I'm a complete newbie looking for answers to a couple of questions. The sum total of my sailing experience is an ASA
course in November 2009 where the winds rarely picked up enough to allow us to sail without the motor
on - so you can imagine how useful that wasn't - and a couple of cruises with my family
(wife + 3 kids) in January of last year and again this year. The net is that I really really don't know what I'm doing and would very much appreciate any enlightenment that you folks could shine my way.
My questions are as follows:
1. When sailing a typical charter sloop
(43' - 47' beneteau monohull
rather than genoa), what wind
strength would you consider strong enough to require a reef? Or alternatively can you judge by the amount of heel / difficulty of holding a course?
The question stems from one day on the most recent cruise
where winds were forecast
at 17-22 knots. Initially this seemed manageable although I did have to ease the mainsail
to keep the heel reasonable and once or twice struggled to keep the boat from heading up into the wind
. However we then hit a squall (not sure what the wind speed was) which put the boat right over on its side, headed us straight up into the wind within a second or two (I might as well not have even been holding the wheel
for all I was able to stop it) and tore the jib
from top to bottom and left a small tear in the mainsail
as well. Since this happened when we were within 200 yards of a rocky lee shore I have concluded that it's not something I especially want to repeat. In case you're interested my not-so-salty response was to start screaming orders to ensure that my entire crew realized that panic was in order :-), then dive headlong for the engine
Should I have reefed in 17-22 knot
winds in the first place, or just when a squall showed up on the horizon? And what wind speed would typically require a reef?
2. When sailing downwind "wing on wing", I found that I could not keep the jib from doing a lot of flapping and even backing from time to time. This largely seemed to result from the rolling and yawing caused by the swell which was probably about 5' and at a 3/4 angle to the boat. I tried sailing slightly by the lee but even that didn't seem to help much. Is this something that's unavoidable, or should I be able to keep the jib nicely filled? If so, any tips?
3. Above a certain speed (about 5 knots) I found that I could feel the whole boat vibrating or shuddering (that's the best way I can think of to describe it). Is that normal, or indicative of me not setting the sails
correctly, or some other error?
Thanks in advance for any advice.