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Old 08-01-2013, 04:20   #1
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how much is too much wind

Sailing up from sydney to brisbane for the first time with 33ft yacht. I am used to bay sailing. what is good wind and swell for sailing coastal. Is 20 or 25 knots too hard on the boat or is this ideal in coastal sailing? I seem to be looking for 10-15knts which maybe not enough to move a 33ft yacht.
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Old 08-01-2013, 04:32   #2
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Re: how much is too much wind

The ideal amount of wind depends on the wind direction.
What month are you planning to make the trip?
If it is in Jan/Feb you are likely to get a due easterly (onshore, so bigger seas, apparent wind most likely to be a shy reach). Fifteen knots would be plenty in an unfamiliar vessel of that size in those conditions for someone only used to bay sailing.
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Old 08-01-2013, 04:34   #3
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Re: how much is too much wind

15 to 20 knots would be ideal. Preferably not right on the nose but anything from a close reach through to broad reaching condiions would be beautiful. Once the wind gets to 25 knots your boat could handle these conditions as long as you and your crew can but don't forget to put a reef in early. There are several ports that you can stopover along the way but I would recommend that you stay away from the entrances with bars like Yamba & the Tweed.

If you are planning on doing any sailing at night make sure that you don your inflatable lifejacket with crotchstrap & tether at dusk. I also wear my personal epirb at all times during passages.
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Old 08-01-2013, 04:39   #4
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Re: how much is too much wind

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Originally Posted by Ozbullwinkle View Post
......
If you are planning on doing any sailing at night make sure that you don your inflatable lifejacket with crotchstrap & tether at dusk. I also wear my personal epirb at all times during passages.
I would say wear lifejacket and tether at all times. Clip on before you emerge from the companionway. Easy precaution and keeps you much safer .
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Old 08-01-2013, 04:40   #5
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Re: how much is too much wind

Hi Lamita,

I don't know the area you're asking about, but the answer is going to depend on a number of variables:

1- Wind against current?
2- Sailing up wind or downwind?
3- How big are the swells/wind?
4- What type of boat?
5- Can you reef the sails adequately?
6- Is it clear water sailing or are you"threading the needle" between reefs/rocks etc?

If you can reef properly, I personally wouldn't worry much until I got well into Gale force (say force 9, 35 knots or so). The main issue is getting the sail area reefed way down.

If you are sailing purely downwind - then you can fly only the genoa (or a reefed genoa), or furl the genoa and run with a reefed main (I prefer the genoa).

It also depends a bit on the boat - is your boat capable of sailing in heavy weather? My boat just streaks along in gales. It is more exhilarating than a worry 8unless the waves get really big).

So you probably need to include a bit more information in order to get a usable answer

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Old 08-01-2013, 06:40   #6
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Re: how much is too much wind

I think the most important variable, that no one seems to have mentioned, is what are YOU capable of? The boat can probably handle almost anything the sea can throw at it. YOU, on the other hand, are quite a different matter. And especially since you are not used to open ocean sailing, your limits are likely to be far, far less than the boats.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:37   #7
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Re: how much is too much wind

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I think the most important variable, that no one seems to have mentioned, is what are YOU capable of? The boat can probably handle almost anything the sea can throw at it. YOU, on the other hand, are quite a different matter. And especially since you are not used to open ocean sailing, your limits are likely to be far, far less than the boats.
I think that the fact that that OP needs to ask shows he is not sure of his limits. Best to go in ideal conditions on a first ocean passage in an unfamiliar boat . That is what my recommendation was based on.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:22   #8
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Re: how much is too much wind

In addition Carstenb's answer (and mentioned in a later post), is the crew capable of sailing in 15-20knts of wind?

Phrasing the question is probably giving the answer.....
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:35   #9
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Re: how much is too much wind

In those wind ranges in a 33 foot boat, the issue is the waves, not the wind. We sail on San Francisco Bay in 25++ knot winds all summer. Once outside the Golden Gate, same winds with hundreds of miles of ocean fetch makes a completely different story. How long have the winds been blowing? What's the projected weather?

Asking this kinda question suggests that the skipper needs some more practice before he departs.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:59   #10
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Re: how much is too much wind

having sailed thru 71 kts in fla, an d60 kts in mexico hurrycame force is way too much.

too much is when your nerves fray and you cease to function outside of a panic state. that is an individual number. for me, 60 kts is a big number, but...is FUN!!! with the correct trim and rig.
i sail a ketch with full keel.
my too much wind is a lot different from that of someone sailing a sloop or cutter with fin keel--you guys WILL be experiencing heavy weather helm situation--i know--the 71 kts i sailed of fla in was in a sloop. will be a lot more comfy in my ketch, i know that. ( i also own and sail a sloop with a fin keel..)
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:00   #11
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Re: how much is too much wind

Lamita, the Mottle 33 is a fine sea boat, as others have said....it's how you can handle the conditions!
As you may be aware the SE trades dominate this east coast. Come UP the coast in following winds when you have a fair forcast. Plenty of places to rest on the way. Get hold of Alan Lucas' NSW cruising guide & Coral Coast guide....priceless info in them.
A 25 knot following wind and sea will be comfortable for you and the Mottle 33 but a 15 knot head wind will be slow & horrible!!
Remember a coastal passage means a leeshore not far away....always go on a good forecast and stay tucked away for high & head wind.
For me it's all about "enjoyment not endurance"! You can quote me on that!!
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:11   #12
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Re: how much is too much wind

Good advice here, the present conditions as we speak range in the 15 to 25 knot wind speed.The ocean is fairly lumpy right now with the S.E changing to a N for the next couple of days.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:32   #13
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Re: how much is too much wind

salticrack, where do you sail?
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:07   #14
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Re: how much is too much wind

Hey Zee, presently on the East coast of Aus, sunshine coast.I am building a Wharram catamaran so only sail my hobie Adventure Island to the offshore fishing grounds over here.

I have been watching the weather and sea state for a few days now as i hope to sail out to the reefs as the pelagics are going off.
With such a small craft i watch the weather intensely and would have been sailing/ fishing today but for the 25knt blow expected later today.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:07   #15
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Re: how much is too much wind

Take it in baby steps. First of all, get your reefing technique down to a science. Then go outside when forecast winds are only 10-15 or so. After an outing or two, watch for 15-20. 20-25. This is all stuff that experience will teach you, but you can speed up the process by purposely moderating and controlling as much as possible your experience.

When in doubt, REEF. and do it early instead of late. When it starts getting dark, REEF. You can't see local thunderstorms approaching as well, at night. When you aren't sure if you should reef or not, REEF. That ought to get you through your first near-gale in one piece. Practice heaving-to, also. Always know where you are at. Keeping a good DR is excellent insurance against loss of your electronics.
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