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Old 05-09-2013, 17:59   #16
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

I've had that experience here, too. "Heave to?" "What's that?"

On our Catalina 25, hanked on jib(s), we'd sail on port tack and then heave to at the start of the estuary, and then pull the jib down with the downhaul that we learned from Pat Royce's excellent book, Sailing Illustrated, and then use the main down wind down (or up?) the estuary to Alameda Marina.

Heaving to with a hanked on jib and going to starboard backwinds the jib over the foredeck and you can drop it and it folds itself. Easy to bag when home.

Or, we'd drop the main, no lazy jacks, and sail down (or up?) on jib alone.

Most times we'd sail w/o/w all the way back.

We DID have an engine.

We do much the same with our C34, except it has roller furling, so I don't have to do the "foredeck ape" thing anymore.

Still an ape, though, and glad to proclaim so.
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Old 05-09-2013, 18:00   #17
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

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Originally Posted by Cpt Pat View Post
What would you do if you couldn't start your engine and it's too deep to anchor?

Are you sure you can't heave to with the helm fully alee (steering fully to windward)?
What happens when this or that occurred? It depends.

It has been my experience, that while sailing, sh** sometimes happens. What worked when I review options from my couch didn't seem to always work while sailing.
But it's always fun to pass judgment on what someone else does.
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Old 05-09-2013, 18:02   #18
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

Bluestocking is a 41ft Rhodes Reliant, long straight keel, with the stem cutaway angle finishing about 3ft ahead of the mast. In 20 knots I roller furl to about 30 % of the fore triangle, back the jib to windward, and bring full rudder to the same side. as the head tries to fall off the rudder tries to bring the head back up. She will lay off the wind about 40 degrees, allowing me to get a feathered main in quite nicely, while making a nice slick.
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Old 05-09-2013, 18:14   #19
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

I learned the benefit of heaving to to reduce/strike the main as a single hander, especially in heavy air. Much easier than powering into the wind with the AP holding course. And no chance of falling off and watching the boat motor on.
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Old 05-09-2013, 18:17   #20
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

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What is balancing the force on the jib, with the main down?
The rudder.

If the boat makes any headway at or slightly above steerage speed, the rudder turns the bow to windward, while the backwinded jib turns the bow away from the wind and propels the boat forward, maintaining a speed just above steerage speed. In every fin-keeled boat I've ever sailed, the boat will slowly jog back and forth between the opposing forces of the jib and the rudder.

In a long keeled boat, the jogging is often too small to detect, and the boat just sits there completely stable, beam to wind, and moves through the water at whatever speed is steerage speed (in my boat: 1.5 knots) with a course over ground angle that's 30 degrees downwind from its heading. With the main down, and only the jib up, the bow rotates only slightly downwind. While it was still up, the main was stalled anyway, and dousing it doesn't have much affect. If you watch the video (first post here) carefully, you will see the mainsheet has no tension at all in it as soon as the main is lowered just a few inches. The mainsail is doing almost nothing to stabilize the boat. It's all the jib and the rudder that are effective.

This all assumes your rudder has adequate steering authority. The boat should only turn directly downwind if the rudder is seriously inadequate - or the jib is really huge (or a spinnaker) so it completely overwhelms steerage. The rudder may need to be fully deflected - way past the normal stalling angle.

I've been on several fin-keeled boats with skippers who swear they can't heave to. And I've been able to easily heave to in those boats every time. Of course, I haven't sailed in your boat, nor am I sure I would, if the rudder isn't effective against the yawing force of the jib.

The one thing you do have to be careful of is accidentally coming about by swinging the helm over too soon. When you come about to backwind the jib and let out the main, you should coast along a little until you have bled off some of the kinetic energy. Otherwise, if you swing the helm back to windward too soon, you may still have enough energy to tack back over. While an accidental tack is probably less dangerous than an accidental jibe, it's still pretty dramatic to have the boom slash across over your head unexpectedly.
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Old 05-09-2013, 18:21   #21
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

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I to singlehandled for 23 years from SF Bay to Lake Worth Fla.

It all depends on your mainsail and what your sailing instructor told you! It's almost impossible to get a full batten main to fall into the lazyjacks will sailing off the wind. Equally difficult is to roll the main in while the wind is anywhere except on the nose.

