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Old 25-11-2012, 18:31   #1
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Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

My diesel died in the beginning of my trip home from Charleston to Tampa. I was meeting a girl in Ft pierce which required holding a heading of 265 to go down the channel. The wind wasn't allowing it but was forecast to change the next day in my favor so I stayed outside and worked on my upwind sailing which was more comfortable than dropping the hook. I couldn't get appreciable upwind progress unless I had full sail up then did fine(for this boat) getting about 55-60 degrees track. Yes my sails are old. Some questions for those more knowledgable than I. Instead of reefing I'm wondering if a stay closer to the mastbase and high aspect sails would make sailing upwind in wind too high for full sail possible. Or is the relative size of the sails compared to the boats windage a limiting factor? Any techniques and tips for upwind in a blow would be appreciated.
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Old 25-11-2012, 19:41   #2
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

The clue you gave is "old sails" ... if a cruiser thinks a sail is old, it is [I}really[/I] old.

You probably don't need an inner forestay, just new sails. A smaller flat headsail. A main that can be trimmed flat. She'll go upwind way better.

Also, cruising boats can sometimes be littered with so much deck junk that the windage alone holds her back. The time it takes to stow the stuff properly below might pay back in time saved to weather.

Also also, sometimes there are girls just as friendly in the downwind direction ...
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Old 25-11-2012, 19:46   #3
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

Many old sails can be recut to take the belly out of them for better upwind performance. This is considerably cheaper than replacement.

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Old 25-11-2012, 19:51   #4
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It may be that your sheeting angle goes to crap when the smaller sails (or reefed headsails) are used.

The only fix if this is the case are inboard sheet leads.
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Old 25-11-2012, 19:52   #5
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

I can tell you more if I could see a picture,,,of the girl
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Old 25-11-2012, 19:58   #6
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

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Originally Posted by daddle View Post
The clue you gave is "old sails" ... if a cruiser thinks a sail is old, it is [I}really[/I] old.

You probably don't need an inner forestay, just new sails. A smaller flat headsail. A main that can be trimmed flat. She'll go upwind way better.

I started double reefed with a ninety percent jib. The jib is fairly fresh, crisp and heavy. The best I could do there was flatline back and forth. I then moved to a 110 and single reef. I made maybe 85 deg track to windward. Then changed to the 130 working jib and did ok but with too much heel and crabbing.




Also, cruising boats can sometimes be littered with so much deck junk that the windage alone holds her back. The time it takes to stow the stuff properly below might pay back in time saved to weather.

Don't have removeable junk on deck. Do have enclosure, dinghy on davits , outboard on bracket etc.

Also also, sometimes there are girls just as friendly in the downwind direction ...
I remember from years back reading the "Art and Science of Sails" that's where I came up with the idea of an inner forestay to make the slot smaller and the high aspect sail set which should have better windward qualities. Also wondering what happens in winds above the 25 I was playing with. Windage still cancel out reefed sails increased power?
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Old 25-11-2012, 20:04   #7
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

Ok inboard sheet leads sounds promising. I can see adding a track to the coaming around the cockpit. With the shrouds mounted to the hull and the wide beam sheeting angle is pretty far out there.
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Old 25-11-2012, 20:19   #8
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
My diesel died in the beginning of my trip home from Charleston to Tampa. I was meeting a girl in Ft pierce which required holding a heading of 265 to go down the channel. The wind wasn't allowing it but was forecast to change the next day in my favor so I stayed outside and worked on my upwind sailing which was more comfortable than dropping the hook. I couldn't get appreciable upwind progress unless I had full sail up then did fine(for this boat) getting about 55-60 degrees track. Yes my sails are old. Some questions for those more knowledgable than I. Instead of reefing I'm wondering if a stay closer to the mastbase and high aspect sails would make sailing upwind in wind too high for full sail possible. Or is the relative size of the sails compared to the boats windage a limiting factor? Any techniques and tips for upwind in a blow would be appreciated.
Lots of luff, foot and backstay tension. LOTS! Move sheet cars slightly aft to open the leach if its really strong. A half furled genoa is a pig of a sail to windward in strong weather, a reefed main and full genoa is better than the reverse. But a headsail change from genoa to jib would be even better.

High aspect sails will increase healing moment. they do provide a lot more power though.

A lot of this is really vessel dependant also. If you have an older long keel designed boat with a furler, its never going to point as high as a modern fin keeled boat with hank on sails. However, I will be much more comfortable to over generalise. What sort of boat is it? Got any pix?
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Old 25-11-2012, 20:46   #9
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

You don't need to add an inner stay to have a high aspect ratio sail. You just have a near full hoist blade sail made for your boat. The jib does not have to overlap the main to interact with it. A furler roller reefed genoa doesn't count, the shape will be crap.

If the keel on the 33 is similar to the OI 41 I have sailed, I wouldn't spend a lot of money to start. The keel is very shallow. I used to watch the wake track on that boat in amazement for fun, only it wasn't fun when I had to get it upwind. The boat makes significant leeway. I would say a GPS track of 55-60 isn't too bad. What was your tacking angle?

