In irons

Moderator: GreenLake

In irons

Postby Solarwinds » Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:51 am

A couple of days ago, I went out with my wife for the first time this season. I sail on the Hudson, the tide was coming in (going North) and the wind was out of the S/SE blowing 10 - 12 so my wife says don't put up the jib.
We pushed away from the dock without the jib and the boat seemed to be locked in irons, no amount of pumping the tiller nor tiller to starboard nor port would bring the boat around. That happened again when we came back from our short sail.
Yesterday, I went out with a buddy for Wed night races. I don't know why I thought that a DS with a hull speed of 4.5 knots could somehow keep up with a 28 ft cruiser with a 150 genny, but hey Wed night races are just for fun.
The current again was going North but the wind was a little lighter and squirrely at 5-6 knots, again, out of the S/SE.
This time the jib was up but here's the thing, with the lighter winds, the boat would still not come tack that well. On a couple of tacks the boat didn't complete the tack and came back to its original heading another couple of times it got locked in irons
The consensus around here seems to be that the small, fractional rigged jib has to be up all the time, ok, that we got.
Also, when you tack, you have to wait for the wind to back wind the jib before you release the sheets to make sure that you have enough power to turn through the wind.
Any comments?
Solarwinds
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:18 pm

Re: In irons

Postby rnlivingston » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:59 am

I've been sailing Daysailers for many years and I have not have the problem you describe. I sail the boat without the jib in heavy air and it handles and tacks well. It might be you have the mast raked back too far which would push the boat into the wind. You also might check to make sure your centerboard is going down. Not a problem on the DS1, but possible on a DS11.
Roger Livingston
DS 6872
Mariner 4096
rnlivingston
 
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 8:38 am
Location: Worcester, MA

Re: In irons

Postby Alan » Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:14 pm

Roger makes a good point about the centerboard being down. Sailing under main alone a couple of years ago, I could not make the boat stop turning away from the wind. My crew asked, ever so sweetly, "Did you lower the centerboard?"

Ahem. Problem solved. In my case, I just forgot, but it's entirely possible that the complicated tackle of the DSII centerboard made you think the board was down when it wasn't.

The PO of my boat had a similar problem, but the cause was that he and his crew couldn't agree on which line was the uphaul and which the downhaul. My solution to that one is to lean way outboard and look under the boat.
Alan
 
Posts: 726
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:39 pm

Re: In irons

Postby GreenLake » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:23 am

Making sure your boat is set up correctly would be the first step in diagnosing this issue. Confirm that the CB is down, and that the rudder blade is also down (you can steer with a rudder that's tilted up, but it's not as efficient). Before raising the sail next time, let the main halyard dangle with a heavy shackle tied to it and observe how many inches behind the mast it would touch the deck (with you off the boat). That should help rule out incorrect mast-rake as an issue.

When tacking using both sails, the jib is brought over in the middle of the tack. Initially, even as you point higher into the wind, the jib will continue to provide power. You can leave it sheeted as it was, and after a bit more of the turn, it would start to backwind. At this point the jib would slow down the boat, but, being backwinded, would help bring the bow about. This can be useful in some situations. Normally, however, you would release the jib and bring it over at that point.

Having the main correctly trimmed (boom in) for upwind sailing helps steer the boat into the wind. Pressure on the main (which sits behind the CB) should create weather helm (a tendency of the boat to round up). For this reason, when sailing without the jib, some people raise the CB a small amount. Because the CB pivots back, that results in moving most of it back (changing its effective location).

People with less experience often make the mistake of not steering the boat far enough into a tack, that is, they straighten the tiller before the boat has gone the full 90 degrees (or more in some conditions) needed to get to the new tack. For a smooth tack, as soon as the boat starts to turn, you can increase the rudder deflection, because the boat almost turns on its own axis (the stern goes a bit sideways through the water). Normally, you want to avoid deflecting the rudder too much, because that slows the boat, so, for example, you'd never push the tiller 90 degrees over immediately - you would "stall" the rudder blade and slow the boat as the rudder just acts as a brake. But if the boat spins very rapidly, that changes. You can see this if you let go of the tiller as the boat spins: the ruder will align itself with the effective direction of the flow and will deflect pretty far.