The sailing instructor? He's force to teach to the people who want life simple.
The bow doesn't need to point into the wind, only the main boom. When I heave to, just before I go to the mast to drop the main I release the main sheet. The boom now points directly downwind with the sail luffing. I then release the halyard and pull the main down. Lazy jacks help a lot!
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Old 05-09-2013, 18:27   #22
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

I'm enjoying and learning from this thread and intend to tinker with some of the various responses. I especially like Mark's suggestion to raise the foresail first, instead of the main as is commonly taught. My boat will NOT point into the wind and stay there w/o a motorized assist, but I think I'm gonna try raising my hanked-on foresail first, get er sailing and swing the boat across the eye of the wind, raising the main as I go.

I'm also gonna try reefing the main while hove-to.

Since my boat wants to lie beam-to-the-wind, I've found that the best way to reduce sail in harsh conditions is to splash the foresail on the deck (I have a downhaul), bring the boat around into the wind....and let go the main halyard, dropping the mainsail. The boat is then docile. I can put in a reef (or two) and raise the sails....or lower them completely.

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Old 05-09-2013, 18:42   #23
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

Very interesting Cpt Pat. Great post!!

Marc
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Old 05-09-2013, 19:48   #24
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

Neat idea, I'll try it the next time I'm dropping sail.
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Old 05-09-2013, 20:07   #25
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

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There are MANY sailboats in Sweden. They have a rather long history of sailing -- since before anyone invented the wheel. And I'm only referring to their culture. Obviously here, one often can't negotiate many marinas without an engine. It's a sad fact of life.

Prudence should always dictate the proper action. And I too motor into and out of my slip here. Otherwise, I'd have to tack upwind over a mile in the marina in a channel that's too narrow to tack safely (my long-keeled boat doesn't turn on a dime).

But even if my engine is running, it's always in neutral when I take in my mainsail because it doesn't assist at all with heaving to.

I'm also a pilot, and the most prudent advice I received as a student in single engine airplanes was: "Never trust your life to an engine." I'd since had to perform three landings with a dead engine. I believe that's prudent advice for sailing as well. Always have, at least as a backup, the skill to maneuver safely without the Iron Sail. Never go anyplace you can't get out of with sail alone - or at least stop by throwing out the anchor.

So which is it -- people who turn the engine on can't sail, or prudent sailors do what they need to be safe?

If the marinas in Sweden are at all crowded -- unless they ALL have straight fairways coming straight out of a major, wide channel with no shipping -- I simply do not believe that turning your engine on means you're a bad sailor.

This sailor wouldn't even want to use such a marina, because it would be too exposed to storms. Every turn you have to make to get to your slip provides more protection from waves in a storm. But it also greatly reduces your chances of safely sailing into your slip.

There are two guys in our club right now who keep their boats anchored out but don't have engines. When bad weather threatens, they sail their boats up to a transient dock -- BUT they only have one turn they have to make, and enough space afterwards to slow down enough to dock under sail safely.

They are both outstanding sailors with tremendous amounts of experience. They are also both working hard to get a functioning engine in their boats.

Engines aren't the enemy. They're another piece of equipment on the boat. There's no shame in turning the engine on. The sailor who should feel shame is the one who let pride stop him or her from doing something that would keep the boat and the crew safe.
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Old 05-09-2013, 23:01   #26
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

Hello all,

I've enjoyed this thread and I've learnt from Pat despite having sailed a fair distance while practicing and sometimes needing close quarters maneuvering under sail.

I've never used Pat's technique for lowering or reefing the main which my wife and I often do under sail. What I generally do is point on a close reach, let out the main sheet till the it luffs and then lower/reef. Granted I only have half battens and we've tried hard to minimize friction etc. I like Pats method better as sailing along at 5 knots at night deep sea and reefing is not as safe as his method. Thank you Pat for this great technique, Have you got any more up your sleeve mate?

I have this to add to the whole maneuvering under sail discussion: My wife and I have always anchored under sail when we could do so safely (which is most of the time). My wife does get nervous about this (especially around other moored vessels) and a few times we have motor in as I would rather sail with my wife than solo. That said it is a great learning experience and one that I would recommend to all. Not only for those occasions when the engine fails but also as you get great satisfaction from doing it well.
There are times when I have needed this skill and if we had not kept practicing it we would have forgotten all the intricacies of how to do it.

Occasionally I have maneuvered in harbour under sail but only when I have had no other choice. However all my sailing has been without a home port so every harbour has been new and different and I find there is usually an alternative to close quarters maneuvering under sail in an unfamiliar harbour.
That said if you are confident that you can accomplish this in your home port then give it a shot when you have 10-12 knots blowing and with the engine going as a backup. 12 knots should be enough to maintain boat speed but not too much that you can't slow or stop things with the engine if it's going pear shaped. I've found that the biggest single factor to getting it right is the wind. Sounds obvious but it's actually better to have more wind than not enough. You can always reef or luff but when the wind is light and shifty work another plan because Murphy will drop the wind when you need it the most!

