Bruceg

How to sail close hauled

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Hi there, I'm hoping to get advice on how to sail better close hauled tacking into 20kn breeze on my ross 780. So, I was out recently tacking into 20kn breeze, with wind opposing tide it was pretty lumpy bumpy. Every time I trimmed the mainsail in the boat would heel excessively and round up, I had to let the boom out with traveller and mainsheet to stop the heeling, but as a consequence the mainsail would start flogging itself and bouncing around. Made a hell of a racket and quite uncomfortable sailing. i couldnt seem to get a happy medium. I should point out that I was single handed,  had 2nd reef in, medium air jib on self tacker, and short period, steep waves.  Any suggestions or thoughts most welcome as I need all the help I can get.

Thanks

 

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In higher winds, you will want to flatten your sails, to reduce power.  

Your reefs should accomplish this, if properly positioned. You can potentially introduce some bend in your mast, to pull the main flatter and ease the leech  

Letting the traveler down, and hardening the sheet is pretty classic. In puffs you can feather into the wind a bit, or ease the sheet as well. 

If you suffer from excess weather helm, once you have sails properly trimmed, look at mast rake, you may need to move the mast head forward (shorten forestry)  

 

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+1, flat sails shape adjusted with mainsheet (+cunningham, outhaul), play traveller in puffs to maintain comfortable heel. If still excessively heeled reduce (main)sail further.

You will probably want to bear away (footing) a bit in chop to maintain speed and direction. 

Plenty of books and tutorials on sail trim, etc for different wind speeds. Any other Ross 780 owners locally who can give you tips?

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Thanks for the replies, rig did seem a bit loose when i got in. Was trying to flatten sail. Would it have helped to have had somebody i.e.. ballast on the rail? Would that stop the rounding up as well as heeling, I wonder? 

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Also, will be adding a 3rd reef , seems excessive, but I think the 1st reef is fairly minimal. So, extra reef, flatter sails, shorten forestay,  and lots of practice might do it. 

Thanks for the tips!

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Dont know 780’s but get someone who knows what they are doing  to go out with you. Will make a massive difference to the learning curve.

plenty of boats like trav up, less sheet in heavy air btw.

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3 hours ago, Bruceg said:

Thanks for the replies, rig did seem a bit loose when i got in. Was trying to flatten sail. Would it have helped to have had somebody i.e.. ballast on the rail? Would that stop the rounding up as well as heeling, I wonder? 

More weight on the rail definitely helps. Given you are sailing single handed probably want your heavy air jib, and probably want to find out the wind range for your medium, that might be the wrong jib for that much breeze anyway, impossible to know with just the info you have provided.

If you didn’t have any vang on, probably want to make sure there is enough tension so the boom doesn’t rise much when you easy the sheet as that will make the main more full. For your purposes you probably don’t want the vang really tight, but you don’t want the boom rising more than a couple of inches when you ease the sheet.

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Thanks, vang tension makes sense and heavy jib. Sounds like my uncomfortable ride was possibly a combination of all things mentioned. The sea state showed up my inexperience! I appreciate advice given, can't wait to get out there and do better.

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13 hours ago, Bruceg said:

Hi there, I'm hoping to get advice

Wow.  I can't believe how soft this place has gone.  Back in the day someone would have told the newb to fuck off long before now.  I also don't see any pictures of his wife/girlfriend.  It's a sad state of affairs when anarchy becomes PC... 

Newb:

My recent experience shorthanding a R930 in wind/chop...  Reef early and reef deep.  Flatten the sails as much as you can.  Twist is a good thing (both sails).  With the main, I find this to include a slight ease of the vang, traveller higher than seems "right" and sheet eased to trim -- opening the leech will reduce some of the heeling moment.  Conceptually, I think I try to trim from the bottom of the sail up, with the top (less sail area/more heeling moment) sheeted in just enough to stop flogging if I'm too overpowered.  Sail fat -- I find the R930 doesn't like to point without 750lbs on the windward rail.  Post race data analysis suggests that tacking in these conditions is MUCH more costly than normal -- (both in comparison to single boat 'norms' as well as in comparison to the observed performance of other boats on the course).

