Better sailing performance on a liveaboard cruiser?

lom

Member
52
27
San Juan Is
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.
Just something to think about, there are a few stores online which have new old stock sails which can be purchased for significantly cheaper than having a new one commissioned. Yes, yes they aren't going to be 100% built for your rig, but we took a lot of measurements and then just reached out to a few places with our numbers and after a bit they got back to us with what they had around and we were able to get a supremely nice roller furling headsail, sunbrella even in the right color for our canvas, for 300$usd shipped! 44 foot luff and a 16 foot foot. On the hunt for a main now.
 

DDW

Super Anarchist
6,703
1,229
The thing that strikes me in the OP is 4-5 hours to clean the bottom. To weather, this will slow the boat down a lot, and even if a good coat of barnacles is knocked off, the surface will be quite rough. If you sail off the wind by 10 or 15 degrees does it speed up at lot? That would implicate sails more.
 

Vaeredil

Anarchist
The thing that strikes me in the OP is 4-5 hours to clean the bottom. To weather, this will slow the boat down a lot, and even if a good coat of barnacles is knocked off, the surface will be quite rough. If you sail off the wind by 10 or 15 degrees does it speed up at lot? That would implicate sails more.
No, similarly not fantastic performance. A bit faster of course but nothing wonderful.

Hoping for a haulout at Lund or Texada Island, so I'll keep everyone updated. I have a feeling it might make a significant improvement once the bottom is actually cleaned and sanded and painted.

There certainly was quite a ridiculous amount of growth last time I cleaned it, and there are definitely the remnants of barnacle feet still on it...
 

DDW

Super Anarchist
6,703
1,229
You gotta clean the bottom anyway, might as well do that before committing to new sails. My first keelboat, a 22' Pearson Electra bought having been neglected for some time. We tried to race it in the Wednesday night beercan races just for what the hell. Very slow, but we thought, well it isn't a Cal 20 after all (the hot boat of the time). Then one day we got into shallow water, jumped over and cleaned it as best we could with a shovel. Hopped back in and sheeted in, did a double take to make sure someone hadn't magically slipped us a new boat! The difference was dramatic and obvious, even with no other boats around. After a haul and proper bottom job, we were just about competitive with the Cal 20 in the right conditions.
 

Expat Canuck

Anarchist
711
207
Salish Sea
Before committing to new sails, you should talk to a local loft about re-cutting the sails you have. You can do a lot of reshaping with all those seams. If the base material is still good, that could gain you a couple of years, and would give you an introduction to the guy you ultimately may buy a new set of sails from (and a chance to decide if you want to work with him).
 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
10,149
6,336
Canada
Not 20K CAN for new sails. Closer to 10K I'd say. ~4K for genoa/5K for main? But I'd keep the old staysail. Just the main and genoa at first.

But cleaning the bottom first is essential. Any time you have to scrape it's probably time to haul, sand and put on new paint.
 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
6,987
1,282
San Diego
Bottom job & prop are the most cost effective items - they add speed all the time, motoring or sailing, in any direction. And last a long time. Sails next.
 

DDW

Super Anarchist
6,703
1,229
This will be the cynical view, but if your cruising area is going to be Seattle - SE AK, I'd spend the money on an efficient feathering prop rather than sails. You will be using it much more than the sails up there, if you are going somewhere rather than daysailing.
 

fufkin

Super Anarchist
I’ll second Expat’s suggestion to explore the re cut route with a reputable sailmaker first.

I use an older mainsail, fully battened. A couple of years ago I had the blown out foot section re cut and it flattened the sail shape considerably...for a few hundred bucks. Make sure your halyard and outhaul tension stays tight.

The shape of the jib ‘might’ be a function of jib block location. Try moving them back.

Between new bottom paint, a main re cut, and some more active jib trimming, squeezing out 1 1/2 knots might be cheaper than you think.
 

Archimalaka

New member
1
0
France
The most inexpensive way to diagnose is to put telltales on your sails. Then play with your sheets, cars, halyards and vang to reach the best twist / finesse on all sails. Then, if the required adjustments are not possible anymore, the shape of the sail is compromised. Your hull must be perfectly clean / through hull faired if possible.
 

