Second outing, higher winds...

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Second outing, higher winds...

Postby fatjackdurham » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:29 pm

I had my second outing today on my boat. This time, I put in at the Burlington boat ramp. It was sheltered, and had docks, but it also had a very narrow channel. This was a problem when my motor refused to start again. It had started and ran for several minutes a couple of days ago, on the ramp was no joy. The boats on either side of the channel were pretty expensive, so I wasn't sure how I was going to get out. I am talking about twenty foot gaps between the boats, or less.

Anyway, I decided to sail out under jib alone, and used the paddle to help keep to the center of the channel.

Once out in the breakwater, it was a goat rope getting the new main up. I most have looked like a fool. The wind was quite strong, so I have hove to, to raise the main, but i still was blown almost onto the ferry docks. Finally, I got the sail raised, and headed down the breakwater to one of the openings.

I was out at about ten am. Winds were forecasted to be 10 to 15 knots, but it was clear they were closer to fifteen than ten. I had the sail full up, but had to keep a permanent luff bulge in it to keep from going over. Winds wer from the South, and I was beating southwest. It was clear right away that I should have put in a reef. But, there was no way I was going to try to reef in that wind, still new to the boat, with two foot seas. Ahead was Juniper Island, a long two miles off. I decided to stick with the tack and sail to the lee of the island to to the reef.

Lack Champlain yacht club out of Shelburne Bay was having some kind of race. When I got to the island and fought my way into the lee, there was a judging launch there. I have no idea what they thought of my reefing. I don't have jiffy get reefing, a topping lift or a reefing hook, so I had to drop the sail, tie in the four reefs, try to outhaul the sail again, and raise sail, all in rolling seas. By the time I was done, I had drifted back into the high winds.

The reef left a bulge along the luff and a crease in the sail, but it was moderately better sailing. However, as I found out later when I checked the wind speed chart online, the wind had kicked it up to 20 knots, with four foot seas.

I continued towards the New York shore. I passed through the line of returning LCYCers without incident and a windsurfer shot past me doing about thirty knots. As a approached within a couple of miles of New York, I could see a thunderhead was forming. I looked upwind, and was startled by what I saw. White caps. Not just a couple, like I had been seeing. Lots of white caps. Every wave had white caps, as far as the eye could see. And the waves looked pretty big to.

That was enough for me, and I spun around and headed back towards Burlington on a broad reach. My bilge had taken on about ten gallons of water judging by what I saw in the inspection port. Every wave that lifted the stern sent that water to the bow, driving it down into the water. The water was being thrown to either side from the speed. Behind the stern, I had a permanent one foot wake following me. When the waves passed by and lifted the bow, the water rushed aft, and when it hit the stern the boat almost seemed to stop.

Finally, inside the breakwater, I had to tack backup to the boat ramp. It was crowded and narrow, tacking up. I would come within thirty feet of each side. Finally, I entered the channel without hesitation, puffed my main and smoothly sailed straight to the dock at the ramp. A family of ducklings was sunning there. As I clambered about, unrigging the boat, the mother decided it was too much and lead the family away.

At 3:30, I was in my car, ready to head home. Five hours, winds ten to twenty knots, approximately 16 to 18 miles covered.

I ache. I'll clean up any typos later.
Last edited by fatjackdurham on Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby GreenLake » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:39 pm

Cool report. These are not "beginner's conditions" in any way. I like to be sure to have crew, so hat's off for braving that on your own.

I was going to ask more details about the approach to your dock, but I think I found the satellite view online. A bit tight, similar to some of the marinas here which I have sailed around in to check them out. Tacking needs more than 20 feet, but if you have the momentum, the DS is just very sweet and maneuverable. Our dock has a long and narrow channel, but "narrow" means 50 ft side to side (lined with expensive boats). Tacking in and out that one works well. The one you sailed out has a bit more of a bottleneck, but it looks short and because it's an intersection, you can plot all sorts of angles though it. That should help.

I was wondering about "tying four lines" for your reef. If you have a reef hook, all you'd need is a reef line at the back (if not prepared, then you'd need two lines, one to cinch the new clew down to the boom and one to replace the outhaul, pulling it back). If you don't have a reef hook, you'll need a lashing for your tack.

