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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 7:35 pm 
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Location: Anderson, SC
Just getting in from a great afternoon of sailing w/ my boys. It was maybe our 6th time out & this time... the wind was gusting to around 30 mph. I have no idea how fast we were moving - the AnnaCat was throwing something like a rooster tail & making a weird whale song w/ the rudders :shock: .

I had lots of trouble tacking. When I would gybe.. it was going through the turn spooky fast. Each time I tacked, I would end up in irons & get blown backwards. I started experimenting w/ sort of reverse steering to complete the tacks when this would happen. During one tack.. we went from irons to nearly capsized in about 2 seconds. Afterwards, my Harken 6:1 quit "clicking" & began to free wheel for the rest of the day (not sure if that was related).

What is the best way to tack in strong wind? Does the method change as the wind speed increases?

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 9:40 pm 
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You are remembering to uncleat your sheets when you tack right? I know this is a little elementary, but I forget the simple things sometimes when I'm sailing in heavy air. Which is the worst time to forget anything.
Case in point is the first time I had my h16 out his year. I forgot to hold on to the sheets during a gybe and the traveller smashed into the stop the end of the traveller track. The traveller car was samshed and had to be replaced.


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 9:58 pm 
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Location: West Point, Utah
Yes, the technique is different. Remember that a H16 doesn't have a keel or daggers to spin around on so there are some things that will help out.
1. Keep your speed up into the turn. Don't just crank the tiller over and expect to make it all the way around without stalling. If you put the tiller all the way over you are putting on the brakes and will not make it. Carve the turn, don't try to muscle it.
2. Slack the mainsheet a little and keep the jib cleated. It will help push the bows around to complete the tack.
3. Keep the weight on the inside while you are still moving forward.
4. Once past head to wind, get the jib over and sheeted. This will help you get moving and pointing.
Do a search on this site for other messages about tacking the H16 in heavy air. There are lots of articles to help. Good luck.


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 11:14 pm 
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Location: Anderson, SC
I googled & found an article that claims:

"In heavy air make sure the crew stays forward in the tack. It�s easy to pop a wheelie in the 16 and you can flip it over backwards if it�s windy enough. "

That is exactly what happened to us today. A "wheelie" is a good way to describe how we almost went over. I was not expecting it - at all. It shoved the back starboard hull deep down in the water. A good half of the trampoline went under. We had to jump fwd & it pushed the port bow back down.

I was not sheeting in the jib at the head of the wind.
I was not entering the tack at full speed (I was actually trying to slow down by sheeting out).

As for the traveler car hitting the end of the track: yes.. I did that a few times today. I read where someone suggested used a stopper knot just shy of the track end. The next time I'm out in bigger wind, I'm going to try that knot.

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 6:52 am 
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Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
We had the same problem this past Sunday when a thunderstorm took over the area and we where in a small island 2.5 miles away from shore. The heavy winds were taking us away from shore and we could not tack due to the heavy winds. Luckily, a power boat showed up to help us and some of the guys in the boat were H-16 pilots. One of them, nicknamed "Chepo", jumped in our Cat and managed to tack and put the H16 back on good course. I learned a whole lot in that 1/2 hour ride with Chepo, who happens to be a Competitor/Racer in the Local Circuits. They saved our day BIG TIME !!!!
I learned I was trying to turn to quickly ( hard turn into the wind ), which stops the momemtum almost completely. Also he positioned the gib in a better way to produce power much quicker than my inexpert technique. Experience is the thing, so I will put as much time as I can doing tacks on my next trips until I master them.
Another mistake I made was, not choosing the easiest course when we began sailing back to the main Island.
There is a lot to learn, but sailing gets more and more fun as I learn more about it. Thanks to you all for the good advise !!!!!!
My Hat Off to Chepo and his crew for helping us that day.

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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 10:15 am 
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Location: Clinton Lake, KS
annacat wrote:
making a weird whale song w/ the rudders :shock: .


You need to simply shave a little off the back of your rudders.. There is a little bulge at the trailing edge of stock rudders that can be quickly removed with a pair of scissors opened up and used to shave both sides of the rudder at the same time... if that makes sense? Somtimes all that is required is filing the back edge of the rudder flat instead of a 'sharp' edge...

http://www.hobiecat.com/support/article ... h/hum.html

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=34000


annacat wrote:
I had lots of trouble tacking. When I would gybe.. it was going through the turn spooky fast.


