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Old 08-16-2017, 11:58 AM   #1
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Steadying sails

So as some here may know, I recently had a steadying/get home sail rig installed on my boat. It consists of a 40' mast with an in mast furling main and a furling jib. The total sail area is about 380 square feet.

My thoughts so far, after a three week trip (too short) to the Abacos:

1. I found out that just the weight of the rig alone, with no sails deployed, dampened the roll from normal-size wakes quite a bit. Before the roll from wakes was very snappy and violent, but now it's a much slower, gentle roll.

2. It seems the wind needs to be over 10 knots for the sails to have much effect on speed, and really 15 knots is ideal. Because I'm always motorsailing at at least 6 knots, if the wind is not blowing at a good clip the boat seems to "outrun" the wind, for lack of the proper sailing term. With winds blowing 10-15, depending on the point of sail, the sails seemed to provide about a knot of speed. They didn't really increase my overall SOG-- I would just pull the engine RPMs down to keep the same 6-7 knots. It was nice to be able to chug along at 1200-1400 rpm at times vs the normal 2000 rpm.

3. Motorsailing on a broad reach or downwind didn't work very well at all for me, or maybe I didn't have the sails set up correctly. Even with winds of 15 knots plus I constantly had trouble filling the sails. This was on the way back across the Gulf Stream and we had some swell to deal with, plus our speed was hitting 9 knots at times so that added to the equation I'm sure. Motorsailing from a close haul to a beam reach was ideal.

4. The effect of the steadying sails close hauled or on a beam reach were significant. With winds at 10-15 knots there is basically no roll at all. We did run healed over a bit, but not radically. Maybe 5-10 degrees?

5. The in mast furling system was probably overkill for this setup. It does make it easier to reef the sail single handed (once I realized I had to be directly into the wind ), but I'm not sure it was worth the extra expense.

6. The sail rig is also a great hammock hanger. We slept out a couple of nights with two hammocks hanging from the rigging.

So overall I'm happy with my decision. The sails keep the boat steady in the right wind, and in an emergency they could get me back to land, although at only about 3 knots probably.

Aside:
I just read an article that some engines don't like to run (or lube well) when healed over beyond certain amount. Does anyone know the angle where it could become a lube starvation problem?
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Old 08-16-2017, 07:56 PM   #2
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"3. Motorsailing on a broad reach or downwind didn't work very well at all for me, or maybe I didn't have the sails set up correctly. Even with winds of 15 knots plus I constantly had trouble filling the sails."

Mind you I have only stepped foot on 1 sailboat in my life and that was at a boat show

But, thats the bain of sailing period. The wind never seems to be going in the same direction as you need to.
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:09 PM   #3
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Cardude,
Thanks for the update. I'm glad you are happy with the upgrade.

The benefits of the sails when close hauled and on a beam reach sound similar to what I get. No extra speed, but lower rpm and a much smoother ride.

I am a little surprised you don't see much downwind benefit. You will likely still need 10-15 knots of apparent wind (17-22 knots actual) to see full effects. Were you gull-winged with loose sails when running downwind?

When on a broad reach, you will also need the extra wind. Obviously, you won't be gull winged, but the both sails should be much looser than when on a beam reach.

When sailing downwind be careful not to accidentally gybe. Play it safe and rig up a preventer.

In regard to the engine heel limits, you should find it in your engine specifications. Most modern marine engines are limited to 25 degrees continuous heel, 30 degrees for 5 minutes maximum. One other thing to watch out for is your raw water intake position. Make sure heeling doesn't lift it high and dry. Being a factory sailboat design, I'm sure your boat is fine on both counts.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:10 PM   #4
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Steadying sails

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Cardude,
Thanks for the update. I'm glad you are happy with the upgrade.

The benefits of the sails when close hauled and on a beam reach sound similar to what I get. No extra speed, but lower rpm and a much smoother ride.

I am a little surprised you don't see much downwind benefit. You will likely still need 10-15 knots of apparent wind (17-22 knots actual) to see full effects. Were you gull-winged with loose sails when running downwind?

When on a broad reach, you will also need the extra wind. Obviously, you won't be gull winged, but the both sails should be much looser than when on a beam reach.

