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Old 03-03-2015, 19:04   #31
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
"...lowering main IN A BLOW..." Lot's of variables to consider here. But first, the main is assumed to be fully deployed. Second the OP left considerable room for interpretation since the question does not specifically ask about reefing. Thus the reason for my precautionary post.

Also, what kind of wind strength and waves are we to consider are present in "A BLOW". What is the length and displacement of the boat? Is the foresail on a roller furling system or hanked on? How is the mainsail secured to the mast? Are there battens, and if so what type? What kind of clearance is there between the mainsail leech, aft lower shrouds and probability given the wind direction the leech will foul in them?

Your experience is different from mine because there's a huge difference in the variables mentioned above.


What you wrote in your original post was that it was "impossible" without use of engine. This may be so for you, but it is not so for others, and to write that it is impossible misleads others, and discourages them from trying a technique they may not yet have tried.

What I highlighted above is merely one explanation for the difference in our experience, but does not in any negate the option for a newbie in whatever vessel and with whatever variables he or she may have and encounter.

Ann
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:51   #32
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
[/COLOR]

What you wrote in your original post was that it was "impossible" without use of engine. This may be so for you, but it is not so for others, and to write that it is impossible misleads others, and discourages them from trying a technique they may not yet have tried.

What I highlighted above is merely one explanation for the difference in our experience, but does not in any negate the option for a newbie in whatever vessel and with whatever variables he or she may have and encounter.

Ann
Ann,

Sure is easy to get your nickers up in a wad.

I'll agree I probably should have said 'almost' impossible or very difficult.... Very few things having to do with sailing are absolute. The point of my message is the wrong response "in a blow" is to drop the sail entirely. Absent a mainsail, most boats cannot heave-to and control of the boat is lost. The boat is exposed to waves on the beam and the result can be catastrophic. At the very least there will be violent rolling and the crew is exposed to possible injury. I will never get underway without at least a third reef deployed.

As for the possibility 'newbies' may be misled or discouraged from trying to raise a mainsail "in a blow", good seamanship on their part will never allow themselves to be caught in a situation where at least some of the mainsail is not up to begin with. And of course "a blow" can be anything from strong wind that suddenly appears on a cloudless day in a bay with insignificant waves, to strong wind with waves as large as your imagination will allow. In those conditions I wonder if your technique will still work without an engine. In some conditions an engine is useless...

Oh, I forgot to mention the keel configuration is also an important influencing factor affecting one's ability to raise a mainsail in a blow without an engine. You are most likely to succeed if you're boat has a fin or modified cruising keel with skeg hung rudder rather than a full keel of any sort.

Which is yours?
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:01   #33
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by ALAIN97133 View Post
I DON'T point into the wind, at least not beyond close-hull. My genoa is rolled as small as needed, but I still keep some sail in front. I let go the main & reef it remembering that the boom can be deadly when the sailboat rolls & it will roll for more wind means more waves & my sailboat is not steadied any more by the mainsail.

<snip>

PS: On my Ericson 34, I need to go on deck only for the first reef; second & third reefs can be rigged from the cockpit safety... cool
Do you have preventers? If you make them taut on both sides before lowering the sail to the desired reef the boom will be constrained. Still, precaution is in order because leech tension on the boom is reduced and this may introduce some slack into the preventers.
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Old 04-03-2015, 15:54   #34
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by theway View Post
Situation:
Wind picks up suddenly and you'd like to drop the main or lower it to reef, but the engine won't start (or there is no engine) How do you get the main down if you can't point into the wind? I'm assuming internal mast cars, which is what I have.
I'm thinking most sailors with experience would do what I do which is to just keep sailing, go forward and reef while under autopilot.

Yes, I'm talking singlehander here. With crew, this shouldn't even be a question.
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Old 04-03-2015, 16:08   #35
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Do you have preventers? ...
Yes... always !
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Old 04-03-2015, 16:33   #36
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by theway View Post
Situation:
Wind picks up suddenly and you'd like to drop the main or lower it to reef, but the engine won't start (or there is no engine) How do you get the main down if you can't point into the wind? I'm assuming internal mast cars, which is what I have.
The poster has a 34 ft. fin keel boat, and is sailing on SF Bay, in Calif., USA

Come up as high as you can, till the wind has the mainsail luffing. If you have your preventers permanently rigged, then set the leeward one to keep the boom from flogging too much. Set the autopilot to hold course. Without an autopilot or a small headsail set, the boat will fall off after you ease the halyard and the sail bags out. It may take considerable effort to drag the sail down because the cars can cock a bit in the slot, and because the sail fabric has a lot of friction against the rig. We have a line attached at the headboard to help encourage the sail to come down. Complete your reefing procedure. You may have to hurry to get back to the cockpit, but since you prevented it, the gybe will be incomplete. You may have to gybe back, or ease the main across. NB: this method assumes you are able to put the tails of the preventers on a cockpit winch.

