Tacking in high winds

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md80max
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Tacking in high winds

Post by md80max » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:56 pm

This 26M is my first sail boat and the only boat I have ever sailed period. Had it only a few months and having a great deal of fun and learning along the way as well.

Last week on the lake I sail, the winds were steady at 22 knots gusting into the low 30's. As much fun as it was, I could not get the boat to tack without motor assist. I had the main reefed and only about 1/4 to 1/3 of the jib out. I tried different trim settings for both but still, not luck. I tried it with the Jib all the way stowed. I tried to put a little more of the jib out but the boat would just round up. One of the local sailors stated to me that my boat doesn't have enough rudder for wind conditions like that.

Now, I have no doubt my lack of experience sailing in winds like this was a factor. I wanted to ask here for tips if you have any. It's not the kind of winds we have here in Texas every week but it was fun to go out in that kind of wind and see what it would be like.

Thanks

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yukonbob
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by yukonbob » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:09 pm

Single or double reef in the main...This is the key to your answer and why you're rounding up and not falling off (weather vs lee helm). Also how you have the main shaped plays a part. I could just tell you but it helps a great deal if you think about it first.

md80max
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by md80max » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:27 pm

Single reef main

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yukonbob
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by yukonbob » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:08 pm

Which leaves too much power...causing...

Think about how the boat moves around the dagger board and where/how power is applied. More headsail would help the situation in lighter winds, but heeling would counteract any benefits in higher winds.

md80max
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by md80max » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:13 pm

Ok, makes sense, thank you

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yukonbob
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by yukonbob » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:35 pm

Mac's don't sail upwind particularly great in higher winds (25+knts) even fully reefed. the high windage, light weight, and lack of wetted surface don't work so well. If you are trying to make any headway in those conditions...motorsail. Even with double reef and a patch of headsail with the motor in gear and idling (1200-1500rpm) you'll point higher, make incredible speed and actually make headway.

Once you get the sails fairly balanced then worry about how the sails are shaped and mess around with the traveller to see what works and how the boat handles with each change. After you've figured that out look at your standing rigging :)

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NiceAft
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by NiceAft » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:40 pm

In addition to what Bob has posted,when tacking, did you allow the jib to fill with wind before hauling it to leeward?

Ray
Last edited by NiceAft on Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sumner
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by Sumner » Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:48 pm

NiceAft wrote:In addition to what Bob as posted,when tacking, did you allow the jib to fill with wind before hauling it to leeward?

Ray
Yep, don't release the headsail to the other side until it starts to pull the bow around. Also before tacking if your boat speed is slower turn away from the tack some first to get more speed so when you throw the tiller over it has more effect.

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NiceAft
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by NiceAft » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:03 pm

Summer said:
Also before tacking if your boat speed is slower turn away from the tack some first to get more speed so when you throw the tiller over it has more effect.
This reminds me. I found on my :macm: , if I was doing less than two mph, I could not complete a tack; no matter what the wind was. As Sumner says, fall off the wind to gather speed, then proceed into the tack.

I have a bald spot from all the frustrating tact attempts before realizing (A) adequate speed, & (B) let the jib/genny fill before hauling toward leeward. :x :D

Ray

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yukonbob
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by yukonbob » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:09 pm

Re-reading I see the op asked an entirely different question than I was trying to answer. Back wind the head and get speed as above. Rounding up with with the setup described I'd also be checking your mast rake. Does it round up going downwind as well?

md80max
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by md80max » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:29 pm

Ray,

Normally that is what I would do but without the motor, it wouldn't come about far enough to fill the head sail.

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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by md80max » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:32 pm

Could only get about 3.5 knots out of it even in those winds and I suppose it was due to the waves and or my lack of sailing skills.

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Herschel
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by Herschel » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:17 pm

md80max wrote:Could only get about 3.5 knots out of it even in those winds and I suppose it was due to the waves and or my lack of sailing skills.
I have an X, and I do not typically sail in that strong of wind, but I though I would throw out an idea about how I would proceed, if I found myself facing the same situation you were. In winds that strong, and making that low speed, I am guessing you were heeling pretty far, like 25 degrees or more. If so, that would lift the weather rudder out of the water some and put the leeward one at an inefficient angle. Heading off a close haul to a close reach might lower the heel somewhat, make the rudders more effective, pick up speed (also, making the rudders more effective), and then try to negotiate the tack, backing the jib to help you get around. How does that sound to you guys that like to go out in that kind of stuff? :?

DaveC426913
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by DaveC426913 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:23 pm

Almost all the of the above for me. Definitely should have main reefed.
Build up speed.
Let the jib backwind.
I have been known to keep the motor idling to help tack in strong winds.

I am alarmed though, at the idea of raising a rudder, but even more of raising one part-way.
IMHO, fiddling with the rudders is a bad plan during a high wind tack.
But moreso, partially deploying or retracting a rudder is a good way to suddenly find yourself having one more rudder bracket than you have rudders for.

I cannot speak to experience trying it, just my 0 cents. (in Canada we now round to the nearest 5c)

md80max
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Post by md80max » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:42 pm

Right after getting this boat, I put it in a slip next to other sailboats. As you would imagine I met some very nice fellow sailors in short order and have sailed with them and them with me. They taught me about what you speak of with the head sail. Let it fill, after trimming the main, then trim the head sail after it has assisted with the turn. My problem was during an attempt to tack the boat would turn nicely right into the wind and then stall ( isn't this what you call "irons" ?.....I'm not sure ) In any event, with the motor just above idle it would tack just fine.

Gybing (sp?) was not a problem.

The main sail is the stock sail with only one reef point. If there is a way to reef beyond that with out having the grommets installed to do so, I don't know how. If there is, I would like to know.

The waves were such at times that the splash from hitting one on the bow would splash over the bow pulpit. Not the wave itself, just the spray and even up onto the boom. I mention as much to give you and idea of how much the boat was held back by hitting the occasional higher wave. The waves were breaking and definitely some spray. I would estimate them 1.5 to the occasional 3 footer. And yes, the boat was consistently healing from 25 to 35 degrees.

I don't think I would try anything higher considering wind velocity. As fun as it was, it was also a lot of work and I tried different things. For me, it was a great learning experience and I recognized some of the limitations of the boat and myself because of. Had I not watched the promo video by Mr. Macgregor himself on youtube I don't think I would have even went out that day.

Thanks for all the replies, keep them coming.

PS. One of my boat slip neighbors told me it would help if I would put some weight in the front end........he used to own a 26 S ? and said he put 300 lbs in the very front and the boat sailed much better. Not sure about it, thought I would mention here to see if there is anyone else doing this or heard of it.

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