Dangerous downwind sailing practices . . .

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Nick
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Dangerous downwind sailing practices . . .

Postby Nick » Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:48 pm

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Blasting downwind in a stiff breeze (say 25 - 30 kts true) with prevented main and poled headsail, how long would it take you to turn back upwind?

Some old salts with bigger boats reckon it is nigh on impossible to turn back to pick up a MOB in these situations as it would take too long.

With a conventional bermudan you should be able to furl the headsail with the pole still deployed and release the preventer from the cockpit. It normally takes us less than 90 seconds, but it is a relatively small boat. If it is going to take longer than two or three minutes then you are sailing out of control to all intents and purposes. I used to rig pole and preventer so I had to go on deck to release things before turning upwind, but a near miss with another yacht changed my attitude to that many years ago.

I have had to gybe in a close quarters situation with a ship at night on two occasions. A preventer that could not be released from the cockpit could have caused a very tense situation indeed. It is easy to think that once in the open sea rapid course changes are unlikely to be required, but MOB is one example where they may be. I would have thought that if you feel it will take a long time to turn into wind then maybe it might be worthwhile re-examining your downwind sailing habits, whatever size or type of boat you sail. Just saying it can't be done seems a bit defeatist IMO.

So - how long would it take you?
- Nick 8)

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Postby Magna Carter » Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:10 pm

Agree completely Nick.... anything that takes longer than your notional 90 seconds is not acceptable...
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Postby jim.r » Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:21 pm

Well the preventer should come back to the cockpit so that should'nt be an issue. I rig the pole with an uphaul and down haul, so releasing the genoa sheet ain't an issue either. So in an emergency the only extra time would be to knock off the gybe preventer .. and I'd sort out the pole later

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Postby moodysailor » Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:31 pm

Does anybody rig a preventer that doesn't come back into cockpit?

In a discussion elsewhere the subject was raised of how you pole out a genoa. The wisdom was that the genoa sheet simply runs through the end of pole and that the pole is not clipped onto the bowline or the cringle. This allows you to release the genoa sheet and let the pole do its own thing.

BUT if you are poled out and preventer on then what happens if you suddenly put the helm over? Wouldn't you turn into the wind and stop charging away from the MOB. OK, it would all be a mess to sort out but at least you wouldn't be too far downwind and you could whack the engine on. And, no, I'm not going to try it.
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Nick
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Yes

Postby Nick » Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:40 am

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Pole is fixed with 3 lines - uphaul, downhaul and guy (led back to cockpit).

This makes the pole into essentially a fixed spar. Genoa sheet is led through the end of the pole. In seconds you can roll the genoa away, pole stays where it is, no probs.

I can only assume from some of the posts on TOP that people are in the habit of rigging preventers that cannot be released easily and/or poling out headsails in a way that does not allow them to be furled away in a hurry.

If you want to (not quite) stop the boat without releasing the sheets then don't turn into wind, gybe and you sort of heave to downwind with both sails backed, just as if you have had an accidental gybe - which is why the preventer was rigged in the first place. It's not really a good idea though as a deliberate plan, as it is v. difficult to do anything without gybing back and releasing the sheets normally, but could be useful to give yourself a few seconds thinking space if you have gone a bit blank.
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Postby T25 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:01 am

What's a preventer ?
What's a clew ?
What's a cringle ?
What's a .......

Nick, I know you're trying to avoid having too many forums, but how about a 'learner' forum, where those of us moving into the hankie zone can ask such questions without being ridiculed as they seem to be elsewhere. Elsewhere being a better way of saying TOP, thereby avoiding talking about it.
WARNING:This post may contain items including, but not limited to, sarcasm, irony, and hyperbole intended to bring humour to this discussion. Those of you who are overly sensitive or who have no sense of humour are better off ignoring this post.

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Well . . .

Postby Nick » Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:53 am

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A new to sailing forum would be a great idea in some ways, but it woujld get very repetitive. Better perhaps a series of articles on the site to which people can be directed. Anyone wanting to write/contribute to a 'starting sailing' series please get in touch.

In the meantime:

clew - the lower aft corner of a triangular sail (the other two being head and tack).Head is self-evident, being at the top. The tack is where you attach it to the deck and the other corner is the one you don't have a clew about.

cringle Stainless eye in a sail through which lines can be led without causing chafe. Typically there is one at each corner and several for reefing lines on the luff and leech (see below)

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preventer Line attached to the boom - usually at the outboard (aft) end - that is then taken forward outside the shrouds to a suitable block and back to the cockpit. The boom is allowed to swing out as far as is possible for downwind running - usually until the sail is just touching the shrouds - then the preventer is tightened up and made fast somewhere accessible from the cockpit. If (unintentionally) the wind gets behind the mainsail, initiating a gybe, then the preventer fetches up against the shrouds and stops the boom swinging all the way across taking heads and gear with it. It is very important that the preventer can be rapidly disengaged from the cockpit, as it is impossible top turn the boat upwind without slackening the preventer line.

Here endeth the lesson for today. Now I expect someone will argue with me about something . . .
- Nick 8)

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Re: Dangerous downwind sailing practices . . .

Postby tcm » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:40 am

Nick wrote:.
Blasting downwind in a stiff breeze (say 25 - 30 kts true) with prevented main and poled headsail, how long would it take you to turn back upwind?


Well, er, since the boat spun a couple of times in squalls, i suppose i could just turn round, unles at limit of canvas. No pole on cat of course...

Why wd prevented main be an issue? Or am i missing summink? I don't think it impossible to turn upwind with preventer on - it's easy as pie! In emergency, off the wind a bit, yank on topping lift, unlock main, bang, no main and nicely held boom with that preventer? Or are we gonna undo the preventer and haul main? Do we have to put the sail away nicely in the bag with the dodgy zip as well?