Without an engine, if you have a headsail, you can then raise it or unfurl part of it, if needed to get to windward. Also, if you are without an autopilot, the boat should stay going upwind on the headsail with the helm locked long enough for you to get a reef in.

Some boats can be reefed going downwind sailing on the main alone. Do use the preventer, hard. Set autopilot, ease main sheet, go forward, ease halyard, claw sail down, place tack on reefing horn, tighten the reef line, re-tension halyard, tie in the reef points if that is your practice, return to cockpit, set new course if desired, and sheet in main, perhaps you'll need to ease the preventer for the new course.

If the hidden question in this post has to do with then sailing upwind to return to a marina or ??, a balanced sail plan appropriate to the wind conditions is what will help.

If everything gets all messed up, most of the Bay is anchoring depth. If you anchor, then the boat will stay more or less head to wind, for you to get it down, if it is not physically possible for you to overpower the main and claw it down. We used to have a high aspect ratio mainsail, and when we replaced the mast, we got the external cars, and it would reef a treat downwind. With this boat, with swept back spreaders, we have to come up to reef.

Some boats can be reefed going downwind sailing on the main alone. Do use the preventer, hard. Set autopilot, ease main sheet, go forward, ease halyard, place tack on reefing horn, tighten the reef line, re-tension halyard, tie in the reef points if that is your practice, return to cockpit, set new course if desired, and sheet in main, perhaps you'll need to ease the preventer for the new course.

Ann


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Old 04-03-2015, 17:01   #37
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by theway View Post
Situation:
Wind picks up suddenly and you'd like to drop the main or lower it to reef, but the engine won't start (or there is no engine) How do you get the main down if you can't point into the wind? I'm assuming internal mast cars, which is what I have.
As usual there unanimity on CF and only one way to skin a cat - You are welcome...

My advice is go out in "not-a-blow" and practice with your boat on various points of sail and see what works for you. If your cars jam deeper than a close reach you don't wanna find out 4 minutes before a squall line catches you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Just a thought on safety. On any boat, if you let go the steering, she should round up to weather and com to a stop, If it doesn't do that you need to re-tune the rig. If not and you get overpowered in a squall you can find yourself locked on a course with no response to steering and out of control. I speak from experience, not fun, and why you always have an anchor rigged in confined waters...
Hmmm. Almost agree. My boat is balanced at less than 30* of heel. I can let go the tiller and she will track straight.

However if a gust or higher wind comes and she heels more she will start rounding up.

I just demoed this to a potential buyer. The SO was asking about "safety" so I showed her how the boat was self limiting. I warned her the boat will heel more when this gust comes and it might feel scary but then it will turn and level out. The boat did it perfectly, then fell off and starting tracking again.

I then demoed steering with the mainsheet.

If your boat heads up hands off you must be adding lee helm to track and that adds drag - just sayin...
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Old 04-03-2015, 17:09   #38
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
As usual there unanimity on CF and only one way to skin a cat - You are welcome...

My advice is go out in "not-a-blow" and practice with your boat on various points of sail and see what works for you. If your cars jam deeper than a close reach you don't wanna find out 4 minutes before a squall line catches you.



Hmmm. Almost agree. My boat is balanced at less than 30* of heel. I can let go the tiller and she will track straight.

However if a gust or higher wind comes and she heels more she will start rounding up.

I just demoed this to a potential buyer. The SO was asking about "safety" so I showed her how the boat was self limiting. I warned her the boat will heel more when this gust comes and it might feel scary but then it will turn and level out. The boat did it perfectly, then fell off and starting tracking again.

I then demoed steering with the mainsheet.

If your boat heads up hands off you must be adding lee helm to track and that adds drag - just sayin...

Every source I have ever read says 2 to 5 degrees of weather helm is desirable for sailing close hauled. This causes the rudder to create lift to windward reducing leeway without excessive drag.
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Old 04-03-2015, 17:15   #39
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
I'm thinking most sailors with experience would do what I do which is to just keep sailing, go forward and reef while under autopilot.