I'd just start with barberhauls to experiment with closer sheeting angles. We did on his 41 but it didn't help much. We also rolled the jib up just enough to sheet in between the uppers and lowers to get a tighter angle, that didn't help much either. New sails improved his tacking angle by more than 10 degrees. I don't know how much it helped the track angle as he left for Mexico at that point.

One of the people sailing the boat claimed sailing it overpowered heeled over helped, the opposite of what you'd expect with a shallow keel. I think what happened is the boat had lee helm and when you heeled it enough to give it weather helm the rudder made a big difference in reducing leeway now that it was producing lift. A bit like a Hobie 16 where they deliberately create weather helm to use the rudders to reduce leeway.
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Old 25-11-2012, 21:35   #10
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

A 33 ft boat with a dodger, typical dinghy on davits, and an outboard on the rail is not going to perform to weather. That gear is for downwind. Put the outboard on the cabin sole. Roll up the dinghy. The dodger you can keep ... hopefully it is reasonably modest in drag.

I am bit of a fanatic perhaps, but when I sail any boat any significant distance to weather the only items on deck are the dodger, jacklines and winch handles ... seriously ... that is all. No fenders, LPG bottles, tomato plants, fuel jugs, BBQ, spare anchor gear, no nothing, put it all below, take it out when I reach the next paradise.

Do that, and not be overloaded, and most any boat can get textbook performance.
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Old 25-11-2012, 22:37   #11
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

Personaly I prefer to bear off a little and sail narrow reach, it's so much better for my old body ! I still get there, maybe a little later but Im ready to party, not just go to the bunk for rest !! LOL most high pointing boats are just to much for me anymore, to rough riding. I like a smoother ride and I only cruise never race, and Connie won't let me date other girls !!LOL
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Old 26-11-2012, 01:40   #12
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Take in the first reef, you wont lose much sail area and can usually get the sail shape much flatter. Also reduces excess weather helm from middle aged cruising sails. Worked great on my last boat, she was stilling sailing with her (slightly baggy) original 1972 sails when I sold her.
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Old 26-11-2012, 02:21   #13
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
My diesel died in the beginning of my trip home from Charleston to Tampa. I was meeting a girl in Ft pierce which required holding a heading of 265 to go down the channel. The wind wasn't allowing it but was forecast to change the next day in my favor so I stayed outside and worked on my upwind sailing which was more comfortable than dropping the hook. I couldn't get appreciable upwind progress unless I had full sail up then did fine(for this boat) getting about 55-60 degrees track. Yes my sails are old. Some questions for those more knowledgable than I. Instead of reefing I'm wondering if a stay closer to the mastbase and high aspect sails would make sailing upwind in wind too high for full sail possible. Or is the relative size of the sails compared to the boats windage a limiting factor? Any techniques and tips for upwind in a blow would be appreciated.
Well, if you can sail upwind with all your sail up, or just one reef in, then it's not anywhere near "heavy weather".

As others have said, a smaller, higher aspect sail, whether you hoist it on the forestay or on an inner forestay (which is better, but you will need to rig running backs), is better. Naturally -- headsails especially lose performance precipitously as they are reefed.

So changing sails is much better than reefing.

BUT -- sailing upwind in boisterous weather means sailing not only against the wind but against the sea state. I don't know any sailboat under about 90 feet that can make much useful VMG to windward with the wind over 30 knots. When the sea gets up, especially if its short, steep sea, you quickly loose any ability to go upwind, no matter how good your sails are.

I want a blade jib myself, exactly for sailing efficiently upwind in 25 to 30 knots of wind. Where I sail, 25 to 30 knots of wind is pretty common, and that's not considered tough weather. But over 30 knots, even in my boat, which has a 46' waterline and a bulb keel -- fuggeditaboutit. Stay in port, or change destinations to someplace downwind, or heave to for a couple of days.

I have done a few upwind passages in 30+ knots of wind and I hope that I'm now wise enough to simply avoid it in the future. In my experience, you've got the choice of a very, very long, torturous beat, or a very rough ride under engine power.

One hint for those in tidal waters -- if you simply can't avoid an upwind passage in 30+, do as experienced motor-boaters do, and do NOT do it on a favorable tide. The square waves kicked up by wind over tide when it's blowing 30+ more than cancel out any possible advantage you have from the favorable tide. You're better off doing it against the tide, but with rounder waves. Besides that, many tidal races become unnavigable in wind against tide in 30+.
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Old 26-11-2012, 04:31   #14
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

Might try to drop the jib tack to lee, thou you need to set the jib "flying" to do that.
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Old 26-11-2012, 05:04   #15
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Re: Upwind Sailing In Heavy Weather

Having just installed a roller furled jib on the inner forestay of my cutter-rigged boat, I can say that the upwind performance is much better with the inner staysail than without it (not faster, but holds a line better, runs closer to the wind, and has less weather helm). Yes I also have a roller furled genoa and I know that hoist-ups/downs would be better in any condition but I'm lazy and I'm prepared to buy that ease of use with performance. Yes my sails are new-ish rather than old-ish but the staysail is a definite improvement.
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