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Old 04-01-2016, 17:23   #31
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

In a monohull which will heel to a gust, it will inevitably turn in to the wind and de power.
A fast multihull needs to be turned off wind to reduce AW - every time, no question , although if you are already feathering the main you can get by easing it slightly but you must keep it moving.
I can't advise on heavy ,poor performing multihulls and hope never to have the expertise to do so.
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Old 04-01-2016, 17:47   #32
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

Something no one has mentioned:

In many boats when overpowered in a puff sailing to windward, the weather helm that is developed at big heel angles will not allow turning down without dumping the main. And once you dump the main, you probably have cured the big heel issue that you were trying to escape!

Jim
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Old 04-01-2016, 17:53   #33
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

As I was sculling through this thread I kept thinking that we might be getting too abstruse and not furnishing a really clear answer for a person who not only confesses to being a newbie but who seems from his/her wording of the original message to be autodidact.

So let me ask the OP point blank: Did the replies really clarify the matter for you, or are you still puzzled?

Don't be afraid to ask more questions if you need to, or want to. We can take this stuff right back to the really, really fundamental stuff you'd get told your first time at the helm under a professional sailing instructor.

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Old 04-01-2016, 17:53   #34
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Originally Posted by er9 View Post
lol well actually today it was a really good red wine. funny thing is i actually did have glass in hand in a sudden, very strong gust. instantly went from 15 degree to over 30 in a second or two. even funnier thing is no one spilled their drinks...one hand on the wheel i didnt actually have much choice in the direction...boat instantly went to windward as most of the crew went to leeward.
There is your answer!!!!!
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Old 04-01-2016, 18:26   #35
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Something no one has mentioned:

In many boats when overpowered in a puff sailing to windward, the weather helm that is developed at big heel angles will not allow turning down without dumping the main. And once you dump the main, you probably have cured the big heel issue that you were trying to escape!

Jim
That's exactly how my boat behaves. It's almost impossible to turn down to furl the jib to get into the harbor unless I ease the main a bit.

In a puff I was taught (by racers):

1. Head up
-or-
2. Ease the traveller

On my boat I play the traveller if Otto is helming, I head up if I'm helming. And yes, as you head up the boat will heel more before it gets back on it's feet.
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Old 04-01-2016, 18:34   #36
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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You've gotten a lot of advice and things to think about. I see people concerned if you have a lee shore and room to run off. I don't think that the original post was questioning long-term high wind tactics, but rather what to do in a puff to avoid a broach. The answer is somewhat specific to the boat, but in general, if beam reaching or closer to the wind you should turn up to spill some air off the sails and/or ease the main but don't flog the sails. When going downwind on a broad reach/run if the boat heels to leeward DO NOT TURN UP, as this will make it worse and cause a broach. When sailing off in heavy air we would to say "Keep the boat under the rig". So as the boat starts to heel, turn toward the direction the boat is heeling. You can also anticipate the boats' roll. Other controls, like blowing off the vang, is often the first move to depower some boats at least higher performance boats. The vang is less of a factor on cruising boats. I think the specific way to set up your boat for a certain wind condition is too boat specific for this post and not what the question was originally asking... For example, some boats are 'tuned' significantly with rig tension adjustments, while many other boats don't change rig tension at all.
have fun

^^^ THIS!
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Old 04-01-2016, 19:00   #37
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

Turn downwind but let your main sheet out, make sure you have nobody aft and Lee. Turning upwind takes you to irons and probably a good time to reef
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Old 04-01-2016, 19:11   #38
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
The devil is in the details! We're not talking squalls here, but puffs.

Come up, in the puffs, use them to gain distance to windward. Do not come up and flog the sails, just come up enough to lessen the heel angle to where you want it. Puffs are the weather gods' gift to you for getting to windward. This is a safe technique.

If you can't find the sweet spot, maybe it's time to reef. The more on her feet you can sail her, the faster she'll go. With old, blown out sails, you'll heel more and not be able to point as high.

