Better sailing performance on a liveaboard cruiser?

pschwenn

New member
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
Two areas stand out to me.
2. Aero hamper: you have (too much) running rigging hamper, and some in the transom area: gizmos, aerials, ... that you could reduce. Think of your deck and space above it as an airplane's fuselage.
1. Casual sailors and many cruisers, even some racers, believe that deck sweeping 150% genoas are for racing rule advantage. But, in spite of the fwd visibility obstruction (many class racers have windows in the foot, even the deep foot of a mainsail), those genoas seal much of the loss of lift(for the WHOLE rig) due to pressure differential escaping/dying below the high foot of a genoa or self-tending jib (and the high boom, which upwind, may effectively leave 5+ feet unsealed below it. If they were on a jetliner missing the first 5-10 ft of wing skin just outboard of the fuselage, they might try to get off before it took off. A sail does not need to touch the deck to seal, close is good.
This loss below the sailing rig about doubles the nominal induced drag of the rig, which is the largest component of the rig's drag.
At the peak of the rig there's not as much that can be done to reduce tip losses. Sails $$ with high, fat, properly shaped, batten-supported mainsail (jibs $$ too) roaches can help some.
Aside: the usual - clean bottom especially the keel. Don't pinch even if it seems too far off the wind. Get the self-tacking inner jib down hard on the wind.

Regards,

Peter Schwenn
 

Tuesday

Member
240
12
Seattle
Fast Casual has it right. Post some pictures. The ridicule from these guys will be free (and brutal), but the suggestions could save you that $20k that you don't want to spend. The wind doesn't care how old the sails are, but it cares what their shape is. There most likely are a lot of trimming adjustments that can be made with your existing controls to make an old sail much faster. I would start by taking the mainsail foot slugs out of the boom. There. I just made you .25 knots faster and you can throw the slugs away to make the boat lighter too. Be sure to put a loop of Dyneema around the boom at the mainsail clew.
 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
6,729
1,110
San Diego
Loose footing the main will do nothing but make a lot of noise. The foot of the sail is cut to attach to the boom. Mains made to be loose do NOT have that 'shelf' cloth. So the 'shelf' will just flog around continuously, no speed added, possibly reduced if the flogging shakes the rest of the sail.
. 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.
Sorry, this is the exact opposite of what you should do. Lead forwards tightens the leach, adds fullness to sail.
 

Airielle

New member
2
1
Denmark
The center of effort of a Genoa is actually further aft than a jib…so perhaps a 100 jib would give you better balance beating to windward in good wind, perhaps with a reefed main. Do you trim your outhaul or use a Cunningham on your main?
 

Tuesday

Member
240
12
Seattle
The bottom portion of that mainsail does not even come close to approximating a wing. Look at the picture on page one of this thread. There is no excess shelf foot material to flap around if it were set free. It will simply curve and be much faster, like a jib foot. I have done this on 3 separate boats. Try it, I guarantee you'll like the huge improvement to the bottom of the main.
 
I read everyone's comments, all can contribute to loss of performance. What about weight ? How much stuff
do you have aboard ? 1000 lbs worth of tools and spares ? + full load of water and fuel, generator ? RO water maker ?
Large battery bank ?
The other consideration is: are you realistic in your expectations for a blue water cruising hull ?
Your yacht is built for comfort and ruggedness, full keel ?
Some loss of performance is to be expected.
We cruised a 1984 First 42 for 24 years. I liked the performance but it was a rough ride.
Hope this helps. theBlueGen, Sebastian Florida.
 
Looks like your jib cars are too far back. Put three telltales on both sides of the jib luff near the foot, at the midpoint, and near the head. They should all be streaming aft on both sides when sailing upwind and trimmed correctly. Head up a bit and see which inside telltale floats upward first. If it is the top one, move the car forward. If it is the bottom one (which I doubt from looking at your pictures) move the car aft. In general, it looks like you are not sheeted in tight enough to point any higher than a close reach. Use the halyard to get all the wrinkles out of the luff. Sheet the jib in tighter, get the sail about 4" away from the shrouds (just a guide) , trim the sail flat and see how high you can get with the telltales streaming aft on both sides of the sail. Then ease a bit until you feel the boat settle in to the groove. You will know when it happens. More backstay will flatten the sail. Ease the backstay when you go downwind.

