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Old 13-03-2024, 09:39   #16
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

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Originally Posted by markxengineerin View Post
10-20 knots, varies, see graphic in first post. Would too much headsail cause weather helm, by itself, in a normal, properly set up boat, that's not heeling excessively?
If the rig is tuned reasonably, no, it shouldn't. How much heel angle are you seeing when the weather helm gets bad?
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Old 13-03-2024, 09:43   #17
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

Maybe I've gotten used to what is actually excessive heel. The helm is worse in the puffs for sure, when there's heel. I will measure.
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Old 13-03-2024, 09:58   #18
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

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is at about -100 degrees when I consider it "obviously bad" helm
I'm a bit puzzled by your two threads. In this one you are essentially saying you have too much weather helm, while in the other (heaving to) you are essentially saying you have too little weather helm (boat lying beam-to when the helm should make it point up). Seems a bit inconsistent and odd.

For this thread, a suggestion - if you sail on the 130% jib alone is the boat balanced with relatively limited helm (in 20 kts)? If it is fine with just the 130, then start adding small amount of main sail until boat feels powered up but helm is still ok. For a beam reach, probably don't go over 15 degrees of heel and don't go over 8 degrees of rudder angle. If it is not ok with just jib then there is some serious problem somewhere (fouled bottom, completely blown out jib, problem with the sked reinforcement you did).

Compass course on the autopilot will generally be fastest, so long as someone is either on watch or will wake up then the wind shifts a bunch. As mentioned in post above, your wind angles should mostly be quite deep, deeper than a beam reach, to the Carribean. With a bunch of wind just use the jib, with lighter winds perhaps poled out jib and wing and wing with mainsail (assuming you don't have either a double headsail or chute set-up. You should not have any helm issues on these angles.

For the hove-too question. First be aware what will work in 20-25kts will NOT work in +40kts, there is too much difference in wind pressure and wave action. In +40 kts start off with just your deepest mainsail reef (or just a trysail if you have one), and get the boat forereaching (eg sailing quite close to the wind at a slow stable speed - eg pinching a bit but not so much the mainsail totally luffs). That by itself may be a good tactic and 'should be' easy to accomplish. From there, if you want to slow/stall the boat more, you do a balance of helm up a little, very small amount of backed jib or storm jib. Dont mess around with the drag devices for heaving to - your boat does not need them to accomplish this (drog will be useful for running off tho).

We took a Shannon 37 around the world, somewhat similar to your boat (and then a Samoa 47 for a 2nd trip). The crealock (and shannon) are not really considered 'modern' underbodies anymore. They are really quite conservative.
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Old 13-03-2024, 10:44   #19
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

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I'm a bit puzzled by your two threads
Yes, me too, but they are very different conditions.

Most of the trip will be downwind (I will go wing on wing, works great), but today included some beam reaching and prompted these observations. I have a list of things to try next time
-no Main (I expect this will lose speed at 15kts average wind, but maybe I'm wrong)
-measure heel
-less headsail

Thanks for all the input, definitely helps

About the heaving to- I am able to forereach slowly, but the ride is brutal, because I can't keep the bow up into the waves (minus using the engine, which I dislike for the noise and knowing the oil is not always where it should be with the boat pitching like that). The speed of travel is not so much the issue as the angle to the waves.

I do have a galerider drogue on board, never needed it yet. The most wind I've seen was 50-60 knots sustained, and with bare poles the boat ran beautifully at 6-8 knots. Very stable with simrad autopilot, less so with the monitor windvane, which had to work too hard and kept hitting it's end of travel on both sides, causing various pieces of it to fail.
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Old 13-03-2024, 11:05   #20
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

I saw up thread someone suggesting you ease the outhaul. When overpowered, and I think you are overpowered and heeling too much, a flatter sail has less drag. If overpowered I would max the outhaul, bend the mast if you have the ability, and ease the angle of attack till I got her back on her feet. In addition, twist can be your friend here so easing the mainsheet will do this by allowing twist. Keeping the mainsheet tighter and dropping the traveler will prevent twist and keep the top of the sail powered up which you don't want.
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Old 13-03-2024, 11:59   #21
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

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-no Main (I expect this will lose speed at 15kts average wind, but maybe I'm wrong).
In 15kts you will almost certainly want some mainsail. But I think it would be useful to start a day with just the jib and then raise the mainsail reef by reef. See where the optimal is. For me, when cruising, I don't really want to live with more than 15 degrees of heel no matter what is 'speed optimal'.

