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Old 29-06-2010, 14:59   #31
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What happened to Newinthewater? I guess he got chased off by too much information!
Did anyone ask what type of boat he was training on?
If you train in a Sabot/El Toro or Sunfish if you are heeling too much and bear off the wind and don't ease your sheet you will capsize if your point of sail was close hauled or close reaching.
What type of boat you are sailing and your point of sail makes a great deal of difference.
My advice is to ask the instructor again the next time Newinthewater goes out to get clarification. There might be a reason why the signals got mixed and it might just be the instructor was saying something and the student was hearing something else. From experience that happens a lot during a student's first couple of times on the water.
kind regards,
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Old 30-06-2010, 21:17   #32
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I'm still here!
I've been reading much of what everyone has been pitching in and can't thank you enough for all the info.
For those who were wondering, I've been learning on a flying scot.

btrayfors post made the most sense to me (despite being counter-intuitive). I was told a boat will heel the most when in close haul. So, anything other than close haul should really flatten the boat. Correct?
I went out there for practice and tried out both going into the wind and falling off. Going into the wind definitely heeled a bit more until it lost speed and flattened. When I tried to fall off into a beam reach, a gust came in and I freaked out and let the main sail loose to spill the wind rather than overcoming my fear and trying to fall off with the sails trimmed for close haul. I'll have to try it next time I'm out in the water.

After my practice session, I asked some of the instructors hanging out and they gave me some contradictory answers. One claimed you can do either to flatten the boat, while the other assured me falling off would force the sails perpendicular to the wind, forcing it to heel more. Seems like sailing is an art - open to interpretation rather than one correct answer?
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Old 30-06-2010, 23:22   #33
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With out knowing type of boat rig sea and wind there can be no answer- nothing personal but it is an uninformed question and the best answer is keep learning.
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Old 30-06-2010, 23:41   #34
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Originally Posted by Newinthewater View Post

btrayfors post made the most sense to me
I was reading some website (askhow or something like that) where the OP rates the advice given. Maybe we should have that. Great except for one occasion where I saw the biggest load of crap get the top score.

OK Lets start: Btrayfors gets 1 point and goes to the top of the class

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Seems like sailing is an art - open to interpretation rather than one correct answer?
Yes, Grasshopper. Sailing is art. Like a Salvitore Dali it helps just to throw the paint from afar. Wherever it splatters is how you should trim the sails.

Your next lesson is to have a speed indicator. It says you are going 4 knots. You say 'I can go faster'. So pull on a ropey bit: Voila, the boat slows to 3.5. Let go the ropey bit. The boat slows to 3 knots. Get really pissed off and go below and read a book and the boat jumps up to 6 knots.

Yes, sailing is like art. Best seen at night with the lights off.


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Old 01-07-2010, 02:55   #35
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Originally Posted by Newinthewater View Post
I'm still here!
I've been reading much of what everyone has been pitching in and can't thank you enough for all the info.
For those who were wondering, I've been learning on a flying scot.

btrayfors post made the most sense to me (despite being counter-intuitive). I was told a boat will heel the most when in close haul. So, anything other than close haul should really flatten the boat. Correct?
I went out there for practice and tried out both going into the wind and falling off. Going into the wind definitely heeled a bit more until it lost speed and flattened. When I tried to fall off into a beam reach, a gust came in and I freaked out and let the main sail loose to spill the wind rather than overcoming my fear and trying to fall off with the sails trimmed for close haul. I'll have to try it next time I'm out in the water.

After my practice session, I asked some of the instructors hanging out and they gave me some contradictory answers. One claimed you can do either to flatten the boat, while the other assured me falling off would force the sails perpendicular to the wind, forcing it to heel more. Seems like sailing is an art - open to interpretation rather than one correct answer?
You're on the right track -- experiment yourself. Experiencing it once is better than hearing about it a hundred times.

But there are not multiple contradictory right answers. Some one is telling you wrong. You wrote "Going into the wind definitely heeled a bit more until it lost speed and flattened." That's your own direct observation, and it corresponds with mine. Heading up will just make things worse, right up until the point that you luff and lose control, at which point you acquire different problems in exchange for your original problem. So heading up is, according to both your experience and my experience, not a good way to deal with being overpowered and/or heeling too much.

Try the other stuff mentioned in the many good posts here. Many sailor will tell you to let down the traveller first of all. That's what I do when I need instant depowering for some reason. It's easy (depending on where your traveller is; mine is at my fingertips) and it works, and besides that it will relieve any weather helm which usually goes along with being overpowered, and which is usually a bigger problem than excessive heeling.