When sailing downwind be careful not to accidentally gybe. Play it safe and rig up a preventer.

In regard to the engine heel limits, you should find it in your engine specifications. Most modern marine engines are limited to 25 degrees continuous heel, 30 degrees for 5 minutes maximum. One other thing to watch out for is your raw water intake position. Make sure heeling doesn't lift it high and dry. Being a factory sailboat design, I'm sure your boat is fine on both counts.
Thanks for the thoughts! I need all the pointers I can get.

I was not running gull wing when down wind or broad reach. Looking back, I'm prettier sure I had the sails too tight. The wind was shifty, blowing up to 18 then down to 10-11. It was a bad time for me to experiment out there in the Gulf Stream. The swells were a little intimidating and we were rolling fairly bad, and my son was asleep not feeling well, so I was basically single handed. I was also kind of afraid of an accidental gybe.

I need a better situation to try to run down wind or broad reach again.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:29 PM   #5
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If you don`t have them, put some "tell tales" on your sails. You should get them at boat shops. If you have both sides streaming nicely, wind is running properly over your sails. Play with pulling in/loosening the sails to get it right. Tension on the leading edge of the sails is important too, you can ease the main a little running downwind to "belly" the sail, even ease the foot outhaul a bit, that helps the sail catch more breeze.
As Steve notes,sailing downwind, goose(or gull) winged takes concentration. With any sort of sea running,I`m not sure it`s worth it, tacking downwind might be easier even if it covers a little more ground.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:30 PM   #6
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Cardude,

You likely have already considered this but....

There are two wind speed to consider, true wind, and apparent wind.

If you are motoring at 6 knots with no wind present at all, you will be creating your own 6 knot headwind. In this situation, even thought you are heading directly into the apparent wind, you can set the main so that it will fill, give you a tiny bit of increased speed (maybe a 1/8 to 1/4 of a knot) but significantly reduce your role.

If the true wind is coming from dead astern at 6 knots, and you are motoring at 6 knots, there is no apparent wind. In this situation the sails will be completely ineffective.

So, unless you have a tailwind of sufficient speed to overcome your own speed (such as 15 knots), downwind will not be as helpful.

A lot of this will improve as you gain familiarity with sail trim. Trim the sails based on the wind they are actually experiencing.
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Old 08-17-2017, 12:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Cardude,

You likely have already considered this but....

There are two wind speed to consider, true wind, and apparent wind.

If you are motoring at 6 knots with no wind present at all, you will be creating your own 6 knot headwind. In this situation, even thought you are heading directly into the apparent wind, you can set the main so that it will fill, give you a tiny bit of increased speed (maybe a 1/8 to 1/4 of a knot) but significantly reduce your role.

If the true wind is coming from dead astern at 6 knots, and you are motoring at 6 knots, there is no apparent wind. In this situation the sails will be completely ineffective.

So, unless you have a tailwind of sufficient speed to overcome your own speed (such as 15 knots), downwind will not be as helpful.

A lot of this will improve as you gain familiarity with sail trim. Trim the sails based on the wind they are actually experiencing.

I think that's exactly what I was experiencing. Motoring basically downwind at 7-9 knots with true wind varying from 8-15. So that's why I was getting the cyclical luffing--basically no or very little apparent wind at times. Should have been easy to figure out in retrospect, but I just don't have the experience yet.
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Old 08-17-2017, 12:18 AM   #8
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I do have some tell tails on the jib, and I was trying to get them streaming together. I think I sort of had that figured out.
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Old 08-17-2017, 12:30 AM   #9
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Another thought, if you are running pretty much square before the wind, the warning the main is about to gybe is the boom lifting up. Just bear away a little. The wind is constantly changing direction especially nearer land.
We knew people with a timber motor sailor ("Peter Pan"). Heavily built,salty, beamy,waterproof compartment doors, ships galley in which they baked bread every day,Perkins 6354, great versatile boat. You are going to have fun in yours.
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Old 08-17-2017, 01:59 AM   #10
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I am a long time sailor. Don't know of this apples to you. Many beginners keep their sails too tight on a beam reach. A beam reach should be fast and comfortable. Let both sails out quite a bit. If the apparent wind is 90 degrees abeam, the sails could easily be let out out 45 degrees from the boats center line. Let the sails or until they begin to luff and then harden just until lifting stops.

