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Old 04-08-2015, 09:06   #31
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Re: Seamanship

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My view is diametrically opposed to the idea striking the main is a best case scenario in most situations. The one exception is on approach to one's destination ... A mainsail with three reefs provides the option of reefing down and sailing under main alone on most tacks without putting excess strain on the mast and rigging ...
Some time back there were several dismastings on Long Island Sound when the overnight racing set decided to go upwind with headsails only. An expensive race it was. Running down might be fine for a long time (until it isn't) but going uphill will put a stress on the spar that many masts and their associated rigs cannot handle.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:17   #32
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Re: Seamanship

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Hey Zee. I haven't yet found a boat where you couldn't sail up to a mooring under main alone, you just need a bit more room for reaching back and forth with the heavier, full-keeled variety.
Most mooring fields I've seen with few unnoccupied moorings do not provide the room required, except in perhaps the most benign conditions for a sailor to sail under main alone up to, and successfully pick up an empty mooring.

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I approach on a reach, furl the genoa/jib and then the foredeck is free for dealing with the pickup.
Then you are not sailing "...up to a mooring under main alone...". The main may be the last sail to douse, but you relied upon the foresail to get to the mooring.

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Then come up into the wind and stop the boat right by the mooring. The main doesn't come down until the boat is firmly on the mooring. That way, if i screw up there's still something up to bail out with!
Grist for a poll I'd say. Which is most likely to extract you from a failed effort to pick up a mooring in a crowded mooring field. A main or foresail?
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:24   #33
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Re: Seamanship

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Some time back there were several dismastings on Long Island Sound when the overnight racing set decided to go upwind with headsails only. An expensive race it was. Running down might be fine for a long time (until it isn't) but going uphill will put a stress on the spar that many masts and their associated rigs cannot handle.
Can you state unequivocably the cause for 'several dismastings' in the race you cite was due to participants sailing "...upwind with headsails only"? What failed? What class of boats were involved and materials used in standing rigging?
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:38   #34
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Re: Seamanship

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... I approach on a reach, furl the genoa/jib and then the foredeck is free for dealing with the pickup. Then come up into the wind and stop the boat right by the mooring. The main doesn't come down until the boat is firmly on the mooring. That way, if i screw up there's still something up to bail out with!
Agree on having the main "just in case."

Another method involves sailing dead downwind under main alone in the direction of the mooring (with jib furled or lashed and boat pole at the ready on the foredeck). Stay about a boat length or so to either side (depending on tack), and when alongside the mooring ball round up sharply 180 degrees so that the boat stops abruptly right at the mooring. Obviously some practice in relatively clear surroundings is indicated, but a simple anchor buoy will serve as a "target mooring."

To add "flourish," have the topping lift adjusted so that you can casually let the main halyard run out and the main collapse on the way aft, ignore the unfurled mainsail piled chaotically but still in the middle of the boat, and sit down to finish your cocktail at your ease. The fastidious among us may want to harden up the mainsheet a bit to avoid minor head injuries.

This trick really works and requires less room than tacking up with main only, but I cannot say it will work for all hull shapes, underbodies, or displacements. I can say however, that it sometimes gets the nod from cogent observers when accomplished without unnecessary collisions (smile).
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:41   #35
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Re: Seamanship

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Most mooring fields I've seen with few unnoccupied moorings do not provide the room required, except in perhaps the most benign conditions for a sailor to sail under main alone up to, and successfully pick up an empty mooring.

Oh i disagree. It's much easier to manoeuvre under sail with just a main up than with just a headsail, especially short-handed, when i don't think any of us have enough hands to be operating a winch, tailing a line and steering the boat at the same time, but a main sheet can be eased or taken up easily and when head to wind (such as when on final approach to a mooring) it just sits there on the centreline whereas a genoa or jib would be backed. There's a reason all those race boats sail around under main only until a few minutes before the gun.


Then you are not sailing "...up to a mooring under main alone...". The main may be the last sail to douse, but you relied upon the foresail to get to the mooring.

Not necessarily. Of course having the headsail up is going to give you the majority of your power, so of course you're going to use it until it becomes a pain in the arse, but it's not necessary most of the time (the exception to this would i think be with a big old heavy boat that is almost exclusively genoa-driven). On the occasions that i've misjudged and missed the mooring, i haven't bothered to unfurl the genoa again - just do a wide turn under main alone, dodge a couple of other boats and come back up to the mooring.

Grist for a poll I'd say. Which is most likely to extract you from a failed effort to pick up a mooring in a crowded mooring field. A main or foresail?

Definitely the main in my opinion. Sometimes i've found it necessary to whip out a bit of headsail in close quarters to back down or something but otherwise it's all about the main for me.
I do this twice a week at the moment and have done for the last few years while i've been based here in Bermuda, either in my own boat, which is a 1977 three-quarter keel, primarily genoa-driven boat, or in my friend's Beneteau 375. I've found this to be my personally preferred method. The Beneteau hasn't had a working engine for the last 4 years so we've had quite a bit of practice! Of course, each to his or her own. I'd be interested to learn of other people's preferred methods, and the reasoning behind them.