My own experience is that the boat likes the jib up. I've had the sailmaker put a reef point in the main, and it tend to put a reef in the main before taking down the jib, but usually neither unless there are white caps on the water (and then depending on the crew).
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
Posts: 6067
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: In irons

Postby Solarwinds » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:57 am

I'm sorry I didn't clarify, my boat is a DSI and I'm sure I had the CB down.
I don't pretend to have a lot of experience but I have raced on an Ensign for a good number of years and have daysailed and sometimes, raced, my Catalina 25 on the Hudson by Nyack, NY . That's why I'm perplexed.
The boat didn't seem to have much weather helm and steered with a light touch so I don't think mast rake is an issue, but I will put a weight on the main halyard next time I'm on it to check.
It's actually interesting that nobody on the forum, so far, has had this experience, that's good news
Solarwinds
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:18 pm

Re: In irons

Postby jeadstx » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:30 pm

Solarwinds, the only time I experience any problems similar to what you describe is when I have too much weight (me) aft. I'm a big man and my weight definitely affects the handling of my boat. When I started racing my Day Sailer II, I was usually at helm and the boat performed badly and was not competitive. Sailing up the Texas coast in 2011 I found that when my crew and I switched places at helm and I moved forward, the boat immediately picked up speed. I had been monitoring speed with my GPS for several hours. Staying on the same coarse with a steady wind, when I switched back to helm, the boat would slow. This is the kind of experimentation you can do when you are on the same tack and nearly the same course for 8 to 10 hours.

So when I tried racing again, I found a lighter weight helmsman so my weight could be forward and found I could be competitive with other Day Sailers. Well the DS I boats would still beat me, but competitive against the DS II boats. Talking to more experienced racers helped get the boat balanced right also for racing. In my experience, with weight forward and the help of the inhaulers for the jib, my boat will point very well and sails better on all points of sail.

John
1976 Day Sailer II, #8075 - Completed the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Texas 200
1952 Beetle Boat Swan Catboat
Early Rhodes 19
1973 Mariner 2+2, #2607 - Completed 2014, 2015 and 2016 Texas 200
1969 Day Sailer I, #3229
Fleet 135; Canyon Lake, Texas
jeadstx
 
Posts: 1216
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:10 am
Location: Dripping Springs, Tx

Re: In irons

Postby GreenLake » Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:29 pm

If CB is down, helm is balanced and outhaul isn't loose, John's suggestion about fore/aft balance makes sense. I always think the last 3-4' of the cockpit should be decked over to help the helm resist the urge to sit too far back... (except, of course, when planing).

With the transom digging in, you are pulling the parking brake...
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
Posts: 6067
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: In irons

Postby K.C. Walker » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:40 pm

A couple of thoughts to add to what's already been mentioned:

When I have just the main up. I pull my centerboard up half way to move the center of resistance back a bit. I crank on the out haul really tight and also the Cunningham to help move the center of effort a bit forward. I prefer to keep the jib up as long as possible for maneuvering. I prefer to de-power the main or reef. If I'm so overpowered that I need to strike the jib, my main will likely already be reefed, which also moves the center of effort forward.

In light weight centerboard boats, especially when the wind is up, you need to tack smartly because you don't have the momentum. You need to be at full speed or nearly so before you tack. And, this is even more the case when you only have the main up. When the wind picks up these boats do get pretty athletic. If you attempt a leisurely tack with just the main up you will easily get stopped head to the wind.

When you have your boat set up right and you get used to it, you will be amazed at how nimble it is. I often sail in crowded anchorages among multimillion dollar boats… And… Only occasionally think about the liability of scratching one. :-) Also, because it sounds like you sailed in bigger boats you may not have practiced the art of sailing backwards… Often the best way to bring the boat around when you are in irons.
KC Walker, DS 1 #7002
K.C. Walker
 
Posts: 1335
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:50 pm
Location: North Stonington, Connecticut

Re: In irons

Postby TIM WEBB » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:25 pm

+1! Great reply KC - spot on.
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>)
TIM WEBB
 
Posts: 1208
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: RIVERSIDE, CA

Re: In irons

Postby K.C. Walker » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:15 pm

Thanks Tim!
KC Walker, DS 1 #7002
K.C. Walker
 
Posts: 1335
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:50 pm
Location: North Stonington, Connecticut

Re: In irons

Postby GreenLake » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:06 am

Good point, K.C. about the momentum. I find in narrow channels and (very) light winds, it can pay to use the momentum to coast "upwind" in the middle of the tack for a bit, but you need to know how to keep the boat moving at all times, nevertheless. Otherwise, not only will you be in irons, but you can stall the CB or rudder and lose your ability to avoid those million dollar boats.. But, well managed, I've use that technique to save me a couple of tacks (it's on returning to our launch which is sheltered, so I get to practice that a lot...)
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
Posts: 6067
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am


Return to Seamanship and boat handling

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron