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Old 25-06-2010, 17:15   #16
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I used to teach sailing on San Francisco Bay. It's a great place to learn, because the winds are often quite boisterous.

A sailboat which "heels too much" can be corralled in three ways:

(1) by heading up a little, but not so much as to come into irons which is bad news, because you no longer have control of the vessel and have violated the first rule...keep the boat moving;

(2) by heading off the wind somewhat. That's right, a boat trimmed for close hauling or close reaching will actually sit up when sailed off the wind to a beam reach. This is counter-intuitive, but it's true; and

(3) by reducing sail (reefing or dropping sail).

With dingies and very small sailboats you can release the main sheet to spill the wind from the mainsail and avoid capsize. Releasing the main becomes less of a strategy when sailing larger boats.

Most boats sail faster when the degree of heel isn't excessive, say enough to put the rail in the water. If you can't do this when the sails are properly trimmed, then you must reduce sail (by reefing or handing a sail).

Another counter-intuitive tip: many modern sailboats go to weather better with just a headsail, and the main furled. Not with just a mainsail...that's a sure way to kill forward speed.

Bill
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Old 25-06-2010, 19:04   #17
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To reduce heel, please correct if I am worng...you could also
  • tighten the out-haul
  • tighten the halyard
  • move the traveler to leeward
  • after all that, begin to reduce sail/reef
?
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Old 25-06-2010, 19:58   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windgeist View Post
To reduce heel, please correct if I am worng...you could also
  • tighten the out-haul
  • tighten the halyard
  • move the traveler to leeward
  • after all that, begin to reduce sail/reef
?
all of the above will flatten out the main, effectivly depowering it. Racing on beachcats, one of the most powerful ways we have to depower through puffs while sailing upwind is to play the downhaul. It's faster than the mainsheet and doesn't shock the mast and flow over the sail. Of course most cruising boats don't have a 16:1 cascading cunningham system
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Old 25-06-2010, 23:36   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windgeist View Post
To reduce heel, please correct if I am worng...you could also
  • tighten the out-haul
  • tighten the halyard
  • move the traveler to leeward
  • after all that, begin to reduce sail/reef
?
For us, it does, of course, depend on the reason for heeling too much: Is it just a gust, a 15 minute strengthening, or a general stronger wind?

This original poster is a novice doing a sailing lesson so I guess the instructor would have the reefing set correctly for the general conditions.

I doubt the outhaul and halyard would have much dramatic affect unless racing. So that brings it back to the traveler and the sheet.

In a gust the traveler is better because the sail shape will be the same as the boom has not gone verticly up.

Its also going to be the easiest to get at. Our outhall is on the boom, I don't adjust halyard tension normally, and as Sailmonkey suggests few have a 16:1 cascading cunningham system and if they do they wouldn't be teaching a novice to use it on day1

If it is an early lesson maybe I would teach the mainsheet first and the traveler the next lesson.

In our type of cruising the course stays the same as we have a set course and we are on auto pilot. So we adjust the sails: Traveler till its all the way to leward and then the mainsheet.
If we are in increasing wind I will bepower by letting the main luff slightly, just so it bends inwards. We take that time to roll up a bit of genoa. Then reef and adjust with the Genoa.
So our active area is not behind the wheel (unless looking at the instruments) but in front of the wheel where the sail controls are.
This location is the big bone of contention with the 'older' sailors who like all the kit led aft to the wheel. Its not gunna happen, and auto pilots are good enough so it doesnt have to happen.
On our next boat we may even go for instruments on the forward edge of the cockpit or some on the mast like a racing boat. I hate gettin a cricked neck!
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Old 26-06-2010, 00:54   #20
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On a heavily heeled boat it would be kind of spooky to try to winch the main halyard down. That normally requires two hands on the winch, and since we're talking about being heeled, you can imagine the sketchy factor going on there. If you're lucky, the winch is on the windward side so you can sort of straddle the spar. Sort of.
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Old 26-06-2010, 01:45   #21
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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
all of the above will flatten out the main, effectivly depowering it. Racing on beachcats, one of the most powerful ways we have to depower through puffs while sailing upwind is to play the downhaul. It's faster than the mainsheet and doesn't shock the mast and flow over the sail. Of course most cruising boats don't have a 16:1 cascading cunningham system
The way this works is that you're bending the mast by using the equivalent of a string attached to the top of the mast to the downhaul, this happens to be the luff of the sail. The mast has to have prebend in it, this is done on the beach cats by raking the diamond spreaders as far aft as class legal then tightening the snot out of the diamond wires. It helps that this is a fractional rig as well. Don't care how much gain you have, I'd like to see the mainsail luff bend a nice stout cruisers rig mast.
Another benefit to this control is you're bending the mast tip back with the downhaul not the mainsheet/leech, so you're decreasing the distance from the mast tip to the clew, allowing leech twist. So you are flattening the sail and twisting off the top at the same time with the pull of one string.

