Better sailing performance on a liveaboard cruiser?

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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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As everyone has suggested...new sails. Plus, what came to me from the cracks and crevices of my mind..mainsail to large.
 
Thank you everyone for all the responses.

It seems that experimenting with sail shape is one of the top things I should be able to do with no cost to myself to improve. It's embarrassing that this kind of thing isn't more second nature to me after having done extended cruising, but I'm grateful for all the help.

The jib car question still seems to be split 50/50 which is rather amusing but I think I'm going to follow the advice from one poster above and see if I can add telltales to the top and bottom of my Genoa, I currently only have teltales in the middle (which I was ineptly trimming to in the photo of my sailing above!)

I don't have a Cunningham but the gooseneck is fixed so it's all halyard tension for the main; I'll make sure that's properly tensioned. Outhaul is used already, I've got an excellent purchase on that.

The question of whether to use the big Genoa alone or the Yankee I have with a staysail is very interesting, that could certainly account for some of the issues. I need to convert my staysail from roller furling to hanks, the boat had a second, staysail, furler when I purchased it but it was completely and irreversibly seized and bent, so it's been replaced with a quick release fitting and a bare stay. I have a hank on storm staysail for it but the regular sized staysail needs to be converted back to hanks. (but that shouldn't be too expensive) and once that's done I'll test that as well. Ironically, like the Genoa, it was built as hank on and converted to furling. *sigh*


Folding props won't work in my prop aperture but a maxprop *might*. I'll certainly look into it but it might be a little farther down on my priority list. Getting rid of deck clutter and cleaning the bottom seems like a much quicker and cheaper second step after I make some hopeful improvements to the sail trim
 

SemiSalt

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A two-bladed prop can "hide" in the aperture.

When I crewed on a Tartan 33, one crew member crawled into a locker pre-race, removed a panel to reveal the propeller shaft, and turned the shaft to a pre-marked position. He called out to the helmsman who put the engine into gear so it wouldn't rotate. Easy on some boats, impossible on others.

In that case with no aperture, it was a matter of the folding propellor possibly letting a blade drop in the flow.
 

Jim in Halifax

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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?
Having owned a cutter rig for almost twenty years and having sailed on other cutters, I can say that a Yankee jib with a high clew will always be easier to tack across the inner forestay. I suppose that bigger jibs or even genoas with lower clews may work better when not flying the staysail but, on a true cutter (which has the mast further aft) it will likely increase the weather helm. However, Bob Perry may well jig the sail plan and mast placement in his designs to make it work...don't know; I've never sailed one of his cutter designs.
 

Kris Cringle

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I'm no expert but I'd point at sail trim, foul bottom and too much weight and windage, first. I own an older design and I reach hull speed in 10-15 knots of wind on all points of sail. New sails next would be my goal. Lastly, for a prop in an aperture, a folding prop.

But only if you plan on racing and really need that last bit of speed. You'll get that (last bit) but I doubt your props drag, in an aperture, is why your boat is overly slow.

My prop aperture thickness (rudder attached to the long keel), is nearly half the diameter of the prop. It takes 5 seconds for it to start moving the boat in a reverse direction from a standstill.
 
Thank you everyone for all the responses.

It seems that experimenting with sail shape is one of the top things I should be able to do with no cost to myself to improve. It's embarrassing that this kind of thing isn't more second nature to me after having done extended cruising, but I'm grateful for all the help.

The jib car question still seems to be split 50/50 which is rather amusing but I think I'm going to follow the advice from one poster above and see if I can add telltales to the top and bottom of my Genoa, I currently only have teltales in the middle (which I was ineptly trimming to in the photo of my sailing above!)

I don't have a Cunningham but the gooseneck is fixed so it's all halyard tension for the main; I'll make sure that's properly tensioned. Outhaul is used already, I've got an excellent purchase on that.

