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Tacking in high winds

A forum for discussing topics relating to MacGregor Powersailor Sailboats

Moderators: Paul S, tangentair, beene, Heath_Mod, Hamin' X, kmclemore, Catigale

Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby sailboatmike » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:41 pm

This sort of goes hand in hand with the hot topic we were discussing a week or so ago about the numbers of people taking up sailing as a sport / hobby.

As past Commodore of our local Yacht CLub we used to run free introduction to sailing days to promote sailing as a past time and drive membership, after a couple of these days we found that people would come and try our retention rate was best part of zero,

So I bought in new rules for these days, we instructed the instructors on the boats taking out the noobies to really limit the heel and check the noobs were comfortable before increasing the heel angle. Amazingly the retention rate jumped immediately and as they did more sailing generally the heel angle could be increased.

The overall consensus was that even though the boats were perfectly safe at the heel angle the noobs go scared so never came back, I mean why would you when you have been put in a unfamiliar environ and then had the crap scared out of you.

Many of our partners just dont overly like heeling too much, even if we do our boat usage may dramatically be cut if the other half decides they dont want to sail anymore.

We all know a happy wife is a happy life, so if reducing heel by 10 degrees allows you to get on the water more then only an idiot or masochist would keep pushing the envelope.

I have one kid who loves sailing her dinghy on its ear and one who gets scared at anything above 25 degrees, once again if the kids is scared why would I push the envelope and put her off sailing for life just to get my jollies.

So, as we know upright is fast, on its ear is like sailing with the anchor out and can scare people away from the sport, upright may help you get to use your boat a lot more, and if your not using your boat then the keeper of the boat dollars may well say "If we are not using it. we might as well sell it"

Hmm I wonder what the wise choice is???
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby DaveC426913 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:06 pm

sailboatmike wrote:The overall consensus was that even though the boats were perfectly safe at the heel angle the noobs go scared so never came back, I mean why would you when you have been put in a unfamiliar environ and then had the crap scared out of you.

Something I have found, and have mentioned before, is that there is a world of difference between
- sitting on a seat that's tilting at 20 degrees, with nothing but the strength of your butt cheeks stopping you from plunging across the cockpit and over the rail, and
- sitting on a seat with your feet firmly braced, so that you are comfortable at virtually any angle, without fear of toppling.

Once a newbie gets their feet under them, they are often a LOT more comfortable with healing.

(A fact that roller coaster designers take advantage of, by removing that support from under your feet, making the ride scarier.)

If the cockpit is too broad to brace their feet on the opposite bench, install a removable foot rest in the centre, running the length of the cockpit floor. Has done wonders for the Admiral's comfort level.

Image
This pops in and out in 30 seconds with the spin of two wingnuts.

Article here:
http://www.macgregorsailors.com/modt/in ... ?view=1964
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby Jimmyt » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:57 pm

The wife and I went today and it was blowing 16-19kts. The boat came through the tack fine. We still had 2/3 of the main up (roller boom) and 1/3 of the 150 Genoa out. This was a lot more Sail than the daughter and I had up in the blow we went out in. So, somewhere over 20kts is where I need work.

Boat's jib-only downwind turn sounds like a good solution in a big blow. May try that next time I find myself out when the wind is up.
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby vizwhiz » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:09 am

Neo wrote:
BOAT wrote:Good Lord, I can put boat over to 45 degrees with less than 15 knots of wind - I totally agree with Neo on this one

So I'm not crazy then..... Yippee lol!
I've hit 35 degrees and I thought it was just my poor sailing techniques but 45 degrees sounds like twice as fun lol!.... And good to know that others have done that on a 26M and survived lol!... Thanks BOAT

Haven't you seen Highlander's sails-in-the-water video yet? :D
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby Highlander » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:48 am

Here,s "Been,s" boat on her side right at the start of this vid flying a spin & she comes right back up :D
http://vid844.photobucket.com/albums/ab ... 010128.mp4

And me doing my thing with just a wee bit of heel ya Say !
http://vid844.photobucket.com/albums/ab ... 0_2495.mp4

Me washing my sail,s
http://vid844.photobucket.com/albums/ab ... 0_2494.mp4

Geoff & I have had our boats go over 55% heel but u better nake sure u r holding onto something strong or have ur feet bracing u on the gunnel,s :D :D :D :P

these boats will take a lot of abuse it,s the people sailin them that need to b paying atten. :o

