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Old 04-01-2016, 20:55   #46
er9
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Originally Posted by jrbogie View Post
you say that you know how to depower the main and genoa but i wonder as i've sailed with new sailors with experiences similar to your's who really don't understand what it means to 'depower' a sail. perhaps if you can explain the steps you take to depower your main sail i might offer some help.

that said, which way to turn when you get knocked down or broach for the most part is moot as you'll likely not have a choice in the matter because your rudder is likely already stalled or out of the water. being overpowered in the occasional gusts is not a problem but when you say to me that you're sailing for a period of time with the leeward rail awash you're already way late depowering. so tell us how you depower your main or headsail and we'll be able to help get you on the right track.
thank you....when i say de-power the main. all we are doing is releasing the traveller and letting the main out further to leeward to dump more wind. this is usually our first response as it sits the boat upright quickly and is much easier as the traveller on her boat is in the cockpit. this is done with mainsail full up, no reef.

second thing we do is loosen the genoa as much as we need to or can before it looses power to dump a bit more wind.

third thing we just have started playing with is furling in the genoa a bit to reduce the amount of sail out as this is pretty easy to do as well while underway. at least for us at our experience level. we do not know sail trim yet, or how to trim a sail to change its shape if that would also be useful.
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Old 04-01-2016, 20:57   #47
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

Neither way is the "safer" way to turn. When hit by a gust it is the BOAT'S instinct to round up and you will momentarily heel more before luffing and losing speed. As Jim says there is probably a good deal of weather helm to turn downwind against. Ease off the mainsheet. Then reef.
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Old 04-01-2016, 21:07   #48
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Originally Posted by jrbogie View Post
i think his problem is not which way to turn as a new STRATEGY for worsening conditions but more so which way to turn the helm when a sudden gust knocks. i do agree that the best strategy is to give up on anymore navigating to weather and running assuming he has sea room. i too am surprised heaving to hasn't been mentioned if for no other reason than to settle everybody down where you can think.

to you er9, we need more info about your skills as you haven't thought of heaving to either.
we do heave to often to take a break and just grab a bite to eat on longer days. we are pretty good at it. the reason we don't heave to in the conditions iv'e been asking about is because we feel confident handling the situations we have been in. i dont feel like we are in any danger and i have a lot of confidence in the boats ability to handle it. i just have always wondered to myself...'what if one day we get into a situation that is a lot worse than this...what truly is the correct way to handle it'?

as far as our skills....basic keel boat ASA 101 class experience. between the two of us....i would say we each have 40ish days of sailing out on the water in protected santa monica bay. its a relatively tame bay iv'e been told. we have encountered 5ft seas on the worst day, usually 3ish and wind conditions of 15kt average, usually 10ish. been out only a couple of times in 25kt winds. always had full sails up, main and genoa.
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Old 04-01-2016, 21:22   #49
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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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
yes that did happen a couple of times in the catalina 22, full sails in 25kt gusts. third or fourth sail in my life. remember trying to turn downwind in my in-experience and the rudder/tiller simply didnt respond.
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Old 04-01-2016, 21:29   #50
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
Here's our approach to the topic from yesterdays sail. Like I said, it depends, but if your unsure, usually upwind gives you more options.
https://youtu.be/EBpjaJkbMQ0
nice comfortable speed. almost looks like your hove to so far as speed looks.
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Old 04-01-2016, 22:05   #51
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
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.

TrentePieds
interesting catch...that definately describes my personality/way of thinking, as frustrating as it can be having to constantly re-invent the wheel...it does pay dividends though in raw experience/knowledge. wouldn't have my life any other way.

to answer your question...no, not definitively. this is my interpretation of all the replies so far not having read through every reply yet....

on a beam reach or heading slightly into the wind or close hauled, or thereabouts... head upwind just off the wind to ease tension on the boat and to get a bit more control, assess the situation and consider reducing sail. safe option.

on a beam reach heading slightly off the wind to a broad reach, (small seas less than 3ft) turning off the wind may be more prudent to get the boat under the sails. safe option as well

unfortunately in hindsight i really should have asked the question differently as in the back of my mind i also really wanted to understand what to do in the same situation but in much heavier seas, much stronger winds. are the answers still the same i wonder now?
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Old 04-01-2016, 22:14   #52
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
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.

b.
interesting...i was playing with this yesterday as i was on the helm all day. her boat does actually accelerate pretty nicely (well for light/modest keel boat) and can get very close to irons and still sail pretty well. it was really difficult though as it took so much concentration to hold. one look over to someone and a few seconds of gabbing is all it seemed to take to ruin all that momentum.
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Old 04-01-2016, 22:17   #53
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

Generally, the larger seas are accoompanied by larger winds, and you would already have shortened sail (reefed the main, changed to a smaller jib, or rolled up the one you have), so that the boat is balanced.