Since you have a masthead rig, the jib is the main power source. Center the boom and see what the sail looks like. You should be able to move the draft forward with a combination of halyard tension and cunningham. Use the outhaul to shape the bottom of the sail. Bag it out a bit in light wind, flatter in heavier winds. Use the traveler to drop the boom down a foot or so if you are heeled to much.

If you really want to go faster upwind and point higher, get yourself a bigger jib. You might find a good used one that fits on the internet. A new jib will have a bigger effect on a masthead rig than a new main. But, as everyone has already said, sails matter and they are not cheap. Since you are a cruiser, Dacron is the way to go.

If you want to point, do not rake the mast forward. Set your headstay length so that your masthead is slightly aft of the vertical.

Take all this with a grain of salt, since I can't go sailing with you. Go to your yacht club (or any yacht club), find out who the local rockstar is, and buy him a beer or two. Then take him sailing and take notes. You can learn a lot without having to buy sails immediately since you are so far out of trim now. The best way to learn is to sail a lot with people who are better than you are. Race the beer can races if possible.

Good luck!
 

GILow

New member
9
5
Australia
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.

Fellow cruiser with an older design of cutter, in my case a Swanson 42. Three quarter cutaway keel, keel hung rudder.

My comments would be:

a) I suspect the weather helm is partly caused by the over sized genoa, if that picture of the boat under sail with a blue UV strip on the foresail is your boat. The boat appears to have been designed as a cutter and as such expects much more sail effort forward of the mast. Sailing with an overlapping genoa is bringing the centre of effort too far aft.

b) Sailing without the staysail is increasing weather helm because, again, you have lost torsional forces forward of the mast, forces that were expected in the original design.

c) Sailing without the staysail is losing a lot of forward drive as you have removed sail leading edge, where most of the forward drive is generated in a sail, plus you have lost the slot effect, something that makes a huge difference, particularly up wind.

My boat used to average a little over 100 miles a day according to the previous owner. I reduced her weight by three tons by redoing the fitout, I rigged her as a cutter with a 95% yankee and staysail, fitted a kiwi feathering prop and now she easily gets 140 miles a day with a couple of 160 mile days on my last big passage. I sail comfortably up to 40 degrees apparent and often do not bother deploying the main, instead sailing on the two foresails if I do not need to point higher than 50 degrees. The boat has davits, bimini, heaps of solar, kayaks strapped on board, dingy, outboards, huge battery bank, front loading washing machine, hot water systems and all the other essential cruising clobber. In other words, it is not a racing shell.

I am a solo sailor and find the staysail/yankee rig to be an excellent option as the two foresails are so small and easy to handle. My staysail is not self tacking but can be left backwinded when tacking to help the boat through the turn, something important with a keel hung rudder which has poor leverage.

I really think you will be surprised at how much better the boat will sail with the original sail plan as shown in the drawings you posted. This tendency to fit over sized foresails and genoas to older designs is something that seems to have spilled over from race rating systems and is no benefit to a cruising sailor.

Matt

(P.S. Yours is a very pretty boat.)
 
Last edited:

Sanders

New member
2
0
Aruba
First of all, where I sail wind is hardly ever under 16'. So this might not be in all ways applicable. I own a Ranger 33 but also sail on a lot of different boats.

35 ft boat going upwind in (short) waves, 5.5' average isn't bad. Flat water I'd definitely expect over 6'
Headsail.
-Foot seems quite round. Seems it could be a bit more tight on the sheet in the picture. or maybe move sheet block aft a bit (can't see enough of the leech to say that is the reason) but start with:
- Put in tell tales. sail upwind with just a slight curve in the foot. start to slowly pinch. Adjust jib sheet block so that all tell tales go up together. (Although in stronger winds upper tell tales are allowed to go up earlier than lower).
- On your next headsail put clew just above railing. High clew = low pointing = large tack angle

Main.
Get the best shape you can.
Put some tell tales on the leech
Don't overtrim. This is a semi long keeler.
If you have weather helm, lower the traveler. I like to balance the boat to easy steering with the main. I will even let the main backwind. Dragging a large rudder angle slows the boat down more than lack of drive from the main.
There seems to be quite a bit of length on the mast for this boat. It should sail well. But try to reef it a bit too early (reduce load on rudder) and see what happens.

Max prop will make 0.5' difference. I removed my fixed prop and sailed about 10 times without motor before i decided to buy one.
 

