Better sailing performance on a liveaboard cruiser?

20220720_072846.jpg

I'm wondering what I can do to improve performance on my big liveaboard cruiser, pictured above. I recently sailed to the US for the wooden boat festival in Port Townsend Washington from Victoria, and even with a pretty clean hull (free dove on it for 4 or 5 hours total to get everything as scraped off as possible) and good wind, she has been acting like a pig.

Can't seem to get her above 5.5 knots upwind under sail, even in good wind, eventually it pipes up enough that it's time to reef and still I won't break that. Really would think I can get at least 6+ on this kind of waterline and a decent sail plan. 55-60 degree tacks on a good day. I can't use the (full size) tiller and have to use the hydraulic wheel as the weather helm is very high, to the point where even with the outhaul and halyard tension high to flatten the sail I have to ease it to the point of luffing to get anything close to reasonable forces at the helm. The rudder is always about 7-9 degrees to windward or more to counteract that, which isn't helping at all.

I'm sure some or most of it is fixable or "user error".
Screenshot_20220919-174503_Chrome.jpg


Don't usually use the staysail inshore because I am almost always singlehanded.

She's definitely in cruising trim, with all kinds of spares I need and some that I don't, but I really question how much that makes a difference on a 35' boat with a nominal 17,000 lb displacement. I am considering getting rid of the entire stern pole arrangment (dinghy sits on cabintop forward of the mast), as at it currently holds is a defunct radar and a very old wind gen that would be better replaced with some solar panels down low. Possibly the Bimini as well, as I only use it when at anchor anyhow and it could be replaced with a Sunbrella boom tent to similar effect for those instances. I figure possibly all that windage at the end of the boat and the weight up high is contributing to the weather helm problem?

I'm currently unable to rake the mast more forward due to running out of room on the turnbuckles in the jib furler, and there's already noticeable prebend that I haven't changed, as that should flatten the main more. Any suggestions would be lovely!

Attached are some pictures sailing. I do love this boat but I hate turning on the engine every time I sail upwind. My last boat was a Ranger 29 I took to the Alaskan border and back solo, and I'd love to make this one manageable and sailable in even a similar way. Freja is a good home but so far at least not the best sailing boat.

IMG_20220609_112647_756.jpg


20220429_211035.jpg
 
Minimum of 14 years for sure, and likely a decade or so more than that. They were rarely used by previous owners, though and have been UV protected over the years. The main seems like it could definitely have too much draft aft. New sails would be a big expense I'm guessing. 3k canadian a sail? More?
 

slap

Super Anarchist
5,946
1,365
Somewhat near Naptown
Sails will be a fair bit more than $3K (CA).

Bacon & Associates has an on line sail quote web page. They don't have a Jason 35 in their database, but a "coastal" main for a Baba 35 is ~$3K (US), "offshore" main is ~$4K (US). And an "offshore" 135% genoa is ~$4.5K (US) (for some reason they don't recommend a coastal quality genoa).

 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
6,785
1,134
San Diego
In order of imagined importance:
Sail shape - jib obviously built for hanks, then converted, looks full, draft in the middle?
Main - unknown, but overpowering weather helm says it's not good
Hull condition - 4-5 hrs to clean sounds like a lot. Barnacles?
Prop - fixed 3 blade?
 
Ouch, so in other words for staysail, main, and genoa I'm likely looking at close to 20k Canadian new? Definitely not an option unless I magically come into money. I've got to start looking at used options maybe!

In order of imagined importance:
Sail shape - jib obviously built for hanks, then converted, looks full, draft in the middle?
Main - unknown, but overpowering weather helm says it's not good
Hull condition - 4-5 hrs to clean sounds like a lot. Barnacles?
Prop - fixed 3 blade?
Yes, all my headsails seem to he converted hank on sails. I wish they were left with the hanks, honestly. Definitely a little too much draft in the middle.
Main is a partially battened older one with again too much draft in the middle but not completely blown out yet.
Hull- yeah, very rough. I'm actually sailing north to haul out at Lund in a few weeks, going to do new bottom paint at that point.
And yes, fixed 3 blade, fairly sure it's a Campbell Sailor. Incidentally, have you heard of prop antifouling paint? Someone reccomended something called "propspeed" to me to keep mine clear of growth.
 

