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Old 22-05-2013, 08:17   #16
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Re: Overpowered on a lake

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Originally Posted by Conair1 View Post
No visible clues, clear blue sky etc.
The wind isn't as invisible as you think.

I used to sail with a fellow who had an Olympic Silver Medal in sailing. It was amazing how much more he would see than normal sailors. He would tell us that we'd be getting a "righty" in five minutes, and of course it would happen, and when you asked how you'd know it he might point to a tiny cloud several miles away, the only cloud in the sky.

Teach yourself to look for wind, especially near land. A 25kt gust is going to kick up dust, bend trees, straighten out flags, change the direction of smoke coming out of stacks, et cetera. It's going to hit the boats ahead of you first. It's always going to show itself on the water, if only by darkening it. Watch the other boats on the lake. If they're all getting headed at a certain point, anticipate the header before you get there.

The biggest difference between a nooby sailor and a seasoned hand is whether the wind is able to surprise you. My guess is that you stopped focusing on the wind the moment you got the engine on, and therefore missed all the signs.
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Old 22-05-2013, 08:50   #17
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Re: Overpowered on a lake

"The biggest difference between a nooby sailor and a seasoned hand is whether the wind is able to surprise you. My guess is that you stopped focusing on the wind the moment you got the engine on, and therefore missed all the signs."

absolutely.
thankyou, bash for mentioning this.
sometimes folks need someone to teach em how to read signs of changing weather....but it is an obvious entity in itself. fun to watch and learn
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Old 22-05-2013, 08:58   #18
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Re: Overpowered on a lake

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Hey Conair,

My take is that you got caught by a wind change / gust which in my experience will happen often lake sailing with hills around, more so near the shore.

Try to look at the water a bit further off (or trees, grass) and not get fixated on the boat, i dont remember having 20kn gusts that dont make a noticeable difference in the water surface.

If you had noticed that coming you would have made another decision on how to handle dropping the sails.

Happy sailing,
Shane

That's what I was thinking, too. If you sail on a lake (or a protected finger of a bay, where I learned to sail) you're going to have more unpredictable wind gusts than you will out in big, open waters.

I think more pratice is all you need, on that boat, on those waters. They are ready to teach you a lot.
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:13   #19
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Re: Overpowered on a lake

i learned to sail on a river. i found seeing the changes required not just water surface changes, but land changes as well..you WILL see changes mre than immediately prior.

that is what will save your life in a situation of change at sea. truly. keep eyes open and SEE what happens--dont just overlook them as most souls have a tendency of doing. subtle changes and pressure changes and smells are allimportant in weather change.
what do you smell--in az--do you suddenly start to smell dust from desert....oops..time to ready self.
in fla--do you smell water or any other change in air you are breathing or in the look of the sky--it is there--be aware of it--yes i did sail fla and yes i now the changes....they are there for more than half hour prior to increase in wind in tampa bay..btdt. that haze blocking out the view of milky way is going to be a thunderstorm in 4 hours..flukey winds, haze, change in pressure, odor changes ..many ways weather tells you what it will be doing to you and when.
are your ears popping suddenly...

even chubascos have a warning before hitting and those are bigg winds right now...smell the desert dust then a poof then a pooof then whoomp. you have 30 mins.
in desert--watch the line if dust prior to a wind storm. is 30 mins .....and as you watch, you should be prepping.....

watch as the weather changes in your neighborhood--is fun to watch and learn what and how weather does its thing. there are ALWAYS advance warnings, even for those unpredictable winds. keep all senses aware. doesnt take long to learn the idiosynchrasies of your own local weather and the local odor changes to watch out for....if i could learn on a river at age 7, yáll can learn also..snt rocket science--is daily living and total survival
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:41   #20
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Re: Overpowered on a lake

The error you made was hauling in the sheets. Let go of both main and jib sheets and head into the wind, which brings the boom in too. Then lower the main quick and decide to (motor)sail on jib or drop that too and just motor.

If there was a significant wind shift you can still take off in which case you just bring the bow into the wind again and drop the sail(s).

Never drop sails that are sheeted in.

When the outboard gets overpowered by the wind, start tacking just like when sailing and hoist the jib to help.
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:41   #21
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Re: Overpowered on a lake

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Right. I think the problem was that as you left the jib sheeted on the starboard side when you went head to wind, it got backwinded by the gust, which would force the bow away from the wind (it's a technique sometimes used to help turn the boat through a tack). As you turn further from the wind, a backwinded jib will just produce more and more force, and unless you correct it you will just end up heading further downwind. It sounds like you ended up on a dead run, with the jib gybed back over but the main still on port leaving you goose-winged. Does this sound plausible?

Cure: release jib sheet from starboard side, then sheet in main to produce force at the back of the boat to luff her up. Assist and control with tiller.

Prevention: always release jib sheets before going head to wind and letting the sails flog. Otherwise, you're just making the same moves as for a tack assisted by backwinding.

I'm not the most experienced sailor myself, and I always worry about exploring new and exciting (read 'scary') corners of a boats performance envelope! Don't worry about it, no-one hurt and no bad damage done. Best way of learning is by making mistakes and all that! The boat can't use that technique to get you again, and the more experienced you get the harder it is for her to think of new ways of spoiling your day!
Conair1: Yes, I think you're spot on. I most likely was originally instructed to bring the jib sheet to a neutral position when heading into wind and preparing to drop sail but not understanding the impact let that slide from memory. Definitely lesson learned and thanks much for the explanation.
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:49   #22
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Re: Overpowered on a lake

Thanks to everyone for thier response and insight. Loads of experience shown in the posts. I've read all, digested and plugged them into the ole memory. Very anxious to get back out there and put this new knowledge gained from you into action. Thanks!
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:55   #23
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Re: Overpowered on a lake

Yeah, dump that vang so you can dump the main and get the twist to spill some wind out. Those inland warm lakes can get real nasty in a few minutes. Had a similar thing hapen to me when I had my first boat , a 21 footer, on Lake Chelan. In just a few minutes the wind went to 25+ knots and soon there were 3-4 footers and white spray. We had our motor off the boat (racing.. in mostly 5 knots of wind) and had to sail into the dock area! we got under control, headed up and dropped the headsail and sailed in under main alone. Never did get those shorts clean.... :>)
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Old 22-05-2013, 13:13   #24
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Re: Overpowered on a lake

Always a dull moment Thanks for the hint. I'll put it into practice.
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Old 22-05-2013, 13:21   #25
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Re: Overpowered on a lake

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
The error you made was hauling in the sheets. Let go of both main and jib sheets and head into the wind, which brings the boom in too. Then lower the main quick and decide to (motor)sail on jib or drop that too and just motor.

If there was a significant wind shift you can still take off in which case you just bring the bow into the wind again and drop the sail(s).

Never drop sails that are sheeted in.

When the outboard gets overpowered by the wind, start tacking just like when sailing and hoist the jib to help.
Conair1: Thanks - I'll put this into practice
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