You might, however, try traveling the main down a bit to reduce rudder angle, and heeling angle. Don't change the main sheet. Playing the traveler can make life easier for the helmsman, too.

There are lots of adjustments you can try, before you go to reef. Decide what your goal for the sail is: do you want to experiment with different techniques and learn more about how the boat handles? do you want to go to x and have a picnic? Your choice.

Ann
I agree with this. The OP sounds like he is referring to puffs. When sailing an upwind course with a steady apparent wind angle and a strong puff comes, the AWA moves aft. The wind becomes more abeam. Without adjusting the sails or course, you would be over trimmed. If you turn upwind your sails return to a proper trim and as an added bonus, you gain back ground lost to leeway. I leave the sails alone and turn up a bit in the puff. If the puffs are frequent, or excessively strong, I'll depower, and use the puffs as a speed boost to make up for what was lost by depowering. When sailing downwind, the AWA moves away from perpendicular, and unless it's a particularly strong puff, I don't find it adds much to the heel of the boat. I'll usually stay the course and enjoy the speed boost. Though my boat does react a bit different (slower) than a 22 or 30 foot boat.

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Old 04-01-2016, 19:48   #39
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

Going UP WIND in a fine hull with a fine high wind sail is quite an adventure in what can be done with the right boat, without reefing. I think this thing is only learn'able to the ones who started very early, in a very flippy boat. Likely this skill is not easily applicable on a heavier keel boat (much as I am sure I have seen huge light racers sailed this way).

If the boat accelerates easily and if the skipper is sufficiently apt and concentrated, it is actually possible to sail the boat 'just on the edge of' the wind: if you head up too much too early, the boat will slow down and you will have to bear off just when the puff is at its strongest and this will end up the whole exercise.

In extremely squally conditions, this cannot be done, but if the wind is just high and somewhat puffy, one can sail upwind with what apparently seems 'too much sail' for the day.

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Old 04-01-2016, 20:11   #40
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Something no one has mentioned:

In many boats when overpowered in a puff sailing to windward, the weather helm that is developed at big heel angles will not allow turning down without dumping the main. And once you dump the main, you probably have cured the big heel issue that you were trying to escape!

Jim
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Old 04-01-2016, 20:15   #41
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Yeah, not only is it uncomfortable, but getting over-powered short handed is not good because you won't be able to manage other things, like your glass of wine! Where we sail, we call them "puffs" even when they're above 25 knots. You can often anticipate a puff by watching the other boats or seeing a darker color change on the water ahead of you, but don't head up too far or flog your sails. What you're trying to do is find that fine line where you keep power in the sails and just take the lift that the bigger wind gives you. Too much wind, however, and the boat is going to round up on you even while you struggle to hold the wheel. When that is happening (before that happens ideally), you need to reef. You talk about "depowering the main" but you don't actually refer to reefing the main....do you have reef lines set up, do you know how they work? You should also mark the halyard for each reef point so you're not guessing on how far to drop the main. You could also try flattening the sail as much as possible, but that might not be possible if your sails are old and blown. So, just reef, if you can't flatten. Have fun
interesting....thank you. we know how to reef, barely, but have not practised it yet as we have only been out in mostly 15 knot winds at most with 20 kt gusts. havn't really felt we needed to reef yet but i think maybe its time we practice on the main. we were playing a bit with reefing the roller furled jib.
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Old 04-01-2016, 20:16   #42
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

er9 i asked you earlier how you would go about depowering the main in a breeze because from your questions and responses i don't think you understand what depowering means. so here ya go. the best and fastest way to depower the main in a heavy blow is to ease the main sheet and then pull the traveller TO WEATHER. many here will disagree but what you are doing with this technique is 'twisting' the sail and this accomplishes two things. by pulling the traveller to weather you are centering the boom for better pointing while easing the main sheet will spill air out of the top of the sail greatly reducing heeling moment. in effect what you've just done accomplishes the same thing that reefing the main does only much quicker. if the wind continues to build do not continue this procedure to the point where the sheet is let so far out that the boom is above centerline to keep the tell tails flying. instead it's time to shorten up and when racing we always shorten sail from the front back. you'll never see a racing crew with a reefed main that isn't already flying it's smallest headsail.
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Old 04-01-2016, 20:17   #43
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Nice post, Gamayun,

