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Old 06-05-2010, 18:28   #1
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How Much Is too Much ?

so im out sailing around yesterday on narragansett bay with my relatively (new to me) boat ('72 santana 22) and we have a nice 15kts of wind, then we round dutch island and start to tack upwind back towards home. on the way home the wind really starts cranking and so do i (6.7kts by the gps!) but the boat is heeling like all hell. my roll-o-meter hit 42 degrees and i started to feel a little (okay, alot) uncomfortable. we made it home okay but my question is thus:

how much heel is too much? ive heard of boats being knocked down and getting back up and sailing but where do you want to start getting worried about stresses on your rig?

thanks guys!


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Old 06-05-2010, 18:40   #2
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I'm sure everyone is different, but for me on my boat if we're holding at 20 degrees heel I probably should have reefed already or moved the traveler. Even then if the wheel is hard to hold I could reef more etc and go just as fast (maybe faster) while being more comfortable.Your 42 degrees was scarely just to read for me.

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Old 06-05-2010, 18:44   #3
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More than 15 degrees of sustained heel angle is unhealthy for typical boats. Meaning that they are overpowered and unbalanced. Some may tolerate more.
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Old 06-05-2010, 19:04   #4
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Sailboats move by the lift generated off the shape of the sails. That "lift vector" is perpendicular to the sail and as you increase heel the vector starts to point more down into the ocean versus forward of the ship. You can let out the sheets but eventually you are limited by dragging the boom in the water. So finding a happy medium of keeping the boat "on its feet" versus increasing the lift vector is the key to performance sailing.
You might have noticed in the around the buoy sail races the crew sits on the high side of the boat rail to try to get the mast back upright. Lacking 20 guys and girls in fancy tee-shirts to sit on my rail, I just have to find the sweet spot between staying upright and maximum sail pull.
- - Walking on the sidewalls while on a passage is not all the much fun so we tend to accept less speed to keep the boat upright for comfort.
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:13   #5
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I'm one of those sailors that believes a heel belongs on your shoe and not on your boat. I try to keep it to 10 degrees myself. Five degrees means I don't worry about my drink spilling in the cup holder.

A holdover to the days of tall ships using the trade winds, most boats are designed to be the most effective in a 13.8 knot wind heeling at less than 15 degrees. After that you begin to loose efficiency, so keeping all your sails up serves no purpose.

When I bought my boat, the previous owner was very into racing (unlike me) and my 25 O'Day is what I would call over sheeted. I find that starting my day reefed in is the best idea. If the winds are really light it's easier to un-reef in calm winds than to reef in a blow. In a 15 knot wind, reefed to the first spot keeps us under 10 degrees and traveling very close to hull speed (depending of course on tack).

The part that worries me more than suffering a knock-down is the more immediate problem of losing helm control. That begins fairly soon with excessive heel. That must have been a real thrill at over 40 degrees. Bet that rudder weighed a ton!

I had a similar experience once coming around Prudence Island. We were sailing along on an almost even keel when we hit a gust. Nearly put the rail in the water. The wife was on the wrong side of the boat and it threw her off balance. She grabbed the only thing she could which unfortunately was the tiller. I'm yelling LET GO and she's hanging on tighter for dear life. Now that was fun.

Narragansett Bay is a wonderful place to sail, but as you know it's also full of little surprises when it comes to wind velocity. I remember coming out of Wickford Cove under the main only. Nice day, light wind, calm seas. All of a sudden from out of nowhere a gust came up and I'm 25 degrees over with nothing but a full main up. I can only thank God I hadn't set the jib yet. That could have very well been a knock-down.

My rule when on the bay is, under sheet to begin, add sail as needed and ALWAYS allow a margin for those little blasts. I keep a keen eye on the water ahead when sailing around any land mass that can hide an increase in wind speed. It's pretty easy to spot them on the bay. Keep in mind that bay sailing is different than open water. The land shapes and forms the wind and knowing those spots can make a day's sail far safer and pleasant. Keeping the line handy for a quick release on the main is also not a bad idea especially when rounding an island with hidden wind currents. When sailing solo I run the jib line across the cockpit for a quick release there too. I would much rather luff the sails than discover how well my cockpit drains.

If you see a red hulled 25 O'Day someday on the bay with the main reefed and sailing flat ... sail over and say Hi! There's not many red boats on the bay. The only other one I know is Starlight and she's a 30 foot. I always monitor ch 16. We're always happy to make new friends.
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:30   #6
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Reef em.

Reef the sails or even consider another set...smaller ones you can use when winds high.
A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, he said, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. But we do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again.

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Old 07-05-2010, 04:56   #7
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When you're heeled over that far, you're stalling and moving sideways more than you are moving forward. You probably had a huge amount of weather helm, so at that point your rudder is only acting as a brake, slowing you down.

