Another "great" day sailing

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Another "great" day sailing

Postby owldraco » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:37 pm

My son and I and a scout friend went sailing Monday. Wind speeds were in the upper teens I think. We launched ok, but the cove area where the ramp was wind shadowed. I pulled the centerboard down and raised the mainsail. We started out on a close reach and were going fine for a while. I was trying to turn upwind a bit more. But then the wind was pushing us backwards. I don’t know if the rudder popped up or what, the centerboard lines were cleated. We got pushed against a rock face and tied in to an exposed rock. The main sail jammed trying to get it down, but we were able to get it down finally. Then I rigged the jib to fly in place of the main, and we were able to sail downwind and on a reach towards the other dock, but the wind was still pushing us. I tried turning back to the main ramp. And was going ok, but could not tack to a better heading. We ended up having to have a tow, (my third so far) from a nice family on a pontoon boat. I'm thinking I need to check the rudder and CB to see if they are staying down. Maybe put in a sacrificial dowel or bamboo skewer to pin the rudder down. And check the CB cables. Has anyone heard of “mule tape”? I am contemplating using it for UH, DH cables? Maybe? Like three strands twisted together with a rope machine.

owldraco
DSII 84 ish
Central KY
Green River Lake

ps. Sometimes it seems like every other trip out is bad. Its probably not enough practice and too long of times between trips.
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby TIM WEBB » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:11 pm

Never heard of mule tape, but these work great for CB and rudder DHs:

http://www.duckworksbbs.com/hardware/cl ... /index.htm

No need for sacrificial anything - set 'em 'n' forget 'em. If you hit something and they pop, just pop 'em back and keep on boogyin' ... ;-P

BTW, there are two kinds of sailors: those who have needed a tow, and those who will at some point. I feel lucky that I fell into the former category quite early on in my sailing adventures, and therefore am not too worried about ever falling into the latter category ... <grin>
Tim Webb
1979 DS2 10099 The Red Witch
(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby GreenLake » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:45 am

If you can't point and feel that the boat is being "pushed", my first guess would be the CB. The rudder, when it pops up, still works to a degree, but you will definitely feel that it takes more work (and the lever arm for the force exerted on the horizontal blade is quite a bit longer). In any case, you would have noticed.

I recently sailed in a friend's boat in whitecap conditions, so perhaps 15 knots. The boat was not a DS, and at one point we nearly ended up on a rock face. His had an open CB trunk, so we could spot that the CB was up when it shouldn't have been, and fix the situation. Right away, the boat sailed normally again.

It's possible to "stall" the flow over the foils in some conditions, leading to the boat drifting sideways. I usually experience that in low wind conditions, when I've managed to lose the momentum and try some maneuver (like tacking), only to see the boat "stuck" in a sideways drifting attitude. Not fun, if it happens in a narrow channel, otherwise falling off and building up speed tends to fix that.

If you try sailing the DS under jib alone, you will not be able to point or go on a close reach. The jib will push the bow down more than the rudder can counteract. That would explain the latter part of your adventures.

I wonder weather the first part wasn't caused by an attempt to sail too high for the conditions and sail trim. Even a slight reduction in CB or rudder efficiency would presumably make that happen a bit earlier; but it could be other kinds of trim issues as well. I seem to recall that I experienced some really odd behavior if I sailed far out of the groove, that is, sailed at an angle much further off the wind than the sails were trimmed for. If you are not checking tell tales and windex, it's easier to do that than you might think, because the sails will look full. But they will create more sideways force than forward, in that situation.

Wonder whether other kinds of "mis-trim" have similar effects? For example, if you don't sheet in the main, you will miss its contribution not only to moving the boat forward, but also in turning the bow into the wind. In effect, you'd be sailing mainly with the jib, and, as I wrote above, with jib alone the DS will not go upwind.

That's all I can think of. Good luck avoiding this next time. It's definitely not "normal" for the DS to sail sideways under those conditions (except trying to go upwind under jib alone).
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby owldraco » Thu Jul 02, 2015 1:45 pm

I jury rigged the jib to fly aft of the mast. I used some spare line to attach it to the mast and some more as an outhaul. I think it would have worked if the centerboard was properly down. It seemed to have good curvature.

On a side note, is there a way to raise the boat off the trailer and still get inside to test the function of the centerboard? Or maybe just skin dive while the boat is docked. I've careened the boat before but I really don't want to again if possible. I'm still thinking of switching out the UH and DH lines, I should be able to that with it careened.

owldraco
84 DSII
Central KY
Green River Lake
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby GreenLake » Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:17 pm

Interesting attempt. Can't quite picture that that would have been like. Did you just fix the head to the mast or did you tie the hanks to the mast as well? When you say the "curve was good", are you sure there wasn't too much of a good thing there? You'd want a pretty flat sail in those conditions.

If the winds were truly in the high teens (measured in knots), the DS should have ordinarily been somewhat challenging to sail (if it was one of your first times in those conditions), but not impossible. Exceptions include very squirrely wind conditions, where sudden gusts can come from almost any direction.