And don't forget that in a sudden, violent storm where you find yourself grossly overpowered, you need to head off downwind (assuming there are no obstacles in that direction) to get things under control, which will then give you the chance to reef your headsails. After doing that, you can depower the main in one way or another, and head back into the wind to reef the mainsail. It is absolutely amazing how different a given wind force feels when sailing off the wind, compared to sailing close hauled.

What seems like a shrieking gale upwind, exerting terrifying forces on your boat, suddenly seems like a benign breeze, when you are sailing downwind. I had the misfortune of a broken furling line in a 45 knot gale (with 50+ gusts) last year which allowed my entire very large yankee jib to unfurl. I thought the rig was going to be torn off the boat. What I did was this: I instantly let out the sheet and headed off right downwind. The boat came right back under control, despite having grossly too much sail up. It was then possible for a crewmember to crawl forward and bend another line onto the broken stub of the furling line, so that we could reef the sail.

You should also distinguish between temporary measures to depower sails, and permanent measures -- that is, reefing to have the right amount of sail up for the conditions. Depowering is no substitute for reefing. A popular mantra for sailors is to reef not when you think you need to, but when you first think about it. If you are careful about keeping the right amount of sail up for the conditions, you will rarely need to do any depowering of your sails.

Lastly, you should be sure that you are not being irrationally nervous about a degree of heeling which is not dangerous. When I moved to cruising boats with lead keels after years of sailing dinghys with no keels, I was quite terrified of heeling. That was because dinghys have a very different stability curve from keelboats -- the further over you go, the less righting moment you have, and the more likely that you will go over. Angle of heel is critical in a dinghy. In a keelboat, the further over you go, the more righting force is exerted by the keel, and on the contrary the less heeling moment is exterted by the sails because less sail area is being presented to the wind. In a decently seaworthy keelboat it is practically impossible to capsize from wind force alone. In most cruising boats having the rail under water is not anything risky at all, other than the fact that stuff down below might start flying around and denting your cabinetry. Having the rail under water is not an efficient way to sail, so you need to correct trim and/or reduce sail, but it is usually not any kind of dire emergency, in and of itself.
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Old 01-07-2010, 04:43   #36
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You wrote "Going into the wind definitely heeled a bit more until it lost speed and flattened." That's your own direct observation, and it corresponds with mine. Heading up will just make things worse, right up until the point that you luff and lose control
That makes perfect sense.

I may not be a sailor, but I was trained as a physicist. What you have is a force caused by the wind pushing the sails over to the heeled side.

When you turn to the wind you then introduce an additional force caused by your change of direction. This new force acts towards the outside of your turn which, when turning to the wind, acts in the same direction as the wind force. You now have two forces pushing in the direction of the wind - the wind force and the turning force. This increases the heeling angle. When you face directly into the wind the force of the wind now acts aft and thus there is no heeling and the only force remaining is the force generated by the turn and the heeling reduces.

If you turned away from the wind, the turning force would act against the wind force and the overall force heeling the boat would decrease.

Think of a car. When cornering you experience a force that makes the passengers lean towards the outside of the turn. If you turn hard and fast the turning force is so great that the car's wheels on the inside of the turn can be lifted off the road surface.
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Old 01-07-2010, 06:02   #37
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ease out the main sheet first, or fall down wind.After that If the boat you are sailing has reef points , put in a reef. If you have roller furling make the head sail smaller,or if you have smaller head sails then change to a smaller one. Before you leave the doc set up your sails based on the wind conditions. take care hope that helps.
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Old 01-07-2010, 07:40   #38
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Pinching up is not about a huge movement of the tiller, it's about turning up by an incremental and small amout of degrees.

I've raced FJ's 420's cats both sloop and uni rigged. When overpowered on the wind you pinch up. Whenthe headsail telltales tell you you're pinching, you've effectivly depowered the boat. When you head off to the "correct" point of close hauled sailing the boat powers back up. It is so....if you can't bring yourself to make small controlled movements with the tiller....well then this is meaningless.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:06   #39
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ease out the main sheet first, or fall down wind.After that If the boat you are sailing has reef points , put in a reef. If you have roller furling make the head sail smaller,or if you have smaller head sails then change to a smaller one. Before you leave the doc set up your sails based on the wind conditions. take care hope that helps.
Be careful with that main sheet. If you're sailing close-hauled with the main sheet set up hard, then easing it may increase the power of the mainsail on some boats. That's definitely the case on our boat, as tension on the main sheet flattens the main sail and depowers it. We set it up hard in strong wind and loosen it somewhat so it makes a fuller shape, when we want more power. If you've got a traveller, try that first.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:12   #40
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Pinching up is not about a huge movement of the tiller, it's about turning up by an incremental and small amout of degrees.

