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Old 10-03-2015, 07:41   #151
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
There but for the grace of God go I.

We can't know when the gust hit, or what was going on on board. He lost control. Maybe it was physically impossible to maneuver, or maybe not. But probably he was just paralyzed with fear and froze up. Probably he just couldn't deal with the combination of the crisis on board and the approaching ferry.

I like to think that it would never happen to me -- that I have better skills, planning, etc. -- but who knows for sure?

I have never just frozen up at sea -- always figured out what to do in various crisis situations, and did it without hesitation.

But I was shot at with a machine gun once, and instead of diving for cover, I just kept walking. It was incredibly stupid, and I am lucky to be alive. I just froze up -- my brain just shut down. So I know very well how that can happen, and so I really wouldn't judge anyone for that.
Ditto, and one sort of funny note to add. Without going into details, about a minute after I realized I was actually going to survive for at least a few more minutes and then that the threat was over with a better than expected resolution, just like in the old Saturday morning cartoons on TV, my knees started shaking back and forth uncontrollably, to the point where I couldn't help but laugh out loud at them! I had NO control over them, almost as if they were someone else's knees. I was very glad this didn't happen a few minutes sooner because then I had REALLY needed functioning knees (and mind). Adrenaline can be a wonderful thing when you really need it!
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:59   #152
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

I use a telescoping whisker pole on my boat. No guy wires, topping lift or other acoutrements... So, my experience is zero when it comes to how a spinnaker pole is rigged and how this may complicate things in managing a foresail "in a blow". I'd enjoy those of you with experience discussing this issue within the context of the video.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:25   #153
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

I was always taught that if the waves and white caps are going in the same direction as the boat then you would be going down wind!!! Is it different in OZ? Sailboat is running parallel with the wave troughs!!???
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:46   #154
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

"I disagree. Assume a beam reach in 18-20 knots of wind. Sheet your foresail in so the telltales settle into a pattern indicating you've found the sweet spot. Take note of weather helm. Then ease the sheets to a point where the foresail begins to flutter or even luff. Take note of weather helm. The effect is the opposite of what you suggest is the case."

Except I didn't suggest quite what you claim. If you ease the genoa sheet or partially furl the genoa, you are correct that it will move the center of effort of your sail plan slightly forward, thus decreasing weather helm. But that's not what we're talking about here. His genoa sheet is completely blown so all the drive in the forward direction is coming from the main. The force being exerted by the genoa is all directly downwind and of course is being exerted as far forward as is possible, but the magnitude of this force is a tiny percentage of the force being exerted by the main or what the genoa would generate were it sheeted in.

You seem to understand that turning further down was impossible because the main would prevent that. But then you go on to illogically say that you'd give it a go to avoid the ferry. That sounds a lot like a panic response to me and looks a lot like what the helmsman in the video was trying to do. But if he'd tried to turn the other way, up, weather helm would have helped, not hurt his chances. I don't blame him because he was time constrained and probably scared to death and had who knows what else going on that was also distracting him, but we have the luxury of watching the video over and over and thinking about it calmly and logically. In strong winds, with blown jib sheets and a full mainsail, on most boats there comes a point where the force generated by the rudder isn't enough to continue to turn down, but using weather helm to your advantage you can turn up with no rudder input at all.

Your towel in the wind analogy leaves out the part where you grab "BOTH" sides of the towel in a strong wind and notice that the force exerted on it is many times the force on it while holding just one side of it. Because the main is attached to the boom, and the boom can only rotate so far downwind before it is stopped by the sheets or the shrouds, the force it exerts on the boat is many times that of a flogging genoa and that force increases as the boat rotates towards downwind so the sail is rotated closer to perpendicular to the wind direction. At that point, in those strong winds, you are all done turning downwind so your only choice is to turn upwind. But if you've wasted the precious seconds available to you trying to force your boat to do the impossible, you end up with a big scratch down the side of the ferry and a damaged rig on your boat.
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:05   #155
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

  • Originally posted by Wrong;

"I disagree. Assume a beam reach in 18-20 knots of wind. Sheet your foresail in so the telltales settle into a pattern indicating you've found the sweet spot. Take note of weather helm. Then ease the sheets to a point where the foresail begins to flutter or even luff. Take note of weather helm. The effect is the opposite of what you suggest is the case."

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Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
Except I didn't suggest quite what you claim. If you ease the genoa sheet or partially furl the genoa, you are correct that it will move the center of effort of your sail plan slightly forward, thus decreasing weather helm. But that's not what we're talking about here. His genoa sheet is completely blown so all the drive in the forward direction is coming from the main.
I simply disagree.


Quote:
The force being exerted by the genoa is all directly downwind and of course is being exerted as far forward as is possible, but the magnitude of this force is a tiny percentage of the force being exerted by the main or what the genoa would generate were it sheeted in.
At the very least an exaggeration and I simply disagree.

Quote:
You seem to understand that turning further down was impossible because the main would prevent that.
What suggests I "...seem to understand turning further downwind was impossible..."?