YMMV, I'm still learning this boat and we only have perhaps two races per year in this area where you have to go to weather in more than 18 kts.

Now -- you have an obligation to post photos.

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Very good thread. Sometimes I find that the longer I'm around the less I know. Now for a stupid question:

When the wind increases, all things being equal, should I move jib leads forward or astern?

Thanks.

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1 hour ago, Bull City said:

should I move jib leads forward or astern?

It depends.  Picture in your mind what the jib would look like if you moved the lead to the extreme and, based on that, adjust.  Look at the force vectors in play.  At the extreme, if you moved your jib position all the way to the bow, the foot is going to have no tension (be excessively full) and the leech will be guitar string tight.  If you move your jib car to the opposite extreme, the foot will be drum tight and the leech will have little or no tension.  Car position controls the angle of force of the jib sheet which controls twist.  

In extreme light (laminar) air, I want twist (car back) because awa at deck level will be farther forward than that aloft.  As wind builds, sheet angle moves forward until such time as I want to spill the top to reduce heeling at which time it moves back again. 

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+1 what he ^^^^^^said...some boats in bigger seas in wind, forward to increase punch through waves up wind.

 

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3 hours ago, Que said:

It depends.  Picture in your mind what the jib would look like if you moved the lead to the extreme and, based on that, adjust.  Look at the force vectors in play.  At the extreme, if you moved your jib position all the way to the bow, the foot is going to have no tension (be excessively full) and the leech will be guitar string tight.  If you move your jib car to the opposite extreme, the foot will be drum tight and the leech will have little or no tension.  Car position controls the angle of force of the jib sheet which controls twist.  

In extreme light (laminar) air, I want twist (car back) because awa at deck level will be farther forward than that aloft.  As wind builds, sheet angle moves forward until such time as I want to spill the top to reduce heeling at which time it moves back again. 

Nailed it.  Twist is good.

In general you want flattish, twisted sails in the bumpy conditions the OP describes as that gives the helm a broader groove to steer in and allows higher average speeds.  A bit of fullness down low in the main can also help punch through the chop but it all depends on the available stability.

Using the traveller alone to dump power can be a difficulty - it is a pretty blunt instrument if the sail is not twisted.  Essentially a tight leech and moving traveller results in the main switching rapidly from "On" to "Off" mode when the traveller is played, which can make helm balance change radically and cause alternate weather and lee helm, lots of rudder movenment, course changes, alternately stalling and feathering the jib and both hydro and aero drag.  If the main is well twisted, plenty of mast bend and cunningham, then this isn't such an issue as the main will power up and depower more gradually as the traveller is played.

In some boats it can make sense to play the sheet rather than the traveller to allow more progressive depowering.  All depends on the conditions, the rig and how easy it is to use the various controls.

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On 6/3/2018 at 1:55 PM, LionessRacing said:

In higher winds, you will want to flatten your sails, to reduce power.  

Your reefs should accomplish this, if properly positioned. You can potentially introduce some bend in your mast, to pull the main flatter and ease the leech  

Letting the traveler down, and hardening the sheet is pretty classic. In puffs you can feather into the wind a bit, or ease the sheet as well. 

If you suffer from excess weather helm, once you have sails properly trimmed, look at mast rake, you may need to move the mast head forward (shorten forestry)  

 

What you got against forestry?

 

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Assuming that reefing is obvious and you tried it, additional options:

Jib-cars back to provide some twist,

Vang on to bend the bottom of the mast and flatten the main.

Tighten the shrouds and, if you have backstay (sounds like you don't) crank it on.

Cunningham on to get max draught in the right place

Drop the traveler, and ease the sheet - the vang should provide leach tension. With the jib depowered and twisted, the main should work OK with a luff bubble if necessary. Don't let it flog.