I realise this has nothing to do with the OP, but it still comes under the blanket of 'seamanship'. Does that make it OK? :-)
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:44   #36
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Re: Seamanship

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Well, mine's not too bad under jib alone but you're right, i guess it would be fore-reaching rather than heaving-to. I've also done it on a Beneteau 375, and the two are very different boats. I'm guessing you consider the 'classic hove-to position' to be going sideways and maybe a little forwards with the bow just a little off the wind?
The 'classic' position sailors attempt to achieve when heaving to is to have the bow as high as practically possible into the wind and waves. Definitely not "off the wind" and "sideways" to the waves. My interpretation of the meaning to "sideways" is "abeam" to the wind and waves. Undesirable because the possibility of a broach or being rolled by a large wave is increased.

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In that case no, i don't think i've ever tried that with just a jib and i don't think it would work very well as you need the strapped main to push the stern around and keep the bow into the wind.
Right.

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A couple of friends of mine reported having been hove-to (fore-reaching i guess you would say) in their maxi 95 off Bermuda (en route from the Bahamas) under jib alone. They liked having the beam on to the waves a bit more than the 'classic' posture would allow as it allowed them to slide down the face of the rather large swells they were encountering. It also allowed them to make way in the right direction without having to have anyone on deck.
??

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I guess i've never really made the distinction between fore-reaching and being hove to. I started off on square-rig tallships and the term 'fore-reaching' wasn't a term we used.
My boat will only "heave to" under main alone. Most folks refer to this as for-reaching which makes scant difference between the result achieved when including a backed foresail in the mix or not. I still am able to achieve the desired position with bow adequately up into the wind and waves.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:52   #37
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Re: Seamanship

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Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Can you state unequivocably the cause for 'several dismastings' in the race you cite was due to participants sailing "...upwind with headsails only"? What failed? What class of boats were involved and materials used in standing rigging? ...
To start, I can say very little unequivocably. I can however repeat what I remember about these incidents as it was the reported in the sailing press of the time (late 1980's I believe).

The boats typical of these races at the time were usually described as IOR designs, round bodies, "fat assed," deep keeled, spade-ruddered, etc., with as little surface as possible actually touching the water.

The rigs were typically thin alloy extrusions supported (if that's really accurate) by 3 and sometimes 4 spreader rigs, at least 2 sets of runners, an astounding amount of pre-bend dialed in, and so on. In other words, just what one needs to broach at the first opportunity.

The failures occurred on at least three and maybe four boats in the 40 foot range when, while going to weather with genoa only in perhaps 20 plus knots of air, the masts started to pump. The masts then went into some sort of harmonic oscillation, and finally crumbled either at one or more spreader joints, or at one or another of the splicing joints (i.e., pop riveted sleeves) used to assemble the mast sections.

That to the best of my recollection is what happened, and once again I caution that this recollection is based on reports in the cruising and sailing press.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:16   #38
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Re: Seamanship

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The 'classic' position sailors attempt to achieve when heaving to is to have the bow as high as practically possible into the wind and waves. Definitely not "off the wind" and "sideways" to the waves. My interpretation of the meaning to "sideways" is "abeam" to the wind and waves. Undesirable because the possibility of a broach or being rolled by a large wave is increased.
No i think we're on the same page. 'sideways' refers to the direction of the movement of the boat through the water, and 'off the wind' refers to the fact that you're never going to be able to get the bow directly into the wind, so it is 'a touch off the wind'.

I agree that being beam-on is usually not desirable in heavy seas. In fact, when hove to in my own boat 400nm N of the Caribbean in December 2007 in heavy seas (under deep-reefed main and a tiny bit of backed headsail) i found that no matter how high i got the bow it wasn't enough that i was comfortable that we wouldn't get rolled. It was fine until a big wave hit the bow and pushed it off, then we'd get slammed broadside by the next one. Set a drogue instead and we were very happy. I went to sleep for 16 hours at that point :-).

As i mentioned though, this was not the same as the experience of my friends in their little maxi 95. They prefer to be beam-on to the seas as they said they get picked up by the larger swells and simply slide down the face of them rather than getting slammed by them. They've been cruising full-time now for 8 years in that boat and are excellent sailors so i trust their judgement, but it would never have worked for me or i'm sure a lot of other boats.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:38   #39
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Re: Seamanship

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No i think we're on the same page. 'sideways' refers to the direction of the movement of the boat through the water,
Actually, the direction of travel when a sailboat is hove to is affected by the boat's design characteristics, wind strength, wave dimensions and current. Rarely will the boat's direction be "sideways" to your desired course and most likely at an angle to it.

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and 'off the wind' refers to the fact that you're never going to be able to get the bow directly into the wind, so it is 'a touch off the wind'.
As near to a close reach as possible may be a more useful way of describing this?