Ok.. gybe 'slower' by going as fast as possible... It will become totally not scary at all... Basically run with the wind until you are matching the wind speed as best you can... If you are coming from a broad reach this should be easy.. and you can even out sail the apparent wind and gybe entirely uneventfully with some luck and practice.. But when you have matched or are moving close to the wind speed... Then just very slowly turn... With enough space to turn you should just about be able to grab all that extra main sheet you have out... and move the main over by hand... Of course if the winds are shifty.. all bets are off... But you get the idea... It is all in the tiller... Just Run with the wind until you are ready to go... Just fight the urge to turn into the wind like you would pinching.. and you will be good to go... Running with the wind is boring when done right... just be mindful that the tiller isn't going to feel as responsive at that point of sail... But it is... :D

Just get your bridle fly's to drop straight down.. (no apparent wind) and slowly make your move...

annacat wrote:
Afterwards, my Harken 6:1 quit "clicking" & began to free wheel for the rest of the day (not sure if that was related).



On your lower block... Right above where the main sheet enters the block there should be a little thumb wheel... and on the stock Hobie hardware at least you can even see the ratcheting mechanism... It should be just a little flip of your thumb and you can change that from "freewheeling" to "ratcheting"...

The ratcheting can be a pain in light air... Or if you like the workout.. and want to be able to sheet out very quickly... whatever...

Your block might be a bit different from the hobie block... But I am sure it has the same feature... and heck... you could have broken it... but I doubt it...


annacat wrote:
Each time I tacked, I would end up in irons & get blown backwards. I started experimenting w/ sort of reverse steering to complete the tacks when this would happen. During one tack.. we went from irons to nearly capsized in about 2 seconds. Afterwards, my Harken 6:1 quit "clicking" & began to free wheel for the rest of the day (not sure if that was related).

What is the best way to tack in strong wind? Does the method change as the wind speed increases?



My problem in heavy wind with a heavy load on the Cat is always to turn to quickly .. I dunno... I still fight myself on that...... With a good crew you just play the weight shift game and no problems.. But sometimes inexperienced crews are bouncing all around trying to help out, and messing things up.. So when I take out new guys... and I am fixing to tack... I tell them to not touch anything or move UNTIL I tell them to move... I even surprise them if they wont behave... and often can complete the tack just fine because they end up right in the proper rhythm when I don't warn them... :lol:


Then you make sure you have enough speed sailing as close to the wind as possible... and slowly make the turn... Not to fast... especially in high wind... You will lose to much speed... Wait until you are about halfway through the tack to have the crew move... Then only when the tack is completed and you are certain you have not blown it... Then have them break the jib... When I am moving across the back of the boat during this process I am leaning back just a little bit further than a 'normal sailing position... trying to balance the boat with the bows just a little high... Moving some weight back helps the boat turn.... I break the main just after I start the turn before I pick up the stick that is bouncing along behind the boat in anticipation for the turn... just make sure you don't get to much weight to far back in really big gusty wind... The boat can "wheelie" if enough air gets under the tramp... as you know... It takes quite a bit.. but uuhhh.. yeah...... Just make the crew aware.. I have noticed also.. that depending on how the crew "gets up" to move... They can and will help you pull a big wheelie... :P


Then once the tack is complete... Just make sure you are moving forward... and don't get to excited to point it downwind to fast until you are ready... If you are not ready... just head up a little bit and "park" making sure not to lose all forward momentum until you are....



And don't fret to much about being stuck in irons.. With some practice... enjoying the moment instead of feeling like you are 'stuck'... Just back the boat up... Play with the rudders... and sometimes pull the main over to you... Using it to back you up... You will be moving in no time... Just don't fret about it... enjoy that as just part of the fun... Or heck.. a decent time to 'take a break' from the screaming speeds you just ran on that reach.. :twisted:

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 9:57 am 
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Location: Anderson, SC
I appreciate all the help I get in here. I’m literally learning to sail exclusively with the help of this forum. I’m now pulling the sail in all the way until I cross the head of the wind (maintaining fwd power). I have not had a chance to try it in 30+ winds, but it worked well at 20.

My rudders are the EPO & the rear edges already appear to have been tweaked. I noticed the “whale music” again on my last trip out. This video of a trifoiler captures the exact sound I was hearing. Is this rudder noise? Or wind on the shrouds?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ0-0R1kFgA[/youtube]

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 2:46 pm 
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Location: Clinton Lake, KS
My money is on the rudders...


But I am a knucklehead.. :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 11:08 am 
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Location: Costa Rica
First of all my sailing terminology is crap as we do it mostly in Spanish here and half the names are made up or called the "thingie" we are pointing at so bear with me here. I lost partial use of my legs a few years so my windsurfing and surfing days are over so sailing has been a logical step in my current situation but much like surfing and windsurfing I have just sorta figured things out over time specially down here in Costa Rica.

