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Old 04-12-2013, 17:13   #1
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Steering In Waves-Weather

I'm interested in strategies for steering a mono-hull sloop in chop and wind.

What are they for steering, both downwind and upwind, when the wind and waves start to make things uncomfortable?
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Old 04-12-2013, 17:22   #2
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pirate Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

Reef and up the response time on the auto pilot...
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Old 04-12-2013, 17:54   #3
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

But don't reef so much that you lose too much speed. Slowing down can be more comfortable, but if you slow down too much you lose the ability to steer and the waves are more likely to push you around. You need to find a balance. Sometimes the best approach is to hoist *more* sail.
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Old 04-12-2013, 18:08   #4
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

IMO,

Upwind/wave Keep the boat powered up, but not overpowered. Overpower and you heel too much and go sideways. Steer up, up the wave face, steer down down the back. If the waves are steep, steer down enough down the backs to avoid crashing the boat down the backs. When the breaking crest is more than about 30% of your waterline length, heave to.

Downwind/wave. This one depends a lot on the vessel. If cruising, you should carry only a bit more sail than you would going to weather, unless you can plane. Be alert, it goes from all good and fast to all bad and broached very quickly. Keep the boat under the mast. Again, when the breaking crests are more than 30% of your waterline length, heave to or stream a drogue.

Have FUN!!
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Old 04-12-2013, 18:20   #5
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

I have never heard of the 30% rule, and I think it depends on the type of vessel when to heave to. I would heave to in a bene/hunter/cata sooner than say a BCC of the same waterline length. Confused seas may make me more conservative.
Good rule of thumb- steer towards the way the mast is pointing. Break the rhythm the boat may be having with the waves. And try to keep it flat.
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Old 04-12-2013, 18:33   #6
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

when we sailed a 37 seidelmann in gom in severe tstorms, we found the boat sailed best without main and with a reefed headsail.
noaa called em severe, so whatever noaa says is severe thunderstorms is the wind speed we experienced. it was not light nor fun. the boat was a lot of work,and i will not cruise on a fin /spade sloop again.
my ketch sails much better in weather and chop, but no boat is comfortable in it.
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Old 04-12-2013, 18:33   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
I have never heard of the 30% rule, and I think it depends on the type of vessel when to heave to. I would heave to in a bene/hunter/cata sooner than say a BCC of the same waterline length. Confused seas may make me more conservative.
Good rule of thumb- steer towards the way the mast is pointing. Break the rhythm the boat may be having with the waves. And try to keep it flat.
Modern production sloops do not benefit from being hove to. active techniques work best. Older boats can hear to better in the main

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Old 04-12-2013, 18:42   #8
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

Sorry Dave, I don't agree. I have a modern light cruiser racer by FARR. She will heave to in up to about 50-60knts, after which she needs help. I have had 90 knots across the deck on a parachute for a few days. Seas around 14m. Short handed (or at all) it is my belief that trying any active technique would have meant I would not be here writing this. Active techniques are perhaps ok for larger vessels fully crewed with capable helmsmen available 24x7. IMO. Feel free to disagree!
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Old 04-12-2013, 18:52   #9
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

The 30% I mentioned above, is the height of the breaking portion of a wave. That is time when a broach becomes likely for most designs - some planing types may be different. It only takes one good broach to ruin your day!
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Old 04-12-2013, 19:06   #10
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

First you have to identify what is making the motion uncomfortable?

If it is the wave period:…. Knowing that a distance between crests of 0.9 to 1.1 of any boat length is your critical period and maximum G-Forces, then change direction to get outside the critical.

If it is steering control:…. Figure out if you are overpowered or underpowered for this set of conditions

If it is crew confidence:…. Sail your most comfortable course slowly with minimal main sail fixed to avoid an accidental gybe, rely on head sails for progress and main for stability while rebuilding confidence
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Old 04-12-2013, 19:09   #11
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

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Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
Sorry Dave, I don't agree. I have a modern light cruiser racer by FARR. She will heave to in up to about 50-60knts, after which she needs help. I have had 90 knots across the deck on a parachute for a few days. Seas around 14m. Short handed (or at all) it is my belief that trying any active technique would have meant I would not be here writing this. Active techniques are perhaps ok for larger vessels fully crewed with capable helmsmen available 24x7. IMO. Feel free to disagree!
Too True Neptune, but what you are describing is survival vs. "uncomfortable"
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Old 04-12-2013, 19:54   #12
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
I have never heard of the 30% rule, and I think it depends on the type of vessel when to heave to.
I read of the 30% figure in Cole.

When you're talking about the "most comfortable course", as above, how to you find it?

If you're not comfortable, which way do you turn? Which way do you turn if home is a corkscrewing course almost parallel to the waves?

What course will be easiest to weather?

Remember where I am-- I'm new. I only have a couple dozen years. I'm trying to refine my method of choosing a course in weather, and I'm trying to improve. I've never considered where to start.
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Old 04-12-2013, 20:50   #13
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

Sometimes it's much better to let the weather dictate the course! I really believe it's better to find the COMFORTABLE course rather then beat myself and the boat up trying to get somewhere! I was taught to make the course comfortable for me and the crew! Cus the boat can take a lot more then I or my crew can take !! My ole daddy taught me take the easy way and never beat things up to get somewhere today unless theres a medical emergency or the vessels in need of help really badly!! Remember haveing a secdule can get ya dead !!
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:12   #14
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

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Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
Sometimes it's much better to let the weather dictate the course! I really believe it's better to find the COMFORTABLE course rather then beat myself and the boat up trying to get somewhere! I was taught to make the course comfortable for me and the crew! Cus the boat can take a lot more then I or my crew can take !! My ole daddy taught me take the easy way and never beat things up to get somewhere today unless theres a medical emergency or the vessels in need of help really badly!! Remember haveing a secdule can get ya dead !!
This is actually good advice. When the sh*t hits the fan, let the boat go with the weather, don't fight it.
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Old 05-12-2013, 04:00   #15
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Re: Steering In Waves-Weather

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Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
Sorry Dave, I don't agree. I have a modern light cruiser racer by FARR. She will heave to in up to about 50-60knts, after which she needs help. I have had 90 knots across the deck on a parachute for a few days. Seas around 14m. Short handed (or at all) it is my belief that trying any active technique would have meant I would not be here writing this. Active techniques are perhaps ok for larger vessels fully crewed with capable helmsmen available 24x7. IMO. Feel free to disagree!

My experience, in general across a fair number of modern sloops, is that few sit quietly hove to, almost always they get knock through the tack by the wave motion and start to sail. Often they will fore reach of the coach roof, spray hoods, dodgers etc. I find in conditions where they do stay hove to for any period , I can actually still sail the boat.

My best method is actually fore reaching slowly under tiny main and engine in low speed , i.e. jogging. failing that running off, with or without warps is good, as most spade rudder boats have good control.

While I agree that sometime you simply haven't the energy to continue active techniques, nothing in modern designs convinces me they are safe hove to, in survival conditions.


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