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Old 07-01-2018, 15:10   #16
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

when I am caught in that situation, I would firstly let out the sheets somewhat to reduce heel and speed - starting with whichever one is closest proximity to me. Or, if there is 2 of us on board, we tend to let out the main sheet first, by habit, despite our big genoa - it still takes the strain off. As we have a big genoa, that is the first sail we reduce as the wind picks up. But on a boat with a jib, i was once taught to reef the main first.
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Old 07-01-2018, 15:22   #17
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

There's an old saying in sailing: If you are thinking maybe you should reef, you should be reefed already. Reefing will reduce weather helm. Furl some jib in also.
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Old 07-01-2018, 15:33   #18
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

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Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Combine all that with all that was said above. The go out and practice! Experiment till you really know YOUR boat :-)!

TP
^^^^^

Practice, even when the wind is light. Get so you can do it in your sleep. Good luck.
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Old 07-01-2018, 16:47   #19
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

Ditto Breezydays - keep an ear to the weather report, and an eye to skies, sea conditions, barometer and other boats around you.

As the old adage goes - when you think it's time to reef, it's already too late.

Good tactical advice from others, and as Stu says, practice on lighter air days.
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Old 07-01-2018, 17:26   #20
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

Don CL, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. The most entertaining post of my own yesteryear experiences...bravo
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Old 07-01-2018, 17:46   #21
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

One summer day sailing inland on Pensacola Bay, a isolated storm roiled down with some quick pretense seen on the water surface and dark looming horizen. Waves maybe 2 feet so the waters were calm, but gusts easily topped 30 kts for a few moments as the front passed. These brief isolated lows move quickly and seem to arrive right at that lazy moment of sun, cool gentle breeze and my personal bad habit of napping while Lagniappe sails herself.

Lagniappe's staysail is always up, having one reef point which has never been used. Hard-a-lee positions her hove-to instantly, and better than dropping an anchor. Lots of sail settings keeps her windward at 1 or 2 knots while stirring a windward slick. Full staysail without main and windward tiller is fine, a windward staysail and leeward main with 2 reefs and loose tiller gives a bit faster windward heave-to of about 2 knots. Surely lots of combinations left to discover for heaving-to. Learning to effectively heave-to with Lagniappe has been the most important learned skill over the years. Lagniappe is born for heaving-to, much better than the Westsail 32, Lagniappe's predecessor.

So the develish summer storms will blow Lagniappe to a 50 degree heel with a full windward staysail without a main and about the same or a little more with a leeward main and 2 reefs. Since I'm basically lazy I prefer to keep the headsail bagged, full staysail and main with 2 reefs for those days where the 30 knot gusts seem to appear right around naptime.

Without reef points, and certainly with headsail, staysail and a full main, Lagniappe will not come about in 20+ winds, as most boats will not. Should this be the case, then bring in your main and gybe, cautiously so as to avoid the infamous Chinese Gybe. Leave your headsail and staysail to windward, get your bearings and first drop her main, then headsail if you can. Lagniappe's sails are all hanked for a quick drop when needed. Downhauls never worked mostly because they tangle and flap all over the place with sheets and halyards and sails during those precarious times of realizing my nap was a little longer than it should have been, all the while landing multiple slaps in the face from Lagniappe during personal outbursts of profanity. Not a pretty scene and certainly not suitable for proper seamanship aboard Lagniappe.

Staysail alone will not provide enough power without the main to maneuver in strong winds. Lagniappe's staysail was loose footed for a few years, a habit learned aboard the Westsail 32. Rather, a sternly sheeted staysail and 2 reefed main is her preferred set. Lagniappe will come about up to 30 knot winds if the seas are not much over 3 feet. For anything over 30 knots, dropping the staysail should get her to come about, but by then I've already gybed and hove to.

