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Old 25-11-2014, 13:29   #1
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Dead Down Wind?

How many people sail dead down wind? When? Passagemaking? Coastal?
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Old 25-11-2014, 13:46   #2
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

I have quite a bit, usually under headsail alone..
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Old 25-11-2014, 13:46   #3
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

For us, it is whenever our destination lies DDW. Our boat is designed and rigged to do this very well.

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Old 25-11-2014, 13:49   #4
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

I confess I have always had serious cat-envy, DDW being one of many reasons.
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Old 25-11-2014, 13:53   #5
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

I do when it's where I want to go, and I'm not flying the asym. Wing and wing (typically with a 170% drifter). I put a whisker pole through a loop at the clew of the genoa, don't bother with any topping lift, guys, etc... (My boat just isn't that big)

It's slow, hot, and boring. Autopilot (autohelm from the stone age) seems to steer it fine DDW. But we rarely have really large swell here but if we do, otto doesn't drive.

Not DDW, but I can carry the asym pretty deep, so if I want fun and speed I'll fly that and gybe to get where I'm going.


Caveat: I've got a toy coastal cruiser, that would break itself apart if the water turns blue, so take what I say with a few grains of salt
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Old 25-11-2014, 14:24   #6
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

If it's not far (>10M) the seas are small and I'm feeling particularly enthusiastic, then I might goose-wing the twin headsails or the genoa and mainsail if that's already up, but either option requires me to hand helm, so usually and always if it's <10M, I'll come off 5 or 10 degrees and let The Lizard (Monitor windvane) take the strain.
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Old 25-11-2014, 14:36   #7
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

DDW is a lot better than DUW

DDW is glorious if there's enough wind -- for my boat, that means over 30 knots. Then headsail alone and surf's up! I did something like 36 miles in 3 hours like this once, in a gale.

Below 25 knots it's slower, and from 20 knots and less, you have to wing out the mainsail. The secret to doing this well is to sail the preventered-out main by the lee a bit, so that it spills wind into the headsail. On my boat, the high-clewed yankee is ok without a pole as long as there is a bit of wind, but it will not tolerate being sailed by the lee even one degree -- it suddenly collapses.

Below 15 knots or so of true wind, you need to add diesel power.

Sailing DDW requires more wind than other points of sail, obviously (duh) because your boat speed is subtracted from true wind, and because your sails are acting purely as drag devices, making no lift at all. The other disadvantage is rolling. But if the destination is DDW, then of course, that's how you sail!
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Old 25-11-2014, 14:43   #8
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

On a SQUARE-RIGGER, of course!
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Old 25-11-2014, 14:45   #9
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

We sail whatever the wind gods give us, which has meant a lot DDW, but has also meant, sometimes many miles upwind, too. And then, there's the magic light air reaching, too.

Have used, in light airs, the whole main, genoa poled out to windward, and stays'l or solent jib to leeward--unequal goose wings. Can't fly the kite in the big swells.

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Old 25-11-2014, 14:52   #10
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

What does it matter?


For some boats, wing'n'wing dead downwind is the fastest way to go. For others, bearing off and gybing downwind is faster.


Some skippers know which is faster for their boat, others don't.


But just to ask how many do either?? What's the point in that?
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Old 25-11-2014, 14:59   #11
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

On a 15 1/2 day passage to Hawaii sailed DDW, wing and wing for 12 days, jibed once. Wind was light for the passage never exceeding 10k relative. Averaged slightly over 140 nmpd for the entire passage. Have seldom done it coastal sailing which has mostly been a reach. On a passage to the Marquesas from San Diego, ran DDW, wing and wing for about 5 days till we hit the doldrums.
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Old 25-11-2014, 15:26   #12
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

Sometimes it's relaxing. Heading across for a few days.

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Old 25-11-2014, 15:27   #13
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

Our boat, a Meta Dalu 47, with retractable keel, loves DDW. We have three choices depending on wind speed and length of time we expect good wind. Genoa only, genoa and solent and Parasailor. We have twin poles so we can pole both genoa and solent out if we think we have the wind for a while since it does take some time to set everything up.

The Parasailor is the most flexile but takes a bit of time to set up since sheets and guys have to rigged.

Of course we have have a real advantage with retractable keel since we don't have to worry about a broach.

From Aruba to Panama we averaged about 8 kts occasionally up to 11-14 but never feeling out of control.
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Old 25-11-2014, 15:34   #14
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

DDW I will usually go wing-on-wing. For longer runs I rig preventers on main & jib. For the jib I run a guy from the clew thru a spinaker guy block on the bow...on a cat this works much like a soft whisker pole. Easy ride on a cat.
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Old 25-11-2014, 15:56   #15
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Re: Dead Down Wind?

Why I am asking actually has to do with developing my heavy weather sail plan.

The boat is a shoal-draft production cruising version of a Philippe Briand designed racer from 1979 with a typical-of-the time IOR pinched stern and behaves as such. I don't see us making more than two crossings with the boat. Doubtless only one of them would be a coconut milk run, but I'll never say never to more.

Right now the boat is a blank slate as far as not having any spinnaker gear.

Putting a sheave in the mast for a topping lift gets me the option of setting a staysail with a wire or dyneema inner-stay, which I think could be a nice set-up for heavy weather that is also versatile considering what you can do with a symmetrical spinnaker.

The rig is an Isomat and I think I can get the part which is a weld-in casting from Rigrite. This costs me the sheave, plus the pole itself, pole car, pole up-down, cleats, sheets and guys, and snatch blocks. I have secondaries and will be adding cabin top halyard winches and I actually just scored a set of hand-me-down Dux halyards from a turboed fifty footer which is nice.

If I go that route I might as well put in the sheave with the forestay tang, which gets me a permanent inner forestay. Somehow the idea of a "permanent" stay to hang the staysail on appeals to me but who knows. In this case the bowsprit/asymmetrical starts looking nice as the option of flying a screacher or other light air sails could help to offset the boat's otherwise so-so light air performance.

I am just in the starting phase of planning a next summer project and sketched out a heavy weather sail plan which I attached below. I already have holes in my upper spreader bases to which I have drawn running backstays and not knowing otherwise I have the inner forestay attached there as well but maybe it should be a little lower on the mast? Not sure how that works.

At the bottom the inner forestay lands on the conveniently located aft bulkhead of the anchor locker so that the inner forestay ends up being parallel to the forestay. Not sure if that is coincidence or intentional.

I plan to get a servo-pendulum eventually but the boat has a tiller and I have had some good experience with sheet-to-tiller self-steering in the past and would like to optimize that aspect on the short term. Twin head sails seem ideal for DDW sheet-to-tiller but I don't know how close you can reach and am not sure if I would be ever be doing enough DDW to justify a twin sail. Any thoughts on whether symmetrical or asymmetrical sails are better for sheet-to-tiller?
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