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 Post subject: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:24 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:11 pm
Posts: 298
Location: West Point, Utah
Went sailing for the first time this season on the Great Salt Lake. Crazy spring weather set me up for a doozy of a day. Not really a day as I was exhausted after about 2 hours. Winds 18-20 knots steady with gusts up to 25. Waves about 1 1/2 to 2 feet. That is pretty big for this dense super salty water. Very chaotic wave patterns. Some pretty good speed runs, but the waves really put a damper on trapping out. I got knocked off the rail several times.
Enough of a report, now to my question. I struggle with heavy air tacking. I made one out of about 20 attempts this Friday. I start with speed and carve the turn so as not to kill speed and then ease the main and jib. I never make it far enough to backwind the jib to help me around. I jibed around twice :shock: . Not doing that any more. Barely saved a pitch-pole both times. So what are the secrets? I am fine up to around 18 knots of wind, but over that I really struggle. Thanks all.


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:59 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:30 pm
Posts: 643
Location: Benicia, CA
I sail a Getaway, so there may be differences in boat handling. But I do routinely sail in chop and big wind such as you describe. Two suggestions based on my experiences, first, pick a spot in the chop prior to the tack; the waves are usually in sets so you often can pick a spot where you won't get stopped as you change heading. second, don't ease the jib until the main is over and the battens pop. I know you said you couldn't backwind, but it might be because you eased both jib and main.

In all honesty, in those conditions I am successful tacking only 2/3 of the time. But I often back down onto the new tack instead of doing a 270 when unsuccessful.

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R/Thom
SeaRail 19
Triak
BMW C600
Formerly Getaway with Custom Spinnakers
Formerly raced F24 Mk II


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:41 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 1:20 pm
Posts: 319
Location: Clearwater, FL
I usually sail my H16 solo so I have a routine I follow when tacking in medium or heavy wind.

Time your tack so it starts right on top of a wave, that way you have more time before the next wave comes (less likely to be broadsided by the next wave).

Set your jib traveler all the way in and tighten the jib sheet just before you tack (this way your boat does not have to turn as much before the jib backwinds).

Start your turn and let the main sheet out. Throw the tiller behind the boat into the water (use you foot on the cross bar, if necessary, to keep the rudders carving). Roll over to the other side of the boat and pull the boom toward you (this helps weathervane the boat around more so the jib can backwind).

After the jib backwinds and the main starts to fill retrieve the tiller and you are at a stage where you can take a break and do things like catch a breath, rinse the salt off your sunglasses, rearrange the lines on the boat, get a drink, etc.

At this point you should set your jib and main travelers on the leeward side (before you release the backwinded jib) and get ready to go.

Release the backwinded jib sheet and set it on the leeward side (which then will start you sailing forward with the jib) and then pull in the main sheet and prepare to take off like a rocket.

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Tim
82' H16
Blue Prism
Sail # 88863
Clearwater, FL
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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:21 pm
Posts: 314
Location: Winston Salem, NC
As mentioned above, sheet in the jib with it traveled in, and slack off the main. If you get caught in irons, reverse your rudders and push the boom over to catch some wind and get the boat sailing backwards. Once the jib backwinds, everything happens quickly but as long as the main has been slacked off, it shouldn't be a problem.

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Howard


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:28 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:11 pm
Posts: 298
Location: West Point, Utah
I do reverse the rudders and back down into the tack, but it bugs me that I end up doing this all the time. I will definitely try bringing the main over to push the aft around.


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:31 am 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
Posts: 3225
Location: Jersey Shore
It's all about timing.

Your mainsail acts as a large weather vane. You can use it to your advantage, or it can work against you making tacking impossible. You never want to let out any significant amount of mainsheet before entering a tack. If you do, the boat will not be able to go head to wind. This is especially true if you have your jib sheeted in tight. If your jib is tight and your main is loose, the boat will NEVER be able to go head to wind.