MOBwise, unless overcanvassed, i reckon the most important immediate tasks are get a sight fix (by more than one person if poss) and cut any fishing lines.

Anyway, generally, I reckon the most vital thing is to do just *one* transat in company of the previous (singlehander) owner of the boat during which you average 4.5 knots and report that there was one 24 hour period of F7, touching F8, (so presumably all the rest f6 or less) and then bum around in the caribbean for the next four years updating an exhaustive weblog and pontificate from the comfort of a a wifi bar along the lines of "...they say that the E-W transat is the milk run. It isn't" or "We do like strong winds!" or some hardnut-sounding blarney about abandoning any MOB. When in fact, that one and only ocean passage has resulted not in any extra confidence but in owner/crew too rattled to sail the boat back w-e or continue to pacific, and now several weeks if not months each year are spent waiting for weather, meow....
Last edited by tcm on Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Do I know them?

Postby Nick » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:49 am

Otherwise i reckon the most important thing is to do just *one* transat in company of the previous (singlehander) owner of the boat during which you report just one very scary 24 hour period of F7, touching F8, (so presumably all the rest f6 or less) and then bum around in the caribbean for the next four years updating an exhaustive weblog and pontificate from the comfort of a a wifi bar that "they say that the E-W transat is the milk run. It isn't" or "We do like strong winds" or some other blarney about abandoning any MOB, when in fact the one and only ocean passage has resulted in owner/crew too rattled to bring the boat back or continue to pacific, and several months a year are spent waiting for weather, meow....

Sounds like a classic sailing stereotype - pause points on the circuit / rtw route must be heaving with them. A few have washed up in the Canaries as well. Was a bit worried about pos. becoming one of them if we transponded in FW as I can't afford to be a beach bum in the Caribbee. (Could manage it in the Canaries tho . . . )
- Nick 8)

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Postby Nick » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:51 am

yank on topping lift, unlock main, bang, no main

Not sure I am quite with you here - where does it go then? Yanking on topping lift scandalises main, what is unlocking it, I can't find the key to ours . . .

Are you talking about in mast reefing or what? Or am I being dense?
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Postby tcm » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:57 am

Nick wrote:
yank on topping lift, unlock main, bang, no main

Not sure I am quite with you here - where does it go then? Yanking on topping lift scandalises main, what is unlocking it, I can't find the key to ours . . .

Are you talking about in mast reefing or what? Or am I being dense?


um no, i meant just release the main halliard once the boom is supported by topping lift. A bloke up the mast had to do this with jammed main halliard dues to knackered sheaves, boat yawing at anchor with sail up and it definitely comes down nice and quick when you chop the main halliard.

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Ah . . .

Postby Nick » Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:08 pm

.
Do you have lazyjacks, stackpack and a fb main by any chance?

If you did that on our boat the sail would mostly blow over the side in to the water and it would be a dogs dinner. Dropping the main involves getting up on the coachroof and wrestling with it while trying to stay on the boat - not a pleasant experience in big seas. That's one of the reasons we always get rid of the main early when running downwind in big winds.
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Re: Ah . . .

Postby tcm » Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:06 pm

Nick wrote:.
Do you have lazyjacks, stackpack and a fb main by any chance?



yep. Kerblam, it comes down fast. Otherwise bit different.

Still a bit of a dog's dinner with fb main but I imagine that the MOB won't generally get hauled back on board and say "jeez what a mess you have made of the main".

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Re: Well . . .

Postby T25 » Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:54 am

Nick wrote:.
A new to sailing forum would be a great idea in some ways, but it woujld get very repetitive. Better perhaps a series of articles on the site to which people can be directed. Anyone wanting to write/contribute to a 'starting sailing' series please get in touch.


Nick, thanks for the reply, very helpful.
However, if you go about things the right way I don't think it would get repetitive. If you had a New to Sailing forum and added a FAQ along the lines of, what is ........... ? with replies added as needed, you have a clear source of reference where anyone that spots some new term or part, can hop over and check it out. If the question hasn't already been posted, then a new post is allowed. Any debate on a particular item can be added to the appropriate thread, as can any new ideas on the subject.
Lots of techie sites operate like that and it saves the same question being asked so many times that the respondants get fed up answering and start to take the pee.
For example, what would happen if I asked the dreaded question, which anchor to use when ...........
Just a thought obviously, but it would save serious but simple questions vanishing into the ethos.

And to add to that
What's a lazyjack, stackpack and a fb main ?
I could look them up I know, but then I drift to somewhere else where I find the answers, and maybe stay there instead ?
WARNING:This post may contain items including, but not limited to, sarcasm, irony, and hyperbole intended to bring humour to this discussion. Those of you who are overly sensitive or who have no sense of humour are better off ignoring this post.

BigNick

Postby BigNick » Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:33 am

Stack pack - canvas bag along the boom which catches the mainsail when it comes down and keeps it covered when not in use. Lazyjacks are bits of rope which go from the stackpack to about half way up the mast to guide the sail into the stackpack. fb is a fully battened main (see Nick's diagram for battens), as they go from the leech (see Nick's diagram) to the luff (see Nick's diagram), and keep the sail more orderly as it comes down between the lazy jacks and stackpack. More importantly a fb main has a better shape for sailing.

dog's dinner - a state of disorder, eg when there is no lazy jacks or stackpack and the whole sail ends up either all of the cockpit (see dictionary), side decks, (ditto) or over the side in the sea (ditto again). This makes it very difficult to pack away in a hurry when you want to be in control of the emergency.

HTH


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