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Old 02-02-2014, 11:47   #1
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Smoothing out a run?

Went for a nice sail yesterday. Headed out of the harbor and turned north on a port beam reach. About 10 knots of wind, was able to trim sail to get a 6 knot average on the leg. Was really stoked out to experience Thirty Six Seas in great conditions (for me, so far).

Tacked for a starboard close haul south west for a bit. Lost a little bit of average (no big deal really), only about 4.8 on this leg. Wanted to get lined up for a run back to the harbor. This was the plan, a large triangle to test my limited skills in various wind angles.

Once we started onto our run, things got a little weird. Tried a winged run, but that was just an utter fail...luffing sails were making it loud and seemingly ineffective. Average dropped to about 2. Shifted a little and was starting into a broad reach.

Now, what I noted...very rough sailing on a run. The swell coming from behind and inability to fill the sails created a slow and very rocky situation. We made it, but is it normal for a run to be slow? Is there something I was missing to make it a smoother experience? Please, forgive the newb questions.
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:13   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klmmicro
Went for a nice sail yesterday. Headed out of the harbor and turned north on a port beam reach. About 10 knots of wind, was able to trim sail to get a 6 knot average on the leg. Was really stoked out to experience Thirty Six Seas in great conditions (for me, so far).

Tacked for a starboard close haul south west for a bit. Lost a little bit of average (no big deal really), only about 4.8 on this leg. Wanted to get lined up for a run back to the harbor. This was the plan, a large triangle to test my limited skills in various wind angles.

Once we started onto our run, things got a little weird. Tried a winged run, but that was just an utter fail...luffing sails were making it loud and seemingly ineffective. Average dropped to about 2. Shifted a little and was starting into a broad reach.

Now, what I noted...very rough sailing on a run. The swell coming from behind and inability to fill the sails created a slow and very rocky situation. We made it, but is it normal for a run to be slow? Is there something I was missing to make it a smoother experience? Please, forgive the newb questions.
Two words: apparent wind. If the true wind was around 10 knots, then you might have fun upwind, because your boat speed (part of it) will be added to the true wind, but downwind, your boat speed is subtracted from true wind and it gets dull very fast. Add to that the fact that downwind your sails don't produce lift, but work in drag only, and naturally power drops way off. You need up to a couple more Beaufort forces of wind to have fun downwind, as you do upwind. But by the same token, you can deal with a couple more forces without stress, downwind, compared to sailing upwind.

Bottom line is - turn downwind, and the wind seems to drop right off. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on the circumstances. In 10 knots of true wind, it is definitely a bad thing. In a full gale, it can be a lifesaver.
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:15   #3
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

KLM you killed your apparent wind... But most likely TWS also abated as well... Unless your apparent from behind is 5-10+, you're going to border on this this flogging bumpy scenario.... Vang tightened with the main out far enough, without blanketing your headsail too much??? Winging is an acquired skill... don't be dismayed...

I hate to do this, but you seem instrument focused... What wind/boat parameters are you rigged for???

I once taught a guy who was frustrated beyond belief learning the basics... UNTIL... I put the cover on every display... THEN... he got it....
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:39   #4
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

Quote:
Originally Posted by klmmicro View Post
SNIP

Now, what I noted...very rough sailing on a run. The swell coming from behind

SNIP
Surfs up dude.

Falling down the face of a wave will increase your boat speed. If you are running before the wind the apparent wind speed is already decreased and it is quite possible that the surfing will mean for some period of time the apparent wind direction moves so fare forward that the sails will flatten out, at best the trim will be wrong.

Not sure about your electronics but my GPS has a display that shows VMG. Many boats will not run straight down wind as fast as they will when you bear off somewhere around 15 degrees or so and then repeat in the other direction. It also allows the boat to surf down the face of the wave longer.
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:39   #5
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

The others are correct regarding apparent wind. We rarely run directly 180. I find that 140 to 160 is much more comfortable (less roll) and in 15 knots or less true we make better time on down wind gibes. Our hull speed is 9 knots so we get a lot out of reaching off. Another trick is to point up a bit, generate apparent wind and boat speed and then fall off a bit until the boat speed slows - repeat. This is especially effective in light air with a spinnaker on a heavy boat.
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:45   #6
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

Congratulations on making it back safely and building your skills at the same time. Yes, your wind might have dropped as you were starting your run. If your true speed were 2 knots and the wind speed was only 8 knots you are down to an apparent wind speed of 6 knots and with a swell that really doesn't keep your sails very full. A lot of time just heading off on a broad reach can help with the motion of the boat and feel a lot better and picks up your speed. But, when the wind lets down then you just flop around when off the wind.
Next time you do your circuit just broaden it out a bit so that you are doing broad reaches instead of dead downwind runs and you'll probably have a better ride. What I do when my sails start slatting when going downwind is drop them and start the engine. As you can tell, I'm no longer a purist.
If you want to be a purist then drop your main and pole out a genoa or a cruising spinnaker. It'll flop around but at least you won't be motoring.
kind regards,
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Old 02-02-2014, 13:00   #7
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

