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Posted by Jon on 14 August 2019 - 06:12 PM
Posted by Black Panther on 21 May 2018 - 02:59 PM
I was asked for this in another thread. Flame away.
First this is about cruising, racing is a whole nuther story. And since the majority of long distance cruisers are either couples or short handed that’s what I’ll focus on.
So a few generalised thoughts about cruising in the strong stuff:
Do not be in a hurry. It is often said the most dangerous thing on a boat is a calendar and it is true.
Learn to navigate. The overwhelming majority of boats lost are lost through human error and the vast majority of them through nav error. It is actually quite rare for a boat to be overwhelmed by wind and wave
Which brings up another point: the wind will not hurt you, the waves will. A good example is one of the best days sailing I’ve had was in the Gulf of Tehuantepec. The predominant wind is off the beach at 50kn. For days on end. After a few days waiting I got bored and we left anyway. Storm jib and a deep reef, Solid 45kn plus but 100m off the beach on a beam reach that slowly went aft. Great sail in flat water at full speed.
But the waves normally are associated with the wind so we talk about heavy weather rather than big wave sailing.
Here’s another idle thought. I often hear harbour racers claim they “haven’t reefed in 20 years”. Well at sea you will reef sooner than around the coast because of the sea conditions so if you haven’t reefed in years get out there and start practicing.
The whole point of your tactics should be to preserve the crew in the best condition you can at all times. That will often mean slowing down. There’s nothing wrong with heaving to to do the dishes or cook a meal. At sea you only have the resources contained by your toerail and the most critical are the crew. Take all the time you need to sleep, make sure you poop in the first 24 hrs, eat if you are hungry, never become dehydrated. If you are vulnerable take steps before you leave to deal with seasickness.
So let’s define what we are talking about.
Up to 28 kn winds – normal sailing.
28 – 38kn wind – heavy weather, but easily handled by any well equipped offshore cruiser. You’ll probably have stopped sailing and be sitting it out.
38 – 50kn , this is getting serious and as well as sitting it out you are thinking of special techniques to orient your boat to the waves.
At around 60 kn you are in survival mode and anything over 70 kn is scary as hell and there’s a chance you won’t come home, but taking the right steps earlier will improve your chances.
Downwind the tactics are easy. Drop sail if you are going too fast. Start at the back of the boat, i.e. drop the mizzen, then the main, then the jib. There have been three well reported deaths lately from mainsheets crossing the cockpit. Get the main down early. When you get to bare poles kick the drogue over – more on that later.
Upwind your tactics will be different to downwind. Somewhere around 30kn I stop sailing upwind and heave to. If you haven’t tried this before you will be astounded. I have gone from being beaten bloody at 6kn to thinking I was at the marina when down below. If you get nothing else from this essay, go out and practice heaving to (you can practice in under 30 kn, just use a bit more sail). When hove to have some food and a hot drink and get into your bunk where you can read or sleep. (your bunk will have a secure comfortable lee cloth right?) Stick your head out occasionally to make sure conditions haven’t worsened or that a ship isn’t going to run you down. The worst storm I have been in we were all below and totally unaware that a front had gone through with a 90 deg windshift and a LOT more wind till we woke up on the ceiling.
How do you heave to? The classic was to back the jib against the main. I believe that with nearly all modern boats this won’t work. Old boats had full keels and full forefoots (forefeet?). With a fin feel and a sloop rig the force on the jib will push the bow down until you are fore reaching (bad) or beam on to the seas (very bad). With a modern rig and a cutaway forefoot you can simply drop the headsail (roll it up if that’s what you have), then pull the traveller to windward and sheet the main in hard. The main will push the bow to weather, but the boat shouldn’t have enough way on to tack , if it does then shorten the main. Lash the helm to leeward (Whatever happened to tiller combs?? I’ll look for a photo, they are cool). The goal is to come to a stop with the apparent wind about 40 -60 off the bow. You’ll probably be slipping sideways at ½ to 1kn, that’s perfect, but you want zero boatspeed.
As I said – learn this. Practice. Next time you are out on the gulf roll up the jib, strap the main in, lash the helm and go have a cup of tea. I can’t emphasize this enough.