There's no need to tie down the middle of the sail (according to my sailmaker, who refused to provide any lines for that purpose). He's right, tying down the middle of the sail is largely cosmetic. I've not seen it blow out / flap if the new clew is under good tension.

Especially if I'm singlehanding, I tend to set the main reefed at first if I'm not sure how much wind I'll have on the lake. Easier to shake it out.

Nice report. Keep them coming.
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby fatjackdurham » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:59 pm

Thanks. The google satellite doesn't show how crowded it is. This picture really shows how tight it is off the ramp ( the wide square part to the right). Literally, there is a dock with boats directly across from the ramp, not 40 feet away. Then, you have to squeak through a narrow canal to the east to get into the channel. I need to tidy up my reefing setup. I need to do a jiffy reef with a better out haul and definitely a topping lift and reefing hook. Those are my next purchases. I read the stingy sailor website, and will rig both the way he does it.

I am als sorely tempted by the pivoting swivel blocks for my halyards..... don't have unlimited funds. By next year I hope to:

Cut a foot off the mast bottom to drop the opening for the sail. The mast is about 15 inches too long.
Make a topping lift for the main
Rig two rows of jiffy reefing
Find and fix whatever leaks into the bilge
Rig a boom vang

IMG_0955.JPG
IMG_0955.JPG (38.61 KiB) Viewed 392 times
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby geofisherman » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:31 pm

Nice. 15-mph sustained winds with only one reef in the main and the jib up is more than I'm comfortable with single handed. In these conditions, I've found I can make steady but slow progress to weather with just the reefed main alone. Just raise the centerboard a bit to balance the helm.

My mast is 6.5" shorter than it should be, and my sail-feed slot still seems high. But, I would rather have a stock mast to keep the boom higher and get the sail higher in really light conditions. Having slugs along the luff also makes the height of the sail feed slot less of an issue.
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby GreenLake » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:48 pm

How high is your sail feed slot?

When I raise my main, the boom rises; I then push it back down to where a stop is set and cleat it off. Same for you?

The slot needs to be high enough to allow for that, but doesn't seem too high for me, hence my question about where it is.

(I like the boom where it is, as it tends to clear my head in pretty much all conditions where I'm sitting on a bench).
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby fatjackdurham » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:24 am

geofisherman wrote:Nice. 15-mph sustained winds with only one reef in the main and the jib up is more than I'm comfortable with single handed. In these conditions, I've found I can make steady but slow progress to weather with just the reefed main alone. Just raise the centerboard a bit to balance the helm.

My mast is 6.5" shorter than it should be, and my sail-feed slot still seems high. But, I would rather have a stock mast to keep the boom higher and get the sail higher in really light conditions. Having slugs along the luff also makes the height of the sail feed slot less of an issue.


Thanks for the input. Can you do me a favor? Can you measure the distance from the cuddy roof to the sail slot for me? I'd like to know what it is supposed to be. I presume you mean that the slot is 6.5" lower than it should, be right?

It didn't occur to me to sail under main alone...... I guess I felt the boat wouldn't sail properly without both sails. Remember, this is only my second outing in twenty years. It's taking me a little while to remember all the little stuff. Fortunately, the "feel" of the sails and tiller was still very instinctive. I never felt at risk while I was moving, only when I was trying to reef the sail, or raise the sail with the wind whipping it all around. Goes back to my earlier post about the difference between when you are sailing smoothly and when you are luffing.
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby fatjackdurham » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:32 am

GreenLake wrote:How high is your sail feed slot?

When I raise my main, the boom rises; I then push it back down to where a stop is set and cleat it off. Same for you?

The slot needs to be high enough to allow for that, but doesn't seem too high for me, hence my question about where it is.

(I like the boom where it is, as it tends to clear my head in pretty much all conditions where I'm sitting on a bench).


I'll measure it tonight when I go home from work. I don't have a boom stop per se, just the down haul cleat insert, which itself is several inches above the tabernacle.

With the main rigged, I had the boom about six inches above the down haul cleat, and about a foot above the head of the sail to the mast head. It is nice having plenty of head room for sure, and I suppose I could use the extra space to fly a small flag directly from the halyard. But, I'll measure it all and post it and you guys can tell me if it's good or not.

