sailing mainsail only?

Moderator: GreenLake

sailing mainsail only?

Postby WinniDS3 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:47 pm

I am about to take my DS3 out for the first time solo. I will only go if the wind is below 10 mph. My only solo sails until now have been on a Sunfish. How will the DS3 handle under the mainsail alone? I am afraid that without making modifications trying to handle the mainsail, tiller and jib by myself may be a little much. I have my boat on a dock and will need to motor out to gain some space. I plan to point the boat into the wind and raise the sail. I am hoping that it will be like starting out with the boat in irons. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.
thank you,
Bob from NH
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Re: sailing mainsail only?

Postby jalmeida51 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:18 pm

Hi Bob, I think you will find the boat will sail much better using your jib along with the mainsail. It will really help when you come about in light air or if there is any chop. It will point closer to the wind. Without the jib you will be in irons a lot. In light air when you come about you need the jib to push the bow over to the next tack. You won't have the speed to complete the next tack and if you push the rudder over hard it will act like a brake.
If you have a reefing system for the main, you could reef the main this will reduce the sail area and use your jib.
You will need someway to keep the bow pointed into the wind when you hoist the main. I use a tiller clutch other people use a piece of shock cord to hold the tiller.
Have to tried to find someone to go sailing with you until you get used of sailing the boat?
The only sailboat which sails well using just a main is a cat rigged sailboat. Happy sailing, John
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Re: sailing mainsail only?

Postby GreenLake » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:52 am

I'm in the sailing from the dock camp. Local conditions may vary, of course, but I tend to sail away from the dock if at all possible.

To sail well, a boat needs to be balanced, that is, the notional "center of effort" (averaging where the combined contribution of the wind affects the boat) needs to be balanced against the "center of lateral resistance" which is a notional location that averages all the contributions from rudder, CB and hull that resist the boat going sideways.

If these two are not aligned, the two forces will turn the boat. If the CE is to far aft (main only), it will push the back of the boat downwind, using the CLP as "pivot" with the effect that it will drive the bow into the wind. You will need to pull hard on your tiller to counteract that, which is that same as "setting your parking brake".

If sailing with only a main is unavoidable (it's not desirable), then you can get a bit better balance by moving the CB aft by raising it just a bit. This moves CLP aft to match the CE being aft (with main only). It's not perfect, but it might help.

In winds under 10 knots you should have no difficulties controlling both lines.

I have ratchet blocks on all three sheets. That way, they are easier to hold. I will hold main and jib in one hand at times and moving that hand forward/aft or in/out will trim both sails but not necessarily identically. I am able to adjust not only the overall trim (in/out) but also the relative trim (more jib, more main) by moving the hand holding both sheets further aft or forward. If winds are not very strong, cleat the jib and use the main to handle gusts. However, keep the jib sheet close so you can always release it quickly.

Finally, in light winds. I'll fly a spinnaker by myself.

All of these depend on having a tiller tamer; my favorite is the bungee across the cockpit. I don't tie the tiller to it, I just "lash" it with three wraps of thin bungee cord: that way, it can slide along the main bungee while I steer manually, but the minute I let go, the friction holds it in the last place.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: sailing mainsail only?

Postby WinniDS3 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:00 am

My thanks to both John and GreenLake for their advice. I definitely need to get a feel for the boat with a second person on board to start. Over the winter I will work on getting some of the items that have been suggested for single handed sailing. Currently I do not have a tiller extension, ratchet block for the main or any kind of tiller tamer set up. I did not have a cam cleat on my sunfish and the one on the daysailer seems too eager to grab the sheet. When one installs a ratchet block for the main do they still keep the cam cleat? I have actually thought about using electrical tape to clamp the cleat shut until I know I am ready to use one.
I must admit I have become very timid about going out after reading all of the capsize and recovery posts on the forum. I don't have cuddy doors on my boat and I am a light weight at under 140 pounds. I realize that if the boat does go over I have very little chance of righting it. I am hoping that most of the capsizes are by those who like to push the limits but I also realize that mistakes can capsize a boat as well. Still a great forum and my thanks to all who have shared their sailing knowledge.
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Re: sailing mainsail only?

Postby GreenLake » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:43 pm

A couple of thoughts.

Having a healthy respect for capsizing in a DS is probably good. Helps avoid that eventuality.

However, the boat is rather well-behaved and I find it gives plenty of warning. Also, response to gusts is just a bit more measured than in some lighter an livelier dinghies, which gives you that extra fraction of a second to react.

You do want a cleat on your mainsheet, but not one that ever "grabs" when not wanted; and not one that you can't release instantly no matter where you are sitting. Same for the jib. Getting that sorted out is priority one in terms of capsize prevention.

Ratchet blocks help you hold the sheets, but you do want to be able to cleat. For ratchet blocks, get the Ronstan ones; they tested as (far) grippier than the competition, so even if you only have about 90 degrees wrap, they still hold. I've found their auto-release (when not loaded) calibrated well and never had to turn them off in very light airs. Update your sheets to something that's soft and grippy. Helps you hold them, but also helps the ratchet blocks to work.

Tiller tamer: there's one model that uses a fixed line and has a lever that you press as you grip the tiller to move it. Some people like that one a lot (RudderCraft).
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: sailing mainsail only?

Postby aigroup » Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:25 pm

GL - this is a not new post, but

could you provide additional how to incorporate the bungee aparatus?

All of these depend on having a tiller tamer; my favorite is the bungee across the cockpit. I don't tie the tiller to it, I just "lash" it with three wraps of thin bungee cord: that way, it can slide along the main bungee while I steer manually, but the minute I let go, the friction holds it in the last place
.
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Re: sailing mainsail only?

Postby GreenLake » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:51 am

For a picture of my setup and detailed discussion see this post in the "Tiller tamer installation" thread.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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