Quote:
But then you go on to illogically say that you'd give it a go to avoid the ferry. That sounds a lot like a panic response to me and looks a lot like what the helmsman in the video was trying to do. But if he'd tried to turn the other way, up, weather helm would have helped, not hurt his chances. I don't blame him because he was time constrained and probably scared to death and had who knows what else going on that was also distracting him, but we have the luxury of watching the video over and over and thinking about it calmly and logically. In strong winds, with blown jib sheets and a full mainsail, on most boats there comes a point where the force generated by the rudder isn't enough to continue to turn down, but using weather helm to your advantage you can turn up with no rudder input at all.
Go back and read my post. Where's your evidence my choice is based on anythiing but thoughtful consideration of why a turn downwind is the best choice? Panic? Where do you see that? My response would be to turn downwind because I believe it would be the most likely to succeed. Neither response - to turn upwind or downwind - is guaranteed to succeed. In spite of your assumptions and assertions that beg a presentation of objective analysis probably more complex than either of us have at hand; regarding the relative forces affecting the foresail and main, your choice to attempt a turn into the wind is no more likely to succeed than my decision to turn downwind.

Quote:
Your towel in the wind analogy leaves out the part where you grab "BOTH" sides of the towel in a strong wind and notice that the force exerted on it is many times the force on it while holding just one side of it. Because the main is attached to the boom, and the boom can only rotate so far downwind before it is stopped by the sheets or the shrouds, the force it exerts on the boat is many times that of a flogging genoa and that force increases as the boat rotates towards downwind so the sail is rotated closer to perpendicular to the wind direction.
So, what you're suggesting is the boat cannot be sailed at any angle off the wind, or even downwind because the effect of wind on the mainsail renders that impossible? Again, you are not taking into consideration the possibility the genoa will fill in lieu of continuing to flog... I also challenge your assumption that all things remaining equal, there is sufficient weather helm present to accomplish your turn upwind. You have apparently never been in a situation where forces exerted by waves and wind prevent a turn to windward. Well I have, and the only way to get turned around going in the desired direction is to gybe which entails using the forces I choose to enlist in my turn downwind.

Quote:
At that point, in those strong winds, you are all done turning downwind so your only choice is to turn upwind. But if you've wasted the precious seconds available to you trying to force your boat to do the impossible, you end up with a big scratch down the side of the ferry and a damaged rig on your boat.


There's an abundance of assumptions and conjecture in your post. Impossible? I don't think so, especially since you are not taking into account any role the genoa may play as the turn to port is begun. You are also imagining the mainsail as overwheming any effort to turn, although it is at an oblique angle to the wind until well into the turn. The objective is to clear the ferry. Done early enough this should not require a particularly pronounced turn to port. A delayed response would require a more pronounced turn downwind, but presuming this is impossible is a reach.

On a beam reach the primary contributor to weather helm is the foresail. Don't believe it? Douse the sail and see what kind of weather helm remains under main alone. Downwind is a different matter altogether and reducing weather helm relies upon reducing the size of the main.
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:25   #156
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike d. View Post
I was always taught that if the waves and white caps are going in the same direction as the boat then you would be going down wind!!! Is it different in OZ? Sailboat is running parallel with the wave troughs!!???
You are absolutely right that the boat is running parallel to the wind waves. This is because the waves are being generated ahead of the wind, not always but pretty close to 180* from the wind direction. The "troughs" align ahead of the wind similar to what you observe when pushing dirt away from you with your foot or hand. The boat is not going downwind. It is sailing with the wind off the starboard beam, pretty close to a 'beam reach'.
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:35   #157
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

That's what I thought! Unless I miss read the early post, it was stated the boat was going down wind! I would think, that, that being said the boat could/should have changed direction to a more down wind angle to miss the ferry! The only plausible reason it didn't was equipment dmg., or there may have being an accidental gibe, or total loss of control due to weather change(not reading the weather approaching) before! The pole is on the stbd side of the head stay, the genoa appears to be partially adrift.
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:50   #158
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

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Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
but a flogging genoa exerts no such pressure on the bow.
Sorry but that flogging genoa is exterting a huge pressure on the bow. Probably approximately balanced by the huge force the main is contributing and driving the boat forward at a decent speed on the course he is on.

The rudder is almost incidental in this wind force.

He can probably head up a little bit, but as soon as that main pulls a little less, the flogging genoa is going to blow his bow off.

He can't head down any more as the main will start to fill more and round him up again.

I.e. he has a very small window of steering possibility.

He may have tried to head up and found he could not head up enough to avoid crossing to close in front, and then tried to head down, but could not head down enough.

He has to either sheet in the main to head up further (which still might not have been enough and he may have not had enough muscle power and mechanical advantage in the winch to be able to do that), or he has to sheet the genoa to balance the effect of the main. Same applies - possibily not enough muscle to move it much at all.

He ran out of options and time.

If he had time, he should have dropped the genoa (probably in the water as it would be too dangerous to have a crew member anywhere near those flogging sheets), and then dropped the main (hopefully mostly onto the boat).