As the wind increase and the boat tries to fore reach keep shortening the sail area. Eventually you will have just the trysail strapped to the weather quarter. This should take you up to some seriously strong wind in comfort. In the Cav I had to give up and try the next trick at around 60kn. You could sail around the world three times and never see that.
When you can’t keep the boatspeed off even with that rig it is time to do the next thing. At this point you can turn and run, I would use bare poles and a drogue. This has the advantage of also being my choice of “ultimate survival technique”.
If you really don’t want to go the wrong way, either coz you’re a blockhead or you don’t have sea room a sea anchor might be a better bet. Unfortunately most cruisers don’t have the capacity for both. I choose a drogue. I know others who choose a sea anchor. I have always found the drogue painless to set and retrieve which swings it for me.
I like the Jordan series drogue. The idea is to keep a bit of way on (my best guess about 60% of your theoretical hull speed. This means you can steer a very little bit. But more importantly you take the sting out of the waves. I have never been rolled, broached or pooped while using a drogue. I have been in conditions where we were regularly surfing at
insane speeds (bare poles on a P38) and broaching at the bottom of the waves. After streaming the drogue that just plain stopped. We were able to clean up, have some food and get into our bunks.
So when I joke about climbing into my bunk and putting a pillow over my head it isn’t really a joke. Keep yourself warm, dry, rested and fed. You and your crew are the boats greatest resource so you need to look after yourself.
Don’t be in a hurry to get somewhere.
Study navigation properly (the instructions for your chart plotter don’t count)
Practice heaving to, learn the joy of simply stopping.
One of my favourite stories is of a couple who took 29 days to do a 1,000 mile passage. I asked what took so long. They said they would always heave to at night and sleep, then get up in the morning and decide whether or not to continue sailing, which they did about every second day.
Or the delivery skipper who was presumed dead when 30 days overdue from Gibraltar to the UK. When he eventually turned up he explained that he was disappointed with the boats leaky decks so he hove to after three days and spent 20 days re caulking the deck. Then continued in a dry boat.
Posted by Black Panther on 21 November 2019 - 08:41 AM
I had a delivery planned Tahiti to Auckland but it failed to materialize. Angela had gone to visit her mum in Florida so i was going to be just kicking my heels in the BoI for a while till i go to join her at Xmas.
Instead i met up with a couple who had just launched their first boat with dreams of heading offshore. They offered me a small payment to give them lessons. We managed one or two days a week and in the course of one month went from how to drop a mooring and pull up the main to their first overnight solo. They are currently anchored next to me (5 miles from their mooring) and all excited at attempting to go all the way to Cape Brett today.
I have surprised myself at really enjoying the process and watching them gain ability confidence.
It also forced me to think about a great many things we take for granted.
Posted by Dtwo on 12 January 2020 - 02:16 PM
Report was made to MPI.
Mate - I wasn't asking for any advice and I can tell right from wrong. I can also estimate the size of a 15cm snapper from 50m using binoculars, just to clear that up. Perhaps some reading around libel laws would be instructive for you as well.
Kevin - feel free to deal with a similar situation however you judge to be the best way. I'll do the same and refrain from criticising your methods as I definitely won't be near enough to you to witness it.
To me it is theft to be taking these fish. It is against the law and that is not an opinion.
Posted by Kick Ass on 18 November 2019 - 06:38 PM
So Friday morning started at 7am leaving the dock for our trip down from Whangaparaoa to the start line off Devonport. All was going well until i noticed the instruments were displaying 11.7 volts.... that didn’t seem right so started investigating and we were getting no charge from the Alternator. After a bit of investigation and having a look back at my notes from when we pulled the engine out turns out we have 2 blue wires in the loom and i had put the wrong one on the alternator 😅 so allgood we are now charging but have very flat batteries which is not ideal so alot of engine hours were ahead to boost the batteries up.
