Windward Capsize Help

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by windsong, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. windsong

    windsong New Member

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    I had a mare of a time at the weekend. I capsized to windward on a long downwind leg. After a San Francisco roll I was back on the boat with it beam-on to the wind and the sail right out to leeward. The trouble started when I wanted to get underway again. I pulled the main in a bit, started accellerating, started the bear-away & then promptly capsized to windward again. I repeated this a couple of times before giving up.

    Winds were a F5; cunningham, kicker & outhaul were all pretty much off.

    Does anyone have any advice on how I could have transitioned from my beam-on position to being on a run more effectively?

    Thanks
     
  2. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Were you letting the sail out as you were bearing away? The twist at the top of the sail may have been getting you. There could have been inverted airflow at the top of the sail, creating lift to windward and flipping you.

    Maybe don't let the sail out as much when you bear away. Of course you still have to let out enough so you don't gybe. Also, a small amount of vang/kicker to create leach tension will help flatten the upper part of the sail.
     
  3. madyottie

    madyottie Apprentice

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    My first thought is that the vang may have been off a bit too far, which would cause a windward roll as the top of the sail twisted forward.

    Next time you find yourself in this position, whack a small amount of vang on, and then get the boat going on a reach. Once you're going, ease the main a bit, and turn to a broad reach. Get under control again, then turn further so that you are by the lee, and you should be safe.

    Dont worry about letting out lots of mainsheet in case you gybe accidentally - you need to turn a long way for that to happen, about 45 degrees past dead downwind if the boom is at 90, so unless you lose control, or fall asleep, it should never happen. Except maybe in a freak windshift? oops
     
  4. foxy

    foxy Member

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    I think mady is about right in getting stabilized on the reach and working down from there. At speed, small rudder movements will send you flying off rather quickly.

    I would add, keep one butt cheek on the windward deck and don't be on the balls of your feet. Cunningham off, outhaul not too far out from where you had it upwind. Kicker so the boom is 90 degrees to the mast and not higher or lower. Board halfway down.

    And don't forget to give the main a big trim if you start to roll to windward. It will save you a lot of the time.
     
  5. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    In that much breeze if you're currently capsizing to windward, my suggestions are to:

    1. Keep the centreboard fully down.
    2. Don't ease any where neas much vang. Keep the vang tension on.
    3. Don't let the mainsheet out anywhere near 90 degrees to the centreline.

    With experience, the centreboard, vang, and main can be kept in the more normal position locations you use in lighter conditions. However, as the wind increases, you need more vang, keep the centreboard lower and you need to keep the main on, just how much on each depends upon your experience and the windstrength.
     
  6. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    You DO NOT want to keep your centre board all the way down. The boat will trip up and turning will be much more difficult.

    Raise it a little, but obviously not as much as on a light wind day
     
  7. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Difference of opinion. I'll leave it at that.
     
  8. oatsandbeans

    oatsandbeans Member

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    The way that I see it is that there is a zone where it is extremely difficult to sail a laser when it is windy. That is with the wind from 180deg. (dead run) to ~ 150deg. very broad reach. All the suggestions so far will help, but it is very difficult and what's more it is slow. So what you do is sail higher (broad reach) or lower ( by the lee). The difference in heading between these 2 will be about 80 deg. so it is a bit like tacking so think of it like that.

    It sounds like you haven't done a lot of laser sailing and you might be put off the idea of sailing by the lee in a strong breeze but don't- its a lot easier than trying to sail on a really broad reach or run. You just have to get used to the feeling, and understand how to change from the two modes of downwind sailing (BTL / Broad Reach). Steve Cockerill, s website ( Rooster Sailing) and DVD are great on this.

    Good luck!!
     
  9. Gibbo

    Gibbo New Member

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    I've only been racing my laser for 3-4 months and spent the first 2 months sailing like I snow ski. Too fast and out of control.

    I soon learned the following tips.

    Bring on the Vang
    Bring on the Sheet
    Board down a bit more

    Also a tip I got when trimming the sail as you bear away: The sail shape is best designed to go out with the boom parallel to the deck. keeping this in mind doesn't allow for the top of the sail to twist off. IT doesn't have to be exact but if there is a lot of angle to the boom you will have too much twist.

    Also when you get to the tipping point - Put your weight to leard and sail lower (further by the lee). The Rudder is like the Air Bag - it will save you from smashing your nose on the mast as the boat goes in to windward ;)

    I now am getting much safer going by the lee and catching up to the fast guys
     
  10. clouser_minnow

    clouser_minnow New Member

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    having sailed the byte i understand your feelings as that boat capsizes really really easily. i now sail the radial and am having a blast! in order of what i adjust once i round the windward mark

    mainsheet: eased out till its 80-90degrees to the boat, sheet in for stability! you're not a wuss if you go down wind with your sail sheeted in!

    Centreboard: if you want a more "grippy" boat, you still must raise the centreboard but raise it up 1/2 way or 3/8s up...

    downhaul: loosen this all the way as tightening it opens the leech of the sail causing the boat to roll more as wind exits from the leech.

    Outhaul: loosen this too to power up your sail, you'll want a nicely rounded and smooth foot of the sail. i loosen mine till i've got about 6-10" of depth which is plenty! i usually have it set at about 8"...

    vang: Keep the tension on! if you feel the boat is nice and stable you may want to loosen this a little... i've found it helps to ease the tension from block to block a little. in 12 knots of wind i've got a boom thats jus a little under perpendicular to the mast. but i dont hesitate to yank it in if i hit a gusty patch or i see someone capsize behind me...

    these settings aren't absolutes, its not about what the dude/chic's set it at, its about what you feel comfortable with... one of my ex schoolmates goes downwind with his vang and minmal tension on it, but he's fine with that, i on the other hand have tension on mine almost all the time. if you're flipping when you gybe, get the boat planing as fast as u can with the aid of a wave so that when you gybe, its less forceful and remember to bear away immediately to put pressure back on the sail to keep the boat planing and upright. its safer to sail fast especially in sever conditions which reduces the pressure on the rig. what i've found to help a lot after a capsize is to sheet in and plane the boat on a broad reach before bearing away more to get the boat back on the run!

    happy sailing !
     

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