We've all been assuming the boat's a mono. I'm wondering whether, if it were a cat, and the sailing social, whether reefing is the best option, as in adjust the sail area to the expected puffs, not the average breeze on the forecast.

If it's a mono, then it depends on what you want to do: a social sail with "crew", or singlehanding to Hawaii. If you want the latter, and you are not racing, then obviously put a reef in and relax. You've a couple of weeks to go. If racing, you might want a different strategy.

Ann
thanks didn't think of adding that info. 30' ranger mono hull sloop rigged.
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Old 04-01-2016, 20:28   #44
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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What an interesting discussion. I am surprised anyone turns upwind. There must be something to it I don't understand.

I always turn downwind if I get overpowered. If you have some way on, it's like taking one Force or even two Forces off the wind, to turn from sailing close hauled, to sailing downwind. It's like pushing the "pause" button. Heel is reduced, and usually you are no longer overpowered at all. Then you can get yourself sorted, shorten sail, etc., and head back up at your leisure. Assuming you have searoom, of course.

If you don't have searoom, or if you're really badly overpowered -- and I'm surprised no one mentioned this -- heave to. Shorten sail and then get back underway, or make a cup of tea and take a break.

Heading up increases the apparent wind and exacerbates the problem -- in my experience. As you head up, heel increases and you get more and more overpowered. If you pinch up, the sails will start to flap, and this can damage them in a blow, and flapping sails are not easy to handle.
thats exactly what prompted me to ask this question.

when we do get caught in those moments and we are really heeling over, when i head up it heels even more and makes it very difficult at times to even keep your footing. i'm holding onto the lifelines at this point with one hand on the wheel.

i did read a bit on broaching though so thats why i'm cautious of turning off the wind. as i understand it a broach happens when turning off the wind or being caught in a downwind position, way overpowered especially at the bow end where the boat tips and gets pulled into the sea.

lets assume we erase my comment about 3ft waves and allow for any size sea short of a hurricane. is it still safer to head upwind? and when i say safer...i'm generally refering to putting the boat into an unstable position that creates a risk of getting knocked down. not so much safer for the crew or passengers...
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Old 04-01-2016, 20:44   #45
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Generally if conditions allow, we'll turn up into the wind to bring the boat back up from a deep heel and make an assessment.

It sounds like you're talking about a short term, quick fix for a strong blow and not necessarily storm tactics for a longer passage, but still, there are lots and lots of factors to consider, so it's best to be knowledgeable and well-practiced so you can make a good decision quickly if the need arises.

Things to consider before deciding whether to turn-up or turn-down are: wave direction, wave height (big seas on your beam or stern quarter can be bad), leeshores, crew ability (ie, can they help with trim, etc. or are you solo?), your intended destination, the duration of the event (gusts, storm, rest, etc.) that's causing you to make a change.

If you're going to turn downwind and run-off, do you have sea room to do so and how well do you and your boat steer downwind in potentially heavy seas?

Here are the tactics we've researched and practice on our boat, though we been in true "storm" conditions: Heavy Weather Tactics - 5 Options for Sailing Through a Storm
yes short term fix true but in the back of my mind i'm thinking heavy seas, rough conditions in the future as well. i dont plan on getting into those conditions until i have a lot more expereince but i would like to know what to do if it happens before i'm ready. it also seems with sailing as with many things you have to keep pushing the boundary little by little and expose yourself and boat a bit.

thanks for all the great feedback so far.
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