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Thread: Sudden lull recovery

  1. #1
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    Default Sudden lull recovery

    Hey, guys,

    I'm not sure which section of this forum is most suitable for asking about sailing techniques, rather than boat design, so I posted it here. Figured that some of you, who have more experience than me, could offer some advice about a particular small dinghy sailing issue.

    Some background. I have a small, narrow 10 foot homemade sailboat with a 80 ft^2 lugsail. It has very little initial stability, and the spars, though lightened as much as possible, still bring the center of gravity quite high. To get a feel of how unstable it is, think International Canoe, and you'll be in the ballpark.

    The venues I'm training and racing in are mostly small, narrow, branched out lakes, with forests and hills all around. Which means that there is no such thing as a steady, clear wind with a definite direction. It's a goddamn chaos. One second, it's so calm, that flower flakes on the water are floating still beside the boat, and a few seconds later, a gust comes, so strong that it turns the water to foam. Sailors around here often joke that we don't have wind here; we have gusts, spurts, whirls, and vortexes. A 20 knot breeze, suddenly turning 180 around, turning 180 again, and reducing to a <1 knot calm in less than 10 seconds doesn't surprise anyone anymore. Not exaggerating one bit here. You can imagine that sailing in this stuff, especially in a boat that is so overcanvased and unstable, is exhausting as hell. Worst thing? Due to the topography I described, the wind at the surface of the water is almost never the same as a couple of feet above, so most of the time, there is absolutely no indication of whatever is coming your way.

    Anyway. I have already learned to handle these unexpected gusts, jumping on the gunwale, grabbing the hiking strap with my feet, and sheeting out until I can get the boat flat again. I rarely capsize during gusts. What usually gets me are the sudden lulls while I'm hiked out on a close hauled course. Imagine, you're beating to windward like this in a strong breeze:



    (just a random photo from the internet to portrait the situation)

    And then suddenly, without any warning on the surface of the water, the wind dies. With sudden loss of pressure on the sail, and the center of gravity way outside the gunwale, I keep falling into the water, bringing the whole rig on top of me. I just can't seem to figure out a way to get inside the cockpit when the boat is already falling on me. The faster I try to get in, the more heeling moment I create, making it worse.

    Up till now, I have worked out two methods to get inside the boat without capsizing:

    1. If it's a complete lull, I usually try to push the tiller hard and fast, bearing up, so the turning moment throws me back into the boat.
    2. If there is any wind left, sometimes I do the opposite - bear away hard and fast, to face the sail into the wind, and get some heeling force that would prevent it from falling on top of me. Unfortunately, unlike the first method, this creates a turning moment in the wrong direction, throwing me out of the boat, rather than in.

    Sometimes these methods work, sometimes they don't. It all depends how much I was hiked out, and how much wind is left after that lull. Even when it works, it completely robs the boat of any speed it had, and leaves me ill prepared for a water-foaming gust that often comes after a lull. Losing speed is also bad during a competition.

    You can imagine how frustrating that must be. This isn't just some random occurrence; I get these killer lulls dozens of times in every sailing session. Other sailors who have wider boats fare better against this, but it is still a never-ending inspiration for profanity for the most.

    I'm writing this in hope that maybe some of you have some advice how to deal with this. As I said, preparation is rarely possible: due to the shore topography, there are no indications on the surface of the water, (like darker patches, or the lack of them). So, what can be done? How should I deal with these sudden calms when I'm hiked out all the way, touching the water with the back of my head, holding the hiking strap with the tips of my toes?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Strap some floatation in the form of an aka onto your butt.

    Seriously: I haven't a clue. If I tried to do what the guy in the photo is doing, my leg muscles would instantly cramp.

    Jeff

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    I was usually just content to get a bit wet...I'd skid my upper body along the surface 'til the wind came back, or I was able to swing inboard. I don't think I had the situation more than a couple of times, though. It was usually sailing through the lee of somebody in the race and I had plenty of warning. But then, that was when I was moving a lot less mass and still had abs

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    No different to a windsurfer, where you either drop your weight lower & inboard in lulls but keep the rig up for maximum effect or raise the mast & stand up more.