The new sail did leave a few extra inches on the boom for the out haul, but there was no stretch at all! It was like pulling on a chain!I need to a block on the side of the boom and a strap on the other side, with a moving block on the clew grommet or something to get some mechanical advantage.

I also noticed the sail was twisting a bit during tacking. That would be sorted out by adding a boom vang, right? Where do you attach the vang to the deck on your boats? Down to the strap inside the cuddy at the base of the mast? The one you are recommending I attach a shock cord to to keep tension on the CB up haul?
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby Leob1 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:02 am

20 knots of wind from the south is no joke on Lake Champlain! It make for some big waves. I had a wild ride on the Plattsburg-Grand isle ferry when the wind was from the south. Did you use the ramp by the CG station?
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby GreenLake » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:24 pm

If your mast is regulation length, and your sail cut for a DS, then it should be hoisted to the top. If you have the configuration where the gooseneck has a downhaul, expect to pull that down about 4" (it should be allowed to rise while you are hoisting the sail). When done, the bottom of the sail should be 20' 6" from the top of the mast.

Looks like you are not raising your main far enough; and possibly might have your boom stop set in the wrong place. The advantage of raising the sail first and then pulling the boom down is that you don't need to use the halyard to create the tension; that comes from lowering the boom. (Additionally some boats have a Cunningham that allows additional luff tension).

The vang should be positioned at the mast partners in a way that allows it to fully swing side to side with the boom without change in vang tension. Most people either fit a rope strop or a U bail. I have a picture of mine, but it doesn't show the attachment at the mast end.

2328

The outhaul can use some purchase. Be aware, though, that the boom is short enough so that it can be hard to fit two blocks in the space when the outhaul is tight (meaning you can't get it tight enough). I removed one of the blocks and replaced its function by the grommet in the clew; just feed the outhaul through there again after getting to the block at the end of the boom. (A picture of what things looked like before I removed one of the blocks - conditions are shown with slack outhaul).

1760
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby fatjackdurham » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:21 pm

Leob1 wrote:20 knots of wind from the south is no joke on Lake Champlain! It make for some big waves. I had a wild ride on the Plattsburg-Grand isle ferry when the wind was from the south. Did you use the ramp by the CG station?


No, I used the Jenkins Pier ramp as shown in the photo. I considered taking out at the CG station, but it was full of some kind of training exercise.
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby fatjackdurham » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:30 pm

GreenLake wrote:
The vang should be positioned at the mast partners in a way that allows it to fully swing side to side with the boom without change in vang tension. Most people either fit a rope strop or a U bail. I have a picture of mine, but it doesn't show the attachment at the mast end.

2328



Ok, thanks. What is that kind of connection on your jib? it looks like you wrapped one line around the jib sheet. Why do it that way? It doesn't seem like it would slide like a self tacking jib, unless you have a traveler setup out of frame.
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Re: Second outing, higher winds...

Postby GreenLake » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:44 pm

The "line wrapped around the jib sheet" is a loop that is wound around the sheet in a Prusik knot.

Prusik.jpg
Prusik loop
Prusik.jpg (20.43 KiB) Viewed 322 times


However, in order to be able to disconnect the sail, the loop is cut, and one of the ends is an eye, and the other a bulky knot (Diamond knot).

There's a lovely site L-36.com that has instructions how to make "soft shackles", and that (or something similar) is what I am using for this loop.

A Prusik knot can slide, but only if it is unloaded (that is, you can push it manually up and down, but not pull it). Mine has not budged from its position in the middle of the jib sheet. I leave the jib sheet rigged, even if I take the mast down and the soft-shackle gives me a quick-connect to the sail. (You never want to use metal shackle there....because of flogging).

It is less bulky than having two bowline knots; I did not have to cut the sheet; and, finally, the sheet doesn't tangle as easily (my jib generally does not get hung up, even though I have lots of bulky stuff around my mast base.

Material: Amsteel from Samson rope - doing a splice in Amsteel is kid's play, but you need quite a bit of extra length for tucking. (When using a diamond knot for the purpose here, you trim the little tails flush, no need to have them out and whipped as shown in the linked image).
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