J 8)
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby Tomfoolery » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:04 pm

Highlander wrote:these boats will take a lot of abuse it,s the people sailin them that need to b paying atten. :o

So will their skippers if the Admiral isn't into it. :D :D :D

:wink:
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby Neo » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:31 pm

Highlander wrote:Geoff & I have had our boats go over 55% heel but u better make sure u r holding onto something strong or have ur feet bracing u on the gunnel,s :D :D :D :P
I can't wait to try that :D .... Thanks for sharing the vids Highlander.... I'd seen them before but didn't appreciate the significance at that time. 8)
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby BOAT » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:16 am

Well blow me down - if I had an extra 280 square feet of sail in the air I MIGHT be able to get 'boat' over to 55 degrees but hard as I try giving it everything I got I can't get boat to heel over any further than 50 degrees. That's as far as 'boat' will go - and at that angle I'm still high and dry and safe on board even on the low side - no need to panic - I just can't go very fast like that and it makes the stuff in the cabin fall over. I don't bolt the head down so as long as the porta pottie it not tipping over I'm not gonna panic - (cuz that would be a real mess).

The only reason Highlander gets 55 degrees on his Flying Dutchman rig is because he has twice the sail area that you have on your boats - as long as your not trying to sail into Davey Jones locker your boats will probably never go past 48 degrees or so even in a hard blow.

The maximum heel angle your ever going to get on a stock MAC is around 50 degrees depending on where everyone is sitting because the bottom of the sails can't catch the wind at that angle - all the air is spilling over the tippy top of the sails - that's pretty much as far as you can get blown over. The only way to capsize the boat is to let out the ballast. That's why the stock ballast system has a cork in it - just makes sure your cork is secure and GO FOR IT.

Guys - you are SAILORS - I assure you - the LAST thing you need to worry about when sailing is the heel angle unless your concerned about speed or the comfort of your passenger - the time to panic is when other boat traffic is around or when dangerous weather blows in or if your crashing on the rocks or all the other host of things that kill sailors - number one killer of people on our boats are power lines near the launch ramp.

The other thing is a spinnaker - a spinnaker can capsize ANY BOAT - I don't care what kind of boat it is - from a 20 footer to a 100 foot schooner - a spinnaker can capsize any boat - flying a kite in heavy wind takes some real caution. If your running your stock marconi rig you have nothing to worry about.
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby Neo » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:21 pm

Great information BOAT .... I'm up for this :) .... but must get round to securing the dunnie (heads/porta potti) first :D
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby Dreamcatcher » Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:45 am

Do this little experiment:
1. Check your speed over the growing with your GPS, when there is enough wind to keep the boat heeled at 35-40 degrees constantly.
2. Shorten sail by whatever means is the quickest, until you are sailing at a constant 15-25 degrees heel.
3. Make sure your heading relative to the wind is the same as at the start.
4. After giving the boat a minute to accelerate, check your speed.
5. You will be going faster than before you shortened sail.

At a higher angle of heel, the laws of physics are reducing the amount of air in over your sails by spilling most of it out. Meanwhile, the effective hull shape relative to the water has become less efficient and your directional stability decreases as well.

In summary, sailing on your ear may be exciting, but if you want to go faster, be more comfortable, and have less mess to put away at the end of the day, sail a bit flatter.
BTW, my 26X doesn't go through the wind without at least a bit of headsail flying.
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby Dreamcatcher » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:08 am

OK. Maybe 15 degrees is a bit too little, but I get my best speed going to windward at 20-25degrees.
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby BOAT » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:47 am

Dreamcatcher wrote:OK. Maybe 15 degrees is a bit too little, but I get my best speed going to windward at 20-25degrees.



Not as big a deal on the M boat - the M boats sails pretty good on it's side. The X boat has a much flatter bottom than the M boat. I have read posts from X boat drivers here that claim their boats really slow down and sometimes even stop when they put them on their sides but that does not happen on the M boat. I have also read about this sort of "panic button" that seems to hit the X drivers when they go past 33 degrees - I'm not disparaging the X drivers on this, I am just analyzing something that I think is happening on the X boat that does not happen on the M boat:

I think the X boat gets feet much sooner than the M boat - Based on the posts I read I think the X boat stays pretty firm against the wind up to about 33 degrees, and then after that something happens - I think somewhere between 33 and 35 degrees the X get's up on it's chine and gets really 'tippy' because it's balancing on the edge of the hull and the trip to 40 degrees happens mush faster than the trip to 30 degrees did so it gives the impression you going to tip over. The X boat probably gets legs again at 45 degrees just like the M does - but by then your too scared to go there because things happened to fast.