    I'd suggest some elastic bungee lines & a harness to help counter balance & allow you bend your knees & move the weight inboard or outboard quickly.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by cptsideways View Post
    No different to a windsurfer, where you either drop your weight lower & inboard in lulls but keep the rig up for maximum effect or raise the mast & stand up more.

    I'd suggest some elastic bungee lines & a harness to help counter balance & allow you bend your knees & move the weight inboard or outboard quickly.
    Well, you see, the problem with that is that if I try to get inboard, the movement of my weight creates a windward heeling moment, which only helps the boat fall over faster. I have enough strength to pull myself into the boat in less than a second, but if I do that, I inevitably bring it over to the windward. Which is why I do these crazy high speed turn maneuvers to counteract this force...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Generally I used to get away with option 2. The wind would head or drop but not from 20 to 0 knts.
    The other option was to lie in the water letting your life vest support some of your weight.
    This generally did not work for long as the drag would pull the boat around head to wind and then she would come over on you.
    Thus used to happen when I sailed a trapeze boat as well. Then it was more common to get dumped into the water and the next gust would lift you out again.
    Zq

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    You really need to watch the texture of the water ahead and upwind so that you can see the gusts easinging. As the gust wanes, bear away and slide aboard. If you head up into the wind, you're going to stall nearly every time. Try to get into the habit of bearing away a little and moving your weight inwards earlier than you'd intuitively think you should.

    Rick

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Zane Lewis View Post
    Generally I used to get away with option 2. The wind would head or drop but not from 20 to 0 knts.
    The other option was to lie in the water letting your life vest support some of your weight.
    This generally did not work for long as the drag would pull the boat around head to wind and then she would come over on you.
    Thus used to happen when I sailed a trapeze boat as well. Then it was more common to get dumped into the water and the next gust would lift you out again.
    Zq
    Well, my boat is so unstable, that even without my weight, it would capsize just from the weight of the spars (which are very light)... As for being dumped in water and waiting for the gust to lift... Well, I can't imagine how a gust would help an already capsized boat

    Quote Originally Posted by RFNK View Post
    You really need to watch the texture of the water ahead and upwind so that you can see the gusts easinging. As the gust wanes, bear away and slide aboard. If you head up into the wind, you're going to stall nearly every time. Try to get into the habit of bearing away a little and moving your weight inwards earlier than you'd intuitively think you should.

    Rick
    Thanks, but as I said, most of the time, there is absolutely no indication at all, because the air traveling a couple of feet above the water surface is completely different than on the surface. There might be indications in the middle of the lake, but most of the time, there is nothing to warn you about a gust or a lull. It's not just me, even the most experienced sailors around here can't tell these gusts and lulls either.

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    What kind of boat is this, exactly? 10' long but you're hiking all the way out?

    I've raced Lasers in tight quarters with volatile winds and my technique is to see/predict what's going to happen (I know you say there's in nothing to warn you, but over time you'll pick up clues- think of the terrain, obstructions, how wind flows around these things, etc.) head up when the wind starts to die sheeting in simultaneously, and sliding back into the boat. It's a seamless and quick maneuver. As one poster mentioned, accept the idea that your ass is going to get wet, sometimes I body check the water, so it goes. Strong abs, core, and agile athleticism are a must.

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    The only real answer is to sail on better water.

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    I sailed and occasionally raced a Laser for a number of year. Usually on fluky wind lakes. Some times hiked out like the guy in your photo. I don't recall every dumping to weather. Even on lakes, with mountains around, you could usually see the wind changes coming, and they did not go 20k to 0k instantly. Most of my dumps involved a "Death Roll" while going almost straight down wind, and having the wind reverse direction across the sail. It is more common in Lasers because you can sheet out 90 degs and the hull is pretty narrow. The boat rolls one way and then the other very quickly. It is hard to stop the oscillation.

    I also sail a 17' Gruman Canoe with a 65 sq.ft. sliding gunter rig. I never get hiked out as far on it, because it is not self rescuing. I do sit on the gunnel with my feet under a thwart, but don't hike out very far. I've only dumped it once, and I blame that on my 85# Lab, not knowing the proper hiking technique

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Okay...

    I sail on a pond 40 metres by 80 metres, 900 metres above sea level, so I get your issues.

    Sometimes you just can't hike out fully in those conditions, at least not all the way through the gust. You've got to start easing sheet and sitting up while you can still see the stronger wind coming across the water at you. Sure, you'll be slightly slower than if you were fully hiked, but you've already got the boat moving and sailing at 90% of performance is better than sailing at 100% and then capsizing to windward.

    As Zane and Callsign said, sometimes you've just got to actually throw yourself backwards into the water so your torso and head are floating, and therefore not weighing the gunwale down, while you scull the rudder madly to keep the boat on course. If you bend your knees while you do this, your torso moves closer to the gunwale and therefore if you lift yourself up, there is less leverage from your upper body trying to roll the boat over on top of you. As Callsign mentioned, it's demanding on fitness.

    If you do roll your torso back in the water and the boat is still about to capsize to windward, wriggle of the straps, flop into the water with your mainsheet hand reaching for the gunwale, scull the rudder and kick with your feet and then slide back on board - note it's sliding sideways rather than trying to lift yourself up. These are physical skills which, like many in sport, often require specific practise sessions to master.

    I'd have reservations about the lug rig in that situation because of its weight. I know you reckon you need sail area, but a Laser Radial (for example) that is being roll-tacked properly is faster in such conditions than the typical Laser Standard, despite the Standard's bigger and taller rig. In gusty stuff and confined waters a good Radial will sail rings around a mid-pack Standard rig sailor. That shows that the difference in sail area does not create sufficient difference in speed to overcome superior skills, and also that in such conditions the ability to move the boat quickly overcomes straight-line speed.

    Two of the ultimate boats in such conditions are British, because the British often sail in similar areas. These are British Moths, a 1930s one design to the Moth rules, in their natural environment - note how small the waterway is.

    British Moths.jpg


    This is a Comet , sort of like a baby Laser but which is very competitive with standard Lasers in light and fluky areas - they like them in places like Croydon in London (there's a video of the club racing here), which has two sailing clubs on a five-acre lake which has islands and fishing platforms that further reduce the area. Again, you can see one shoreline in the foreground of the pic which shows what tight waterways they sail on.

    Comets.jpg

    The British Moth has a very tall rig with full battens while the Comet has a lower aspect rig with hollow leach - and yet both go well in those conditions. A rig like the Comet's one wouldn't be hard to make.

    Note that the 3.45m long Comet in standard form has a sail of 6.5m, but overall is rated slower than a 4.2m long Laser 4.7. The 3.3m long Europe, a very sophisticated design with an 8m sail, is rated slower than the Laser Radial, a heavier boat with a 5.7m sail. This fits in with everything we know about dinghy design, which says that no matter what you do, a short boat like yours won't go really fast. A long, heavier boat like a Laser 4.7 can finish close to a sophisticated 11 footer with a big sail, like a Europe. The British Moth, an older and more stable 11 footer, is only about 1.5% slower than the Europe. The International 12 has a big lug rig, but doesn't go very fast.

    So maybe trying to increase sail area by carrying those heavy spars is causing more of a speed issue than it's worth? Maybe you'd be better off reducing sail area and weight, and gaining better stability and boat handling? That neat little boat of yours must have pretty low drag - maybe it doesn't need a powerful rig?


    By the way, I think you may be surprised if you sailed an International Canoe - the problems there in lulls include the fact that the boat is a metre from your toes!
    Last edited by Chris249; 08-13-2018 at 09:20 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    9,000 lbs of ballast seems to help.

    Actually I can emphasize. I was teaching a sailing class sone years ago in a Penguin, and the lull effect pitched me over the windward side onto he water. Problem was this was the first day of the class, and the two students in the boat had no idea how to turn around or pick me up.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by callsign222 View Post
    What kind of boat is this, exactly? 10' long but you're hiking all the way out?

    I've raced Lasers in tight quarters with volatile winds and my technique is to see/predict what's going to happen (I know you say there's in nothing to warn you, but over time you'll pick up clues- think of the terrain, obstructions, how wind flows around these things, etc.) head up when the wind starts to die sheeting in simultaneously, and sliding back into the boat. It's a seamless and quick maneuver. As one poster mentioned, accept the idea that your ass is going to get wet, sometimes I body check the water, so it goes. Strong abs, core, and agile athleticism are a must.
    Well, as I said, it's a homemade boat, severely overcanvased to make up for it's short waterline, and to give an edge in light winds, which are the only conditions where I can compete with Lasers and Finns. The midships profile is pretty much oval, so there is almost no form stability.