Just got a new mainsail for my Hobie 20, old mainsail looks OK, except that all the mylar is shredded off in the luff area. I got a reasonable lifetime out of the sail, just noticing where the big loads are.

John
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Old 28-06-2010, 08:56   #22
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The way this works is that you're bending the mast by using the equivalent of a string attached to the top of the mast to the downhaul, this happens to be the luff of the sail. The mast has to have prebend in it, this is done on the beach cats by raking the diamond spreaders as far aft as class legal then tightening the snot out of the diamond wires. It helps that this is a fractional rig as well. Don't care how much gain you have, I'd like to see the mainsail luff bend a nice stout cruisers rig mast.
Another benefit to this control is you're bending the mast tip back with the downhaul not the mainsheet/leech, so you're decreasing the distance from the mast tip to the clew, allowing leech twist. So you are flattening the sail and twisting off the top at the same time with the pull of one string.

Just got a new mainsail for my Hobie 20, old mainsail looks OK, except that all the mylar is shredded off in the luff area. I got a reasonable lifetime out of the sail, just noticing where the big loads are.

John
Thanks for the explanation, I know how it all works, just wasn't going to type all that....... I've noticed the same thing on the sale for my I-17, the luff is stressed, the leech is near pristine and the draft hasn't changed at all (from memory) from new.
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Old 28-06-2010, 09:11   #23
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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Thanks for the explanation, I know how it all works, just wasn't going to type all that....... I've noticed the same thing on the sale for my I-17, the luff is stressed, the leech is near pristine and the draft hasn't changed at all (from memory) from new.
If the luff is stressed, the draft has moved aft. It can't be otherwise.
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Old 28-06-2010, 13:48   #24
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If the luff is stressed, the draft has moved aft. It can't be otherwise.
the draft is still far fwd, but the mylar film over the fiber (not pentax, but it's predecessor)is what seems to not like the pull......at least the sail is still fast enough to keep up with the double handed boats on the wind
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Old 28-06-2010, 22:00   #25
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This is a fascinating discussion. As a relative novice myself (this is my third season) I still marvel at how much my comfort level has gone up since I started out, how things that used to panic me are now just learning experiences. IMHO, that's the first task for the original poster to work on: remembering that you are not going to capsize a keelboat unless you are out in weather you have no business being out in, and even then, it's a chore. (You will probably fall off the boat long before you capsize, but that is another discussion altogether.) I had to have a mantra for a while: unless the tip of the mast is close to the water, you are not in danger of capsizing. It's difficult to put even the best advice into practice if your emotions are keeping you from thinking.
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Old 29-06-2010, 04:50   #26
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heeling over

A lot of good advice in this thread especially in the close hauled and reaching modes. Ihave found while not being a complete nong but not an overly experienced know- all, that the heeling thing can happen alot when boats are on a broad reach or almost running under foresail and main. Ioften go 'goosewinged in this circumstance ie. the foresail set to port and the main on the starboard . my 27ft Srivener 'SUPERSONIC 'JUST LOVES THIS TYPE OF SAILING AND SITS DEAD STAIGHT AND GOES LIKE A BULLET ...JUST MY HUMBLE OPINION MIND YOU LOTS LUCK ...ROSSCO
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Old 29-06-2010, 06:33   #27
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msoneji-
Yes, letting out the main sail was another thing we worked on. But don't understand how to flatten the boat by steering into or away from the wind as the instructor mentioned...
I don't understand either. If you are close-hauled and you try to head up, you will usually get increased heeling moment as you start to pinch, then the sail stalls and you lose way and then control. It's a mess and absolutely not the way to do it.

You can, on the contrary, head off and let out sheets. That works well, provided you get the sheets loosened in time. If some really terrific blow comes up out of nowhere, so that you can't stand up to it on other points of sail and there is no time to reef, we always just head all the way off downwind. That's the fastest way to save such a situation, when, for example, you have been sailing in 15 knot winds, and a sudden squall comes up with 35 knot winds. You can sail comfortably with a given amount of sail up in winds two or three forces stronger downwind, than you can on other points of sail. Then we decide what to do next, in peace. You can reef a roller furling headsail already when sailing off the wind, then head back into the wind to reef the main, for example.

But if you are sailing in the right direction and don't want to change direction, but rather, you just want to keep sailing but on a more even keel, then you need to depower the sails. If you don't want to reef for whatever reason, then I would start by letting down the traveller, which (depending on how your boat is set up) is usually the fastest and easiest way. Excessive heeling is usually accompanied by weather helm, and letting down the traveller will help with that, too.

Then you need to think about flattening the sails to depower them. On our boat, hardening up the mainsheet (rather than loosening it) will flatten the mainsail dramatically, reducing power and heeling. You can also tighten the leech by hardening up the vang, or increase tension on the outhaul, or just in general whatever works on your boat to give the sail a less full and therefore less powerful shape.