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As I said, get someone good who's familiar with a 780 to go out with you,  all these fuckers are right but not necessarily for your boat :)

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Get bigger crew and make them hike hard.  Usually helps with pointing on sport boats.

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if you're overpowered with the medium jib, even in light air, might as well go the heavy. If you're always going to be short or singlehanded, consider getting a jib and main cut to fit your mission (flatter, less roach, etc). 

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Sounds to me like you were just totally overpowered and needed to reef.   The Ross 780 is little more than a big dinghy and is clearly designed to perform best when sailed flat.  It doesn't have much in the water so it is asking quite a lot to make it punch through wind over tide.  All these clever sail trim tweaks work up to a point and you'll need power to get through the waves but there comes a time when you just have to shorten sail.  If you aren't actually racing, it's a no-brainer but even if you are, sailing flat will be a lot faster than repeated rounding up, a massive tiller angle and huge leeway because you are on your ear.  

TBH, if you want to actually enjoy beating into 20 knots against a lumpy tide, you can't beat a great big keel. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Nautiloid said:

Sounds to me like you were just totally overpowered and needed to reef.   The Ross 780 is little more than a big dinghy and is clearly designed to perform best when sailed flat.  It doesn't have much in the water so it is asking quite a lot to make it punch through wind over tide.  All these clever sail trim tweaks work up to a point and you'll need power to get through the waves but there comes a time when you just have to shorten sail.  If you aren't actually racing, it's a no-brainer but even if you are, sailing flat will be a lot faster than repeated rounding up, a massive tiller angle and huge leeway because you are on your ear.  

TBH, if you want to actually enjoy beating into 20 knots against a lumpy tide, you can't beat a great big keel. 

 

From the OP... I doubt that a Ross 780 has three reefs and he was already on the second reef

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5 minutes ago, Rushman said:

From the OP... I doubt that a Ross 780 has three reefs and he was already on the second reef

I see.  I've not sailed the Ross 780 but looking at it, I'm not surprised it's soft.

If less sail isn't an option, depowering doesn't work and you don't have a crew of fat blokes, there is always the trick the dinghy racers use on our windswept reservoir (they'd rather donate a kidney than reef); they pinch and sail slightly luffed up.  

Reaching is nice... ;-)

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get your sailmaker to come out in big breeze and help you

 

if they won't, start here:  pull all the controls really really tight.  every control line.   jib car back.   keep mainsheet tight but ease traveler down.  now feather in puffs and crew hike hard.   main should just go inside out instead of rag like you described

 

YMMV

 

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On 6/3/2018 at 3:30 PM, Bull City said:

Very good thread. Sometimes I find that the longer I'm around the less I know. Now for a stupid question:

When the wind increases, all things being equal, should I move jib leads forward or astern?

Thanks.

You're trying to flatten out a big triangle.  If your leads are too far forward your foot is loose, allowing the sail to balloon out and generate a lot of power.  If you put your leads too far aft you flatten out the foot but your leech could flog and if you have noobs on the boat then grommets could start getting ripped out of sails by people trying to trim with the foot singin' tight.  If you're trying to depower your sail you need to put the cars in the position where both your foot and leech are able to be tensioned with slightly less tension on the foot.  Halyard tension will also play a roll and you can further depower by tightening it up.

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On 6/3/2018 at 6:21 AM, Bruceg said:

Every time I trimmed the mainsail in the boat would heel excessively and round up, I had to let the boom out with traveller and mainsheet to stop the heeling, but as a consequence the mainsail would start flogging itself and bouncing around. Made a hell of a racket and quite uncomfortable sailing. i

Try less sheet with your jib. This opens up the slot between jib and main so the main will not flog that bad and your boat will probably be better balanced when there is some drive in both main and jib.

Then steer for heel, keep the boat surprisingly upright and don’t worry about having a bubble in the front of the jib.

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