Panope

Super Anarchist
1,465
632
Port Townsend, WA
Vaeredil,

I think I was sailing near you during your return from Port Townsend. I passed you near Point Partridge, then turned back to PT.

Mine is by no means a fast boat, so I was surprised to have overtaken you so easily. While I have no advice that as not already been given, I can confirm that your boat is not sailing up to its potential.

Steve

Edit: Does your jib sheet car need to go forward?

1234.jpg
 
Last edited:

Jim in Halifax

Super Anarchist
1,671
744
Nova Scotia
New sails would be a big expense I'm guessing. 3k canadian a sail?
Probably a bit high but not too far off. I had three sails built (locally) for a 37' cutter eight years ago for $7K, taxes in. They made a huge improvement in windward performance over the 30 yr-old bags I sailed previously. PM me and I can put you in touch with my sailmaker.
 

Panoramix

Super Anarchist
View attachment 541872
I'm wondering what I can do to improve performance on my big liveaboard cruiser, pictured above. I recently sailed to the US for the wooden boat festival in Port Townsend Washington from Victoria, and even with a pretty clean hull (free dove on it for 4 or 5 hours total to get everything as scraped off as possible) and good wind, she has been acting like a pig.

Can't seem to get her above 5.5 knots upwind under sail, even in good wind, eventually it pipes up enough that it's time to reef and still I won't break that. Really would think I can get at least 6+ on this kind of waterline and a decent sail plan. 55-60 degree tacks on a good day. I can't use the (full size) tiller and have to use the hydraulic wheel as the weather helm is very high, to the point where even with the outhaul and halyard tension high to flatten the sail I have to ease it to the point of luffing to get anything close to reasonable forces at the helm. The rudder is always about 7-9 degrees to windward or more to counteract that, which isn't helping at all.

I'm sure some or most of it is fixable or "user error".
View attachment 541873

Don't usually use the staysail inshore because I am almost always singlehanded.

She's definitely in cruising trim, with all kinds of spares I need and some that I don't, but I really question how much that makes a difference on a 35' boat with a nominal 17,000 lb displacement. I am considering getting rid of the entire stern pole arrangment (dinghy sits on cabintop forward of the mast), as at it currently holds is a defunct radar and a very old wind gen that would be better replaced with some solar panels down low. Possibly the Bimini as well, as I only use it when at anchor anyhow and it could be replaced with a Sunbrella boom tent to similar effect for those instances. I figure possibly all that windage at the end of the boat and the weight up high is contributing to the weather helm problem?

I'm currently unable to rake the mast more forward due to running out of room on the turnbuckles in the jib furler, and there's already noticeable prebend that I haven't changed, as that should flatten the main more. Any suggestions would be lovely!

Attached are some pictures sailing. I do love this boat but I hate turning on the engine every time I sail upwind. My last boat was a Ranger 29 I took to the Alaskan border and back solo, and I'd love to make this one manageable and sailable in even a similar way. Freja is a good home but so far at least not the best sailing boat.

View attachment 541874

View attachment 541875
On these photos the jib doesn't seem trimmed for upwind work. Not sure, you either lack of tension in the sheet or the cars are too forward.
 

Jud - s/v Sputnik

Super Anarchist
6,229
1,708
Canada
Ouch, so in other words for staysail, main, and genoa I'm likely looking at close to 20k Canadian new? Definitely not an option unless I magically come into money. I've got to start looking at used options maybe!


Yes, all my headsails seem to he converted hank on sails. I wish they were left with the hanks, honestly. Definitely a little too much draft in the middle.
Main is a partially battened older one with again too much draft in the middle but not completely blown out yet.
Hull- yeah, very rough. I'm actually sailing north to haul out at Lund in a few weeks, going to do new bottom paint at that point.
And yes, fixed 3 blade, fairly sure it's a Campbell Sailor. Incidentally, have you heard of prop antifouling paint? Someone reccomended something called "propspeed" to me to keep mine clear of growth.

Vaeredil - Propseed is a specially applied coating/process used (I think) on some commercial boat props, now being used by/marketed to the recreational power boat folks (mostly?). Google it. Very expensive!