The question of whether to use the big Genoa alone or the Yankee I have with a staysail is very interesting, that could certainly account for some of the issues. I need to convert my staysail from roller furling to hanks, the boat had a second, staysail, furler when I purchased it but it was completely and irreversibly seized and bent, so it's been replaced with a quick release fitting and a bare stay. I have a hank on storm staysail for it but the regular sized staysail needs to be converted back to hanks. (but that shouldn't be too expensive) and once that's done I'll test that as well. Ironically, like the Genoa, it was built as hank on and converted to furling. *sigh*


Folding props won't work in my prop aperture but a maxprop *might*. I'll certainly look into it but it might be a little farther down on my priority list. Getting rid of deck clutter and cleaning the bottom seems like a much quicker and cheaper second step after I make some hopeful improvements to the sail trim
What type of boat do you have? I like the lines.
 

Kiwi Clipper

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A lot of the suggestions are good. But I think you are actually doing pretty well. If your water line is 30 feet, then your calculated hull speed (1.34*sq. rt. of water line length in feet gives you theoretical top hull speed) Maybe 7.3 nmph. But no one can do that going to weather in a displacement boat. If you said 90% would be darn good, then 6.2 knots for your boat. Add a clean but old bottom and three bladed prop and your just about at your 5.5.
In the PNW there are some really good local sailmakers. They can recut your sails to eliminate the bagginess that comes with age. But before you do that, here's a little sail shaping help. You need the part of your sails with the deepest camber to be about 40% aft of the lead edge. Main and jib both. Further forward if sailing in larger seas. Max camber in light air should be no more than one seventh of sail length front to back. In heavier air it should be much less --- maybe 1/15. You can move the point of maximum camber forward by: Tightening the main halyard; using a cunningham on your main luff to further tighten the luff; tightening the jib halyard; tightening the jibstay. Increasing mast bend reduces the fullness of the main sail and moves the fullness of the sail forward.
People put tape front to back on the sail so they can see exactly where the point of deepest camber is and how deep it is. If you get a sailmaker to come sailing with you he will be able to see better what your sails need.
To get all the available power out of your sails, you need there to be laminar flow of air on the lee side of the sail from luff to leach, top to bottom. This is really impoirtant because wind hitting the sail on the windward side may increase pressure by only a pound per sq. inch; but flowing correctly on the lee side may reduce pressure by up to four pounds per square inch. That's why a boat reaches faster under main than it runs. I usually put about 15 sets of yarn telltales on both main and jib spaced evenly luff to leach, top to bottom. That tells me where I have laminar flow and where I dont.
You are sailing in apparent wind, not true wind. True wind is stronger up higher so apparent wind up higher is more aft of that down lower, so when you set your vang and mainsheet you adjust them to create some twist to adjust for that so you are getting laminar flow top to bottom and front to back.
Same on the jib. Jib leads aft lets the clue rise and create more twist in the sail, sometimes too much. When reaching you are letting the jib out and the clue rises creating too much twist. But too little twist is just as bad.
Once the sails are set right the leaches of main and jib should be matched in shape. It's important. A lot of the flow of air from the back of the jib will continue over to the main helping to maintain laminar flow on the back half of the main.
Weather helm is killer and must be solved. Your tiller should be no more than 4-5 degrees weather of centerline. When sailing to weather, you can reduce weather helm by (1) adjusting your main traveler. Let it off to leeward to reduce weather helm bring it back up to increase weather helm. When racing we have one person who does nothing but adjust the main traveler. As little as an inch of traveler distance can make a speed difference of a half knot. (2) letting the main and vang looser so you depower the sail top by increasing twist. (3) reefing the main. Most boats go fastest at 10-14 degrees of heel. More than that also creates more leeway.
Repainting even a clean bottom, then sanding lightly with 220 will get you .5 knots to weather.
 
