By the lee

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by mixmkr, Aug 27, 2017.

  1. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    I know what the Sunfish Bible says...what do you do downwind?
    Seems the Bible likes dead downwind over a reach too.
     
  2. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Reaching is distinct from downwind sailing because the angle (with respect to the wind) for reaching is significantly different from that for downwind sailing. Typically, reaching is faster.

    Pros and cons of sailing by the lee is a topic usually discussed by racers. Do you want to go into that?
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
  3. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Thanks but wasnt looking for elementary descriptions.
    If the topic is as you say limited to racers, I dont subscribe to that.
    I was wondering how many sail by the lee in their Sunfish and 2ndly if they prefering reaching and gybing over dead downdwind, unlike what the Bible recommends for arriving at at a specific location faster.
     
  4. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Yes
     
  5. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Recently, I didn't have any choice. :eek: The wind was too strong, and the shoreline too close. Since I already had my hands full, dodging moorings, docks, and rafts, raising the daggerboard wasn't an option. (Which would have allowed the Sunfish to get closer to the wind's speed, and to ease a gybe). I'm very grateful for those "extra" three feet of mainsheet!

    Speaking of which, does the Sunfish Bible suggest having a long-enough mainsheet to even make sailing by the lee possible? :confused:
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
  6. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Im asking because the Sunfish seems to have many unique characteristics as compared to other sailboats....especially single masted keel boats. I.e..... Screwy port tacked sail shape, spar bending for wind spilling vs sail flattening, and sailing by the lee....something usually not doable with boats using standing rigging. Those seem to be a couple of differences. Also most sailors dont sail dead downwind except for the beauty/fun of wing and wing sail plans (or care of boat speed).
    I can believe many small mono hull sailboats are great for "learning to sail", the Sunfish differs in many ways that dont translate to much larger sailboats and sailing methods.
     
  7. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    I dont recall extra length mentioned specifically for that but the Bible does suggest that point of sail.....I guess assuming the class legal length sheet would allow for that. My mainsheet doest skimp on length allowing the sail to be centerline....but over the bow! Im sacrificing cockpit tidyness over loosing a knotted mainsheet to be able to hang on to the boat with any wind direction with heavy winds.... If I'm in the drink after righting a capsize and the waves or wind want to spin it around downwind.
     
  8. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    .....Or launching with strong offshore winds and not pointing the boat ashore!
     
  9. Charles Howard

    Charles Howard Member

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    If you are racing it depends on the course. If you are racing a triangle, you will have an upwind, reach and a run. If you sailing a windward, leeward course, you will have upwind, downwind and upwind. Reaching is the fastest but not always in the right direction on the course. Sunfish sail best downwind usually on starboard as the sail shape is better. Depending on the wind you maybe sailing slightly off from dead downwind, sometimes by the lee other times not as you play the lifts and headers. Depends on what your tell tales say.

    The same applies to day sailing but you are sailing the course you pick.
     
  10. andyatos

    andyatos Active Member

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    Yes, I do sail by the lee on my Sunfish. In Tomales Bay for example, even in light winds, there will be small waves/swells that form when the tide is flowing out against the wind and there's a lot of fetch.

    If I want to go for a small wave and "surf" it a bit... if you could even call it that... I'll sail by the lee to get over to it rather than gybing. I then will often make a large course correction as I start to sail off the corner of the little swell/wave and on to a very broad, deep reach and sail back across the wave.

    The other time I'll sail by the lee is when I'm running on one tack and see a puff of wind behind me but off to the side that will blow past me unless I make a course correction. Rather than gybing and losing speed I'll sail by the lee over to the puff then run dead downwind in it.

    Finally, it's just fun to sail by the lee... keeping the leach just to the point of quivering and almost flopping over and backwinding. In light air anyway. In strong air, I tend to avoid it and do a quick gybe if I want to go after a big puff bearing down on me.

    - Andy
     
  11. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Andy...great reasons....ones I was looking to hear. Over 15kts seems like a thrill ride, going by the lee.
     
  12. sailthefish

    sailthefish New Member

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    A sailfish will plane running in a strong wind, but sailing by the lee is a necessary tool to avoid going swimming. I believe the phenomenon is called "death roll'
     
  13. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    The sheet can be as long as you like. Mine is long enough to get the mainsail out a bit beyond 90 degrees.
     
  14. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Sailing by the lee is NOT a method to prevent swimming. In fact, it's the opposite because if one sails too much by the lee, a sudden jibe will likely get you into trouble.
    Death rolls happen in a Laser going downwind in big breeze ( :() but are very uncommon in a Sunfish
     
  15. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    If you want to practice sailing by the lee, a wind vane (as simple as a ribbon) at the top of the gaff is very useful because you will be able to tell roughly by how many degrees you are beyond straight downwind. In addition, telltales on the sail should be streaming towards the mast, but in light winds they may not move.

    Like Andy, I enjoy playing with the variables. In 5-10 mph it's possible to sail about 30 degrees off a straight downwind course. I look at the leach and when it starts to move inward (impending a jibe), one can correct by heading upwind a bit. ONe can certainly sail by the lee in bigger breeze, but one has to be very attentive so as not to jibe accidentally.
    While messing around in this fashion, be sure to maintain a neutral helm. Typically, this requires healing the boat to windward. In fact, I also practice to get the right heeling angle. Use a very light touch on the helm (tiller extension) and you will get the feel of this.

    Of course, sailing with others will be very helpful/educational to see how well you are developing these kinds of skills.
     
  16. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Downwind, these sailors carry very different heights to their daggerboards. The Sunfish doesn't have much of a keel, but having experimented recently, it does seem to help. The video camera is mounted to a very nervous skipper, but by advancing the video using your right arrow, there's something to learn from the (sorta) downwind race legs:

     
  17. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    1) In "sailing by the lee", one is effectively moving the center of effort towards the upper spar (& mast). Is that correct?

    2) Is the Sunfish being pulled or pushed by the sail? (Trick question). ;)

    I understand what you've written but, by "sailing by the lee", you're already "heading-upwind". :confused:

     
  18. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    I might be nervous too sailing with my inspection port cover open!! (3:30 of the video)
     
  19. LaLi

    LaLi Active Member

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    No. By-the-lee means only that the wind hits the boat from the (legal) leeward side of the boat, that is, from where the boom is pointing. Centre of effort is fixed in relation to the spars by cloth tension and spar bend, and has nothing to do with wind direction.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    I saw that. A handy place to store leftover line. ;)

    If capsizing, the water level wouldn't reach the inspection port. (Unless he turtled, but even then, there'd be only a momentary intrusion).
     

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