    I've sailed Lasers on a few occasions. Compared to my boat, Laser feels as stable as a catamaran. It was 10x easier for me to do it in a Laser than in my boat. But I needed a boat that can keep going in 0.5 knot winds, while the rest of the fleet is at standstill.

    Anyway, you can safely assume that I'm not yet good enough to read the clues on the water or terrain for a warning of an incoming gust or lull, but trust me, if even the most proficient sailors in our fleet (some of which are professionals) can't do any better than I, and often end up capsizing to windward in their Lasers, then my odds of recognizing these wind changes are even slimmer. Trust me, the only reliable indication of a gust around here is a tree breaking in two over at the shore, at which point you're done anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    The only real answer is to sail on better water.
    If only that was an option... All sailing venues are deep inland, and they are all surrounded by forests and hills. We do have access to sea, and there are some regattas there, but my boat is too small for these waters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ski-Patroller View Post
    I sailed and occasionally raced a Laser for a number of year. Usually on fluky wind lakes. Some times hiked out like the guy in your photo. I don't recall every dumping to weather. Even on lakes, with mountains around, you could usually see the wind changes coming, and they did not go 20k to 0k instantly. Most of my dumps involved a "Death Roll" while going almost straight down wind, and having the wind reverse direction across the sail. It is more common in Lasers because you can sheet out 90 degs and the hull is pretty narrow. The boat rolls one way and then the other very quickly. It is hard to stop the oscillation.

    I also sail a 17' Gruman Canoe with a 65 sq.ft. sliding gunter rig. I never get hiked out as far on it, because it is not self rescuing. I do sit on the gunnel with my feet under a thwart, but don't hike out very far. I've only dumped it once, and I blame that on my 85# Lab, not knowing the proper hiking technique
    Well, it's not really fair to compare a Laser to my boat... As I said, a Laser is as stable as a catamaran compare to my boat. My boat also permits sheeting out to 90, but I rarely do that when going downwind, unless the wind is very shifty, and I'm too afraid of an accidental gybe to sheet in more. Anyway, I had a few dumps due to death roll as well Never sailed straight downwind after that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Okay...

    I sail on a pond 40 metres by 80 metres, 900 metres above sea level, so I get your issues.

    Sometimes you just can't hike out fully in those conditions, at least not all the way through the gust. You've got to start easing sheet and sitting up while you can still see the stronger wind coming across the water at you. Sure, you'll be slightly slower than if you were fully hiked, but you've already got the boat moving and sailing at 90% of performance is better than sailing at 100% and then capsizing to windward.

    As Zane and Callsign said, sometimes you've just got to actually throw yourself backwards into the water so your torso and head are floating, and therefore not weighing the gunwale down, while you scull the rudder madly to keep the boat on course. If you bend your knees while you do this, your torso moves closer to the gunwale and therefore if you lift yourself up, there is less leverage from your upper body trying to roll the boat over on top of you. As Callsign mentioned, it's demanding on fitness.

    If you do roll your torso back in the water and the boat is still about to capsize to windward, wriggle of the straps, flop into the water with your mainsheet hand reaching for the gunwale, scull the rudder and kick with your feet and then slide back on board - note it's sliding sideways rather than trying to lift yourself up. These are physical skills which, like many in sport, often require specific practise sessions to master.

    I'd have reservations about the lug rig in that situation because of its weight. I know you reckon you need sail area, but a Laser Radial (for example) that is being roll-tacked properly is faster in such conditions than the typical Laser Standard, despite the Standard's bigger and taller rig. In gusty stuff and confined waters a good Radial will sail rings around a mid-pack Standard rig sailor. That shows that the difference in sail area does not create sufficient difference in speed to overcome superior skills, and also that in such conditions the ability to move the boat quickly overcomes straight-line speed.

    Two of the ultimate boats in such conditions are British, because the British often sail in similar areas. These are British Moths, a 1930s one design to the Moth rules, in their natural environment - note how small the waterway is.

    British Moths.jpg


    This is a Comet , sort of like a baby Laser but which is very competitive with standard Lasers in light and fluky areas - they like them in places like Croydon in London (there's a video of the club racing here), which has two sailing clubs on a five-acre lake which has islands and fishing platforms that further reduce the area. Again, you can see one shoreline in the foreground of the pic which shows what tight waterways they sail on.

