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Old 05-03-2015, 11:15   #16
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

The water doesn't look that rough in that video. I would just head up and reef.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:54   #17
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Very obviously you reef at the first sign of approaching bad weather. And I have the habit of reefing very early (i'm in no hurry).

Having said that - the question was:

assuming you get caught, for whatever reason (squalls etc can sneak up on you at night) how can you douse your mainsail if going DDW?

Let's face it - we all say (and think) we're careful sailors - but Sh*t happens to everyone at some time or another.
Well, I think most of us know when we're in 'sqall country' and watch accordingly, day and night. Plus, there is usually advance notice of an approaching squall in the form of a drop in wind strength leading to calm and light drizzle.. The other warning comes in the form of what I call messanger waves that strike the boat at an odd angle... So, FOR AN EXPERIENCED SAILOR being caught by a squall is improbable.

However having entered the South Pacific convergence zone on my way to the Marquesas... The first squall I ever encountered was after dark, exhibiting all of the phenomena above. I was motoring in windless conditions with a double reefed main. When the wind began to build I thought to myself - oboy, gonna sail! Up went the jib. No more than 30 seconds later the jib was torn leech to luff along a seam. I hove to. The wind strength was such that the rain was blown horizontally. Within minutes the main tore leech to luff along a seam.

Long story short it took a week to restitch the main on the boom because there's no space in my diminuitive sailboat to repair a main below. Lots of fun on a rolling boat sailing off the wind under jib alone.

I've never 'been caught' by another squall since.

It's standard operating procedure for me to remove the sunbrella cockpit cover and reef down at night.

A prudent sailor will always be looking for signs of approaching change. Clouds of different shapes accompany different kinds of change. Even 'high clouds' that stretch out in your direction.
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:16   #18
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

Someone has to ask so here goes.
What does DDW stand for? Presumably something down wind?

Thanks
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:34   #19
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

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Someone has to ask so here goes.
What does DDW stand for? Presumably something down wind?

Thanks
Right. 'Dead downwind, where the wind is from astern, 180* to the boat's direction of travel.
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Old 05-03-2015, 16:04   #20
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

I have a Strong Track for a number or reasons, one being able to reef the main in down wind conditions. I center the boom as best I reasonable can and sail about 160*. Then as long as the sail is not against the spreaders, after I loosen the main halyard I can pull the sail down to the reef point I want. I have done so single handing on a number of occasions in a blow as the wind came up, finally dropping the main completely as the wind top 35 knots with consistency. Without the Strong Track (or a battcar system) the friction is too great to do so as was the case before it was installed.
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Old 05-03-2015, 16:07   #21
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Very obviously you reef at the first sign of approaching bad weather. And I have the habit of reefing very early (i'm in no hurry).

Having said that - the question was:

assuming you get caught, for whatever reason (squalls etc can sneak up on you at night) how can you douse your mainsail if going DDW?

Let's face it - we all say (and think) we're careful sailors - but Sh*t happens to everyone at some time or another.
Hey guys-not one of you answered the OP's question.
Assume some of us are not as well prepared as you,both mentally & equipment wise,or we are newbies or just plain dumb.The guy in the video got himself in a mess-why he got to that point-you are only guessing.
The only action he appeared to take was releasing main & jib sheets.
Falling off or rounding up is obviously a better maneuver,as is not getting into the mess in first place.
Also,assume he was scared of or unable to turn.

I know my main,using plastic slugs(Holt-all new) in mast track is a bitch to get down beyond 1/3 in near calm-I am going to rig a downhaul because of this.My outhaul is a boltrope in boom track-again very difficult to slide.

So-what to do in an emergency that requires dropping main fast,possibly without rounding up(constrained in sea room,whatever)

Tks/Len
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Old 05-03-2015, 16:51   #22
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

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I can't play the video on my tablet, so I'm responding solely to the question as posed and rather than do 'double work' have copied in my response provided in another thread.

I have my halyards and reefing lines led through swivel, turning blocks and organizers to clutches. The arrangement introduces a fair amount of friction, but this is overcome with a two speed winch located on the cabin top, port side.

This arrangement enables me to handle everything safely from the cockpit. When sailing in ocean conditions, my Aries wind vane is a reliable partner enabling me to leave the cockpit most anytime I choose.

Since South Pacific cruising entails mostly downwind sailing, I find myself frequently needing to reduce sail in order to control weather helm and forces on the vane that otherwise negatively affects its performance.

