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Great day with 20+ gusts
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Author:  A1cnc [ Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:39 am ]
Post subject:  Great day with 20+ gusts

I had a chance to get out yesterday for the first time in ~ a week. We are in the slow wind period here it seems but yesterday made up for the lower windspeed days. The prediction was 8-10 with gusts to 15-18 when I looked before leaving. I knew I was in for a special day once I got out on the water and there were whitecaps and 1-2 foot waves on the lake. A friend with a sunfish was already out and I could see he was MOVING. I checked the wind report after I got home and the part of the day I went out was the highest for the day with gusts recorded of 22-24 mph.

As usual the wind was shifty and gusty but predominately from the east and northeast. It took a couple trips back and forth across the lake to get a feel for how far to lift without expecting the next gust to take me over. Once I felt comfortable I started ripping up the lake! Max speed on my gps yesterday was 17.4. I know I could have gone faster if I had more time but I only had a couple hours yesterday to sail. What a rush! I had a couple gusts hit me when I was going about 12 mph that stopped me dead and then a second later another hit me from the opposite direction and I was instantly back up to 12. Crazy but fun!

A few times I was cooking with the leeward hull skimming 2-3" above the water when a super gust hit me and I swear the only part of the boat left in the water was about 6" of the leeward hull. The entire rest of the boat was up in the air with the mast almost parallel to the water. I was sure I was going swimming but I dumped about 2 feet of main, the boat settled down, I yanked the main back in a bit and rocketed out of the water again. Just amazing how out of shape I was able to get yesterday and STILL save it! It would have been some intense go-pro video IF I had one!

I hope some of you other guys are getting in some good trips

Author:  Tom King [ Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Great day with 20+ gusts

If you have a wind indicator on the boat, take it off, and learn to sail the boat by feel, so you can watch the water for gusts. You can see a gust coming, almost always, and know whether you will be on the header, or lift side of it. In a light monohull, you can tack before the header side gets to you, but you need to know a lot sooner than that in a cat. In racing any kind of boat, when I have never raced against them before, I know not to worry about the ones with wind indicators.

We talked about speed before, but the most important part of speed is getting the most out of the wind. It doesn't matter if you are getting the last possible tenth of a knot out of the boat, if you're going the wrong way, or up on edge.

In the Prosail racing series, back in the '80's, there was not one wind indicator on any of the 21's sitting on the beach on the weekends. The first couple of years there were qualifying races on Friday, and the races for money were on the weekend. After the first couple of years, the same top 20 always made the weekend show, and there was no longer any need for qualifying races, because anyone else stopped showing up.

Author:  A1cnc [ Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Great day with 20+ gusts

Thank you for the tips,
Interesting you mentioned being able to see a gust coming. I was beginning to see them on the last day I was out. I have only been sailing for 2 years now but I feel I am improving.

I wasn't worried about getting the max out of the wind that day, just getting the most time with the hulls down mast up! I felt pretty good about not capsizing in the gusts.

Author:  Tom King [ Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Great day with 20+ gusts

The telltale sign of a gust hitting the water is called a "cat's paw". They are called that for a reason. You know how fur grows on a cat's paw? It goes out towards both sides. That's why there is a lift on one side of the gust, and a header on the other side. The air in the gust moves just like the fur on a cat's paw.

In gusty conditions, either upwind, or downwind, the fastest way to the next turning point (whether tack, jibe, or mark rounding) is never a straight line.

The opposite happens in dying conditions. You want to hold your course, and not go chasing apparent wind changes as the wind dies. Unless there is a front near, which is almost never in dying conditions, when the next wind comes back, it will be from the same direction it was the last time you had some. If you went chasing the apparent wind from the windspeed dropping, you will be out of position when it comes back. This is one of the ways a wind indicator works against you.

Author:  A1cnc [ Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Great day with 20+ gusts

First, Thank you both for your info on wind.

I can attest to the funneling effects on this lake at least. There are channels of higher velocity air near the shorelines depending on the prevailing wind direction that in some cases are eye opening within 20 feet of the shoreline. The center of the lake frequently has a vortex like wind pattern that I started to notice earlier this year. I will have the sails trimmed nice going across the center of the lake for apparent wind lets say from the west. Once I cross an approximate area suddenly I find I will go faster by letting more sail out but remaining on the same heading. Indicating to me a more astern wind direction.

I will attest that you are correct about the tell-tales not really being the end all. When I discovered this phenomenon on the lake the tape I use was still indicating a forward wind direction. Definitely made this guy scratch his head a bit!

Author:  SeasonforSailing [ Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Great day with 20+ gusts

It's nice to hear that you had a great day...so I guess the secret is to get out at lease once a week :D . I can live with that.

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