Upwind in strong gusty winds

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Alysum, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. I break things

    I break things New Member

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    i use no vang or very little in Heavy wind it opens up the leach and lets some air off the sail also its much faster although you wont be able to point as high also being in shape helps the most and Merrily you should get a Hammy with more purchase itll be alot easier
     
  2. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    I have the PRO C'ham with lots of blocks and plenty of purchase. That's why there's so much line flopping around after I pull it on hard. As for it being difficult to pull on, I guess it's my girly muscles, and I'm in pretty good shape for me.
     
  3. knot_moving

    knot_moving Member

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    What is your definition of "Heavy wind"? I was talking about 15kts in my post and most people don't think of that as "Heavy" - even though it is about as much as I can handle focusing on racing rather than staying upright :)
     
  4. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Brmmm Brmmm

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    I think it depends on a couple of variables -

    the range of wind speed

    your body weight

    and the wave hieght

    In the conditions you describe, i would set the vang to suit average wind speed. That may translate to be about 3/4 on or about 30cm out from block to block. Then leave the cunningham off and use the outhaul to adjust for gusts and lulls. If the opportunity for two blocking arises you can simply use the mainsheet insted. In gusty conditions this may not arise very often - it will depend on your body wieght, the age of your sail, how it is trimmed and the variances in wind speed. The reason I leave the cunningham off and use just the outhaul is that the ability to point increases and when you need to dump air in a heavy gust the sail maintains power sooner - you don't need to let out so much mainsheet.

    Another important point is body position. If the water is flat it is critical. When under a gust, move aft until the nose lifts and boat begins to feel "light". Too far forward and the speed will seem to stall, as if you were locked in a wave trough (which technically you are).

    AH yes, and in flat water, crabbing (pinching) is the way to go. You will stay flatter longer, point higher and generally not tire yourself out or lose unnecessary ground. In waves do what you have to. Pinching in 15-20knot waves will generally lose you a race, but losing ground by bearing away to often will do it too.
     
  5. MLP8415

    MLP8415 New Member

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    Very interesting answer. In particular the comment about cummingham tension. If have been advised to pull the cummingham with all my might and in waves release the outhaul to have power. Which is correct?
     
  6. coop

    coop New Member

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    I'm slightly confused by the question. You're saying in waves you've been told to either pull the cunningham as hard as possible OR to ease the outhaul?

    It's been quite some time since I raced, but if I recall correctly if you're overpowered you want tons of cunningham to try and flatten the sail. In flat water you could pull on some outhaul to further help flatten, but in waves you want power in the foot of the sail, so want to leave the outhaul looser.
     
  7. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Brmmm Brmmm

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    It’s difficult to outline a failsafe approach suitable for all weights techniques and styles. In fact its difficult to get anything close without only describing exactly what you did on any given day in any given circumstances. I can only outline some considerations before you haul on the cunningham:

    Where is the wind coming from?

    Which tack are you on?

    What point of sail are you on?

    What is you personal experience so far in these conditions?

    If I were close hauled in waves with 10-15knot NW on port tack I would not need any cunningham past snug/no wrinkles. If I were on starboard, the thought would not even enter my mind.

    If I were bashing into waves in a 25-30knot NW on port I would use the cunningham, but not before pulling on as much outhaul as I could without compromising too much speed. If I were on starboard, I may not be so eager to use the cunningham.

    None of this will gaurantee me a race.
     
  8. paulmarshall

    paulmarshall New Member

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    Probably the best instructional video that pulls the theory and practice together for dealing with heavy winds while manouvering through big waves to windward is Steve Cockerill's "Boat Whisperer - upwind". Corny title by the messages are crystal clear.
     
  9. madyottie

    madyottie Apprentice

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    For me, I find the depowering loop is kinda, kicker, then cunningham to medium, then more kicker, then outhaul, then full kicker, then full cunningham, then start to panic.
    I never pull the outhaul overly tight, although when I sailed on flat water back in NZ (Yay, 3 of us kiwis in a row) I used it a lot more.
     