I can confirm that new sails will make a big difference- I’ve got a new main and, lately, new 2.2 Oz. nylon drifter (set on removable Solent for windward work or downwind). New Genoa in the works currently. Cost a lot? Yes, but...... :). Think like a racer. I went with Evolution Sails - I like their service. (Didn’t want to buy “remote”, I.e., online to save a bit; wanted a smaller sailmaker; and wanted someone who’d actually come to my inconvenient location to measure). New or very good condition sails = worth it!

I’ve also got a Campbell Sailor prop, 3 blade. Heavy boat - think if I went 2-blade it wouldn’t be good). Have considered folding/feathering but need to find a reasonably priced option. However, I don’t think I’d do one unless I could be sure I could maintain it regularly - I.e., be in year-round warm water, cruising actively, so I could dive on it regularly to ensure it’s kept clean...they seem like potentially a bit of a maintenance hassle?

Hull - I’ve got a small oil-less compressor and drysuit, etc. on board so I can dive the hull regularly. (I haven’t hauled in four years = cost savings for new sails :) )

I’ve also got two stern pole “issues” - radar (but it’s functional and has been very, very useful lately. And wind gen, which I installed years ago and will remove eventually: it’s functional but of questionable/minimal use as an energy source, and it’s a bit of windage (probably not huge, but every bit counts?). However, the two poles do give me a really great place to contemplate installing solar panels - this winter’s project. They would suck for windage but it would be a very good location for them...compromises... :) )
 
Last edited:

IStream

Super Anarchist
10,863
3,042
FWIW, I've got a Max Prop and it's really not significantly more of a maintenance burden than a fixed prop. Both need anodes on the regular and the Max needs grease (which can be done in the water) every other year. The feathering prop is good for at least 0.5 kts on my boat.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,256
9,609
Eastern NC
Clean bottom
Good sail shape
Unloading the boat, getting weight off.
Prop issues... folder or feathering can be better, those 3-blade feathering props work great if you get the pitch adjusted right.

These pretty much in order, working on things like sheet lead will be good but not make a dramatic improvement in the presence of on of the Big Four problems listed.

New sails are like fuel. Expensive and only good for a limited amount of time/miles. Sailors are all about "the wind is free" but harnessing it is not. Going faster is expensive, check into any of the racing threads!
 

Jud - s/v Sputnik

Super Anarchist
6,229
1,708
Canada
Going faster is expensive, check into any of the racing threads!
And I would guess that someone out there has made a humorous (and probably fairly accurate) graph with speed in knots plotted along the vertical axis, and money along the horizontal, with the “curve”, representing speed gain, being fairly flat, perhaps just slightly above horizontal, until it flattens out completely (but the spending continues...ad infinitum) :)

Pretty soon, you start going down the road of contemplating using an old Santa Cruz 50 race boat as a cruiser, or a lovely, but cramped, Class 40...but then you’re into a whole host of other problems...(NKE autopilots, complex rig, very different sailing techniques, etc etc). At least, that’s how it’s going for me :)

(Multihull? Nah, that’s expensive too!! Multihull with only one engine? Ok, maybe a David Woods design, they often have only one engine...so, you’re now closer/it’s cheaper. But a different forum for boats with more than one hull (same log in here though). It gets complicated :)
 
Last edited:

Veeger

Super Anarchist
Short term, it looks like the jib lead is an issue. Play around with it. You've already got conflicting counsel on whether fore or aft, I'll not add to that part.

Put a reef in your main, even in moderate winds. If it reduces your weather helm, you'll likely be faster than the speed loss from less sail area.

New sails will help a lot, even one new sail if there's no $$$ for a full set.
 

El Borracho

Verified User
6,676
2,649
Pacific Rim
“7-9 degrees of rudder” is not necessarily a bad thing on a beat. Too bad your rudder is just an afterthought — a plain plank — without balance. That imbalance is what causes the force which you perceive as weather helm.

Like all said above — the last knot or two of performance requires much money and work.
 
Vaeredil,

I think I was sailing near you during your return from Port Townsend. I passed you near Point Partridge, then turned back to PT.

Mine is by no means a fast boat, so I was surprised to have overtaken you so easily. While I have no advice that as not already been given, I can confirm that your boat is not sailing up to its potential.