Yes, I'm talking singlehander here. With crew, this shouldn't even be a question.
We are fortunate to have small boats where handling our sails is relatively easy. But, some sailors do not have an autopilot or small boats. Still, their procedures are pretty much the same and with a balanced helm and consistent wind simply done.

In lieu of going forward 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, 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. Of course, keeping the sail directly into the wind is paramount in order to minimize effort and maintain control.
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Old 04-03-2015, 17:48   #40
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Every source I have ever read says 2 to 5 degrees of weather helm is desirable for sailing close hauled. This causes the rudder to create lift to windward reducing leeway without excessive drag.
You need to explain how a rudder held to leward to make the boat track straight adds lift to windward. I am confused.

Intuitively efficiency demands a balanced boat hands-off but when disturbed by an increasing gust heads up.

These paradigms handed down from generation to generation always crack me up.

Certainly you don't want a boat that heads down in a gust but that is a factor of rig and keel design and interaction between the two.
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Old 04-03-2015, 20:45   #41
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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You need to explain how a rudder held to leward to make the boat track straight adds lift to windward. I am confused.

Intuitively efficiency demands a balanced boat hands-off but when disturbed by an increasing gust heads up.

These paradigms handed down from generation to generation always crack me up.

Certainly you don't want a boat that heads down in a gust but that is a factor of rig and keel design and interaction between the two.
If you have weather helm the boat is trying to turn into the wind, so I pull my tiller to weather to counter that to steer in a straight line, I assumed you were saying that you put your wheel to the lee. Either way the rudder is angled to water flow to create an angle of attack that provides some lift to weather.

Since the boat is making leeway in order for the keel to make lift to weather, since it is symmetrical, the boat is travelling through the water at an angle, making more drag than it would if it were travelling straight ahead. A small amount of weather helm reduces some leeway, and reduces drag. The trade off is the rudder producing lift makes drag, so too much weather helm overcomes the gain of the reduced leeway and reduced drag.

Tom Whidden The Art and Science of Sails has a section on this.

E-scows have bilge boards that are toed in. Since you only put down the leeward board, it is angled to create an angle of attack and therefore lift when the boat is travelling straight through the water. Some catamarans have toed in boards, on these designs you lift the weather board. The cats where you typically leave both boards down to go to windward are not toed in.

John Vigor's Blog: Fighting weather helm
Tank testing has shown that about 2 or 3 degrees of rudder from dead center helps lift a sailboat to windward. More than 4 degrees just acts as a brake to your progress.

Tom Whidden article:
https://books.google.com/books?id=6p...20helm&f=false
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Old 04-03-2015, 21:24   #42
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

Someone mentioned the sequence after putting tack on the reefing horn in that the next step in putting tension on the clew with the reefing line and then tightening the halyard. I always think it is best to tighten the halyard first prior to putting tension on that reefing point due to high stress put on the sail's luff if you tighten down on that clew before putting tension on the halyard.
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Old 05-03-2015, 00:17   #43
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by cal40john View Post
If you have weather helm the boat is trying to turn into the wind, so I pull my tiller to weather to counter that to steer in a straight line, I assumed you were saying that you put your wheel to the lee. Either way the rudder is angled to water flow to create an angle of attack that provides some lift to weather.

Since the boat is making leeway in order for the keel to make lift to weather, since it is symmetrical, the boat is travelling through the water at an angle, making more drag than it would if it were travelling straight ahead. A small amount of weather helm reduces some leeway, and reduces drag. The trade off is the rudder producing lift makes drag, so too much weather helm overcomes the gain of the reduced leeway and reduced drag.

Tom Whidden The Art and Science of Sails has a section on this.
Ok. Have it your way.
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Old 05-03-2015, 01:54   #44
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Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

Really good info. The original question is intentionally vague to get different and varying responses based on personal experience versus specifics based on my configuration.

It's always comforting to know that someone else is doing something the same as me on my boat, and even more comforting to find out there is a better way.
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Old 05-03-2015, 05:38   #45
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
I'm thinking most sailors with experience would do what I do which is to just keep sailing, go forward and reef while under autopilot. Yes, I'm talking singlehander here. With crew, this shouldn't even be a question.
Singlehandler... Of course, for even when we sailed towards the sunset with our better half, we try not to wake him/her up for such a routine manoeuver
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