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.)
I like this post. Good advice from a solo sailor. But you can still get more out of the sails that you have. Properly trimming the 135 genoa would move the center of effort forward and reduce weather helm. Twisting the jib depowers it and makes the weather helm worse. To balance the helm, you want to line up the center of effort with the center of lateral resistance. Weather helm means that the center of effort is too far aft. (See https://johnellsworth.com/writing/nautical/balance_helm/balance.html for some good illustrations). You want to balance the boat. With a fin keel and spade rudder, you can point slightly higher with a bit of weather helm because the foils will give you a bit of lift. This effect would probably be negligible on your boat, so go for balance. It will also make your life easier because when you are set up properly the boat will sail just fine with the helm lashed, allowing you to move around to tweak things.

After reading GILow's post, I will withdraw my suggestion to get a 150. (I agree that this is my racer's bias showing.) I would NOT recommend a desk sweeper jib for a cruising boat with lifelines. It will make tacks painful, the sail will wear out faster, and the benefit is small. It is likely that all a 150 would do with a short-handed crew is heel the boat over. GILow's comments about the use of the staysail are quite interesting. You will have to play around with it. The staysail+95 will allow you to optimize the flow in the slot, but for maximum benefit you would have to also have a good main. (If you get one, I highly recommend a full batten about 1/3 down from the head.) The overlapping genoa should mitigate the need for a perfectly shaped main somewhat, as with a masthead rig the main will essentially perform the same function as flaps on an airplane wing. The more overlap you have, the more this is true.

Good luck,

Dave
 
Oh yes, one more thing. I put a two-blade folding prop on my boat and it made it quite a bit more difficult to handle under power--especially in reverse. It was also expensive. Yes, it bought some speed but you pay a price in handling and ease of use.

Dave
 

Zonker

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Having owned two cutters that both came with high cut yankees and staysails - both boat's performance improved dramatically with new genoas sailed without the staysail. One had an underbody much like the Jason 35. Never could get the yankee/staysail combo to point as high.
 

Jud - s/v Sputnik

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Having owned two cutters that both came with high cut yankees and staysails - both boat's performance improved dramatically with new genoas sailed without the staysail. One had an underbody much like the Jason 35. Never could get the yankee/staysail combo to point as high.
Good to know.

Im just about to take delivery of a new furling Genoa, and plan to remove my inner forestay for the 99%’ of the time I’m coastal cruising - it’s simply in the way tacking a Genoa. And re-attach it, easy to do, when headed offshore. (In any case, coastal cruising, I’ve got a removable Solent I could hank either my 100% or the staysail on to.)
 

longy

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As you add leading edges, you will detract from overall pointing angle. Start from the back - the main will only point to X wind angle without luffing. Add a sail, which 'bends' the apparent wind angle (to further ahead) and that sail must be trimmed to a lower attack angle to keep the main working. Add a further sail, it also must be trimmed even wider to allow the following sails to maintain the same max attack angles.
If you start by just trimming the leading sail in as tight as it can go, all following sails will be stalled out with to high a wind angle. This is why schooners & many other split rig boats don't do as well upwind as a similar hull shape with a sloop rig.
 

Jud - s/v Sputnik

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As you add leading edges, you will detract from overall pointing angle. Start from the back - the main will only point to X wind angle without luffing. Add a sail, which 'bends' the apparent wind angle (to further ahead) and that sail must be trimmed to a lower attack angle to keep the main working. Add a further sail, it also must be trimmed even wider to allow the following sails to maintain the same max attack angles.
If you start by just trimming the leading sail in as tight as it can go, all following sails will be stalled out with to high a wind angle. This is why schooners & many other split rig boats don't do as well upwind as a similar hull shape with a sloop rig.


Nice explanation - thanks.

As I understand it, cutter rigs (with staysail and Genoa/Yankee) are handy off the wind, and in heavy winds (no Genoa/Yankee, staysail only, with reefed main). Not so much to windward.
 

Zonker

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We sailed both of them in heavy winds with staysail, double or triple reefed main and a bit of extra genoa unfurled (like 50-80 sq ft) for extra drive when heading to windward. I'm talking beating into 25-30 knots steady winds. This was a decent combination which balanced well though it was a pain to tack (runners on the cat).