Huwnyc

New member
1
0
It sounds like you are after a budget solution so here it is
find the dimensions of the original sails and lay them out over the sails, you will see where you need to make a dart to reduce the sail, lots of small darts are better as you will retain a rounder shape, I am not suggesting this is easy but if you have time and Can sew it’s a possibility sound like you need to off load and have a strict something comes on something goes off policy the whitbread diet good luck with your projects
 

Ficelles

New member
You have had excellent suggestions so far!
Sailing Anarchy community coming to bat as usual.
I do not want to contradict anyone, I wish to confirm and suggest as much I as understand.
You mention your rig is bar tight and that $$ is not abundant.
We have a few pics of the boat.
With a clean bottom as you recognized, your best haft knot gain on any point of sail longer lasting bang for the buck is a feathering prop.
With a mast head rig your main sail is quickly either an asset or impediment (upwind). Reef a tired main when going up, it is hurting your progress.
7-9 degrees of weather helm is awful, you should aim for 2-3. Remember the helm is not a steering tool it is a breaking tool.
with a barn-door unbalanced rudder you WANT that 'door' to stay inline with the modified full keel. You want to trim the sails and leave the helm (literally, go get a coffee down below).
The car/sheet, it should hit the clew at a 45% angle, after that moving forward increase power (and forces nose down) moving aft release power in case of healing. The main situation was well covered by other posters but is it worth re-cutting, well we have little info but a 2 batten main that is 20-30 years old is not worth spending $$ on in my book. Everything will fail after tension is put back into it, the stiches the cloth etc. will blow-up.
I would remove anything you can at the stern and bow, inefficient, heavy old items, I think your Bimini is the best spot for some flex solar panels so I would keep it, unless the dodger meets your DC needs. Any weight you do not see as useful in your immediate cruising situation (I/E your boat is not a garage) should be removed. If you are cruising the PNW you might want a fresh water pump, an impeller, spares to get you home but do you need a spare freshwater washdown station kit?
It is a bit of a shame your hank-on sails were converted, they never fit well. I would suggest your furler to be more of a deck sweeper and you have other sails for heavier conditions.

Have you considered the cost in $$ but also in enjoyment (nobody needs a boat right?) of not having a boat performed in a way you can enjoy it?
I am spending a bit over $10K on my boat this year than I wanted to, but I am hoping to have a stupendous cruising summer in 2023, to me that has value.
Cheers,
a.

Now do you want that longevity? I am 60 I doubt I need a piece of gear that will last 20 years! Still i believe in doing the right thing according to the standards, but a folding prop is soooo tempting.
So you have to consider what you enjoy most.
To go back to your original post, a new full batten main and a decent furling headsail should be first with a thorough boat clean-up
if you cannot spend $$ remove old items, reduce sails area that are detrimental, move weight to centerline.
 
Last edited:

Tuesday

Member
240
12
Seattle
Here's your newly efficient mainsail foot brought to you by Marlow. If it's good enough for these wankers, it's good enough for a Jason 35!

16297da5d33ae1.jpg
 
I totally agree with GILow. Looking through the pics and the original sailplan, she was designed to sail as a cutter with high cut Yankee and staysail on a boom. I am considering new head sails and have received a lot of unsolicited advice to replace the Yankee with at least 110% jib/Genoa. There are plenty of folks throughout the forums that went that route only to regret the decision. I plan to go with the original sailplan as Bob Perry laid out while heeding the advice from the knowledgeable folk on this forum regards clear decks, clean bottom and maybe a folding prop.
 

SemiSalt

Super Anarchist
7,788
286
WLIS
Just to add to the contradictory information already compiled in this thread, Bob Perry doesn't like a high-value yankee. He prefers a low clew as you can see here. To me, it looks like it makes it difficult to set a staysail, but what do I know?
 

GILow

New member
9
5
Australia
Just to add to the contradictory information already compiled in this thread, Bob Perry doesn't like a high-value yankee. He prefers a low clew as you can see here. To me, it looks like it makes it difficult to set a staysail, but what do I know?
Yes, that has me a little bit worried too as my new boat, a Kelly Peterson 44 is also drawn with a much lower cut clew than the Swanson (see pic). At least with the Swanson I had the original hand-signed sail plan, with the signature of Ron Swanson himself (or someone forged it). I sometimes worry that the plans we see on sites like sailboatdata may not be accurate.

E35DFCF1-0612-47CA-9C26-F5554334EF65.jpeg
 

firstlast

New member
10
3
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
 




Top