If you don't want to careen your boat, you could support the rear on some saw horse, stack of old tires, large pieces of lumber, or what have you, then pull out the trailer, while adding more supports going forward. Whether you should risk getting into the boat would depend on how solid said supports are. Alternatively, launch the boat onto the hard (carpet), then work with a friend or two to lift each end, while you build up supports.

Launching onto a carpet and careening can be done single handed. Just need to raise the mast beforehand, so you have a lever arm. Requires clearance for the mast when it's horizontal, but you have access to both sides w/o climbing in or under the boat.

On keeping the rudder down: I've found that if I use a pair of pliers to tighten the wingnut hat holds the rudder blade, I can get it tight enough that the rudder stays down while sailing, but not so tight that I can no longer fold the rudder manually. This needs adjustment less than once per season on my boat, so I never bothered with bamboo voodoo or downhauls.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby ldeikis » Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:34 pm

owldraco wrote:On a side note, is there a way to raise the boat off the trailer and still get inside to test the function of the centerboard?


I think this depends a lot on your trailer. On mine, there is a cross member right under the CB, so you'd need the thing 3 or 4 feet up before you could check full motion. BUT, I found that I could slide the boat backwards off the trailer onto a few hay bales just partially, so the front of the boat is still on the trailer--just enough that the CB can swing clear of the rear cross member on the trailer, and this allows pretty good movement of the board. You obviously want to be careful with that approach, as the boat is poorly supported by the bunks at that point and probably isn't receiving any favors by you clamoring around in it... but it works. I got very sick of careening and un-careening my boat this spring and this worked as an almost.

Luke
'74 DSII sailing Haverstraw Bay and the lower Hudson River
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby UCanoe_2 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:21 am

147014721632
"George Washington as a boy was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie."
-- Mark Twain
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby owldraco » Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:42 pm

Ok, ucanoe, for some reason (probably a PICNIC error) I can't see your pictures. But I did look thru your gallery, and I really like how you raised your boat. I will be working on grass, and I have some cinderblocks and lumber. I think this is a cool way to do it. I wonder though if it would be stable enough to play with the centerboard cables. My DSII has the wedges and plastic pin holding it down. I'll have to do some scrounging, measuring, and drawing. Thabks

owldraco
84 DSII
Central KY
Green River Lake

If it works, I'll have to post pictures in Repair and Improvement.
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby UCanoe_2 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:22 pm

Nice jury rig storm sail with the jib!
I can't see my pictures either. Dunno why.
Here's the drill:
Drop trailer tongue all the way to the ground, raising stern as far as possible. Support stern on sawhorses, etc.
Then raise trailer tongue as far as possible and support bow.
My bow support was not high enough to give clearance for the trailer fenders, but I was able to move the trailer far enough forward to drop the CB.
I used wedges and ratchet straps to hold the CB in place while removing the CB handle (DS I). Then pull wedges and let down straps.
Be careful! Make sure everything is stable, level, and plumb!
If you can find a nice flat garage floor to work on, it will be much safer than grass.
I put a WorkMate under the center of the boat and it supported my weight. YMMV.
"George Washington as a boy was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie."
-- Mark Twain
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby GreenLake » Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:36 pm

I can see all the pictures just fine. Please post any recurring issues you may experience not here, but in the How To... section of the forum, with some details of browser used, etc. and whether you select the "automatically log me in" check mark when you last logged in.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby NoCashOnBoard » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:21 am

I was stuck on Lake Ontario near Port Dalhousie for 6 hours after I decided to head home last Saturday afternoon. I feel somewhat in better company that the struggle to learn is shared by many. I had my spouse with me whom decided to join my son and I after I bought a trolling motor. Still didn't help that much. The main problem for me was the light winds and the increased skill that required to make the boat move efficiently. Secondly, I made the dreadful and unforgiveable mistake of following my GPS back to the ramp. That just kept me in the wrong direction. I have to learn to trust my intuition and my developing sailor's eye. If I would have headed due east with a southern wind, I could have kept up a nice beam reach and sailed well past my boat ramp and then tacked towards the ramp facing SW for a nice close reach. By 8:30 that night, I was 1.5 NM from the ramp and gave up. We were hungry, having run out of snacks long ago. Plenty of water though. I brought the boat into shore and tied her up to a willow tree near a park. I left spouse and son their while I hoofed it back to the ramp that was closing at 9 and got the car. We went home, got dinner and passed out. I woke the next morning, with the recharged battery went and retrieved my boat and brought her back to the ramp. The bottom was scoured a bit from having lashed against the beach all night but other than that she just needed a good cleaning. I'll just chalk this up to experience. Don't think the spouse will ever go again, but that is not totally a bad thing. :)
Lucas Parrish
1986 DaySailer 3 (first boat ever!)
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby GreenLake » Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:46 pm

Lucas, don't get me started on the folly of GPSs again :) For coastal sailing, I posit there are very few (or make that limited) use cases for a GPS to determine location. Most of the time, navigation by landmarks works just as well, or better, for your purpose. Even if you need the GPS to tell you where the next waypoint is, as you discovered, you are usually best served letting the wind determine which angles to sail. You can count yourself lucky having learned that early on.