  10. paulmarshall

    paulmarshall New Member

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    Hey, we'll see how well we rock after the Terrigal Masters in Feb!

    Had a Sunday last training on Lake Te anau (in the deep south). Wind blowing 18-20kts gusting 26.

    Excess weather helm cured by max outhaul, cunningham (I'm thinking of increasing the # of purchases in my outhaul system to 8:1) and mega vang. The vang tension required me to roll nearly horizontal under the boom to tack, but it meant the sail kept its shape when I dumped sheet.

    Upwind performance through quite steep waves was a huge improvement. Downhill more work required!
     
  11. madyottie

    madyottie Apprentice

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    You're right, it is interesting!
    When I was racing in Whangarei as a lad, the club used to hire coaches a few times a year. Some of them insisted that pulling on the cunningham pulled the draft too far forward and killed your pointing ability, so they depowered using outhaul and vang, the cunningham being last resort. Others insisted that you should use vang and cunningham, and the outhaul should rarely be moved from its "normal" position.

    I would say just try a few options (do it for the whole race/practise session, to eliminate too many variables) and see what fits with your sailing style. Remember, its really an art, not a specific science, so what works for someone else probably wont work for you anyway!

    What a lot of lightweights are doing over here now, with the new really powerful vang, is release it right before they tack, to allow the boom to lift, then crank it back down straight afterwards. I'm thinking I might have to start that soon, as I find my boom seems lower and lower as I get older (and fatter)!!
     
  12. paulmarshall

    paulmarshall New Member

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    It's a question of balance - finding the setup that will balance the complex forces that are involved.

    And they are complex. You directly exert forces on the boat through your weight, hiking action, helm movements etc), the sail generates heeling moment, lift, turning moment around the centreboard), the foils generate lift off the foils, plus the action of the hull through the water -and the wave state. The list goes on and on... And all those forces change as the wind strength and direction changes.

    It is possible to model those forces and predict the best setup for a given wind/wave/sailor configuration, but my suggestion would be to appreciate the basics, experiment alot and develop "feel" for how the boat is going. That equals time on the water.
     
  13. JoannaHoof

    JoannaHoof New Member

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    As long as we are on the topic of heavy upwind sailing, I was doing everything right to sail upwind in my last regatta (or so I thought) when my mast snapped. How common is this? Is there anyway to prevent this unpleasant experience from happening again? Luckily I saved the sail from ripping, but its not something I want to have to worry about in an upwind leg. Any suggestions?
     
  14. paulmarshall

    paulmarshall New Member

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    I've not broken a mast but have bent a top section. That was wiping out downwind at speed. My coach, last Sunday, fessed up to breaking one mast, but that apparently was quite corroded. Age of the spars obviously increases the likelihood of breakage. Upwind, maxing the vang certainly puts boom and mast under enormous load so breakage is probably only a matter of time.
     
  15. abenn

    abenn New Member

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    You'll find plenty of references in here to broken top sections Joanna. Yes it happens a lot. Usually shearing off at the rivet hole. My last one only lasted 10months.
    Rule 1 - make sure the rivet is at the back of the top section.
    Rule 2 - make sure your top section is watertight - fill the rivet hole with silicon. Check if it has any water in it after you've capsized a few times (thats if you ever capsize (-; ). Rinse out with fresh water and dry it well if it gets water inside.
    Oops - did we hijack the thread ?? Sorry
     
  16. JoannaHoof

    JoannaHoof New Member

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    Thanks - I think the rivet must have been in the wrong place or it was just old equipment. I hadn't capsized yet that day (though I've had my fair share). Sorry to take the thread in a different direction, but I think its still relevant to heavy upwind sailing.
     
  17. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    There has been a lot written about the best position of the rivet (search the forum), and the opinion that it should be 'at the back of the top section' is by no means universally shared by the community. In fact, I find the argument (not my own) that it should be at 90 degrees most persuasive. No doubt though that corrosion is a major factor in upper section failures.

     

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