Enjoy the sailing and thanks Pat
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Old 05-09-2013, 23:10   #27
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

MY HAIR DRYER HAS MORE WIND.............AM I MISSING SOMETHING ?
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Old 05-09-2013, 23:22   #28
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

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Hello all,

I've enjoyed this thread and I've learnt from Pat despite having sailed a fair distance while practicing and sometimes needing close quarters maneuvering under sail.

I've never used Pat's technique for lowering or reefing the main which my wife and I often do under sail. What I generally do is point on a close reach, let out the main sheet till the it luffs and then lower/reef. Granted I only have half battens and we've tried hard to minimize friction etc. I like Pats method better as sailing along at 5 knots at night deep sea and reefing is not as safe as his method. Thank you Pat for this great technique, Have you got any more up your sleeve mate?

I have this to add to the whole maneuvering under sail discussion: My wife and I have always anchored under sail when we could do so safely (which is most of the time). My wife does get nervous about this (especially around other moored vessels) and a few times we have motor in as I would rather sail with my wife than solo. That said it is a great learning experience and one that I would recommend to all. Not only for those occasions when the engine fails but also as you get great satisfaction from doing it well.
There are times when I have needed this skill and if we had not kept practicing it we would have forgotten all the intricacies of how to do it.

Occasionally I have maneuvered in harbour under sail but only when I have had no other choice. However all my sailing has been without a home port so every harbour has been new and different and I find there is usually an alternative to close quarters maneuvering under sail in an unfamiliar harbour.
That said if you are confident that you can accomplish this in your home port then give it a shot when you have 10-12 knots blowing and with the engine going as a backup. 12 knots should be enough to maintain boat speed but not too much that you can't slow or stop things with the engine if it's going pear shaped. I've found that the biggest single factor to getting it right is the wind. Sounds obvious but it's actually better to have more wind than not enough. You can always reef or luff but when the wind is light and shifty work another plan because Murphy will drop the wind when you need it the most!

Enjoy the sailing and thanks Pat

No, I won't try it in my marina, as they would make me move. It simply is not always the right, smart or safe thing to do. If you saw the entrance to my marina, sharp turns in a narrow channel because of seawall and fuel docks, I don't think you would either. It's one thing to develop a new skill. It's another to try to learn to tapdance in a minefield.
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Old 05-09-2013, 23:25   #29
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

I have often hove- to, to reef the main on a similar size boat, but I have never seen 20 knots look as calm as that video. I also have run off to change down a jib in high winds. Loosing a mile or so was not worth getting beat up on the foredeck. The difference between changing a jib while still trying to go to weather, and changing it running off is like night and day. That 20 knot claim still bothers me. _____Grant.
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Old 05-09-2013, 23:52   #30
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Re: Taking in the mainsail without an engine

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The rudder.

If the boat makes any headway at or slightly above steerage speed, the rudder turns the bow to windward, while the backwinded jib turns the bow away from the wind and propels the boat forward, maintaining a speed just above steerage speed. In every fin-keeled boat I've ever sailed, the boat will slowly jog back and forth between the opposing forces of the jib and the rudder.

.
Thanks, but I know how heaving-to works. However I believe that most boats require the action of the main filling, and pointing the bow back into the wind, to counteract the tendency of the jib to push the bow to leeward. The rudder will not be sufficient. In a gust the bow will be around and pointing downwind before the boat has developed any forward motion.

Directly from the Wikipedia entry on heaving to (my bold) :

"Depending on the underwater configuration and relative sail areas, some vessels cannot be left hove to particularly in rough weather. If the action of the wind and waves is capable of pushing the bow off the wind sufficiently, it is possible that the boat will gybe and sail herself around in part of a rather violent circle with the rudder lashed. More traditional hulls with longer keels tend to heave to more calmly, those with deep dagger or blade keels and flat bottoms tend to be more skittish. Large genoas do not help with heaving to, compared to smaller jibs, as they wrap aft of the shrouds and add to the forward drive. Some mainsails need easing, others need reefing and some may need to be hardened in to achieve a stable heave-to."

Just because you can do something doesn't mean everyone else can. I'll stick my neck out here : MOST boats need the main up to heave to successfully.
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