Steve

Edit: Does your jib sheet car need to go forward?

View attachment 541915
I'm delighted you responded! I saw you as well, and amusingly enough thought the same thing, by all rights that big main, small jib gaffer shouldn't have passed me so quickly! You certainly made quite the pretty picture going by though.

I appreciate the advice on the jib cars, I hadn't moved them farther forward yet because they end up chafing on the dodger. I'll try moving the cars forward and leading them to a spinnaker block I have and to the winches from that.

The hull is going to get a much needed scraping, sanding, and new bottom paint which should help significantly.

After the talk about lightening the boat, I did look at the plans and noticed the designed waterline should have at least the tip of the rudder exposed.... and mine certainly isn't.(EDIT: I'm wrong, it does show. Thank fuck!)Could be a good indication of how much I need to lighten the load. And could excess load aft also cause weather helm with more surface area under the water?
Vaeredil - Propseed is a specially applied coating/process used (I think) on some commercial boat props, now being used by/marketed to the recreational power boat folks (mostly?). Google it. Very expensive!

I can confirm that new sails will make a big difference- I’ve got a new main and, lately, new 2.2 Oz. nylon drifter (set on removable Solent for windward work or downwind). New Genoa in the works currently. Cost a lot? Yes, but...... :). Think like a racer. I went with Evolution Sails - I like their service. (Didn’t want to buy “remote”, I.e., online to save a bit; wanted a smaller sailmaker; and wanted someone who’d actually come to my inconvenient location to measure). New or very good condition sails = worth it!

I’ve also got a Campbell Sailor prop, 3 blade. Heavy boat - think if I went 2-blade it wouldn’t be good). Have considered folding/feathering but need to find a reasonably priced option. However, I don’t think I’d do one unless I could be sure I could maintain it regularly - I.e., be in year-round warm water, cruising actively, so I could dive on it regularly to ensure it’s kept clean...they seem like potentially a bit of a maintenance hassle?

Hull - I’ve got a small oil-less compressor and drysuit, etc. on board so I can dive the hull regularly. (I haven’t hauled in four years = cost savings for new sails :) )

I’ve also got two stern pole “issues” - radar (but it’s functional and has been very, very useful lately. And wind gen, which I installed years ago and will remove eventually: it’s functional but of questionable/minimal use as an energy source, and it’s a bit of windage (probably not huge, but every bit counts?). However, the two poles do give me a really great place to contemplate installing solar panels - this winter’s project. They would suck for windage but it would be a very good location for them...compromises... :) )
I hear you on the stern pole and wind gen issues. I was thinking for my purposes I'd mount two panels port and starboard just far enough forward to not interfere with the wwindvne, which I would very much still like to use once I get my balance issues sorted. If I recall correctly though you've got a more square stern that wouldn't work quite the same?
 
Last edited:
Short term, it looks like the jib lead is an issue. Play around with it. You've already got conflicting counsel on whether fore or aft, I'll not add to that part.

Put a reef in your main, even in moderate winds. If it reduces your weather helm, you'll likely be faster than the speed loss from less sail area.

New sails will help a lot, even one new sail if there's no $$$ for a full set.
New main seems to be the way to go! I'd actually love your advice on the jib leads. Especially seeing the picture from afar, it really looks to me like forward is the way to go, for less twist on the leech up high, no?
 

steele

Super Anarchist
1,731
229
Land of the locks
Most of this is an extension of what's been said but,
You might be surprised how much crap on the back contributes to weather helm. Full cockpit enclosures are the worst, but your dodger, bimini, stearing gear etc is a lot of stuff way aft.
I would second the reliability of max props. To save some $ look for used. Even one in bad shape can be reconditioned by PYI to new condition. The added thrust in reverse is a big bonus.
One way to see if a new main would help is to reef on a higher wind day. With my blown out old main reefing allowed me to flatten the sail quite a bit since the worst area was the foot. You can get a lot of outhaul tension reefed as well, just make sure you have a lot of halyard tension first.
Finally, you might need to adjust your expectations. Your heavy 35 boat has just 27 feet of waterline and a lot of wetted suface. It takes a lot of wind to reach it's max potential.
 

Latest posts




Top