In light wind sailing, the goal is to sail to where the wind is strongest and stay with the strongest wind as long as possible. That usually beats trying to sail the shortest distance (within limits). People racing sailboats hone these skills, but when you are trying to make it back to port, in a situation as you described, you are in a race against time, effectively. Might look into some books on small boat racing over the winter to pick up some tips (or join your local "beer can" race, if there is one in your area).

Besides hunting for wind, the challenge in light wind sailing is to trim your sails, because you will not necessarily get the same degree of feedback as you are used to with brisker winds (tell tales will be limp, etc). In really light winds, depart from the usual attempt to sail the boat flat and heel it to leeward. The weight of the sail will then help create the sail shape, and you reduce the wet surface (and its drag, which matters more when boat moves slowly). Finally, it is said, that sailing in weak winds tests your conviction. In those conditions, rapid change of plans (as indeed any rapid movement within the boat) is deadly. It kills what little momentum you had managed to build up.

I assume you know about letting out the outhaul a bit, and not tightening the halyards too much when the wind slackens a bit. Except, in very light winds, were a flatter sail shape is needed again, or the airflow won't manage to stay "attached" to your sail. For the longest time I've been unable to pin down people on what the precise cut-offs are for these wind speed regimens. Now, around 6 knots of wind, the wind enters turbulent flow; you will notice that it feels much stronger than 5 knots, despite there being only a small change in speed. My best understanding is that light wind starts from that transition on down, and very light winds are in the "barely any wind" realm. (Inviting others here to complete the story).

If it's any consolation, with some experience, you'll probably get faster boat speeds out of marginal winds. I set out on an "ice-cream" run once, that famously took 6 hours one way, 9 hours total and had us return after midnight. We've done the same several times now, but we've always ended up faster; we still get home at midnight a lot, but now we are having dinner at the other end, not just ice cream. :)

Good thinking on breaking off your trip to recover. Gear suggestion: get yourself a 9# Danforth anchor. Even if you don't leave the boat at anchor, you can hold it off the beach just a bit, so it won't get banged up next time.

Good luck next time!
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby NoCashOnBoard » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:21 pm

Greenlake, thank you for the words of wisdom. I can always count on your commentary to add to my knowledge of sailing. The GPS mistake is something I should know better about and somewhat embarrassed to admit. But, I admit to my mistakes to not only help myself but anyone else that should stumble along this posting. I did it once while motorcycling in West Virginia - long story short - I ended up in a cow patch - no kidding! But, sailing is totally different where we depend on the wind and no straight line path is going to agree with Mother Nature. I'm learning to watch the wind and the waves. I lost my windex about a month ago (I forgot to take it off the mast after leaving the ramp) - it didn't make it home. I just ordered another one. My sails didn't come with telltales, draft stripes or leach tails on the main. I don't know how they managed to sail without them, unless Rehoboth Bay has so much wind they really don't care. In Lake Ontario where I live on the west end the wind can be marginal at best. I've put all those sail upgrades on and I use them all the time. I'm going to buy a drifter kit from SailRite to help with the low wind situation. I had a really nice Danforth anchor, that night I did use it but the ground was too rocky where I parked the boat and it just dragged to shore. Last night, my son and I spent the night on the boat (on purpose) after I put the anchor out and started to make dinner I noticed we were getting too close to shore. I thought I had set it, I even pulled on it to make sure it had dug in but when I pulled it up the anchor was GONE! I have no idea how that happened unless we have some mutant metal eating Carp in the lake now! I used my homedepot orange bucket that I keep my rode & chain in as an anchor - it did ok - not great but I didn't end up on shore again. I'm learning and one of the most important lessons is to be patient - this is sailing after all. Take things in small bites and distances are deceiving on the lake.

Image
Lucas Parrish
1986 DaySailer 3 (first boat ever!)
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Re: Another "great" day sailing

Postby GreenLake » Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:08 pm

Nice picture!

It's possible to sail w/o windex and tell tales; and I've seen people do quite well without. Upwind, you would pinch just a bit every once in a while and watch the jib. That would tell you at what point you were too high on the wind and you'd fall off a few degrees. Only to repeat this game a little while later, in case the wind had shifted a bit (it does that, as you know).

I find that I use the Windex mostly going downwind; upwind I use it mainly as a rough guide and otherwise follow the tell tales. I've seen a windex stuck to the mast so tight, it was impossible to get it off, and at then end of the drive it was gone. I've lost a couple of them in trees as well (while on the water, to boot). So, you are in good company.

Too bad about your anchor.

My "technique" here for lack of wind is to take a nap. There's one place I sail to that seems to lose the wind as the afternoon wears on, usually when I'm at the farthest point. I've learned not to stress, so I watch the birds and other water fauna for a while, then I take a nap and only wake up when the sails are flapping again. The wind appears with some regularity an hour or two before sunset and it builds quickly to where it can be a bit challenging to get back. But also exhilarating.

You may find that your lake has definite patterns of some sort, in which case you'd learn after a while to better time your outings.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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