The wind, is a dynamic (changing force), not a static force like an engine set to 1600 RPM's. When the wind changes, so must you. You can round up into the wind so that your current trim is more appropriate to the wind speed and angle, this is "trimming by rudder" or if you must maintain a particular course, you must alter the sail trim. (When in doubt, let it out).

In the short time I've been sailing, I've just been inundated with the number of options for sail trim. Much of it has been learned while racing, but also has applications for cruising.

Here's a few things:

1. Too much main sail for the wind- Reef (reduce) sail, as suggested earlier.

2. Flatten the sails. More outhaul, more downhaul, move the jib cars back on their tracks. Main outhaul and the jib cars are like throttle- Forward to power up, back to power down. Downhaul on the main, either using a cunningham, or just pulling down on your boom if it's a floating boom, helps with this too.

3. Fuller sails are better in light air when you need more power, or when you need to pound your way through choppy waters, so you ease the outhaul, the downhaul and send the jib cars forward.

4. Traveler & boom vang- These work together to maintain the appropriate sail shape by changing the direction of pull on the boom, to alter the shape of the main sail. They are 2 parts of a system. The vang is used mostly on downwind legs though, it has limited application on upwind legs. The traveler does most of that work.

I've learned these things by racing on OPB's (other people's boats), and then applied them with great success on my 5ktsb.
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:03   #8
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Originally Posted by santana 22 View Post
s but the boat is heeling like all hell. my roll-o-meter hit 42 degrees and i started to feel a little (okay, alot) uncomfortable. we made it home okay but my question is thus:

There's a saying which goes something like
When you feel its time to reef, then that is the time to reef.
More likely, you left it too late, but thats all part of the learning curve
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:53   #9
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The Santana is, I think the same as the Santanas in Australia in the 1970's.

They raced well around the bouys on Sydney Harbour and were a reasonable size boat for those days.

I think they can do well over 15 degrees of heel. Theres a perception floating around my head that 30 degrees was the design heel at that time of design for the boats of that class.

Obviously the new design boats the heel is far less and 15 degrees is about opitum (but not the maximum).

I wonder if you can find the designed heel somewhere?

They are good boats and you will learn more by giving it a push that playing mamby-pamby cruising dude.

There must still be some racing somewhere.

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Old 07-05-2010, 05:57   #10
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I just found something that may be of assistance:

My emphisis added:
Target speed and heel angle

In 20 knots of true wind, our three designs have distinctive optimum performance parameters. Chariot has a target speed of 6.7 knots, but as the beamiest design, to get there the heel angle must be limited to 26 degrees, and sails must be reefed to 80 percent and flattened. The Daniells 50 will make 7.9 knots with the same sail management strategy, but its hull form permits a heel angle of 29 degrees. The 12-Meter True North I, the narrowest and heaviest of the lot, requires no reefing, only flattening of the sails, and can carry 30 degrees of heel as 8.3 knots are achieved.

How much heel your boat can actually tolerate can be investigated by some on-water pacing against an identical or similar design. If you don’t have one already, install a heel gauge and pay attention to it as you draw your observations. An excellent resource to gather hard numbers on how your boat should be handled is US SAILING, which offers valuable performance packages on about 1,500 designs. The packages provide, among other things, target speeds and target heel angles for various wind speeds. They’re available for $170 to members and $190 to non-members: a bargain for numbers you can really lean on.

Hopefully someone here can get you the figures without you shelling out $190!
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:38   #11
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What is your goal? Speed or comfort?

First you asked about rig stress - On most boats you shouldn't need to worry about rig stress until the mast hits the water. On most modern designs rig stress goes down beyond a certain heel angle because the righting moment decreases. This is due to the part of righting moment created by hull form shape. In your case you should look to see if the boat has been upgraded as it appears there were some defiencies in the original boat, such as aluminum chain plates.

Observations on Santana 22 Mast Losses

Comfortable sailing heel angle -
Pick whatever angle turns your crank and don't exceed.

Optimum upwind speed heel angle:
Mark's article is good.

Couple of indicators that folks look at:
Rudder angle of greater than 3 to 5 degrees will produce excessive drag. On my boat the tip of the tiller reaches the bridgedeck and at the angles of interest I have 1 inch of tiller offset per 1 degree of rudder angle. Find something easy to measure on your boat.

Watch your knotmeter. I can lose a 1/4 knot of speed when the heel angle goes up to 25 degrees on my boat when close hauled. As indicated above some boats like 30 degrees, some a lot less. I know people that used to race a Santana 20, they said the boat is like a flat bottomed dinghy and needs to be sailed as flat as possible. Note: The Santana 20 and 22 are very different, don't use advice for the 20.

Reaching can have very different rules. I have experimented a bit and discovered that the rule for sailing my boat upwind doesn't apply for reaching. Reefing to keep the rudder angle and heel angle to what works for upwind was much slower on a reach. My boat was faster with more than 10 degrees of rudder angle and 30 -35 degrees of heel on a reach.

Experiment, try different sail combinations, watch your knotmeter and rudder angle.


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