    Comets.jpg

    The British Moth has a very tall rig with full battens while the Comet has a lower aspect rig with hollow leach - and yet both go well in those conditions. A rig like the Comet's one wouldn't be hard to make.

    Note that the 3.45m long Comet in standard form has a sail of 6.5m, but overall is rated slower than a 4.2m long Laser 4.7. The 3.3m long Europe, a very sophisticated design with an 8m sail, is rated slower than the Laser Radial, a heavier boat with a 5.7m sail. This fits in with everything we know about dinghy design, which says that no matter what you do, a short boat like yours won't go really fast. A long, heavier boat like a Laser 4.7 can finish close to a sophisticated 11 footer with a big sail, like a Europe. The British Moth, an older and more stable 11 footer, is only about 1.5% slower than the Europe. The International 12 has a big lug rig, but doesn't go very fast.

    So maybe trying to increase sail area by carrying those heavy spars is causing more of a speed issue than it's worth? Maybe you'd be better off reducing sail area and weight, and gaining better stability and boat handling? That neat little boat of yours must have pretty low drag - maybe it doesn't need a powerful rig?


    By the way, I think you may be surprised if you sailed an International Canoe - the problems there in lulls include the fact that the boat is a metre from your toes!
    Thanks for so much info! But see, even if I dump myself into the water like you described, the weight of my legs alone is enough to capsize my boat. It is extremely unstable. Besides, once I'm in water like that, I can't get back inside anyway without unhooking from the hiking strap, getting my legs into the water, and then climbing over through the transom. Any attempt to get any weight on the gunwale is going to capsize the boat instantly.

    Not hiking out and not sheeting in so much... Well, easy to say... But when you're flying 80 square feet in 20 knots, it's rather difficult not to hike out. If I sheet out a bit, the front part of the sail starts luffing, which jerks the boat, swiveling the mast side to side, much like in a death roll. That rarely ends well for me in such strong winds.

    Your question why does my boat need lug rig and so much sail is sound. It's a long story, but the short version is that I can't have long spars because of transportation and storage issues, so any high-aspect rig is out of the question. Same reason for the short waterline of my boat. Therefore, I need lots of sail area to compensate, and be competitive in regattas. Also, most of the time, when the wind is not blowing 20 knots, it's blowing 0.5 knots or less. I need all the sail area I can possibly fly to be able to keep up with the fleet. There was a regatta where we sailed 1 nautical mile for 4 hours. I came in second in the 15 boat fleet, which had catamarans, Lasers, Finns, 470's, etc. I know I cannot beat them in strong winds, but sometimes I can do it in light winds. This extremely lightweight, narrow boat with such huge sail was the only solution to achieve that with the limitations I have.

    I will try the sliding trick you offered. Thanks!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    I would like to see a picture of your boat, rigged, if that's possible. I'm intrigued!

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by callsign222 View Post
    I would like to see a picture of your boat, rigged, if that's possible. I'm intrigued!
    Sure. Here she is: https://imgur.com/a/zQ8l6qo

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    In IC's the sliding seat provides buoyancy and allow recovering from being tea bagged. Something to think about.
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    The only way you're going to keep this thing upright is to read the gusts and shift your weight, early, inwards or outwards, as the gusts ease or strengthen, as we do with sailboards. If there's no way of seeing the changes, you're going to have to feel them.

    Rick

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by RFNK View Post
    The only way you're going to keep this thing upright is to read the gusts and shift your weight, early, inwards or outwards, as the gusts ease or strengthen, as we do with sailboards. If there's no way of seeing the changes, you're going to have to feel them.

    Rick
    How can I feel it? One moment, the wind is so strong that it makes it difficult to breathe, and less than a second later, there is nothing, a complete standstill, like someone suddenly shut the window. How does one prepare for that if there is no visual indication? Sometimes there are boats to the windward of me to help with that... But more often than not, there aren't. And the shore is way too far, and not necessarily experiencing the same wind direction to begin with.

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Can't see or feel the changes and I don't think you could rig a trapeze on that boat. I suspect there are perceptible changes in those gusts. With more practice, you're just going to learn to read what your sail is telling you, the feel, and respond early.