If you look at the pictures posted and vids posted of Mac boats sailing at 45 degrees (that are ALL OVER the internet) you will notice that all of the boats in the pics and vids are M boats. M boat drivers don't seem to have a big problem sailing the boats on their sides - and as a person who owns one I can tell you why. The reason is that the M boat is very very solid at 45 degrees.

The M boats are also a lot more tender than the X boat between 25 and 35 degrees - my boat will sail rather easily between those two angles without any stops in between if the wind is over 15 knots but at about 40 degrees there is a very noticeable firmness in the heeling - it hits a wall and gets very very stiff from 40 to 45 degrees. At that angle I do not feel any panic because the boat feels very solid - I can tell it's not going over and there is no sudden tipping from 45 to even 50 degrees - it's a very slow and solid sensation in that range - I walk around on and in the boat with ease because although the boat is leaned over it's not moving side to side - it's solid - you can really feel the ballast. I have many pictures of me snoozing away on the low side in the cockpit at 45 degrees with my arm hanging over the side and I have no feeling of panic or tipping. Maybe if my arm got wet I might wake up but it's all still high and dry and cruising along just fine at 6 knots so why get up?

'boat' is as solid as a rock at 43 degrees and not slowing down at all:
https://vimeo.com/176823065

If the heeling was a real issue (like, say - the wife wants to take a pee on the potty) them I just let out the sail a little and the boat settles back down to 20 degrees and she can go pee pee. No big deal.

If the wind is over 20 knots I defiantly do start reefing sails.

P.S. I found a video of an X boat at 45 degrees - the boat looks just fine to me - I see nothing to be worried about - if the heel in this picture is scaring you then I assure you there is no need to be scared - your fine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s--sDUnSC4

I do notice that the boat in the video does slow down considerably when heeled over and i do admit it is heeling just bit more than the M boat does but I do not see any real problems here except the loss of speed. When I am at that angle on 'boat' it does not really slow down much at all - not at all like in that video - you can see many videos on here where Highlander and Beene are heeled over 45 degrees or more and making really good headway - I don't feel a lot of drag on 'boat' when it's on it side - not like I saw in that video.
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby Neo » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:14 pm

OMG I can't wait to get back on the water 8) ... It's been raining cats and dogs over here for the last 4 weeks!!! :(
Gonna try the GPS speed thing only because on a heavy Port side heel the speedo sensor comes out of the water
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby sailboatmike » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:55 pm

I think just once everyone should put their boat on its ear, just make sure EVERYTHING is secured below decks before you do.

This will give you a great feeling of what the boat is capable of while still being safe and build your confidence in the boat.

Not a good thing to do all the time IMHO, but each to their own, what I dont understand about that whole thing is we try and trim our sails to give us as much speed as we can, yet lay the boat on its side way passed its efficient best angle which reduces speed, a bit counter productive in my book, a bit like driving with your foot on the gas and the brake at the same time
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Re: Tacking in high winds

Postby BOAT » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:07 pm

sailboatmike wrote:I think just once everyone should put their boat on its ear, just make sure EVERYTHING is secured below decks before you do.

This will give you a great feeling of what the boat is capable of while still being safe and build your confidence in the boat.

Not a good thing to do all the time IMHO, but each to their own, what I dont understand about that whole thing is we try and trim our sails to give us as much speed as we can, yet lay the boat on its side way passed its efficient best angle which reduces speed, a bit counter productive in my book, a bit like driving with your foot on the gas and the brake at the same time


Because the angle at 45 degrees only lasts for a short time and then eventually the gust of wind dies down and the boat goes back to normal - that's why - it's just laziness - I just don't feel the need to jump up and down and start yanking on sheets every-time the wind gusts up a little - to me it's like "who cares"?

I'm a cruiser - I set the course first - I'm going "that a way" - then i set the sails to accommodate my course. The boat then goes in the direction i want. I stay on tack sometimes for hours on end - sometimes the boat is sitting flat because the wind is 4 knots and sometimes the boat is at 40 degrees because the wind is 15 knots - it goes back and forth and I don't care and it does not bother me and I see no need to jump up and re-set the sails every time the wind changes. Besides, on the M boat my experience is that it has little effect on the speed.
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