You have to be careful loosening sheets to depower on some cruising boats. This is what we do on dinghys -- if you get overpowered and start to capsize, you just let go the sheets. But on many cruising boats sailing hard on the wind with a really tight mainsheet, loosening sheets can increase power as the boom rises and the sail becomes fuller. That's why you should start with the traveller rather than the mainsheet.

We usually don't fiddle with the shape of the foresails. Maybe that is because of inadequate sail trim expertise. But it is so easy to roll in a little of your headsail with roller furling gear, usually without even changing course, that this is generally what we do, instead of fiddling with the sheet leads and so forth to get a less powerful shape.
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Old 29-06-2010, 06:56   #28
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It's possible that the angle of heel that was freaking you guys out wasn't really that bad. A lot of new sailors get really weirded out when the rail gets a little wet, which depending on the boat might not really be the end of the world. Every boat has an initial angle and a final angle; monohulls have a very large spread between the two, multi's not so much. The initial angle is when the boat is going to start to heel, and the final angle is when it's going to flip over.

The more the boat heels, the more gravity is wanting to pull the weight in the keel down, and the less power the wind has on the sail. As the sail becomes more horizontal, the wind has less leverage on it. Try blowing on a piece of paper perpendicular to your face, then angle the paper at 45 degrees. The angled paper is going to "spill" a lot more wind and your breath will exert much less force on the paper.

All that being said, if you're not having fun, put a reef in or adjust your point of sail. When it doubt, reef. It's a great skill to have as second nature.
That's very good advice.

A reasonably seaworthy monohull cruising boat almost can't be knocked down by wind alone (the wrong combination with big waves is a different story, however). This is very different from a dinghy or a catamaran. The keel keeps the boat from going over. Don't forget the heeling also depowers the boat's sails by presenting less sail area to the wind, reducing the heeling moment, just as the canted-over keel starts exerting more and more force, just as Rebel Heart said.

That being said, it's inefficient and unpleasant to sail with too much heel, and more importantly, too much weather helm. You risk breaking gear, too, by having too much sail up. If you've got the rail in the water, you need to change something.
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Old 29-06-2010, 07:16   #29
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I used to teach sailing on San Francisco Bay. It's a great place to learn, because the winds are often quite boisterous.

A sailboat which "heels too much" can be corralled in three ways:

(1) by heading up a little, but not so much as to come into irons which is bad news, because you no longer have control of the vessel and have violated the first rule...keep the boat moving;

(2) by heading off the wind somewhat. That's right, a boat trimmed for close hauling or close reaching will actually sit up when sailed off the wind to a beam reach. This is counter-intuitive, but it's true; and

(3) by reducing sail (reefing or dropping sail).


I hate to contradict a former sailing instructor, but doesn't your point (2) contradict your point (1)? I remember decades ago being amazed in my 15' Chrysler dinghy how an impending capsize would become much worse as I headed up, right up until the sails started luffing. I had reasoned to myself that narrowing the angle to the wind with a given sail trim would reduce the force and the heeling moment, and was surprised to find that while drive was not increased, heeling moment was, and dramatically, as I headed up without touching the sheets. The greatest heeling moment occurred just before luffing.

Your point (2) is definitely true. Sailboats heel more the closer they sail to the wind, almost irrespective of sail trim (which is counterintuitive). Heading off, bizzarely even without easing sheets, will let the boat stand up. Heading up will push it down.

In my experience at least. I don't understand the theory, but it must have to do with the balance between aerodynamic lift and drag.
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Old 29-06-2010, 14:42   #30
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I hate to contradict a former sailing instructor, but doesn't your point (2) contradict your point (1)? I remember decades ago being amazed in my 15' Chrysler dinghy how an impending capsize would become much worse as I headed up, right up until the sails started luffing. I had reasoned to myself that narrowing the angle to the wind with a given sail trim would reduce the force and the heeling moment, and was surprised to find that while drive was not increased, heeling moment was, and dramatically, as I headed up without touching the sheets. The greatest heeling moment occurred just before luffing.

Your point (2) is definitely true. Sailboats heel more the closer they sail to the wind, almost irrespective of sail trim (which is counterintuitive). Heading off, bizzarely even without easing sheets, will let the boat stand up. Heading up will push it down.

In my experience at least. I don't understand the theory, but it must have to do with the balance between aerodynamic lift and drag.
If you started with the sails trimmed correctly for the point of sail you're on, that will produce the most heel. As you head up the sails will luff and depower. As you bear off the sails will stall and produce less power and you will heel less. If you're sure you at the max power, correct sail trim, turning into the wind quickly will momentarily heel the boat more for a different reason. As you steer the boat rapidly upwind it will move farther out from under the top of the mast. If you turned very slowly into the wind you wouldn't heel more.

With correct sail trim, the more you sail away from the wind, the force generated by the sail is more inline with the direction you are sailing and produce less heeling, but I think we weren't debating that point.

John
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