You will crash and bang a lot if you try to sail hard on the wind, and you will need to be slightly overpowered to make progress to windward. Eventually the seas will get too big, and you'll either run off or heave to. So much depends on what's in your way. When you're hove to, your "progress" is downwind, so there can't be any oil rigs or amusement piers in your way, for instance; and that progress is sort of inexorable.

Will write more later, have to leave now.

Ann
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Old 04-01-2016, 22:19   #54
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Originally Posted by jrbogie View Post
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.
sorry i missed your question way back there. not used to getting this involved in a forum discussion :P.

i do not know how to ease the mainsheet yet. when i refer to easing the main i really mean we let the boom out via the traveller...but now i know one of the next things i need to learn
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Old 04-01-2016, 22:29   #55
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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
interesting...i was playing with this yesterday as i was on the helm all day. her boat does actually accelerate pretty nicely (well for light/modest keel boat) and can get very close to irons and still sail pretty well. it was really difficult though as it took so much concentration to hold. one look over to someone and a few seconds of gabbing is all it seemed to take to ruin all that momentum.
Um, yeah. Sail to your trim, or trim to your sail...it's constant motion either way.

Now you're ready to race
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Old 04-01-2016, 23:22   #56
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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Originally Posted by jrbogie View Post
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.
Was wondering how long it'd be before someone said this.... dont forget to ease the vang!!
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Old 04-01-2016, 23:34   #57
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

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unfortunately in hindsight i really should have asked the question differently as in the back of my mind i also really wanted to understand what to do in the same situation but in much heavier seas, much stronger winds. are the answers still the same i wonder now?
Check the weather and decide if you MIGHT need a reef at some point during the sail - I find if just puttering about/cruising, it easier/safer/better peace of mind to just reef while at the slip before heading out. If you're already out there and conditions start to 'get up', reef as soon as you first think of it.... always easier to shake it out than to shorten in big weather.
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Old 05-01-2016, 00:07   #58
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

ER9

First - let me say that I'm answering (and did so earlier) your question as you asked it "what should I do when a strong gust heels me over to the point that is not acceptable (spill your wine LOL)"
I noted earlier that I turn downwind and there are lots of very good reasons to do this - As Dockhead noted, going downwind takes a Force or two off the wind you are experiencing and gives you time to get yourself together.

One other reason to go downwind is that if you are already heeled, then turning upwind will cause you to heel more and your rudder will lose bite - even to the point of coming out of the water and you've lost control entirely.

Dumping the traveler, easing the mainsheet etc etc are all well and good, but let's face it - the scenario you described had you with a glass of wine in one hand and a sudden gust hits you. You're a cruiser, not a racer with a full crew ready to jump and initiate dumping, new sail trim etc.

What needs to be done, needs to be done by the helmsman. So you're back to "turn upwind or turn downwind?" Reefing, trimming etc can be done later.

I'm with Dockhead - turning downwind (assuming you have searoom) is easier and puts you in less danger of losing control of the boat.

Of course - your last posts are now asking for advice in conditions up to hurricaine - In conditions like that (say force 9 or 10) you should be reefed so far down that even heavy gusts won't bother you too much (nor will you have a glass of wine in your hand - unless you are a much better sailor than I am )
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Old 05-01-2016, 00:33   #59
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

I haven't read all of this thread, just skipped through. But I must say, I'm really surprised by those who turn in to wind. I physically can't do that. My darling won't let me. It's even difficult to turn down wind, but not impossible as it is to turn into the wind. When I get hit by a gust she leans over and maintains her course.

I can't say I'm experienced enough to add a lot, but I certainly know the force needed for me to turn up into wind

So, the answer must clearly depend on the vessel.
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Old 05-01-2016, 00:48   #60
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Re: Which is a safer direction to head/turn when overpowered?

A number of reasonable suggestions - however, in truly foul weather there is no way on this planet that I shall be turning upwind with potentially breaking waves. When conditions get that poor I shall always be found running bare poles with my drogue out. With the exception of the occassional squall we have had adequate notice to prepare for such conditions. We always have the boat ready for changeable conditions whilst at sea (nor so good whilst at anchor) and our drogue is always ready for deployment - clipped on and laying in its closed bag in the dinghy which sits on the aft platform. We simply undo the bag and chuck out the chain and a few meters of the drogue and it then self deploys. Should it become necessary we take down our storm jib and simply go bare poles - all normally under autopilot. I shall not be attempting to take on the face of a steep and possibly breaking wave.



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Originally Posted by svHannabel View Post
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
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