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Old 14-08-2014, 09:00   #1
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Still rounding up...

Since I inadvertently hijacked Dockhead's thread on the topic earlier, and at the risk of sounding completely inept, I thought I would continue the discussion with one of my own...

Last night we tried to incorporate suggestions from the other thread while sailing close hauled (according to the masthead fly) in 13-15 1/2 kts of wind with choppy seas to wit:

1. Moved the genoa cars forward approximately 10 inches (tell tales were breaking evenly when pinching up before the race) and trimmed the genoa 1-2" off the shrouds.

2. Increased twist in the mainsail by a) moving the traveler all the way to windward and easing the mainsheet until the butt of the boom was 6-8 inches leeward of the center line and b) easing the vang.

3. Main halyard and outhaul as tight as we could get them.

4. Only 6 people on the boat so 4 were hiking out.

The results: Sailing close hauled at 5.2-6kts (according to gps) we couldn't point as high as the competition (per usual) and although the boat did seem to settle down some (heeling 20-25 degrees) and the main trimmer was very actively working the traveler to spill the wind when necessary, we still got overpowered enough to round up head to wind 5 times (3 times on starboard tack and twice on port tack). With the mainsheet eased so much, the genoa was backwinding the luff of the main about 10 inches from head to tack a great deal of the time and if we trimmed the mainsheet to stop the luffing, then up we'd go so we abandoned that idea and just let the luff backwind. Alternatively, we could have eased the genoa to widen the slot but we did not since we were trying to sail fast and point high.

This is a 33' boat with a 135 genoa. There is no cunningham or adjustable backstay so we are limited in our ability to move the mainsail draft and CE forward.

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Old 14-08-2014, 09:32   #2
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Re: Still rounding up...

Try this...sheet in the mainsail until the top batten is parallel with the boom. (get your eye under the boom and line it up with the top batten and sheet it so the 2 line up) Now use your traveler to adjust for helm. In the gusts the helmsman should pinch up. To set the head sail up the helmsman steers the boat on a beat and then starts to turn upwind as if he is going to tack but only goes as far as it takes to have the telltails lift. Either the top or the bottom will lift first, if its the top move the fairlead forward and if its the bottom move it back. Its AOK if the top telltail breaks just a split second before the others but you will see it all happening as the boat turns upwind. I don't trim the headsail as close to the shrouds/spreaders as you do, I'm usually 8-10" off in perfect conditions and 12" in sloppy conditions but that can very with each boat. Over sheeting sails is still the most common mistake made by rookies. When you put more tension on the luff by tightening the halyards you effectively move the draft forward in the bottom 2/3rds of the sail but you need backstay tension to get to the top part of the sail. If you were 20-25 degrees heeled you probably should have had a reef in the main when going upwind. There are all sorts of other things you can do but those are the real basics. How your skipper drives the boat will play a large roll in your speed. Remember once you get basic sail trim down then boat speed gains you about 5% in a race but tactics will always be over 20%.
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Old 14-08-2014, 10:09   #3
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Re: Still rounding up...

Move the jib cars back to twist off the headsail at the top. Luff will break at top first but you at over powered anyway. Or switch to a smaller flatter cut headsail if you have one. With the cars back you will also flatten the sail shape. More headsail halyard tension will move the draft forward and help depower.
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Old 14-08-2014, 10:31   #4
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Re: Still rounding up...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctl411 View Post
Move the jib cars back to twist off the headsail at the top. Luff will break at top first but you at over powered anyway.

Moving the cars forward was a new twist (no pun intended) this week. Prior to this we had the cars further back twisting the genoa and attempting to flatten the sail but it was suggested that until we can get the cars more forward we couldn't keep the boat upright so we thought we'd try it.

Or switch to a smaller flatter cut headsail if you have one. With the cars back you will also flatten the sail shape.

We have a 110 but half the race is downwind and we are much, much slower when we use it. Also, a larger headsail is frequently sighted as a way to mitigate weather helm. That said, we may try the smaller head sail next week if the conditions remain the same just to see what happens.

More headsail halyard tension will move the draft forward and help depower.

Have assumed the headstay is probably not as tight as it could be given it's a charter boat and therefore the draft was alreardy forward but tensioning the halyard might be worth a try...
All in all I'm beginning to believe the excessive weather helm and rounding up is primarily due to old, baggy sails moving the CE back too far and since the owner won't purchase new ones, we are pretty much stuck with what we've got. 14kts is not that much wind...

