Author Topic: Heavy Air Downwind Survival  (Read 7186 times)

Rick Sellens

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Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« on: June 08, 2010, 12:12:43 AM »
I've really appreciated the light air advice that came just as I was needing those answers. I found out this weekend that I could really use some suggestions for the opposite direction at the opposite end of the spectrum and hope some of you will oblige. I'm sure there is at least one way to gybe in 25 knots without putting the masthead in the water, but we obviously didn't have it figured out. We were managing OK and going fast until we needed to gybe... and after a few minutes on our side we gave up, doused the spin and recovered it without too much drama.

How can we best avoid a wipeout while gybing in heavy air?

Once we wipe out, is there a way to get back on our feet without dousing the spinnaker?

If we can't get off our side, what's the best sequence of actions for a douse with the least shrimping?

Any input would be much appreciated. Thanks,

Rick Sellens
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Rick Sellens
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Gregg Henning

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2010, 01:41:38 AM »
Easy does it on the tiller during heavy air gybes.  Take it slow and do it right.. If you do wipe out, ease everything and the boat will come back!

Nate Selstad

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2010, 08:01:48 AM »
Regrettably, Team Semper Gumby has done this to the point that my kids think broaching is fun!!!  Like Gregg said, ease everything all the way until you start to feel like you can steer the boat, then once you feel that you have control again you need to trim in and drive down.  Conceptually think of driving the boat back underneath the sails.  Once the boat is solidly under the sails (which might only take a few tenths of a second) ease the sails as needed to keep it there.  The best part is that Once eased the boat comes back itself, you can chose when to drive down.  As in 12 yr old and 6 yr old daughters hanging upside down, crew member sitting with feet on cabin top, Dad at helm saying...EASE...Ok...Ok...Ok...NOW!

Nothing better!!!
Nate   

Rick Sellens

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2010, 11:47:29 AM »
We had traveller full down and main sheet full out, spin flapping like a flag. The boat would come up a little, I would try to drive off once we had rudder in the water and we would roll right back down. Should I have waited to get more vertical before trying to drive off?
Rick Sellens
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Steve Rose

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2010, 01:24:27 PM »
To reiterate what Nate said, you have to keep the tiller centered until you get moving. Then, as soon as you're moving again, pull the tiller up hard and the boat will pivot down wind. If you steer downwind too slowly, the weather helm will build up, slows the boat and back over you go. If you try to steer down wind before the boat is moving, the rudder stalls and again the boat goes back over.

Don't forger the Vang. It'll hold the boat on its side if its on hard.



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Billy Ellis

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2010, 03:20:46 PM »
Are you driving an "S" during the jib? As soon as th kite clears the forestay bear off a bit, sheet the kite in behind the main, make sure the boat is on it's feet then head up a bit to refill the kite. Be careful to not allow the suck into the foretriangle. It also helps to pick a good wave to jib on to keep your speed up.

Don Corey

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2010, 02:12:21 AM »
Steve definately has the ticket for a broach recovery but I emphasize after the broach, BLOW THE VANG, let the main sheet out,  as the boat tries to come up, stand up a little, regain some helm, TURN IT DOWN and QUICKLY TRIM THE CHUTE,  you're doing 8 or 9 knots again in seconds.  Practice it and you'll be surprised how quick the recovery can actually take place. 
To me this has always been one of the best charactersitics of our boat, full broach, your feet may not even get wet, you're off and running in a few seconds and may not even loose a boat.
   
Don Corey   #25  fore 
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Rick Sellens

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2010, 12:41:49 PM »
Thanks guys! Not blowing the vang was obviously part of our recovery problem in retrospect. S through the gybe: does that mean I should be reversing my turn just as the boom starts across to take some of the kick out of the main? (Assuming the spin is on it's way through) Should we consider an outside gybe for the spin?

I will work the crew up to the idea of practicing broaches. Coming from a big boat that just seems a little crazy ;-)

Rick
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Tac Boston

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2010, 03:24:16 PM »
We did a great practice exercise on the way out to the NOOD race course on Sunday. I have never fully laid this boat down until then. Both Scotty and I looked at each other and asked, "do these things come up by themselves?"  It did eventually :)

Rick are you guys coming to Sarnia?

Rick Sellens

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2010, 04:58:36 PM »
It looks like no for Sarnia. Just a matter of too many weekends in a row and life intruding. We'll be at Nepean the week before and EYC in Brockville the week after plus local stuff every weekend in June and July. CORK could give us all the opportunity to practice broaching with our own start if we get six or more. You up for it?