    Rick

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by RFNK View Post
    Can't see or feel the changes and I don't think you could rig a trapeze on that boat. I suspect there are perceptible changes in those gusts. With more practice, you're just going to learn to read what your sail is telling you, the feel, and respond early.

    Rick
    Well, I certainly hope, but as I said, even the sailors around here who have been doing this for the better part of their lives, still can't predict these gusts and lulls, so...

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    I'm just not sure that there's any other solution, given the boat, rig and location.

    Rick

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Are you able to see the wind pattern on the water? It's really difficult if the water surface is chopped up by wakes from other boats and water skiers, etc, but usually you'll see some kind of darkening preceding a puff. Where we sail you can never depend on shoreside wind indicators and have to watch patterns on the surface, but we typically have a fetch of two to three miles that the wind will cross.

    Also, you said that your spar limitations are due to length. Would it be possible to build a 2-piece sleeved mast (ala Laser) to get your individual spar lengths down? I don't know if that'd be simpler or not, but it could reduce some of the inertia of having a yard up there.

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    If I was in your situation I would make outriggers.

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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    Are you able to see the wind pattern on the water? It's really difficult if the water surface is chopped up by wakes from other boats and water skiers, etc, but usually you'll see some kind of darkening preceding a puff. Where we sail you can never depend on shoreside wind indicators and have to watch patterns on the surface, but we typically have a fetch of two to three miles that the wind will cross. Also, you said that your spar limitations are due to length. Would it be possible to build a 2-piece sleeved mast (ala Laser) to get your individual spar lengths down? I don't know if that'd be simpler or not, but it could reduce some of the inertia of having a yard up there.
    Wind pattern? Rarely, except in the center of bigger lakes. Anything smaller or closer to shore, and the topography prevents the wind from touching the water surface. Anyway, puffs can sometimes be seen as these darker ripples, but there are absolutely no indication of lulls, ever. I heard the best sailors among us say the very same thing. I investigated two piece masts, but it appears that no matter the technique the joint still remains the weakest part of the mast. Anyway, as I said, even the Lasers, which have light rigs and MUCH more stability than my boat, capsize to windward just as often as I do. And I'm talking about some really experienced sailors on these boats. No one seems to be able to figure out how to get from maximum hiked position to the inside of the boat when the wind goes from 20 knots to 0 in a split a second.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    The only way to do that is with a trapeze. You could change your rig to suit that. Quite an effort and gamble though!

    Or set up a banana board like an International Canoe or VJ. It would look dreadful but better than being capsized half the time.

    I would actually explore the trapeze idea.

    You might even try having a line with a handle to haul yourself inboard instead of only the mainsheet. It would avoid heading up and stalling. Letting the sail out a little as you heave yourself aboard with the extra line could even work in your favour, given your fairly heavy rig.
    Rick
    Last edited by RFNK; 08-18-2018 at 03:00 AM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by RFNK View Post
    The only way to do that is with a trapeze. You could change your rig to suit that. Quite an effort and gamble though!

    Or set up a banana board like an International Canoe or VJ. It would look dreadful but better than being capsized half the time.

    I would actually explore the trapeze idea.

    You might even try having a line with a handle to haul yourself inboard instead of only the mainsheet. It would avoid heading up and stalling. Letting the sail out a little as you heave yourself aboard with the extra line could even work in your favour, given your fairly heavy rig.
    Rick
    Forgive me, but I don't understand, how would a trapeze help in my situation? The problem isn't be being unable to hike back into the boat (I have enough strength for that), the problem is that the moment wind dies, the boat capsizes to windward, on top of me, before I can get back in. The faster I try to get in, the faster the boat goes over, because of the momentum I create by getting inside. Do you mean to say that a trapeze would allow me to slide back in, rather than bend back in?
    Additional line... Well, my hands are full with the tiller and the sheet, so even if there was this handle, I wouldn't be able to grab it and use it in time...

    Anyway, I don't see a way to use a trapeze with a lug rig, and there is no other rig that could suit my boat and still let it stay competitive... Believe me, I spent my sweet time exploring the options.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    A trapeze allows you to swing in or partially in, more seamlessly. With the handle, you'd either drop the sheet momentarily or leave it in a jam cleat briefly.

    I do think the lug rig is unsuitable for your situation too but I'd still explore other options before abandoning it.