Thanks for the comments.
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Old 14-08-2014, 10:52   #5
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Re: Still rounding up...

You are most likely getting weather helm from being overpowered, not a balance problem. You can round up with just the headsail up. If you are allowed to change sails during the race that would be the best option.
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Old 14-08-2014, 10:55   #6
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Re: Still rounding up...

Even though the advice given before appears contradictory, it is all correct, but for different wind and weather conditions, and different boats.

Car forward, jib telltales break at same time - good for power
Car aft - depowering

Main leach tight (top batten parallel) - better for pointing. A racing saying is that the boat goes upwind on the leach of the main. Bethwaithe claims a non-twisted travelled down sail has less drag than a twisted sail. But as you have power all the way up to the top of the mast where you have the greatest lever arm you'll need to play the traveller more to keep power on in the lulls, and ease off power in the gusts. A twisted sail requires less work.

Reefing - A reefed sail is more efficient than a sail that has to be luffed all the time (big bubble). But if you are buoy racing, the amount of time shaking out the reef for the downwind legs will kill your race results. So you deal with being overpowered upwind, and do all you can to blade out (flatten) the sail to reduce drag. Longer races where time spent reefing/unreefing is inconsequential compared to time lost due to poor boat speed is when you reef.

Heeling - you'll have to research the boat you're sailing or experiment for yourself. Newer flat bottomed generally like less heel. One J boat captain I've heard trims for no more than 17 degrees of heel. My boat in certain conditions doesn't like more than 20 degrees, sometimes it likes as much as 25. Some round bottom IOR boats seem to like 25 degrees or more.

Another aspect to look at other than heeling is weather helm (they are related). Generally 3-5 degrees of helm helps provide lift to weather without undue drag. Fortunately for me, I calculated that the end of my tiller moves 1 inch for 1 degree of rudder.

I like Bethwaithe's book High Performance Sailing.
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Old 14-08-2014, 11:01   #7
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Re: Still rounding up...

If you're racing, changing head sails for conditions and specific legs is just a fact of life and something you get used to (and learn to do efficiently and well) if you want the boat to perform properly.

Using a bigger headsail does, all other things being equal, decrease weather helm, but if it results in the boat being overpowered it's going to slow you down and make helming the boat difficult. If you're over @ 20 degrees with your crew up on the rail, you're likely overpowered.

"Heading as high as possible" means different things to different people, on different boats. If you're pinching hard then you're sacrificing boat speed. Lay off a few degrees, get pressure, accelerate the boat, then feather up, trying to maintain boat speed. When it starts falls off, repeat the process. If you're steering a straight course and only looking at the luff of the sails then you're not maximizing boat speed up the ladder to the mark.

People talk about boat speed vs. crew work but they are really the same thing, short of making physical changes to the boat like tuning the rig. The helmsman and trimmers need to be communicating constantly about what they are observing, what they are doing, and what they think needs to be done to get and keep the boat moving well.

There is an excellent video on YouTube from North Sails which has Tom Whidden and a rock star crew running a round the buoys race. Notice how they are constantly exchanging information and making adjustments to their trim, helming, and tactics.

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Old 15-08-2014, 02:26   #8
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Still rounding up...

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
Since I inadvertently hijacked Dockhead's thread on the topic earlier, and at the risk of sounding completely inept, I thought I would continue the discussion with one of my own...

Last night we tried to incorporate suggestions from the other thread while sailing close hauled (according to the masthead fly) in 13-15 1/2 kts of wind with choppy seas to wit:

1. Moved the genoa cars forward approximately 10 inches (tell tales were breaking evenly when pinching up before the race) and trimmed the genoa 1-2" off the shrouds.

2. Increased twist in the mainsail by a) moving the traveler all the way to windward and easing the mainsheet until the butt of the boom was 6-8 inches leeward of the center line and b) easing the vang.

3. Main halyard and outhaul as tight as we could get them.

4. Only 6 people on the boat so 4 were hiking out.

The results: Sailing close hauled at 5.2-6kts (according to gps) we couldn't point as high as the competition (per usual) and although the boat did seem to settle down some (heeling 20-25 degrees) and the main trimmer was very actively working the traveler to spill the wind when necessary, we still got overpowered enough to round up head to wind 5 times (3 times on starboard tack and twice on port tack). With the mainsheet eased so much, the genoa was backwinding the luff of the main about 10 inches from head to tack a great deal of the time and if we trimmed the mainsheet to stop the luffing, then up we'd go so we abandoned that idea and just let the luff backwind. Alternatively, we could have eased the genoa to widen the slot but we did not since we were trying to sail fast and point high.