Start time comes along and have decided on the small masthead kite was the best choice so off we go hoist the kite and immediately the boat keeps digging the bow in and wiping out, after a while we ended up with a big twist so was time to get it down and decision was made to go to A3, up it went along with the snuffer line 😔 so far not so good. Down comes the A3 secure the snuffer line and un twist the tack and up we go again with a better result and finally we are off sitting all but last so we now had some ground to make up with both 1050’s in the distance.
Once we got past Browns we started pushing and the boat still didnt feel right, decided to reef and finally the boat lifted up and felt normal again, with no previous experience sailing with a square top main we now have alot of appreciation around how powerful it was and reefing was now a big part of modeing the boat correctly. Next was the new backstays were stretching so we had to quickly rig up a back up purchase onto the leeward winch before we lost the top of the rig. Amongst all this excitement we have lost the wind wand off the top of the rig which causes even more grief later in the race.
We are now settled in starting pull in a few boats and clawed back Sniper 1 of the other 1050’s hitting a top speed of 18.6 knots heading for Channel Island. Snuffed the A3 and gybed over heading for the outside of the Mercs and the all the instruments shut down 😔, turns out the wire broke on the wind gear and shorted out the system. Kept pushing hard back onto full main sitting on the edge of control at times and looked a bit like the Motorboat videos with alot of water over the decks not as constant tho. In behind the mercs it calmed down so went and sorted the fuses in the instruments and isolated the wind gear but unable to get the auto pilot going again, alot of hand steering was ahead of us!
As dark came we dropped the A3 and the plan was to go to the FRO but the furler had been put in a very safe place and for the life of me couldn’t find it so settled on the #2 down to White Island which felt good but when Gale Force showed back up on AIS they had put 8 mile on us so big loss there but had put about 5 Mile on Sniper. Rounded white Island somewhere around 1-2am? Memory a bit vague but did see the volcano under the moonlight and smelt the Sulphur, would really like to see in daylight one day!
Settled in upwind double reefed and #2, very hard to know how we were going with no wind gear so had to sail by feel the whole way back to Channel island, we stayed out wide waiting for it to clock North which never came and when we came back inside cuvier Sniper crossed only Meters in front but we pushed into the land and when we came out we crossed back in front just as the breeze was shutting down and the turn of the tide approaching. Not managing to get to Channel before the tide turned we started heading back out to sea at about 1 knot. About 5 hours later we finally got around and started heading for home with Sniper just inside us.
As the Breeze started filling we went onto the A2 which carried us all the way to the finish with the company of Dolphins and a blue sunny sky opening up a lead of a couple of minutes to Sniper and the Mighty C U Later Yachting hunting us down. Finishing at 10.50 am Sunday morning.
Good work to Ken and Sam on the Gale Force Racing for showing us how it is done!
All in all was a great shake down after our refit but probably a bit optimistic taking on a 320nm race 1 week after re launching the boat and it really showed we had a few bugs to iron out and new sails we need to learn plus a rig tune would go a long way to our windward performance.
Thanks to all the volunteers from Royal Akarana Yacht Club for putting this race together👍, Kick will be back for another lap!
Next up is #rni2020
Posted by ScottiE on 23 July 2019 - 08:37 AM
"I don't like what's in SmallTalk but I don't have the disiplne to stop myself having a peak once in a while - and then the micro agression hits me and I get all angry again at SmalTalk being on a sailing website!"
Posted by Adrianp on 26 April 2018 - 04:28 PM
Thought its about time to our new (to us) boat, Lady Nada, a Lavranos 44 sailing cat. She's a homebuilt foam and glass cat that was built in Port Waikato in 2007 and we're her third owners as of 6 weeks ago. She's had a busy life with 5 trips to the islands in her life already.
Its been a busy 6 weeks as we brought her on the hard in Whangarei and have been flat out getting her sorted to head off to the islands this winter. We relaunched her just before Easter and having to trying to use her as much as possible since then. Having her 10min away from home at Bayswater Marina is much better that 2hrs to Whangarei!
Our plan is to head off to Tonga in early June, so its a pretty rushed program to get the boat ready but being such a well travelled boat, its just a case of "fix whats broken and make sure everything works" rather than taking on any "improvement projects".