I've raced FJ's 420's cats both sloop and uni rigged. When overpowered on the wind you pinch up. Whenthe headsail telltales tell you you're pinching, you've effectivly depowered the boat. When you head off to the "correct" point of close hauled sailing the boat powers back up. It is so....if you can't bring yourself to make small controlled movements with the tiller....well then this is meaningless.
Well, it depends on the boat and the rig. A light racing boat can be held right in the border area of pinching, which is not far from your best upwind angle, with maybe the top of the sails stalled but the rest drawing, so you still can keep way on. A heavy cruising boat generally cannot do that. There is a fairly wide range of angle between best upwind angle and stalled sails, and over this angle you gradually lose power and increase heeling moment as you head up beyond your best upwind angle. You get reduced heeling moment only when the sail is completely stalled, and by that time, as we've discussed, you've got other problems. This is particularly true in heavy wind, where you cannot sail as close to the wind. It has nothing to do with fine manipulation of the helm.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:23   #41
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Well, it depends on the boat and the rig. A light racing boat can be held right in the border area of pinching, which is not far from your best upwind angle, with maybe the top of the sails stalled but the rest drawing, so you still can keep way on. A heavy cruising boat generally cannot do that. There is a fairly wide range of angle between best upwind angle and stalled sails, and over this angle you gradually lose power and increase heeling moment as you head up beyond your best upwind angle. You get reduced heeling moment only when the sail is completely stalled, and by that time, as we've discussed, you've got other problems. This is particularly true in heavy wind, where you cannot sail as close to the wind. It has nothing to do with fine manipulation of the helm.
True, I cannot pinch my 15000# ketch effectivly. But the OP is learing on a flying scot, a boat that I have pinched effectivly around the cans with the wind upwards of 25+kts. It's all about context and feeling the boat, this is one of the reasons I think anyone who ventures to purchase and learn to sail on a 40' boat is doomed to never develop the fine sense of balance that is gotten by sailing dinghys (of course there are always exceptions).
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Old 01-07-2010, 18:23   #42
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The first thing to do is to remove all of the Incline-O-Meters so that your wife can't see them. Then heeling becomes less of an issue.
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Old 02-07-2010, 13:00   #43
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He's sailing a Flying Scot. These are simple boats.
I suppose some may have been outfitted with more gear, but my Flying Scot doesn't have a cunningham or a fancy outhaul or even a traveller. In my Scot, if I get too much rail in the water while sailing close hauled and I need to hold course, I'll pinch it into the wind a little bit and let the main luff for a few seconds of a big puff. I'm mostly sailing in a bay around moored boats so often I can't just fall off because I'll fall off into a big power boat or a piece of a dredge, so I pinch it up around some obstacle. If I have the room to fall off, I will take a slightly less aggressive course and ease the sheets to match my new point of sail. Keep in mind that there is no traveler so I'll probably add some tension on the boom vang to keep the boom from riding up. Accomplishes the same thing as a traveler.
If it's all just too much (over 20kts) and I'm upwind of my destination and my passengers have crazy eyes and look like they might jump into the cold water, I'll give them a nice downwind run back to the launch ramp and load it back on the trailer.
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:59   #44
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I think the type of boat really does matter . I was sailing my Valiant Thursday- In its element (ocean) at 20 knot winds closehauled. All the sails up (mail, staysail, jib) Hit with 30k gust. I turned into the wind long enough for the gust to blow through, then back to the original tack. Went about 30 degrees on its side, but no other change. Really did not even change course by the GPS, because the slippage was countered by the tighter closehaul. This little dingy maneuver worked for a 14 ton cruiser too. If the gusts had continued I would of heaved too, reefed, jib down and gone about my way.
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Old 04-07-2010, 16:50   #45
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Your next lesson is to have a speed indicator. It says you are going 4 knots. You say 'I can go faster'. So pull on a ropey bit: Voila, the boat slows to 3.5. Let go the ropey bit. The boat slows to 3 knots. Get really pissed off and go below and read a book and the boat jumps up to 6 knots.
now aint that the truth

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