Figuring out how to heave-to in big wind and waves ends up being a 'feel thing', what works in one sea condition may not be best in another different sea condition - that was certainly true for our Samoa. Our Shannon preferred to heave to while the Samoa always felt better forereaching. Just be aware that in a small boat forereaching or hove-to being in really big wind/waves is pretty much never all that comfortable - there is just usually a lot of noise and motion. Running is usually the most comfortable option, but even then in +40 sustained while relatively 'nice' is still not like sitting in your living room lol

I will comment that this generation of boat design did often have more helm than is purely 'optimal', usually had to do with less than optimal heeled hull shape
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Old 13-03-2024, 12:39   #22
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

Here's another idea for the pot:

We try to not use more than 6 deg of rudder. This [going fast] is all about having a clean bottom, keeping the boat up on her feet, and maximizing vmg. When it is blustery, reef it, and play with the genoa for more speed. It's already been mentioned, but on long voyages, often a lot of time will be spent steering by autopilot. Keeping it a tiny bit underpowered really is easier on the autopilot.

Something else you may not have thought of, but happened with the owner builders of our boat, is that hours after hours of hand steering on a beam reach, with lots of weather helm, day after day, can really mess up your back. Be warned.

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Old 13-03-2024, 13:02   #23
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

Here's my advice.

Take a pro racing sailor out for the day on your boat.

I used to think I was a pretty fair sailor, but some years back, invited a pro to come sailing with me during an offshore race, I learned more from him in the time he was on the boat than I had accumulated in years of sailing.

I thought I had everything dialed in correctly, but he would tweak this, that and the other and squeeze another knot or two out of the boat, all the while explaining what he was doing.

It really requires hands on tutelage, as directions and explanations given here simply don't cut it. Pressure on the wheel is as telling as pressure on the sails.

It's really a combo of many things that need to work together, not just one thing.
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Old 13-03-2024, 13:16   #24
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

It's a complicated answer/problem. On a reach, not only are you moving forward, but you are making leeway, going a bit sideways. As weather helm increases, giving more rudder increases lift of the underside of the boat to counteract this so the boat goes more straight and with less leeway. And, the rudder also slows it down. Most books I have read suggest that 3-6 degrees of rudder is optimum for best VMG. Not slowing the boat too much, and also not allowing too much leeway.

I learned on my boat how to trim all the weather helm out so that the boat seemed fast and felt good, but then found that I was making so much leeway my VMG was awful. So now I trim that weather helm back in and do much better.

Others have suggested trim options to reduce weather helm which are all good. But also know that the jib alone, even at only 100%, can produce weather helm if not properly trimmed. This can be tough, because in higher wind you want it flatter, but trimming in the jibsheet also trims for a higher point of sail. And easing the jib for the correct angle give it more depth, which you don't want. Probably a discussion with your sailmaker is in order, and a jib with a different cut might do better, maybe moving the car for the jib aft to give it more pull aft, but not as much pull inward.
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Old 13-03-2024, 13:59   #25
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

Desired heel angle is set by how full my martini glass is?