This is a 33' boat with a 135 genoa. There is no cunningham or adjustable backstay so we are limited in our ability to move the mainsail draft and CE forward.


So it sounds like things slightly improved in terms of heeling when the cars went forward. Experiment a little more - move the cars further forward (exaggerated maybe) and close the genoa leech.

I still would not be trying to twist off the main. I would rather be trying to shape it flat (depower a bit) and dropping the traveler, even backwinding it a bit more. I am suggesting to exagerate the changes in trim so you can really get a sense of what happens. Changing too many things at once will confuse the issue I think,

The backwinding from the genoa is exactly right and what you should be seeing when you drop traveler to handle a gust. You may want to crack off the genoa a tad as someone says. Some boats don't like the genoa choked, especially a blown out genoa.

At 15 knots you are fully powered and things will start getting "interesting" - This is actually a tough windspeed for you and your boat. When we get through 15kts pusing 18kts my boat is really powered up, traveller is down and backwinding to some degree for 60% of the beat.

Fortunately my boat stays balanced and I have a huge furling genoa. We will be at 100-110% on the beat and after round let it fly like a spinnaker. Of course the hanker-wanks want a rule of no changing of furler position during a race - LOL...

PS - You still haven't really told us at what angle the inner tells are stalling at.
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Old 15-08-2014, 02:40   #9
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Re: Still rounding up...

Is the helmsman pinching, sounds like he might be sailing a touch free, powering up the boat to much and losing height. With some furlers taking half a roll actually flattens the headsail, could be worth a try.
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Old 15-08-2014, 03:28   #10
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Re: Still rounding up...

Say, Froggy, when you quote wind speeds, are they apparent or true? Makes a big difference in this speed range.

Jim

PS My earlier comments re the sails being blown out still sound right to me!
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Old 15-08-2014, 06:21   #11
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Re: Still rounding up...

Have you tried a smaller jib?

A tall narrow jib with reefed main might help too but not when racing.

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Old 15-08-2014, 06:51   #12
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Re: Still rounding up...

Try raking the mast forward. A lot.

Also bring down 5 or 10 jerry jugs and move them around. Start with them on the cabin sole centered. Get her pointed up on a compass heading on a day with steady wind and carry one at a time up to the anchor locker.

If the boat is sitting stern down, she won't point and will take a lot of rudder angle to hold true. Sometimes it takes "enough" weight in the bow to keep her on her waterline as a lot of boats squat at speed. Once you hit the hull speed she falls in her own wavelength and pivots the mast back, loading up the rudder.

You know about the time the quarter wave on the low side occasionally slops aboard the boat she's falling into her own hole... the helm hard over doesn't do anything, and you are still making good time.

Sometimes it takes 300-400lbs up in the anchor locker to hold the bow down enough that the helm can be balanced at hull speed, particularly if the helm and main trimmers like their beer...

Zach
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Old 15-08-2014, 07:01   #13
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Re: Still rounding up...

Yes, old stretched sails will not help. However, have you considered whether you may be suffering increased weather helm due to the rig? If the top of your mast is too far aft, you will get increased weather helm which will significantly reduce your speed to windward. Remember, each time you have to use your rudder to offset weather helm, it acts partially as a brake. Try tightening your forestay and letting off on your backstay. This will move the Ce of the sailplan forward; really, the physics are much like a windsurfer - if you want to bear off, you move the mast forward.

Brad

PS Look like Zach beat me to it. I'm not sure that two minds are better than one (especially when I have one of them), but it is worth a try.
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Old 15-08-2014, 08:16   #14
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Re: Still rounding up...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Say, Froggy, when you quote wind speeds, are they apparent or true? Makes a big difference in this speed range.

I toggle back and forth between true and apparent but I'm quoting True. Apparent is generally no more than 1/2 kt higher.

Jim

PS My earlier comments re the sails being blown out still sound right to me!

Agreed
Thanks for the comments..
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Old 15-08-2014, 08:38   #15
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Re: Still rounding up...

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Have you tried a smaller jib?

A tall narrow jib with reefed main might help too but not when racing.

The smaller 110 jib is the next option. Would rather not reef except as a last resort. 80 boats on the water and we would be the only one reefing the main. Trying to figure out a way to solve the problem (excess heeling and weather helm in "only" 14kts of wind) without reefing the main. Might not be possible.

b.
Thanks for the comments
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