    Rick

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    You need to fit a kicker/ vang.

    It needs to be at least 8:1 purchase led back to the helm, either both sides, or centrally to a cleat that has a 180 degree fairlead: Harken extreme angle fairlead at the back edge of the thwart by the centercase. Harken 40mm block nearest boom then two 29mm in a cascade. Run 4mm plain dyneema preferable spliced back to before the cleat, then attach a terminal piece of Marlow excel control that cleats well/ grippy and is cheaply replaced. Knots and or loop end to grip.

    In moderate conditions your vang will be medium. In a sudden gust let off some kicker. The boom will rise, the leach will open and wind will spill, your boat will heel less and bring you back to level.

    If you feel yourself dipping down in a lull, pull on the kicker to close the leach temporarily, hold more air and heel you back upright.

    You should be able to pretty much leave the mainsheet and just sail on the kicker in and out, though your winds are so variable in strength and direction its going to be testing.

    You can also make use of an adjustable clew outhaul led back to the helm. On very high wind, pull on the outhaul to flatten the sail and depower it. A flatter sail also has less aerodynamic drag and a flatter entry angle.

    In such variable conditions, a hull with more reserve stability would be better. A relatively big rudder and relatively fat foils would also help with alot of helm input going on. A floppy top mast, whatever rig you use will help spill wind/ auto depower the top section.

    I would also use the minimum power on the mainsheet. No more than 3:1 so that the boom moves more with any given let out of an armfull in high wind or sudden change in angle. Mid boom sheeting will lower line length moving too. Because if this, upgrade the boom block size and use Harken ratchamatic blocks, one or even two, so that the mainsheet tension is still mangeable in your hand and it lets out quickly when needed. Use a light line that runs quickly and doesnt hold water from the bilge like 6-7mm Marlow Fusion. Wear gloves, the Rooster gloves are excellent to grip line lighter faster lines.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 08-18-2018 at 04:04 AM.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    The lake at the Australian GP curcuit is like that. Open to sea breezes through mature trees to the south, all other aspects interrupted by tall buildings. You can have a breeze whereas the boat 4-5 meters away can be becalmed and in an instant that is reversed.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Laukejas View Post
    Sure. Here she is: https://imgur.com/a/zQ8l6qo
    That.... Looks like fun! Cute boat. I love the giant rig. The sail is pulling nicely and is set well in that second picture. Kudos to the sailmaker.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Laukejas View Post
    Wind pattern? the wind goes from 20 knots to 0 in a split a second.
    WOW! Sounds like really challenging conditions! And you have too much freeboard for the "float-through-it" we used to use in the Lasers.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    In IC's the sliding seat provides buoyancy and allow recovering from being tea bagged. Something to think about.
    Sailed an IC in similar conditions for years, genuinely seen two thirty foot cruiser pass within fifty feet of each other with spinnaker set fully down wind pass each other on reciprocal courses. The sliding seat is a very under estimated piece of kit, providing no just buoyancy but lift due to its wedge shape. In the lull the heeling on the hull will cause the boat to bear away, haul on the mainsheet and use it to pull yourself in, what remains of the wind will push on the sail and help.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    You need to fit a kicker/ vang.

    It needs to be at least 8:1 purchase led back to the helm, either both sides, or centrally to a cleat that has a 180 degree fairlead: Harken extreme angle fairlead at the back edge of the thwart by the centercase. Harken 40mm block nearest boom then two 29mm in a cascade. Run 4mm plain dyneema preferable spliced back to before the cleat, then attach a terminal piece of Marlow excel control that cleats well/ grippy and is cheaply replaced. Knots and or loop end to grip.

    In moderate conditions your vang will be medium. In a sudden gust let off some kicker. The boom will rise, the leach will open and wind will spill, your boat will heel less and bring you back to level.

    If you feel yourself dipping down in a lull, pull on the kicker to close the leach temporarily, hold more air and heel you back upright.

    You should be able to pretty much leave the mainsheet and just sail on the kicker in and out, though your winds are so variable in strength and direction its going to be testing.

    You can also make use of an adjustable clew outhaul led back to the helm. On very high wind, pull on the outhaul to flatten the sail and depower it. A flatter sail also has less aerodynamic drag and a flatter entry angle.