Rick
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Billy Ellis

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2010, 03:06:54 AM »
Rick, The idea of the S turn is to keep the boat under the mast. Most of the time you have to oversteer the boat to start the jibing maneuver in order to get the kite to clear the headstay without the kite wrapping around it. If you turn to jibe and keep heading up to the course the boat will heel over and the rudder will stall faster than you can correct causing the broach. By doing the S maneuver it allows you clear the headstay and then quickly bare of before the kite reloads. This keeps the boat under the mast. We used this maneuvere on symetrical kites as well in heavy air. Once safely on the new jibe you can reload the kite on at a manageble pace. I have no opinion as to the outside jibe as I have never used it. It may be better, I just don't know.

Trent Watkins

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2010, 04:59:45 AM »
The San Francisco heavy air peeps. Over the years I've found that with practice when you do get fully pinned - meaning zero boat speed and mast tip in the water in say about 23knots and up - its easier to simply douse the kite - get back up and reset. However this does take practice so that your douse while on your side is clean so the reset goes fast.

Avoiding the full stop mast in the water crash is key - crew has vang in hand and the second the helm starts to feel they are loosing it they say ease! The spin trimmer lets out on the kite and the vang trimmer eases off on the vang - weight BACK nearly sitting in each others laps with the driver smashed against the rear bar will also help get the boat and rudder back down.

A great way to practice the high wind gybes - do it without the kite you should be hitting the new gybe low enough that the boat is staying flat. Then reef the main and do it with the kite the reefed main makes the boat very tame even into the high 30's when flying the kite.

Over rotating the boat and over trimming the kite both will increase the round up factor as you rotate into the new gybe. It takes a while to get a feel to when your rotated enough vs too much. I did my very first planing to planing gybe back in 2008 in San Diego in the blow out Sunday when we had 25+ knots and pretty flat water. We entered the gybe running very low and flat out - exited the gybe very low and still planing - all three of us looked at each other and said WOW at the same time. I haven't been able to do it since but the low angle flat out plane entry point and exit point along with the flat water is key. It may be a once in a life time experience but it was WAY cool!

Rick Sellens

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2010, 06:43:13 PM »
The San Francisco heavy air peeps. Over the years I've found that with practice when you do get fully pinned - meaning zero boat speed and mast tip in the water in say about 23knots and up - its easier to simply douse the kite - get back up and reset. However this does take practice so that your douse while on your side is clean so the reset goes fast.

Sequence? Tack line first? Halyard? Blow it all at once and gather like crazy?

I'll try to avoid needing this knowledge ;-)

Rick
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Trent Watkins

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2010, 04:18:17 PM »
The San Francisco heavy air peeps. Over the years I've found that with practice when you do get fully pinned - meaning zero boat speed and mast tip in the water in say about 23knots and up - its easier to simply douse the kite - get back up and reset. However this does take practice so that your douse while on your side is clean so the reset goes fast.

Sequence? Tack line first? Halyard? Blow it all at once and gather like crazy?

I'll try to avoid needing this knowledge ;-)

Rick


Rick trust me on this one - if you get hammered flat do not - I repeat DO NOT release the tack line first. If your hammered flat and you have decided to simply douse the kite while down - release the halyard first and work the kite in then blow the tack.

The reason for this is that if the boat pops up at any point during the douse and the tack is off - the kite could end up over the top of the mast if the boat gets knocked flat again. Trust me I've done it and it wasn't pretty. When your down for the count and its clear you need to douse while down on your side - you want to keep the bottom of the kite secure till you get most of it or a good handle on it and pulled in. If there is any chance the boat might pop back up like say a crew jumping over the side and standing on the keel while your trying to douse the kite and want the boat to stay down then keep the tack down given that keeps the kite from looping over the top of the mast.

Nate Selstad

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Re: Heavy Air Downwind Survival
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2010, 05:44:08 AM »
I was reviewing stuff and I noticed the vang talk in this thread.  I have an alloy mast and the vang is always full OFF before the spin goes up then we add vang if the wind state allows.  From A boats I view the vang as throttle downwind and to keep the rig erect I always apply throttle after everything is loaded up vs. leaving vang on when we transition to downwind mode.  I am glad Addison doesn't read this to know that "vang off before the hoist" is optional.

Cheers
Nate