Off the wind poled out genoa worked fine and staysail was down.

In really heavy wind downwind, just the staysail.

Yankees are good reaching sails in stronger winds but that just doesn't happen that often to matter.
 

Jim in Halifax

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Having owned two cutters that both came with high cut yankees and staysails - both boat's performance improved dramatically with new genoas sailed without the staysail. One had an underbody much like the Jason 35. Never could get the yankee/staysail combo to point as high.
Having owned both sloops and a cutter, this has also been my experience. Where the cutter rig shines is going upwind, short-handed, in windy conditions. For the first reef, instead of reefing the main, just roll up the Yankee. Better balanced than a roller-reefed genoa and, if the staysail is self-tacking (most are), tacking is simply a matter of putting the helm down - no need to touch a sheet. And a Yankee is a lot easier to tack than a genoa with its much longer foot. On a reach, a cutter is about as efficient as a sloop.
 

Panope

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I'm only 3 months into the "2 head sail game" (I added a bowsprit last winter), but for my boat, my tests so far indicate that one head sail is better than two for up-wind work.

Off the wind, flying two headsails helps a wee bit but I don't think it is worth the hassle on this boat. (it reaches really well on that big gaff main).

Looks like I'll adopt a simple formula:

With wind up to upper teens - fly the biggest drifter/Genoa/Yankee that I can from the headstay.

With wind above the upper teens - fly the biggest Staysail/Storm jib that I can from the forestay (inner).

Steve
 

Crash

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For pure upwind work, one headsail is almost always better than two (or more). If more than one worked well, you'd see all the pure race boats carrying 2 headsails upwind.
 

Kiwi Clipper

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The boat as an obstacle above the water deflects the wind. It can't go through so it has to go around. There is a point at which the wind divides, some goes forward of the boat and some behind. Thus the boat as an obstacle changes the direction of the wind as it flows around the boat. Just imagine that object. Imagine the wind flowing around the boat. As the point where the wind breaks to go around the boat moves fore and aft the direction of the wind at the headstay changes. The changed wind allows the boat to point higher than it would otherwise. Therefore as you pull the mainsail to weather, it moves the point of division aft and allows the boat to point higher. If you pull the main too far to weather, you will destroy laminar flow on the back of the main and stall the sail and your boat speed.
As you think about the Yankee, the staysail and/or genoa, and the main sail here are some air flow considerations: One reason low footed genoa jibs are so effective is that the deck of the boat obstructs flow of air under the foot to reduce pressure on the windward side of the jib and increase pressure on the lee side. The yankee is no good for that.
A second question relates to the so called slot effect. Years ago it was believed that the narrow slot between jib and main forced the air through a smaller space and speeded it up. But all the actual wind tunnel tests have proved that not true. With the mast stays and other obstacles, the wind through the slot slows down. Therefore, it turns out that if you have laminar flow all the way to the back of the jib, the flowing wind easily is sucked into the back of the main and helps maintain the laminar flow there. Also, note that the good transference to the main helps suck the wind back maintaining greater laminar flow at the leach area of the jib. So the matched leaches I mentioned yesterday help to promote good flow on both sails.
The yankee and the staysail do contribute power on their own. But they do not work that well with the mainsail as the genoa does. You might enjoy knowing that for the first 6000 years of sailing the "wing theory" of sails was unknown. Polish areonautical engineer C.A. Marchaj, did the research the proved the wing theory for sailboats, but as of the late 1950's most sailors I knew didn't believe it. Our Ratsey Cotton sails for racing had to be recut every year because of stretch. But when dacron was invented with very little stretch, it became possible to control sail shapes much better and that's when the sailing community finally understood. So you can relate that to the sail plans of the older boats; the ketchs and yalls and schooners and cutters, and the sails they used based on the materials and knowledge that existed.
It was a while later that designers came to understand the wing theory of keels.
 




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