    In such variable conditions, a hull with more reserve stability would be better. A relatively big rudder and relatively fat foils would also help with alot of helm input going on. A floppy top mast, whatever rig you use will help spill wind/ auto depower the top section.

    I would also use the minimum power on the mainsheet. No more than 3:1 so that the boom moves more with any given let out of an armfull in high wind or sudden change in angle. Mid boom sheeting will lower line length moving too. Because if this, upgrade the boom block size and use Harken ratchamatic blocks, one or even two, so that the mainsheet tension is still mangeable in your hand and it lets out quickly when needed. Use a light line that runs quickly and doesnt hold water from the bilge like 6-7mm Marlow Fusion. Wear gloves, the Rooster gloves are excellent to grip line lighter faster lines.

    That's a good point about changing the mainsheet purchase, but in what boat would it be practical to use the vang for such big gusts, not the mainsheet?
    Last edited by Chris249; 08-19-2018 at 04:46 PM.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Sudden lull recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Laukejas View Post

    Not hiking out and not sheeting in so much... Well, easy to say... But when you're flying 80 square feet in 20 knots, it's rather difficult not to hike out.If I sheet out a bit, the front part of the sail starts luffing, which jerks the boat, swiveling the mast side to side, much like in a death roll. That rarely ends well for me in such strong wind.

    Perhaps - so why use such a big sail? Why not use a sail that uses mast bend to depower? Why not use a rig that can be eased and luff without jerking around, like the standard short-batten bermudan rig?

    If you check the pics of the Comet and British Moth you'll see that they also sail on very small waterways, where gusts are very common. I think you'll find that they can be very competitive with Lasers in such conditions when the winds are very light, despite being short and having much lighter rigs than your boat. If they can do well with smaller/lighter bermudan rigs, why can't your boat?

    You can sail a narrow, top-heavy boat like an International Canoe or some Skiffs in 20 knots without fully hiking, so you may well be able to sail your little boat without fully hiking - it may just take practise in steering, sheeting and hiking in a very narrow groove. If I'm Laser coaching, I'd expect a typical good club Laser sailor to have to spend at least 30 days of training just on basic heavy-air steering, sheeting and hiking before they could become a mid-fleet championship sailor. It takes time to build up the reflexes and to analyse your technique.

    Your question why does my boat need lug rig and so much sail is sound. It's a long story, but the short version is that I can't have long spars because of transportation and storage issues, so any high-aspect rig is out of the question. Same reason for the short waterline of my boat. Therefore, I need lots of sail area to compensate, and be competitive in regattas. Also, most of the time, when the wind is not blowing 20 knots, it's blowing 0.5 knots or less. I need all the sail area I can possibly fly to be able to keep up with the fleet. There was a regatta where we sailed 1 nautical mile for 4 hours. I came in second in the 15 boat fleet, which had catamarans, Lasers, Finns, 470's, etc. I know I cannot beat them in strong winds, but sometimes I can do it in light winds. This extremely lightweight, narrow boat with such huge sail was the only solution to achieve that with the limitations I have.

    I will try the sliding trick you offered. Thanks!
    As noted, the performance of other short boats on flat, confined water appears to indicate that having a large sail area is not critical. Since you're near to Poland, where windsurfing is popular, it may be fairly easy to find some old carbon windsurfer spars that already come in two parts. Normally I've got reservations about windsurfer spars on dinghies, but your boat is so small and specialised that having a very light rig could be a major advantage. Otherwise maybe you'll just have to accept that your boat is a light-wind specialist.

    On my old lake, the wind was sometimes so fluky that I have been broad reaching on starboard tack under spinnaker on the downwind leg in a national championship, and brushed against a boat sailing the "upwind" leg in the same event, which was going exactly the opposite course and also under spinnaker.... That was a 180 degree wind variation inside about 3m. Everyone, including those in the top 10 nationally, still capsized their Lasers to windward at times.

    If you're having trouble getting back in the boat without capsizing to windward because of the heavy rig, can you try the trick of leaning the boat to leeward while you are still in the water? The weight of the rig to leeward can slow the roll to windward for long enough to allow you to get back on board, if you're quick. I've forgotten where that trick came from - it may have been from old Moths.
    Last edited by Chris249; 08-19-2018 at 08:24 AM.

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