Yo Aussie Boys! Sailing Under Heavy Winds

Merrily

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Thread starter #1
I've just spent the summer improving my sailing in near drifting conditions, then held a regatta with wind howling this past Saturday. The water was cold. In the thread Australians Dominate World Masters, one poster says y'all do so well competitively because you have consistently high winds.

Is that steady, shifty, gusty?

What advice can you or anyone else give me on sailing in high wind? I've two weeks of practice until docks out :(.

Merrily
 
#2
Re: Yo Aussie Boys!

IMHO, it doesn't really matter if it's steady, shifty or gusty, as long as it's in the upper teens or higher. It's all about time in the boat in those conditions, first to learn how to sail it, then to get comfortable, and then to learn to go fast.

It does help to have a training partner or coach who is familar with sailing in those conditions to get you up to speed in all three areas in the least amount of time. But there are no shortcuts, you will end up "payin your dues" Once you are comfortable and have the skill set and knowledge burned into the cranium, then it's the same as sailing in other conditions - time spent in the boat = results.

There has been some good advice handed out in this forum in the past, I'd also get a hold of one or two Laser specific books that spell out the basics in sail/rig setup and steering/body weight placement.

It goes w/o saying that there is also a much higher demand on physical fitness in a breeze. Blackburn's book is about as good as it gets for the hows,whys and types of conditioning needed.

All the above may seem a little overwhelming, especially when you have a real job and age is working against you (This is not directed at anyone in particular, it's a generalization). In that case, I'd give serious consideration to moving down a rig size when the wind picks up, at least until you have the confidence factor working (or longer) It's supposed to be about learning and fun first, and spending too much time in the water or going in early runs counter to that.....
 
#3
Yeah I love the heavy stuff - pounding into the swells upwind, blasting off on reaches, sailing on the edge down the runs, surving a gybe in a 25kt gust. The post above is pretty spot on though. It takes a lot of time on the water, it's the best way to be conditioned, and the best way to learn the boat handling techniques. The good thing is that if you put the time in on a real blow, all conditions lighter will seem like child's play.

Gusts are really hard to handle if you are already overpowered upwind. If you have your rig already fully de-powered, then it's a matter of "Ease, Hike, Trim". You are better off dumping lot's of main and sailing with a big bubble in your sail and keeping your boat flat. Heeling in swell is the worst thing for speed, you will only go sideways.

On the runs, if you are capsizing alot. But your board all the way down, and don't let your sail out too far. As you get more confident, sail by the lee, and slowly raise the board.

On the reaches, make sure your hiking strap is tight enough so you can hike at 45 angle.

Gybing - go into it all super speed with full confidence, make an even constant turn. As the leach flicks, snap the main, and dive across the boat like your life depends on it.

I think arriving back at the beach after handling a heavy air race is the most satifying sailing experience in a Laser.
 

Merrily

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Thread starter #4
rock steady said:
Gusts are really hard to handle if you are already overpowered upwind. If you have your rig already fully de-powered, then it's a matter of "Ease, Hike, Trim". You are better off dumping lot's of main and sailing with a big bubble in your sail and keeping your boat flat. Heeling in swell is the worst thing for speed, you will only go sideways.
I can gybe OK, just put the board most of the way down, pull the sail in some, turn, flick, and dive!

I have the most trouble sailing upwind when it's heavy. What do you mean, sail with a big bubble in the sail?

Merrily
 
#5
^^ I mean when a gust hits, dump the main (up to a metre if need be) hike hard, then trim the sail back in. You do of course need a lot of vang on.
 
#7
we sail in heavy winds alot, last week we were out in 35 knots and everyone who didnt snap their mast made it around the course

its just experience and technique really
 

Merrily

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Thread starter #8
laser2_9804 said:
'Yo Aussie Boys!' and girls! Sorry, just had to make that point. :D
Whoops! And here I chided someone for a little old ladies on the porch comment. Thank you, Vicky.

Sounds like I just need to come to Australia for the sailing season. Sigh. :rolleyes:

Merrily
 
#10
Murphs said:
we sail in heavy winds alot, last week we were out in 35 knots and everyone who didnt snap their mast made it around the course

its just experience and technique really
35kts woah! Is that gusts or constant? How did people snap their mast? Winward capsizes?

I sailed a little in Western Australia, they rarely raced in under 25kts. But most people were into kite surfing or sail boarding :( . The yachties would literally walk the streets before the race trying to drag people in as rail meat!
 
#11
Wow, I knew they had some fairly strong winds in WA but I didn't know they were that strong regularly. Well, it's going to be interesting keeping a 125 flat in over 25 knots at the Nats.
 
#12
laser2_9804 said:
Wow, I knew they had some fairly strong winds in WA but I didn't know they were that strong regularly. Well, it's going to be interesting keeping a 125 flat in over 25 knots at the Nats.
Say hello to the "Fremantle Doctor" for me.
 
#13
rock steady said:
35kts woah! Is that gusts or constant? How did people snap their mast? Winward capsizes?

I sailed a little in Western Australia, they rarely raced in under 25kts. But most people were into kite surfing or sail boarding :( . The yachties would literally walk the streets before the race trying to drag people in as rail meat!

all of the breakages were radial rigs and they were all from too much stress i.e. running into the back of a wave, no capsizes

lowest recording they had all day was 25 knots highest was 38, mostly around 32-35
 

Merrily

Administrator
Thread starter #14
Murphs said:
all of the breakages were radial rigs and they were all from too much stress i.e. running into the back of a wave, no capsizes

lowest recording they had all day was 25 knots highest was 38, mostly around 32-35
Breakage from running into the back of a wave?????
 
#15
Yeah. A when you are going really fast and experience massive deceleration (running into the back of a wave, nosedive etc) The force on your rig increases immensley, often well beyond design specifications. Leading to breakage of masts. I snapped a bottom section like this once.
 
#20
Merrily said:
No, but how puffy is it generally?
I just checked Weather Underground for Sydney. Apparently our friends in the Land of Oz are only going to see winds of 2mph on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. But then on Monday and Tuesday WU predicts winds of 31632 mph. :eek:

Yikes. That might bend a mast or two. No word on how puffy that might be.
 
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