If you're sailing with a crew, work with them on timing the release and re-tensioning of the jib sheet. If you're solo, you'll be doing it all yourself.

Before you enter the tack, you want to be sheeted in and have as much speed as possible. If it's super windy and you're traveled out more than a foot, you will probably want to bring the traveler in, otherwise the boat will never round up. The main needs to be pulled in to go head to wind. Do not start the turn and then dump the mainsheet - the boat won't turn (are we detecting a theme here?).

Before you start the tack, uncleat the mainsheet and hold it in your hand. As the boat rounds up and you move your body inboard, the sheet will naturally start to release a little bit. Don't let out any more than that amount until the boat has gone head to wind. You will know you are head to wind because the jib battens will pop over to the other side. As soon as that happens, dump the mainsheet (like several feet of sheet) and keep the rudders turned so the boat keeps turning. Once you are fully established on the new tack (the mainsail battens have popped), release the jib and pull it in 75% on the new tack. Straighten the rudders and then start pulling in the main. After the main is in 75% of the way, pull both main and jib in to 100% together.

Most people goof up because they release one or both sails too soon (the boat won't go head to wind), they straighten out the rudders midway through the tack (the boat goes into irons), or they pull the main in before pulling in the jib (tack was good but then the boat rounds up into irons).

If it's really windy, sometimes there's no avoiding going into irons because you simply can't sheet in tight enough to initiate the tack without the risk of going over. That's why being able to back out of a blown tack is such a crucial skill to have.

sm


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 12:44 pm
Posts: 11759
Location: Oceanside, California
My 2 cents

With a Jib - Keep up the boat speed into the tack. Steer lightly when starting the tack and then hard over as the boat slows (Steer 3/4 of full over. Too hard and the rudders act as brakes). Look for a swell or chop to "bank" off of. You can bump a swell as the boat just goes past head to wind if possible. That can help push the bows around. Sheet harder as you come closer to head to wind. Keep the jib sheeted... when the jib back-winds... release the mainsheet and force the sheet out by several feet, otherwise the boat can weather vane into the wind. Keep your weight well aft and hiking right through the tack until the main sail nearly backwinds before trying to cross over. Keep the steering consistent. Try to keep the helm over even when switching sides. If you stall, reverse the rudders as the boat begins to back up and be sure the sheets are well out. Allow the boat to come well onto the new tack before beginning to sheet again... Once the main starts to fill on the new tack, release the jib and sheet it on the new tack side. Sheet in the main slowly at first to get some boat speed and steerage, then sheet harder and head up onto the new tack.

No Jib - Keep up the boat speed into the tack. Sheet harder as you come closer to head to wind. Steer lightly when starting the tack and then hard over as the boat slows (Steer 3/4 of full over. Too hard and the rudders act as brakes). Look for a swell or chop to "bank" off of. You can bump a swell as the boat just goes past head to wind if possible. That can help push the bows around. Release the mainsheet and force the sheet out by several feet, otherwise the boat can weather vane into the wind. Keep your weight well aft and hiking right through the tack until the sails nearly backwind before trying to cross over. Keep the steering consistent. Try to keep the helm over even when switching sides. If you stall, reverse the rudders as the boat begins to back up and be sure the sheets are well out. Allow the boat to come well onto the new tack before beginning to sheet again... Once the main starts to fill on the new tack, sheet in the main slowly at first to get some boat speed and steerage, then sheet harder and head up onto the new tack.

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Hobie Cat USA


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2015 4:43 pm
Posts: 117
Hey good info and OP question as I seem to have the same issues of getting stuck in the irons in stronger winds, mostly when solo, I feel ya mdgann tack, tack, tack, running out of lake I really wish I could turn this thing, lol. I too am dumping the main to much to soon it seems.

Will you guys go thru the same explanation for a Gybe for me? I've only tried a couple in heavy winds, been for a swim both times, I Think because I didn't travel in, so I'm lucky I even have a traveler track still.


