction. I have only stripped the gears one time, and that was enough. I've been there, done that, and I don't want to do it again.

Wind gusts haven't been a problem for us on Exit Only. If the wind did pipe up, rather than disengaging the autopilot, I would probably just change the heading and let the autopilot handle it.

The only other time we commonly disengage the autopilot is when we are going to reef the main in rough seas. In that situation, I will start the engines, and hand steer into the wind while another member of the crew puts in a quick reef.
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Old 15-04-2008, 21:20   #20
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Never experience this-

Never experienced this (sudden, extreme wind gust with absolutely no warning) in the Pacific-Not on the US coast, not inland in the NW, not in all the Pacific islands I cruised to, which is more than most people have heard of. Never want to, either. Except in the doldrums, lightning is quite rare way out west, as well--probably a connection there, somehow.
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Old 28-04-2011, 09:19   #21
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Re: Sudden Wind Gusts

Gord,you are correct regarding gusts.
Long foretold ,long last; Short notice,soon past.
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Old 28-04-2011, 09:28   #22
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Re: Sudden Wind Gusts

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Originally Posted by mrohr View Post
...Long foretold ,long last; Short notice,soon past.
Indeed - true for any weather phenomenon.
The longer the time between the signs and the change foretold by them, the longer such altered weather will last; and, on the contrary, the less the time between a warning and a change, the shorter will be the continuance of such predicted weather.

See Maritime Weather Sayings cruisersforum.com/forums/f2/maritime-weather-sayings-28310.html
Maritime Weather Sayings

And Weather Wisdom cruisersforum.com/forums/f90/weather-wisdom-36395.html
Weather Wisdom

And Weather Basics ~ Reading Weather Charts
cruisersforum.com/forums/f2/weather-basics-reading-weather-charts-4087.html
Weather Basics ~ Reading Weather Charts
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Old 28-04-2011, 10:22   #23
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Re: Sudden Wind Gusts

"Don't worry, Boss. It's just a little squall. They come on you fast and leave you fast." (Capt. Ron)
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Old 28-04-2011, 11:13   #24
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Re: Sudden Wind Gusts

My understanding of wind gust, (feel free to correct me) is as follows:

There are four levels of wind, surface, lower, mid-level, and high-level, each can and mosttimes does travel in a different direction and/or speed. You can see this when two layers of clouds are traveling in different directions. But when there are no clouds its called clear air wind shear.
When atmospheric conditions ie pressure areas cause the surface level and lower level winds to travel in the same direction, the wind speed becomes the sum of the two, 30 knots plus 20 knits equal 50 knots. This conditions occurs in a small area and for a brief amount of time. Planes experience this all of the time, at any level and its called wind shear, and sometimes mirco-burst. Often you'll experience a temp. drop as cooler air from a higher altitude is forced down to the surface.
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Old 28-04-2011, 11:43   #25
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Re: Sudden Wind Gusts

Us lake sailors get hit with sudden gusts frequently here in the midwestern U.S. If VHF weather says the winds will be 15 - 20 mph, we reef for 30+. Learned that leasson the hard way when my son was at the helm and got pinned to the cockpit by the tiller as the boat heeled past 40 degrees when hit by a very strong gust. My wife swore she saw water going by the cabin windows.

It did prove what the other Chrysler 22 owners told us, you can't knock them down.
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Old 28-04-2011, 11:51   #26
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Re: Sudden Wind Gusts

Microbursts are small scale, intense downdrafts which, on reaching the surface, spread outward in all directions from the downdraft centre. This causes both vertical and horizontal wind shears. The Horizontal wind shear will be additive to the prevailing wind on one (far) side of the downdraft, and subtractive on the other (near) side.
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Old 28-04-2011, 14:14   #27
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Re: Sudden Wind Gusts

Exiting hook passage we had the wind jump from 10-12 knots straight up to 35 knots. The boat just accellerated to 18 knots as I was easing the mainsheet. No drama at all, actually I kind of wished I hadn't depowered so quickly - I'd like to have seen what speed we could have done.
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Old 28-04-2011, 14:26   #28
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Re: Sudden Wind Gusts

Quote:
Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
Exiting hook passage we had the wind jump from 10-12 knots straight up to 35 knots. The boat just accellerated to 18 knots as I was easing the mainsheet. No drama at all, actually I kind of wished I hadn't depowered so quickly - I'd like to have seen what speed we could have done.
Better safe than sorry same with me 30 miles of Sabine Pass 13.4 knots in a blow that just out of no where came.
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Old 28-04-2011, 14:49   #29
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pirate Re: Sudden Wind Gusts

Here we go again... what is it with you guys.... its called weather...
Do you have to analyze everything... just ride it out and enjoy the adrenalin... JEEZ...
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Old 28-04-2011, 14:50   #30
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Re: Sudden Wind Gusts

Most cruising cats will be able to handle the typical strong gust, though the performance cats are closer to the edge. This used to worry me a bit on my old French 32-foot cat, so we tended to reef early and sometimes take in a reef at night as a preventative measure if we were at all in doubt as to the weather. However, there are times when you just get hit out of the blue with something, and it catches you by surprise, so your boat does need a significant margin for error. While offshore down in the SW Caribbean a good 60-70 miles from any land we were running dead before the wind with about 10-15 knots and the mainsail vanged out to one side to keep it from roll gybing. I was asleep and my wife and daughter were on watch when they were hit dead on the nose by a squall packing 20 knots or more of wind, that quickly built to 30. It had our sails completely aback and we went out of control because I had the main boom tied off and couldn't easily release it. The boat got pinned down hard to starboard and I was glad I had a heavy keel below me. Probably a cat would have just slid off to leeward, but you never know.
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