Marmotasylum

New member
2
0
How long at the waterline is your boat? using the equation for Hull Speed

1663781229647.png
determines your maximum displacement speed.
 

MiamuhWhat

Member
348
9
BOSTON
The 3 blade prop will be your quickest, easiest, cheapest replacement to gain .5 knots though. You can find a used max prop, Ewol, or similar that fits in your prop aperture and will feather cleanly. The "cheapest" part of my comment is in comparison to a new sail, they run around the same cost but the prop will last a very long time. These guys outline in their test the best and it was mentioned earlier in the thread about a fixed 3 blade prop having as much drag as a 5 gallon bucket...https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/gear/folding-and-feathering-propeller-test-29807

Even a kitted out distance cruiser/house is going to have too much gear on board. For the low cost of an afternoon (or a weekend) you can pull everything out of every nook and cranny, put it on the dock/deck, then go through and really evaluate if you've never used it, never needed it, etc and see what you can ditch to cut some weight. You probably don't need a spare AP ram if you're just cruising locally so find a place to stash some of the heavier things you may not need all the time. Otherwise, do your best to remove weight from the ends of the boat and concentrate it over the keel/midships area. Gear tends to accumulate over the course of a season so it much be even worse as a liveaboard. All of this re-organizing costs you 0 dollars and you may notice a huge increase right away.

Check that your rig is basically centered athwartships and more or less vertical. You mentioned not being able to rake the mast any further forward. Forward rake is going to be very slow up wind. Rig tension does a lot more than you think. If you're sailing on the breeze in 12 knots and your leeward shrouds are dangling super loose then you're overpowered and too loose overall. If the leeward shrouds are boned when you're on the breeze in 12knots then your rig is too tight. Same with backstay/headstay tension. If your headstay has a huge sag in it you'll be over powered quickly, if its too tight you'll struggle for power in lighter air. These adjustments are all free and a knowledgable rigger would probably take a look for you quickly and give advice for a 6 pack of beer if hes in the area.

A clean bottom gets you a lot of the way there, but +1 for a smooth, fair paint job (picture 10 layers of crunchy old bottom paint making things rough visually). I had a clean bottom but some layers of old unfair paint and after a strip/prime/roll and tip job my old cruiser was noticably faster. A better shaped keel wont hurt you either, even a full keel can benefit from being smooth and fair with a bit of shape if yours is already like a block.

New sails will obviously, definitely help. Find a local independent sail maker to design a good set of robust cruising sails for you. They'll have better shape out of the box and new dacron sail cloths are going to hold up and maintain shape much longer than your 15 year old materials so they are money well spent and will last a while too.
 
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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".
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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.

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Your problem es definitelly your yankee sail because you are not using the staysail. The sail center of effort is too high. Just get a sail with a low clew and you will not have that problem anymore and you'll gain speed because your radder will not have to be crossed and you will experience less heeling.
 

xcentric

New member
1
0
UK
Am more a racer than a liveaboard, and whilst speed isn't the main focus of liveaborad, and nor should it be, being able to sail optimally is always good.

So, some of this has been said, but....
1. bottom clean - when racing, even a light coating of slime slows you down. If it took hours to clean, then the drag would have been immense. This will reduce top speed and possibly make it harder to point (hull shape not being quite what it should be). So invest in stronger antifouling so it stays cleaner for longer.....
2. fixed prop - change to a folding one, to reduce drag immensely.
3. Sails - they may be little used but they do appear to have lost shape - find a local sailmaker and take them for a sail with you - they should be able to advise. I think having them recut may help a lot. New (or new toy) sails may be needed too - but they should work with you and your budget as needed to optimise your spend.
4. Genoa looks massively out of shape in the reading photo, which could be cut or could be setup - so perhaps go sailing with local racers or the sailmaker again and get them to help you set up things for optimal sailing
5. Mast rake - probably more important than pre-bend, it may not be raked far enough back for your hull and so giving you weather helm
6. Lightness adds speed. But it's a live aboard, so comfort is king, and this is probably a minor point in a heavy displacement setup anyway. I'd worry less about this, unless you are carrying 5 huge spare anchors and a few miles of chain for emergencies.....
7. Whilst these are roughly in the order I'd do them, racing is all about minor improvement sin many many different areas - there's rarely one thing you can do to speed up. So small improvements in many of these will help.