Don't sail square (180) sail off the wind a little so both the jib and main can draw wind as other posters have mentioned (140 to 160), this angle is also way more comfortable than running square.
Good idea to use a boom brake or preventer to mitigate the risk of accidental jibes.
Launch your spinnaker.
Ease your halyards a little.
Make sure your vang is on to stop the boom lifting and spilling all your wind out of main.
Pole out your jib on windward side.
Keep your boom and pole at 90 degrees to wind.
Adjust out haul for maximum sail area.
You might find dropping the main helps and run on jib alone.
Haven't had a lot of success wing on wing myself, prefer spinnaker.
As others have mentioned it is all about apparent wind and your boat speed either adds to apparent wind or subtracts from depending on wind angles.

Go racing with knowledgeable, experienced and polite people it is the best way to learn in my opinion.
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Old 02-02-2014, 13:40   #8
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

Wow, awesome info and good questions all!

Okay, rigged for light wind. Standard main and 150% Genoa. Not really focusing on sensors or gauges. Just looked over my GPS track info after we got back. I was interested to see what we were going.

It is very possible that the winds settled a little on our return leg.

I freely admit that I have a lot to learn, but then I seriously enjoy learning...so not a bad thing. Had a friend on board who races 14' and 18'. We are going to take one of his boats out in a few weeks as he believes I would learn a lot about sailing that way. Quick to turn, but quick to stall...he said they require one to learn how to keep things going.

Have to say that I am enjoying all of this. I understand that it takes time and I am patient
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Old 02-02-2014, 14:39   #9
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

This excited learning stuff makes me smile....

Just like wing/wing, dead run in lighter air is an acquired talent... It won't take you long I guarantee it... Ergo the 20 degrees off suggestions... Sometimes it is just physically (as in physics) impossible! Foregoing the wind instrumentation... If you can't feel the wind coming from behind when you are in that dead run, then there's not enough wind for your SOG...

PLEASE Learn your boat before you start poling and preventing in anything more than light air....

One thing to remember... Your breeze quite often likes to diminish in the evenings coming in... doing the onshore-offshore tango...
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Old 05-02-2014, 17:57   #10
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

Am definitely learning. Enjoying the experience myself! It is certainly a great feeling to be out on the water.
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:04   #11
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

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Originally Posted by klmmicro View Post
Am definitely learning. Enjoying the experience myself! It is certainly a great feeling to be out on the water.
I'm coming in late on this, but some recent challenges I've faced are similar to yours. When running in waves, the boat may surf fast enough to cancel apparent wind, leaving sails luffing. "Sailing through the wind" is another way to describe it. Broad reaching helps by bringing the apparent wind forward a little. As has been recommended, respect the power of a swinging spar by rigging a preventer (a line on the leeward side to prevent the boom's dangerous head-banging swing across the boat). If you wing out the jib on the windward side, the boat will roll less. In boats over about 25 feet, you may control the wung-out pole by leading a line (guy) from aft directly to the pole, while the jib sheet leads through the end. Like a boom, a spinnaker pole can be dangerous if it's left swinging around. This may sound complicated, but the attached photo may help. The line on the left is the jib sheet, then the guy. There's also a pole downhaul (foreguy) on this 38-foot sloop. Good luck! Sail safe!
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:22   #12
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

Quote:
Originally Posted by klmmicro View Post

Now, what I noted...very rough sailing on a run. The swell coming from behind and inability to fill the sails created a slow and very rocky situation. We made it, but is it normal for a run to be slow? Is there something I was missing to make it a smoother experience? Please, forgive the newb questions.
You don't say how you were measuring wind speed or boat speed but the attached may help anyway.

The polar I found for C36 indicates you'd want to be sailing at around 150 for best VMG.
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Old 06-07-2014, 13:45   #13
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Re: Smoothing out a run?

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You don't say how you were measuring wind speed or boat speed but the attached may help anyway.

The polar I found for C36 indicates you'd want to be sailing at around 150 for best VMG.
Runs (and broad reaches in light air) are slow because the sails are like walls, with wind hitting them square, and not like wings, with air moving across the sail on both sides to generate forward force (called lift). This is why the fastest point of sail until you hit heavy air actually is the close reach, with the apparent wind between about 50 and 80 degrees off the bow. The wind flows along the whole width of the sail on both sides instead of being trapped against it. The sail shape generates force. So in light winds, avoid dead runs -- meaning the wind arrow aims straight aft. A simple indicator that the sail is working correctly, with air flowing, is to tie or tape telltales (ribbons will do) to the leech near the battens. When the sail is working best, with wind flowing properly, the ribbons stream aft. Otherwise they'll droop. If the boat slows, head up and trim sails until the telltales stream again, then try to head off keeping them streaming. Leech telltales help when sailing closehauled, too: trim the main sheet so all the ribbons stream, with the exception of the top one, which can be allowed to droop or lift straight up about half the time. There are illustrations of this process in several sailing manuals, like the Annapolis Book of Seamanship.
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