Without too much pride, much must be said about Lagniappe's one cylinder diesel thumper and her feathering prop. Pensacola pass is known for a quick turn of events. One evening We left Big Lagoon for open water with 4-5 foot seas and a 15 knot headwind. Staysail only at the time and free footed at that (a rookie mistake). Winds and seas building, Lagninappe would not come about and 10 foot seas against the tide precluded a gybe. There was no room for heaving to. Lagniappe's engine started instantly and motored her and her two crew safely offshore. An hour later after the compulsory heave-to while heaving-a-stern, and final collapse for 20 minutes on the cabin floor, we awoke to a smug and capable Lagniappe making a solid 2 knot headway and broad windward slick as if to casually reply '...um, really? ... don't embarrass me again, or stay home and I'll do this by myself, okay?'. It's nightfall and seas continue to build. Our options were to stay at sea or go through the pass again and anchor. As a rookie not yet fully confident in the art of heaving-to with Lagniappe, we dropped all sails and surfed our way through the pass with 10 foot seas. It was the first real trial with the feathering prop. There is something mysterious about it with a big wave from astern. I swear it kept Lagniappe from pitchpoling. As the wave lifts her stern and the surf begins (exhilarating), her prop seems to flip and actually brake. I'm embarrassed to explain it because it smacks of ignorance and pride, but it's true. Since then, I've cared for the engine and variprop as if it's a final lifeline for Lagniappe when the captain can't seem to get it right. Over time, engine and prop will likely play a lesser role, as Lagniappe gradually gives up her secrets as to what makes her happy in precarious seas.
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Old 07-01-2018, 17:51   #22
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

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Don CL, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. The most entertaining post of my own yesteryear experiences...bravo
thanks... yesteryear? I guess it'll be a while before I catch up get current......
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Old 07-01-2018, 19:09   #23
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

Lodbrog??? Where did that come from :-)?

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Old 07-01-2018, 23:59   #24
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

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Don CL, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. The most entertaining post of my own yesteryear experiences...bravo
Yes, Don your excellent description of a jib change was a perfect reminder of many years of sailing my Cal 29 in SF Bay and ocean racing. I usually did foredeck and my Dad was on the helm although I also did a few singlehanders.
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Old 08-01-2018, 02:17   #25
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

Learning to deal with heavy weather happens incrementally, if you're lucky. The more you sail and learn your boat, the more likely you'll encounter stormy periods. Always try to have a Plan B. It's also a good idea to challenge yourself by going out on days when it's a little rougher than your present comfort zone allows. Don't test the water depth with both feet, but some pucker factor is inevitable when it comes to learning how to best handle your vessel in challenging conditions. Crewing for seasoned skippers on passages is the best and safest way to get heavy weather experience IMHO.
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Old 08-01-2018, 04:15   #26
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Oceana.
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Old 08-01-2018, 08:37   #27
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

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Ditto Breezydays - keep an ear to the weather report, and an eye to skies, sea conditions, barometer and other boats around you.

As the old adage goes - when you think it's time to reef, it's already too late.

Good tactical advice from others, and as Stu says, practice on lighter air days.
One more advocating some sage advice. That keeping an eye to the sky may seem passť, in this day and age, it's not.
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:07   #28
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

To the OP, just a simple explanation and suggestion (to a very complex question).

If you have weather helm, the one thing you can be sure of is that your combined center of effort (the wind in your sails) is aft of your combined center of lateral resistance (primarily, your keel), forcing the stern off and the bow up.

You CAN address this just by depowering the sails (easing sheets, adjusting traveler and fairleads, etc), and there are some advantages to this. However, in my opinion, the better option is to address the basic problem by moving your center of effort forward. There are many ways to do this (sail shape, fairlead position, etc), but the simplest is to reef the main, transferring the balance of power to the foresail. If you're using a large genoa (>115% or so), you probably need to reef this as well.

In my experience, I would do this first (reef early and often!), then try easing the traveler, and if this doesn't give you a nice neutral helm then you can move to the more complex stuff.

Just anecdotally, over the years I have found that one of the greatest pleasures in sailing is being confident in your abilities to keep the boat balanced when conditions increase.

Best, Pete
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Old 09-01-2018, 11:11   #29
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

Don,
That was beautiful! I was right there with you as the wind howled outside and rain assaulted the windows here Near King Harbor in this current storm . . . makes we want to get up and go, but NOAA and PredictWind are keeping me from it. .
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Old 09-01-2018, 16:21   #30
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Re: New boat owner - sailing in heavy wind conditions

Racers sailors aside, there are really only two kinds of cruising sailors - those who reef early, and often, and those who hang on, and wish they had.
When to reef? If you even think about it, do it.

And if you read and follow the best - Allard Coles and his Heavy Weather Sailing book - you'll do just fine.
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