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I agree that being beam-on is usually not desirable in heavy seas. In fact, when hove to in my own boat 400nm N of the Caribbean in December 2007 in heavy seas (under deep-reefed main and a tiny bit of backed headsail) i found that no matter how high i got the bow it wasn't enough that i was comfortable that we wouldn't get rolled. It was fine until a big wave hit the bow and pushed it off, then we'd get slammed broadside by the next one. Set a drogue instead and we were very happy. I went to sleep for 16 hours at that point :-).
Sea anchor or drogue?

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As i mentioned though, this was not the same as the experience of my friends in their little maxi 95. They prefer to be beam-on to the seas as they said they get picked up by the larger swells and simply slide down the face of them rather than getting slammed by them. They've been cruising full-time now for 8 years in that boat and are excellent sailors so i trust their judgement, but it would never have worked for me or i'm sure a lot of other boats.
Right.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:51   #40
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Re: Seamanship

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Rarely will the boat's direction be "sideways" to your desired course and most likely at an angle to it.

Ummmm..... again i have to disagree. When you're hove-to your desired course is irrelevant.


Sea anchor or drogue?

Like i said, drogue.

Why is it relevant? You seem to be a bit hung-up on semantics.........
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Old 04-08-2015, 14:57   #41
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Re: Seamanship

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Why is it relevant? You seem to be a bit hung-up on semantics.........
Given the situation described, if your objective was to overcome the bow being pushed down with the next wave slamming you broadside there are two alternatives. Run, in which case you would possibly deploy a "drogue" from astern to both slow the vessel and keep her stern to the waves. Or, deploy a sea anchor from the bow in order to hold her up into wind and waves. A bridle can be used in this case to control the angle of your boat into the waves. Anyway, some boaters are more picky than others about which terms are used in describing what we do...

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Rarely will the boat's direction be "sideways" to your desired course and most likely at an angle to it.
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Ummmm..... again i have to disagree. When you're hove-to your desired course is irrelevant.
Really? Perhaps for you but I think most sailors will care a great deal about whether they are gaining or losing nautical miles to their next destination while hove to. Fall onto one tack to heave to and you may travel in the opposite direction than desired to arrive at your intended destination. Heave to onto the other and travel right down the DTK to your destination... I've done this many times. But typically, my course while hove to will vary by degrees depending on wave dynamics, wind strength and current.


Sea anchor or drogue?

Quote:
Like i said, drogue.
So, you decided to run and deployed a drogue?
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Old 04-08-2015, 15:35   #42
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Re: Seamanship

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If Wikipedia is wrong, why not change it? We apparently have some real experts on this post, so why not one of you going to WP, delete the wrong and copy in the right. I guarantee that the average page hits on a WP link is much higher than the venerable Cruiser's Forum.

Not knocking my community, just saying that we need to spread the knowledge.
'Cos some clown who thinks he knows everything will change it straight back again.

Been there, done that, got the scars.
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Old 04-08-2015, 16:18   #43
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Re: Seamanship

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I guess i've never really made the distinction between fore-reaching and being hove to. I started off on square-rig tallships and the term 'fore-reaching' wasn't a term we used.
No worries... My notion of heaving-to has always been a "parking" of the boat as traditionally described, where the boat can basically be left to its own devices, at least up to the point seas might begin breaking more heavily...

In reality, however, fore-reaching - another way of saying "sailing really slowly" - is about the closest most modern boats and their crews can hope for these days...

;-)
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Old 04-08-2015, 16:27   #44
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Re: Seamanship

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Some time back there were several dismastings on Long Island Sound when the overnight racing set decided to go upwind with headsails only. An expensive race it was. Running down might be fine for a long time (until it isn't) but going uphill will put a stress on the spar that many masts and their associated rigs cannot handle.
I, too, have a hazy recollection of something like that, as well... may have been a bit further back than the late 80's, however ;-)

But one thing is certain, certain rigs are definitely susceptible to excessive pumping when sailing to weather under a headsail alone, the original configuration of my own boat is a good example...

Deck-stepped spar, inline shrouds with single lowers, highly dependent upon a baby stay to minimize mast pumping... One of the first mods I made to my boat, was the addition of an inner forestay and running backs... Even so, I'd say my boat is still highly dependent upon the additional support/stabilization my main affords when sheeted down hard, and I would never sail close-hauled into big seas and a stiff breeze under a headsail alone...
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Old 04-08-2015, 16:39   #45
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Re: Seamanship

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I, too, have a hazy recollection of something like that, as well... may have been a bit further back than the late 80's, however ;-)

But one thing is certain, certain rigs are definitely susceptible to excessive pumping when sailing to weather under a headsail alone, the original configuration of my own boat is a good example...

Deck-stepped spar, inline shrouds with single lowers, highly dependent upon a baby stay to minimize mast pumping... One of the first mods I made to my boat, was the addition of an inner forestay and running backs... Even so, I'd say my boat is still highly dependent upon the additional support/stabilization my main affords when sheeted down hard, and I would never sail close-hauled into big seas and a stiff breeze under a headsail alone...
Who was it that said "gentlemen never sail to weather"? Another reason to enjoy downwind sailing in the South Pacific. Now, if we could only get rid of the pesky rolling caused by quartering seas!
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