To make jibes less scary I split them into 3 parts, first a broad reach, followed by a full downwind and then before jibing pull the sail in, both the traveler and the main (to avoid the boom flying across and lose some speed). Finally move to the windward side as you prepare for the jibe (your crew should already be on that side to keep the boat level in the full downwind). Turn back into the wind and adjust sails accordingly (this avoids getting hit by the boom too).

I had lots of problems tacking, I would consistently get stuck in irons, specially in heavier winds which in my case always meant heavier seas.

I always sail in the ocean so sailing in choppy 2-3 foot waves is common but some of these techniques work better in calm water.
1. Never go full deflection on the rudders when starting a turn, its just a brake like that. As someone suggested carve the turn.
2. If being pushed in reverse by the wind you will notice right away by looking at your rudders the direction of movement. In this case I would suggest full deflection on the rudders in the opposite direction of the turn, besides steering a bit your stern will have a brake and the bow will more easier fly across.
3. I find 6:1 blocks too slow to rely on them for tacks, I even find my 4:1s slow so here is were I have found the trick; as you get closer to the dead spot your main and traveler should be pulled in to its tightest position. At this point most people will leave the main totally tight and try to use the jib to complete the turn, then get locked in irons, do the reverse trick and with some luck start moving forward and complete the turn.

Your main at its tight position is what is not allowing you to complete the turn as even almost against the wind still has some efficiency. You want to kill completely all main sail efficiency and let the jib do its job and turn the boat around. Yes you could do this with the 6:1 but that's gonna be slower. So as the sail starts to loose efficiency just before I switch sides I make the traveler loose and pull it back to the leeward side as I slide under it feet first. (I go feet first cause of my legs, the more time I spend on my butt the better).

With you on the windward side your jib should be full if your crew did their job, your main is flapping and your rudders are slightly turned leeward. The boat will complete the turn, the only thing is if you wait too long to pull in the traveler it will get very hard so do it early or let your sail out to make it easier on you.


Let me know if it works for you.


Last edited by 2002touringmoe on Mon May 30, 2011 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 8:53 am 
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Location: Costa Rica
Oh and that "whale song" you are hearing is called rudder hum. Not necessarily will higher speeds mean more hum but its generally related to going fast.

You can eliminate rudder hum but for me seems like a good way for the boat to let you know you its time to finish up that beer and start paying attention.

I made this video for you, its an extract of the other vid but with no music and original audio.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPE5Bs5ObMI[/youtube]

These H16 are extremely sensitive to weight, you mentioned you went out with your boys, so perhaps try a crew of less than 300lbs.


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 1:58 pm 
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You guys are correct about the sound being rudder hum. I’m learning to enjoy that sound – when I can get it.

Crew weight definitely affects the boat’s handling characteristics. I have three potential crew weights: Me 250 lbs, 1st son at 120lbs & second son at 90lbs. Tacking is drastically different with changes in crew combos (from solo to a trio) & varying winds.

The tacks in heavier winds have improved drastically. I’m going to try some of these latest suggestions & let you know what happens. I do need to break the jibe down into steps.

Someone told me to check out how windsurfers tack in heavy wind. I then discovered something called “patin a vela”. These guys have no rudders on their cats. I’m going to try tacking like a patin a velo & see what happens. That should be fun.

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 4:23 pm 
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Location: Costa Rica
Well they have no daggerboards (some oldschool boards do) but they do have a large fin in the back, like a surfing longboard.

I speak spanish and have no idea what that is although I did kinda suck at windsurfing so we always tacked by turning into the wind and walking in front of the mast to the other side.

Kinda like this:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgSVLPOpYYg[/youtube]

Is there a video of this technique?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:58 am 
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@OP: (sailboat whalesong)
Kármán vortex street


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:02 pm 
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I would also often get stuck in irons when there is a fair bit of wind. After some experimenting, I actually found that releasing the jib right as or just a split second before the sail begins to luff going through the tack helps a lot. I used to always let the jib backwind to push the bow through, then release after the tack, which works great if single handed in light to slightly moderate wind, but what seemed to keep happening was it would just slow the boat down way too quickly. Releasing the jib at or slightly before going through allows the boat to keep just a bit more momentum, and being that the jib is now already released and passed over to the opposite side, the main seems to build power easier and much quicker.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:10 am 
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When I jibe, I grab all the parts of the mainsheet in my hand, and feel the pressure on it. The instant I feel the pressure ease off, while in the turn, I throw the boom across, over my head, and ease it out being careful to steer the boat smoothly. I never let the boom fly across on its own, regardless of what type of boat I'm sailing.

When tacking, don't slow down before you start the turn.


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