Our blog is here if anyone is interested - https://sailingladynada.wordpress.com/
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Posted by Priscilla II on 03 February 2018 - 07:05 AM
From Fritz Kloepfel:
In the late 1980s, I was just getting serious about my love affair with racing sailboats. At an early Key West Race Week I met an interesting character named Larry Ruhland. He was unlike anyone I knew, but he was passionate about racing sailboats. Over the course of the week we became friends and over the next couple years, I invited him to come sail with me in Florida several times. And he did! Eventually, he invited me to come race in the Great Lakes aboard his boat, Dolphin. She was a fabulous old racing boat 54 feet long, with a mast reaching over 80 feet in the air. Big and solidly built, she required a talented crew to show her best. The crew was mostly Larry’s two sons and their friends and relatives. It was an interesting mix of backgrounds and talents, but they made a formidable team.
Larry’s two sons could not have been more different.
Mike was serious, studious and very focused. His hair was trimmed short and his dress was near formal. And he was analytical. Very, very analytical. He was enthralled with technology, information, and calculations. A bit of time spent with Mike could leave you believing that it was possible to THINK your way across the finish line first. And Mike was just the guy to do it. I felt an immediate kinship with him.
Pat was much the opposite. Casually dressed and very casually coiffed, he seemed to care little about the instruments, the technology or the details of strategy and tactics. On our first meeting, he was introduced to me as “Turbo,” a nickname that apparently reached back to his childhood where his mother used to wonder if he were turbocharged as he played around the house. But to me, he seemed the very embodiment of “laid back.” A yin to his brother’s yang.
The Dolphin was a demanding boat, and over the course of the first day and a half, we all took turns driving, spinning the “coffee grinders” to power the winches, and tailing the heavy lines that trimmed the sails. The crew all pitched in. Except for Turbo. Yes, he lent a hand in here and there, but he hadn’t taken the wheel that whole time and had not seemed to contribute much. I had started to wonder, to myself, why we had brought him along. But as it was starting to make me scratch my head the boat began to demand more of us. Well into the second day the wind was building and with it the waves. We were sailing downwind with a big running spinnaker up, and the boat was becoming a handful. The waves would get under the back of the boat and make it skew left or right, and the heavy winds in the sails had us rocking and rolling nearly out of control. The big wheel really needed to be manhandled to keep the boat standing up, and most of the crew were not quite skilled enough to keep it all managed. And, it was a workout. 20 minutes would wear you out, and 30 minutes was all anyone could do. We began to talk about reducing sail and slowing the boat, …not the solution you want when you’re racing. But the wind continued to build, and the waves looked like mountains.
Just when I thought we had no other choice Larry hollered out one word. “Turbo!!!”
And out of the bowels of the boat came Pat. He walked straight to the back of the boat, and without a word he took the wheel. And as though someone had waved a magic wand the boat stopped bucking and jumping. It stopped skidding left and right and pitching like a rodeo bull. Suddenly we were on a straight course, and using the waves to surf the boat along, instead of fighting us. I was flabbergasted. I sat there for some time just watching Turbo drive. I’d never seen anything like it. He seemed at one with the wind and the waves and a veritable part of the boat. Every motion was smooth, and he made it all look effortless. Without my ever voicing the question, Larry leaned over and said, “Now you know.”
Turbo stayed at the wheel for hours, occasionally steering with one hand while he lit a cigarette with the other. He didn’t swivel his head to see the waves. He simply seemed to know where they were coming from. He didn’t fight the boat. He seemed to caress it. The wind was not his opponent, it was his strength. I had never seen it done better, and in all my years of sailing, I never did. Eventually, the wind eased and the waves began to subside, and as the boat once again became controllable (by mere mortals) Pat quietly said, “Anybody want this?” and it was over.
Posted by lizalonzi on 24 August 2019 - 06:28 PM
Am one of two women in the regular 8.5 fleet here in Auckland. We were the only boat to go out today (gusting high 30's). Took great pleasure in telling the other crews to woman up and stop being a bunch of a boys 😉
And if you know me, you'll know those comments were dripping in love and sarcasm. Equality for all! What's between your legs has zero impact on how you sail a boat!! (I can't believe I have to explain this to some people!)