Sailing Downwind

Thread starter #1
Anyone have any specific opinions?

The shrouds make it so that the boom can't be extended perpendicular, does this mean that the boat does sail directly with the wind optimally?

Does everyone else ear the jib out to the opposite side of the mainsail? I call it the pirate ship maneuver. It wants a whisker pole though.
Around here we call it being Wing and Wing . I use a whisker pole , it gives an appreciable increase in boat speed . I prefer to sail slightlly off-wind with the pole out to lessen the chance of an unexpected gybe and incease boat speed .

Have fun!

Thread starter #3
I think that I actually take that precaution as well. Thanks for helping with the terminology. What whisker pole would you recommend?
In the C14 handbook, The rules call for a 7 foot 8 inch pole up tp a inch and a quarter diameter.
My boat came with a Forespar pole at the legal length. They are a popular brand and rebuildable. Make sure you get the padeye for the mast too.

How about running straight downwind with just a jib if the wind is more than I can comfortably handle? I had to sail straight downwind to a harbor to take out one time, in reasonably heavy seas, so I figured I was safest to just run with the jib. Is that really safe??
I think you proved its worth Gary ;) , In those conditions, I think its safer than sailing downwind with the main alone. Sailing downwind under jib alone pulls the boat along instead of more like pushing it with the main ( sail's center of effort / hull's center of flotation relationship ) plus smaller sail area is being presented.

Whisker Pole

I went to Home Depot or Lowes and bought a telescoping painters pole for about $10. And ordered a padeye from West Marine.

The pole, I used very short cord to attach a carabiner on each end. Then on a long downwind leg, I attach the pole to the jib and the padeye and off I go. It is not as pretty as a real whisker pole, but I didn't have to pay the larger amount.... And, if I were to lose it in a capsize, then I won't lose any sleep over it either.

1989 Catalina Capri 14.2 Mod2
1984 Catalina 22


Sailing on Shelter Bay
Anyone have any specific opinions?

The shrouds make it so that the boom can't be extended perpendicular, does this mean that the boat does sail directly with the wind optimally?
For what it is worth, there is my experience: The shrouds on many sail boats don't allow the boom to be perpendicular to the center-line of the boat. And, it is often a good idea not to allow the boom to lean too hard on them: that is, maintain a little main sheet tension. You also want some vang on running straight down wind so that you do not get excessive twist of the leech of the main. Without the vang the boom has to be overly trimmed to keep the head of the sail full.

Here are a couple of other observations you might be interested in. If you allow the boom to rest on the shrouds and you have an accidental jibe the boom could hit the shroud with enough impact to break it. That would probably result in a loss of the mast! Next, you will notice the boat has no backstay. You will note that the shrouds on the Omega 14 are only inches aft from the mast. So the force on the shrouds when running are multiplied (force divided by the Tangent of the angle if I remember my high school physics correctly). The vang and some tension on the main sheet, it seems to me, help the shrouds when running.

The picture certainly paints a thousand words and this depiction certainly proves the point for me. I would like to use this method as well Jim, what program did you use?


Sailing on Shelter Bay
Vang/Main Sheet

I always have at least a little vang on. There are different schools of thought on this, I suppose. But if I am beating (where the Main Sheet has all the influence) and I have to ease the sheet in a gust (like yesterday!) the vang keeps the boom from rising up at first, rather than going straight out. When you ease the sheet in a gust you want a nice flat sail to pivot like a door.
Thread starter #15
When would you want the vang to be a little looser. I can't think of a situation. Also I seem to get too much flutter along the leech. I pull everything tight. The sails might be about 20 years old, is that likely the problem?

Also on the jib: I step the mast, pin the forestay, raise the jib and then the forestay is loose, should I hoist the jib so that the tension is even between the jib's luff and forestay?
Yep , Downwind we want to present as much sail area as possible , we use the vang for the same reason as we use a whisker pole on the jib.

On other points of sail we now get to talk about relative (apparent) wind . The wind speed and angle you feel and can measure at a standstill (true wind) begins to change as soon as you start moving . You then factor in the wind gradient ( wind speed increases the higher above the surface ) and conditons - light, gusty, steady ... add our point of sail and we have the wind affecting our boat .

So now the question - when do we want more twist ? if you answered in light air, you get an "A" . If you answered by watching my telltales you get an "A+" .

How do we increase twist ? on the mainsail, our traveler is limited in adjustment, thus needs to be centered and high , many have already learned this trick to increase the 14.2's ability to point in light air . On the jib , to add twist we slide the jibcar back .

Fairwinds and good sailing ,



Sailing on Shelter Bay
Main sheet tension to control the leech is often overlooked. I Can't control the position of the traveler on my boat so that limits me somewhat there. If the sail is "blown-out" then you will not be able to control that flap short of taking it to a sailmaker for some repairs.

Good observation on your part. The jib halyard tension and forestay tension are relative. I mean if you want a somewhat flatter jib you increase halyard tension and that takes makes the forestay slack. The opposite is true. It depends on how the sail is originally cut. In the Lido 14 racing skippers sail with "crows feet" (little wrinkles) in the jib until the wind is overpowering, then they tighten up the halyard and flatten the sail. If you wanted forestay tension and halyard tension they you would shorten the shrouds. You don't want to do that according to the tuning guide for the capri 14. They should have just a little slop to allow the mast to move a little.


Sailing on Shelter Bay
Vang/Main Sheet

Kyle, You would only want the vang looser if it interferes with the sail shape: that is, if it made the sail flatter than you wanted or moved the draft fore or aft. My general rule is that in light airs I loosen everything up. By the way, I tried to answer your other questions and for some reason they didn't show up in the right place. Hope you find them elsewhere. (???) Hmmm.. later now I see my answer suddenly appears above. :)
when to vang...

"When would you want the vang to be a little looser. I can't think of a situation."

If you release the vang in a close haul, you will get two benefits, the sail will naturally take on a more efficient shape to produce forward lift, and the boat will heel signficantly less!
This is based on theory, and I've tested it with very noticeble results.