If he had in mast furling for the main, then he would be truly screwed.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:23   #159
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

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Originally Posted by med View Post
Sorry but that flogging genoa is exterting a huge pressure on the bow. Probably approximately balanced by the huge force the main is contributing and driving the boat forward at a decent speed on the course he is on.

The rudder is almost incidental in this wind force.

He can probably head up a little bit, but as soon as that main pulls a little less, the flogging genoa is going to blow his bow off.

Quote:
He can't head down any more as the main will start to fill more and round him up again.
Dunno if this is a foregone conclusion, and it depends on the severity of turn one has to make.

I.e. he has a very small window of steering possibility.

He may have tried to head up and found he could not head up enough to avoid crossing to close in front, and then tried to head down, but could not head down enough.

He has to either sheet in the main to head up further (which still might not have been enough and he may have not had enough muscle power and mechanical advantage in the winch to be able to do that), or he has to sheet the genoa to balance the effect of the main. Same applies - possibily not enough muscle to move it much at all.

He ran out of options and time.
Yep.

Quote:
If he had time, he should have dropped the genoa (probably in the water as it would be too dangerous to have a crew member anywhere near those flogging sheets), and then dropped the main (hopefully mostly onto the boat).

If he had in mast furling for the main, then he would be truly screwed.
Given the wind strength I doubt dropping anything but a hanked on headsail would be a non starter. The main would be hung up on the shrouds/spreaders and or the slugs/track mechanism would jam. Any kind of furled sail could not be 'dropped'. I have asked what complications related to the pole may prevent doing anything effectively with the headsail if it were hanked on...? I ask because my experience is limited to using a whisker pole. No guys or other means for controlling a pole involved.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:48   #160
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

The mast is not the pivot point. Both the
mainsail and headsail are well forward of
the keel. If one could bring in the main
enough to get help pivoting the boat to
weather, it would have to be pulled in to
such an extent that the boat would be
thrown on its beam ends.
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Old 10-03-2015, 13:02   #161
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

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Originally Posted by jongleur View Post
The mast is not the pivot point. Both the
mainsail and headsail are well forward of
the keel. If one could bring in the main
enough to get help pivoting the boat to
weather, it would have to be pulled in to
such an extent that the boat would be
thrown on its beam ends.
Which, if the sailor on the boat were superman and capable in such conditions to sheet the main to that point, illustrates another factor related to the potential problems encountered by choosing an upwind effort.

Med suggests the rudder in these conditions is 'incidental', taken to mean innefectual. Whether true or not would depend I believe upon the size of the rudder and ability of the sailor to overcome any opposing force, such as that introduced by weather helm. There's definitely enough forward speed that water passing against the rudder is going to impose lots of pressure...
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Old 10-03-2015, 15:17   #162
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

Quote:
Originally Posted by med View Post
Sorry but that flogging genoa is exterting a huge pressure on the bow. Probably approximately balanced by the huge force the main is contributing and driving the boat forward at a decent speed on the course he is on.

The rudder is almost incidental in this wind force.

He can probably head up a little bit, but as soon as that main pulls a little less, the flogging genoa is going to blow his bow off.

He can't head down any more as the main will start to fill more and round him up again.

I.e. he has a very small window of steering possibility.
What boats have you sailed on? I've never been on any boat that couldn't have turned upwind when the headsail sheets were completely released.
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Old 10-03-2015, 15:54   #163
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
What boats have you sailed on? I've never been on any boat that couldn't have turned upwind when the headsail sheets were completely released.
Try doing that in a Force 9 or more when you have completely released the main as well (as is the case here - it is out against the stays).

I have. I can't luff much beyond a beam reach in my boat in those circumstances. And to bear away again to head dead down wind I had the pressure relief value in my hydraulic steering open. It is rated for 2000psi. And I had managed to haul in some of the jib to help.

Anyway in the situation I was caught out in (went from a F2 to F9 in the space of about 200m/5 minutes), where the Pyrenees go down into the Med, I had a hairy few minutes to get the jib furled and hove to be able to put all three reefs into the main. That was the first and only time I have got water into the boat through the saloon hatch.
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Old 10-03-2015, 16:01   #164
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
What boats have you sailed on? I've never been on any boat that couldn't have turned upwind when the headsail sheets were completely released.
I'm struggling to accept that you can't luff up if you have enough speed.
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Old 10-03-2015, 16:02   #165
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Re: T-boning a Ferry in Sidney

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Try doing that in a Force 9 or more when you have completely released the main as well (as is the case here - it is out against the stays).

I have. I can't luff much beyond a beam reach in my boat in those circumstances. And to bear away again to head dead down wind I had the pressure relief value in my hydraulic steering open. It is rated for 2000psi. And I had managed to haul in some of the jib to help.

Anyway in the situation I was caught out in (went from a F2 to F9 in the space of about 200m/5 minutes), where the Pyrenees go down into the Med, I had a hairy few minutes to get the jib furled and hove to be able to put all three reefs into the main. That was the first and only time I have got water into the boat through the saloon hatch.




You've either got an enormous headsail or a very badly balanced rudder. JMHO, of course.
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