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Old 13-03-2024, 15:25   #26
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

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I saw up thread someone suggesting you ease the outhaul. When overpowered, and I think you are overpowered and heeling too much, a flatter sail has less drag. If overpowered I would max the outhaul, bend the mast if you have the ability, and ease the angle of attack till I got her back on her feet. In addition, twist can be your friend here so easing the mainsheet will do this by allowing twist. Keeping the mainsheet tighter and dropping the traveler will prevent twist and keep the top of the sail powered up which you don't want.
That was me, but I wrote “outhaul not all the way in” which certainly isn’t easing it. But for a beam reach in 15 kts it shouldn’t be as tight as upwind sailing.

Sail twist depends on what the tell tales indicate. When the sail is trimmed correctly but overpowering the boat, then a reef is needed rather than depowering the top of the sail, which is more for a sudden squall and other short duration events.

But I agree that I heel probably is causing this.
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Old 13-03-2024, 15:57   #27
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

Just FYI related to the question about a course that is 20 deg off compared to the direct line between two points... the difference in distance is about 6.5% so compare your speed on the straight line versus meandering course and see what the difference is.
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Old 13-03-2024, 16:42   #28
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

40 degrees is a typical rudder stop angle. You can turn the wheel 360 degrees, but only use about 30-40 degrees to counter strong helm. That's about 3-4 degrees of helm angle. 6 degrees is about the maximum for normal sailing; more and you risk stalling and wipe out if the conditions get strong. In fact, 3 -4 degrees can be a good angle for producing some lift. (Note that even at zero angle, the rudder is still moving through the water at an angle, because the boat is making some leeway--you have to add the rudder angle to the leeway angle.)



So your helm is not too bad.



That said, there is good advice above. Less rake. Play with trim while watching the angle and speedo. Finally, a big head sail and small main do make life easier for the autopilot or human pilot, particularly in a swell; often a better ride and better handling are worth potential speed loss. But reduced yawing in a swell also increases average speed, because more time spent pointing the right direction and less time turning. You may be comfortable pushing the boat a little harder. The speedo isn't everything.
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Old 13-03-2024, 22:56   #29
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

Hello All,
All well designed boats should head up if experiencing excessive heel, producing extreme weather helm and turning the bow into the wind to minimize the possibility of dipping the masthead!
That said, if excessive weather helm is occurring at normal angles of heel while using only headsails and no main the craft’s balance is incorrect.
If she is squatting by the stern typically the lateral resistance of the sail plan is located farther aft, resulting in additional weather helm. Occasionally this can be not so obvious to the eye due to the waterline being only painted on, possibly incorrectly.
Sometimes this is relatively easy to correct by means of trimming, relocating weight forward. If retrimming doesn’t produce acceptable weather helm then the rig is suspect.
Adjusting the masthead forward would be the next step, typically by means of slackening back stays , shrouds , tightening the forestay and correctly tensioning the rig.
In the event the above doesn’t work, then perhaps there is more of a problem, possibly the forestay has stretched and requires a remedy.
Best to all!
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Old 15-03-2024, 00:48   #30
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Re: What's faster, questions on balance while cruising long distance

A few alternative ideas
- a baggy 130% could have a huge amount of drag. Unless you can get that sail sheeted outboard at the clew there will be a lot of drag as the sail increases in depth. On a tri or cat it is much better to sheet out wide -- race monos have leeward outriggers to help in this way.
- ensure the hull is clean and the sails are flat - boats don't work well when foils are inefficient
- check the rudder again - try and get it faired to make it a well streamlined trim tab off the back of the keel. Maybe you have a big three bladed prop stopping it working well.
- trim the headsail with the main eased out and then pull on the main until you get to an okay amount of weather helm. Don't look at it - I used to race dinghies and yachts but most of the time racing I don't look at the tell tales- I trim to heel and helm feel. LIsten to the boat - if it doesn't like the trim, then do what she says. She is telling you she doesn't like what you are doing so ease off the main - vang it down, traveller down more, let it luff a little more, have the luff flutter a little up in the head, but always listen to the boat, especially once she is fully pressed - then ditch many of the telltales and trim by heel and feel. So ease off the main till she is happy.
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