Is there a class association you can tap into? Is the designer/firm still trading - contact them for advice too.

Personally, I'd look at getting the windward performance improved so you can point closer with decent speed - though as a live aboard, downwind is more likely. And if you're concerned about 0.5kt in a 5-6knot cruising speed, it'll add 1 day to a 10 day voyage, and so doing that in comfort is probably more important than the time saved.
 

Hobie Dog

Super Anarchist
2,862
14
Chesapeake Bay
As has been answered; new sails, new/clean bottom and some type of folding/feathering prop are your 3 main "fixes".

I don't think anyone answered your question about prop paint. Yes "PropSpeed" is outstanding! Was using the spray on zinc paint, I guess it is better than nothing, but was always dealing with barnacles and having to dive on the prop to scrape them off. This Spring finally spent the money and had PropSpeed put on. I do my own bottom painting but had the yard to this job as you have to sand down to bare medal and it's a two step application that if not done correctly the paint won't stay on. Plus the "kit" is around $500 and you will only use a small amount of it as it's enough paint to do a large twin screw power boat. My yard only charged for the paint used so I think the entire job with labor was just under $200. Probably the best $200 I have ever spent on the boat! Paint was done in May and did a short haul in August and the prop looked like it was just painted, COMPLETELY clean. With the zinc stuff it would have already been covered in barnacles. Should last 2 to 3 years, highly recommended!

We have a two blade "Flex-O-Fold" that works great.
 
I race a 46’ cruiser and have an issue with weather helm which is basically a break but 7 degrees is nothing as I hit 15-20 at times on a stretched out main. I bought a larger Genoa which helped a lot. A new smaller main sail is on order as well. I recommend you tighten the main halyard tighter than you think you should and the same on your outhaul. Basically, anything you can do to flatten the main sail will help. Additionally, anything that causes the jib to have more power, loosen halyard an inch or two, will counteract weather helm. As others have said, a clean hull and feathering prop are where you gain the most speed. One last thing, you are cruising & your boat looks nice so life is good.
 
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.

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Totally agree with you that you shoudl be in the high 6s-low 7s knots when fully powered with no more than 18-22 degree heel. If not 1) Clean the bottom...often, 2) if to much weather helm on any point of sale reef the main, 3) make sure your sails are not blown out and if they are getting there tighten the halyard or cunnhingham to pull the draft forward on each sail but don't slam it down and stretch the sail out that will just hasten the sails demise (if the draft if greter than 50% despite good luff tension time for a new sail or possibly a re-cut), 4) change to a folding/feathering prop or let it stay in neutral to freewheel (less drag) but make sure the tranny is OK with that. Don't screw around with mast rake until you at least clean the bottom, reef and get good sails. FYI from the pics your headsails look OK.

If you want to see if your sail shape is ok sail out in 12-15 knots and go hard on the wind, then sit/lay below the sail and take pics of the sail in the best trim you can muster. Then post them here. Given the response to date you should have your answer in 5 minutes.
 

merilon

New member
1) What is your tankage for diesel and water? I leave my 100g water tank half empty. This gets 400lbs out of the bow and leaves the remaining 50g under main salon settee. Did the same for my 66g diesel tank, another 230lbs.. 1/2 knot speedo increase
2) I switched to a max easy 3 blade feathering prop too...added 1 kt of boat speed here..prop speed at next haulout..
3) strip clean bottom of all previous coats of paint over last 20 yrs..huge difference in light wind acceleration.
 
You stated you don’t fly the staysail due to be short handed. Last weekend, I grabbed a few guys and pushed my Tayana37 to the limit. Other than shearing a 40 year old winch of the mast, I was able to point 10 degrees higher with a knot+ increase in speed. I have the standard high cut yankee, high cut staysail, and 1 reef in the main (90%) of non-reefed. Weather helm was low in 15-20 knots of wind. The gusting to 25-30 kept us on our toes. Keeping the staysail boom on the centerline was key. Yankee sheeting angles helped also. In my case, we pushed them as forward as I could to pull the high cut sail down to flatten it up a bit and move the draft back.
 

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