It often feels faster to keep sails tight, but in fact can make you slower.

When motor sailing you are making your own wind. This should give you some lift and make your boat more steady.

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Old 08-17-2017, 05:39 AM   #11
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"The in mast furling system was probably overkill for this setup. It does make it easier to reef the sail single handed (once I realized I had to be directly into the wind ), but I'm not sure it was worth the extra expense."



A fully battened main sail can be driven into the wind without it flogging to destruction.

Very easy to do inshore cruising like ICW , and costs less than mast for roller main.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:59 AM   #12
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My only sailing experience is with Hobie cats and other small boats, and windsurfing. When sailing close hauled or on a beam reach it seems like the sail was always really tight, so I'm pretty sure I'm probably trimming the sails in too tight on this bigger boat just from habit. Thanks for the pointers.

I'm enjoying experimenting with the sails, and it definitely keeps the mind occupied on longer passages. Keeps me off FB, TF and twitter while underway.
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Old 08-17-2017, 09:26 AM   #13
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I was hoping to see some steadying sails as in pics.
Nary a one.
At least I thought Mark would post his.
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Old 08-17-2017, 09:28 AM   #14
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You have hit on one of the joys of sailing, fiddling-with-stuff. I have discovered that fiddling-with-stuff is one of the things that I miss with the trawler. So I invent stuff to do so I can continue my fiddling-with-stuff activity anyway.

The easiest way to check sail trim is to simply let the sheet out a bit. If the leading edge of the sail begins to luff, then sheet it in until just stops. This will keep you from having the sails too tight.

However, keep in mind that your sails are only secondarily for propulsion. The primary reason as I understand it, is for you stabilization. For that purpose, being a bit over sheeted is an advantage.

Anyway, I'm loving your reports and think you have made an excellent choice. A few days ago I would have loved some steadying sails.
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Old 08-17-2017, 09:36 AM   #15
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Steadying sails

Yeah. Sorry. I didn't take any pics with the sails out really. No good ones. Should have taken some from the dinghy I guess. This is all I have.

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One underway. Not much wind blowing obviously but I was just excited I was kind of "sailing".
https://youtu.be/qx-nLrxBX9g
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:34 PM   #16
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This would probably be my accidental gybe

https://youtu.be/eQDt1Xk74Mk
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:56 PM   #17
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Hey Dude nice pics!

It would seem to me that a loose footed sail like a jib would be less effective as a steadying sail that a sail w a boom. Looks like your main sucks up into the mast .. slick.
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Old 08-17-2017, 11:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
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You have hit on one of the joys of sailing, fiddling-with-stuff. I have discovered that fiddling-with-stuff is one of the things that I miss with the trawler. So I invent stuff to do so I can continue my fiddling-with-stuff activity anyway.

The easiest way to check sail trim is to simply let the sheet out a bit. If the leading edge of the sail begins to luff, then sheet it in until just stops. This will keep you from having the sails too tight.

However, keep in mind that your sails are only secondarily for propulsion. The primary reason as I understand it, is for you stabilization. For that purpose, being a bit over sheeted is an advantage.

Anyway, I'm loving your reports and think you have made an excellent choice. A few days ago I would have loved some steadying sails.
Thanks. I'm having fun trying to figure all this out. Need to get the boat back to Texas. I'm missing the boat already having it in Florida.
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Old 08-17-2017, 11:41 PM   #19
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Hey Dude nice pics!

It would seem to me that a loose footed sail like a jib would be less effective as a steadying sail that a sail w a boom. Looks like your main sucks up into the mast .. slick.


Thanks! Yeah I think the main is better at steadying. The jib seems to more effective at adding a bit of propulsion? I have no idea...
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Old 08-18-2017, 01:58 AM   #20
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This would probably be my accidental gybe

https://youtu.be/eQDt1Xk74Mk
You could see that one coming.

I wouldn't recommend a human preventer, but s simple line from a midship cleat to the boom will work.
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