To reef when dailing 'DDW', I bring the mainsail admidship engaging both preventers very securely. In order to keep the leech from being blown forward into the shrouds, I slowly ease the main halyard while at the same time pulling in on the jiffy reef line run through a cringle in the leech. Alternately I pull in the reefing line tied to a reefing cringle in the mainsail luff. As a matter of habit I typically tie the reefing points which keeps the sail captive on the boom if I need to throw in another reef later on. This can be repeated until the mainsail is completely secured on the boom. Of course, keeping the mainsail leech directly into the wind is paramount in order to minimize effort and maintain control. My question for the OP is provided wave height and shape will not make doing so unsafe, why not heave to until conditions improve? Eliminating the mainsail is not in my view the right response.
Great response, I appreciate reading a solution to that problem. I will practice that. Some of us may not have all the time to heave to waiting for the weather to improve and the solution provided is good.
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Old 05-03-2015, 17:01   #23
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

I agree with Dockhead. A good in mast will let you reef under pressure


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Old 05-03-2015, 18:02   #24
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

I have played this game a number of times and not always the same way and not always with perfect results. My first comment concerns friction and slugs. My first mainsail could rather easily be brought down on any point of sail- my new mainsail has much more friction and doesn't work nearly as well. Now I must point up just enough to luff the main (boom pulled at least partly in so sail doesn't hang up on spreaders) and then it can be pulled down with the reef line. Or I can just ease the halyard and pull very hard on the reef line and each time the load is a little less it comes down a little but I worry about tearing it apart!

Second, I realize that coming head to wind is usually not as a big problem as I think and, of course, getting the main down is much easier if I do this. I am naturally a chicken but am gradually learning that conditions are not nearlly as bad as they appear (to me) so I shouldn't hesitate to head up and do it the easy way.
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Old 05-03-2015, 18:24   #25
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
The water doesn't look that rough in that video. I would just head up and reef.
I have watched this video a dozen times and he is not heading DDW although he most likely was based on the pole etc. The sails are flogging and the boat is on a reach. The main sheet is blown but the sail is still pulling.

I have to wonder about steering failure as I have never been unable to round up from a reach with the mainsheet released.

Or maybe just panic.

While 50kts may have been reported that day I seriously doubt he was currently in 50kts. Looks like about 25-30max and I am being generous.

As to dropping the main DDW - I don't think I would. I have been going hella fast DDW. The rounding up maneuver can likely broach the boat but I trust my boat to get back on her feet so I would head up. I've had the spreaders in the water before.

If I had a steering failure or other reason I couldn't.

- Loose footed I would probably cut the outhaul
- Bolt rope footed - I'd have to consider cutting the foot and then the outhaul

Either way this is gonna be a big assed mess.

I know my main won't come down past a close reach or so. The plastic cars just bind in the track.

The only condition I had that was similar was we did a 360 at very low boat speed and relatively high winds. The genoa wrapped around the forestay precluding furling and or dropping it but it filled almost completely.

We started the motor and "grunt" overcame the power of the Genoa to uwrap it.
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Old 05-03-2015, 19:15   #26
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

In the situation shown... I would get rid of the jib, haul in a bit on the mainsheet and then helm hard over and throw the bow up into wind hauling in on the mainsheet as I did so. Best to have somebody at the mast ready to drop as soon as she comes onto the wind. SOP for me when getting sails off at the end of the day... a turn from DDW can be 'interesting' if there is much breeze.

With lots of sail up and a bit of wind she may lay rather flattish on the turn from DDW but as long as you have the speed up and don't faff about it should be of a transient nature... just make sure everyone is hanging on.....

Offshore I rarely have a full main up when running downhill ( both the self steerer and I prefer to drive her on the headsails). With two or 3 reefs down I just haul in on the mainsheet to take the sail off the spreaders/ shrouds and the load off the slugs ( standard issue plastic) and drag her down.
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Old 05-03-2015, 20:25   #27
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

The video clip appears to show a power vessel failing to adhere to several rules of the road, not the lease of which is failing to yield to a sailing vessel in obvious distress.
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Old 05-03-2015, 22:04   #28
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How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
The water doesn't look that rough in that video. I would just head up and reef.

That is what I thought but I am told here on CF that I will capsize if I do that. Can't see it myself so I'm gonna play around a bit next time I am in a decent blow. If I am never heard from again then "they were right" darn it.


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Old 05-03-2015, 22:19   #29
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

Carsten B, when you are heaving to, do you ease the mainsheet and traveller?


Normally, if you heave to (backwind the foresail, allow the main to duck behind, and turn toward the wind, the main is depowered (so a reef shouldn't be necessary).


While I haven't sailed everything, I have sailed many, and I have yet to see a sloop rig that has to be reefed to heave to.
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Old 05-03-2015, 22:20   #30
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Re: How Can You Douse Your Main Sail in a Hard Blow DDW?

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That is what I thought but I am told here on CF that I will capsize if I do that. Can't see it myself so I'm gonna play around a bit next time I am in a decent blow. If I am never heard from again then "they were right" darn it.
Its what I do quite often.... you just need boat speed... the laws of physics aren't as smart as they think they are... you will be round before they know you are doing it.

Expect to break some stuff in the galley.

Make sure you are ready to haul in the mainsheet and drop the main muy pronto otherwise the biggest danger is you will shake the stick out of the boat.

So you are carrying a full main and its blowing 50+ knots and there is a sea running... dunno ... haven't tried that yet.. best to shorten sail early....otherwise it will serve you right.
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