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 Post subject: strong winds and smaller sails
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:49 pm
Posts: 31
Just wondering about the Nationals, consistently strong winds, and the fact that not everyone was sailing.

I am an average One Design sailor, but managed to complete almost all the races, mainly using a smaller set of sails after the first day. The main is 6.5m2 and the jib 2m2. These were cut down from an older set of sails, so not ideal, but got me round, still pretty fast upwind, and easier to tack & gybe.

Clearly the top sailors can sail well in these conditions, particularly with the square topped mains and blading off. But I wonder if having a smaller suit of sails would enable some of us more average sailors to compete in very strong winds?

And ensure as a fleet we can race in the same upper wind range as other open water classes?

Hugh
Mustang Sally, 275


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 Post subject: Re: strong winds and smaller sails
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 7:45 pm
Posts: 733
Location: United Kingdom
Hugh's right of course. Finishing races is probably more fun than getting blown off the course and retiring. Its an interesting topic - to me anyway - I've always felt it cannot be right to hoist the same sails in 5 knots and 25 knots when the force on the sails in the latter is 25 times greater.

I explored this a little in the one off singlehander I built in 1999/2000 before I had a Canoe. It had a mast that telescoped down into the mast stump and a zip reef, which was all intended to produce a useful reduction in sail area without compromising mast bend. It wasn't altogether successful, but these are lessons I think I learned.

- on a single sail boat if you can possibly hang on to extra rag upwind and make it to the windward mark then you will want to.
- simply reducing the height of the rig may not work as well as you think.
- even a sub 5 minute change of rig size is enough to discourage you from doing it.

To expand on these:

The first is obvious of course, the gains from the extra power on deep reaches and runs are huge, the losses from the extra rag upwind - if you can stay upright - are more moderate.

The second: with my boat I started with a highish aspect squarish top (90 degrees to luff) main, but when the reef was in and the mast stumped down the resulting rig was distinctly lowish aspect ratio. I never seemed to be going upwind as well as I thought I should with the stumped rig, there was always a slight towing a bucket feeling which wasn't there with the full sized rig. We designed a full sized rig, and then put a reef in it. On reflection both rig positions should have been equally considered in the sail design.

The third. Anyone who's sailed a multiple rig class knows what a hassle it is to get the wrong rig up. When I designed the setup of my boat it was all geared to making it easy to change rig size. It was possible to reduce rig sized even tied up to a jetty. The job was -
- loosen rig tension (highfield on forestay)
- unhook clew and tack.
- release main halyard.
- remove pin that held mast in upper position.
- drop mast down. Pull out fast pins on shrouds and forestay in upper positions, replace in lower positions
- tension rig
- retension main halyard
- roll up main and do up zipper on reef
- rehook clew and rethread tack.
No tools and well under 5 minutes, but it still seemed like enough trouble that I avoided doing it.

So I offer that experience for what its worth. I theorise too about handling factors beyond sail area, but this post is long enough already... Maybe another day.


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 Post subject: Re: strong winds and smaller sails
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 8:49 pm
Posts: 97
Location: Scotland, United Kingdom
jimc wrote:
the gains from the extra power on deep reaches and runs are huge, the losses from the extra rag upwind - if you can stay upright - are more moderate.


The problem is staying upright !!!!

However if sailing AC there isn't the loss downwind as the spi dominates the speed, not the mainsail. I have an old main which no longer fits my boom and am tempted to cut it down to fit and use in strong winds, with my "small" (18.5 sq. m.) spi.

Peter


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