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:01 am 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
Posts: 3225
Location: Jersey Shore
Just like tacking, a heavy air jibe is all about timing, speed, and commitment. The more speed you have, the farther forward your apparent wind will be which makes the jibe much less violent. If you enter the turn slow, the sail will slam across, pushing the bows down and either causing a pitchpole or loss of steering which will round the boat up and potentially cause a knock down.

The jib is less important during a jibe than a tack. Pretty much as soon as you initiate the turn, the crew can pop the jib. As soon as the main pops over, they can start sheeting it in on the new tack.

Before starting the turn, sheet the main in slightly and look for a smooth patch of water. You may also want to travel in a little bit to make it easier to grab the mainsheet stack. Toss your tiller extension off the back of the boat and start the turn making a wide arc. You want to try to maintain as much speed through the turn as possible. As the boat approaches dead downwind (DDW), face backwards and grab the bundle of mainsheet line between the blocks. When you feel the boat hit DDW (you can also judge this by the angle of the waves to your stern) throw the mainsail over to the new side. Simultaneously straighten the rudders so you are sailing almost DDW. If you allow the boat to round up too far, you will knock down. Pick up the tiller extension and situate yourself on the new side of the boat and then gradually head up and sheet in sails.

sm


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2015 4:43 pm
Posts: 117
Thank you for the tips! grabbing the mainsheet between the blocks is something I likely would never have thought of on my own. Throwing tiller off the back I started last year after seeing it on a video and man is that easier. Hopefully I can get to some regattas this summer and slowly pick up all the little details that make sailing even more fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:11 pm
Posts: 298
Location: West Point, Utah
Think I am going to write this all down on a post it and put it on the boom. I am going to get this down. The real problem is that I am one year short of 60 and have forgotten so much that I used to do naturally without even thinking about it. Thanks all for the instruction. I will get this down.


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:48 pm
Posts: 77
Location: South Carolina
The above recommendations on finding a calmer spot are good, but not always possible.
Also reversing the rudders is a good recommendation. I race and between races I put the boat into irons to rest. To get out, I am usually letting the wind drive me back with reverse rudders. (this of course is not good during a race).


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 1:20 pm
Posts: 319
Location: Clearwater, FL
Don't feel so old, I am almost 67.

Eventually tacking and jibing will be become second nature.

I go for the thrill of the speed and flying a hull so most of my sailing is beam reaches (90º to the wind) and the tacks are 180º.

The most important things to remember are to maximize your forward speed before you start the tack (as SRM said) and carve hard (as Matt said). The speed and hard carve will take advantage of your forward momentum and increase your turn. Your rudders only work when the boat is moving (forward or backwards).

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Tim
82' H16
Blue Prism
Sail # 88863
Clearwater, FL
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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 1:20 pm
Posts: 319
Location: Clearwater, FL
I went sailing yesterday and realized I made a mistake when I said:
Quote:
Start your turn and let the main sheet out....Roll over to the other side of the boat and pull the boom toward you (this helps weathervane the boat around more so the jib can backwind).


I meant to say:
"When you start your turn stay on the windward side until the main is about to weathervane and then pull the boom towards you so the main sail will continue to give you some more forward momentum and boat turning. Wait until the the jib starts to backwind before you roll over to the otherside and then let some main sheet out."

I must have had a "silver moment" when I wrote my original reply. I sail a couple times a week, year round and tacking has become so routine, I forget how to describe how I actually did it.

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Tim
82' H16
Blue Prism
Sail # 88863
Clearwater, FL
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 Post subject: Re: Heavy air tacking
PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:39 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 6:37 pm
Posts: 178
Location: Sechelt, BC, Canada... Sunshine Coast
I used to hurry over to the other side in bigger winds.... Now i wait just until the jib is going to backwind... then dive across...
The weight transfer seems to help the bows get through the chop....

Check out this video...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjAuWTn-Tew

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