Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

I have been sailing small craft all my life but am largely self taught.  I built the Skerry a few years ago and was going to take it out today on the Potomac River, near where I live, but opted not too when I learned that there was a small craft advisory with sustainedwinds at 20 knots plus and gusts way above that.  Has anyone got any feel for what the maximum safe wind speed would be for a skerry for a moderate to advanced sailor? 

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RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

I'd consider John Harris an advanced sailor and I saw him successfully take a Skerry out at Okoumefest 2006 where it was a bit windier than this last weekend here in MD. Other than a lost paint chip which occurred during a launch from a lee shore into nearly 30 mph winds everything was fine. John made it look easy and the Skerry looked to be outpacing the photo boat, which was running an eggbeater.

Laszlo

 

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

An "advanced" sailor, particularly one comfortable with that particular boat, could manage 30 knots.  It'd be an athletic day.  If you made a habit of it, you should arrange for a halyard and reef points.  Other sailors might come to grief in 12 or 14 knots of wind.  The Skerry is a 100-pound boat, 30lbs less than a Laser racing dinghy.  Safety in any sailboat that weighs less than about 1500lbs will depend mainly on the skill and judgement of the crew, not innate qualities of a particular design.

Structurally, the only weak point on the Skerry when pressed hard seems to be the gooseneck.  The boom can split if you find yourself "by the lee," something that seems to have happened in Skerry #1, below, viz the lashing around the boom at the gooseneck.  

 

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

Hi Everyone,

I am in the process of building the mast, sprit and boom for the Skerry and was debating the qualities of a gooseneck vs. boomjaws. In light of John's previous comment, would not a pair of boomjaws be a useful modification? Would it be unnecessary, as most people wouldn't likely be out in such high winds?

Furthermore, would boomjaws be good for beginners (like me) since they can rotate 360º about the mast, whereas a gooseneck cannot? 

I admit I'm a novice sailor, so would probably not be out in high winds.

Thanks in advance for everyone's input!

Jean.

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

FWIW,I like boomjaws for small boats, beginners or no and whatever the windspeed. They tend to be less expensive and more robust per unit cost than goosenecks.

Don't see the advantage of 360 rotation. Your mainsheet's going to limit that anyway.

For the Skerry you'll probably need some kind of a downhaul in addition to the sheet.

There's probably some competitve disadvantage for cutthroat sailing.

Laszlo

 

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

Thanks for the feedback, Lazlo!

Cutthroat sailing? Not for me. My pirating days are over... yarrr....

In the end, I think I will go with the gooseneck and not add boomjaws. I'll save it for a future rainy weekend project.

Happy sailing,

Jean.

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

For a novice like me one advantage of boomjaws is when landing on a shore with strong wind behind me. I can let the sail right out foward of the mast and land very calmly and safely. And any time I want to drop the mainsheet to deal with 'stuff' the sail can rotate and feather to the wind harmlessly until I get my act together.

 cheers, Dave

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

Dave, 

If I may offer a suggestion or two:  When racing 420 dinghies in college, we routinely came up on the beach in less then stellar conditions (read: 20-25kt winds).  The 'prescribed' method of doing so to avoid capsizing on beaching is if you're coming in downwind, pull the centerboard or daggerboard (you don't need it downwind anyway) before you're shallow enough to run aground.  When you get close enough to the shore, luff up to bring the wind on your beam or quarter with the mainsheet slacked.  Without the daggerboard down, any motion will be to leeward, and you'll gently push up on the beach.  Of course, you need to make sure the main is luffed out in order to avoid a quick capsize.  One issue with running the sail so far forward of the mast is that if you need to make a quick turn upwind and abort the beach landing, you'll have a hell of a time getting the boom back aft of the mast in order to do so- especially in heavy air (plus, like Laszlo said, you'll just run out of mainsheet).  

Give it a shot in light conditions...

~Chris 

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

Thanks for that Chris,

 this is a technique I will practice. The ability to head back out safely is good. I have experienced powerboats and swimmers etc that have way too much faith in my manouverability and just amble across in front of me when I'm landing - like they assume I have disc brakes and reverse! Luckily it has been with more favourable wind direction, just causing minor stress and muttering lol. But with wind behind and sail out front I can see this not working out well for anyone.

  cheers, Dave

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

As a novice paddler you guys lost me at 'boomjaw'

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

I will admit to the same problem as danthaler. I have played with a sunfish here in Colorado and my biggest thrill was in Mexico about 6 years ago were I BS ed my way past the have you ever sailed before queation and I took a Hobie Cat out several times on the ocean. The air does have more push at sea level. On my last day while the wife was doing her preliminary packing to go home I took her out one more time[the boat] and with the help of a windy day had the hull totally out of the water on one side and went for the gusto---what a blast. I do not know if I was dealing with a "boom-jaw" or not--I just know that when the hull that was down cut through the waves and dis-appeared under the water at times that my fear of being catipalted into some part of the sail that I did not know the name of did not happen----------some day I will build a sail boat and learn the jargin----CZ

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

Gooseneck:

 

 

Boomjaw:

 

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

Since I posted the question about boomjaws, I'll clarify a little:

In post #3 (JCH) mentioned the boom had split where the gooseneck inserts into the boom (see the black lashing around the end of the boom). I was wondering aloud if one can avoid this potential break by using a boomjaw instead of a gooseneck. 

I'll stick with the gooseneck because A) I've already ordered it, and B) I should stick to the plans for things I know little about. I can always add it later on. 

Thanks to everyone for their input! :)

Jean.

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

BTW, cz375hh, that sounded like a really fun day! Hope you have many more...

I wonder if CLC will ever come out with a catamaran kit? :P

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

>>I wonder if CLC will ever come out with a catamaran kit?

Already exists (sort of) - 2 CH14s to replace the amas in the CLC Sailrig :-)

RE: Max safe windspeed to sail Skerry for intermediate small boat sailor

With respect to goosenecks and their potential failure downwind, they can't be expected to go farther than 90 degrees without a lot of stress.  Lasers have rotating masts and if the mainsheet is too long can go 180 degrees.  Stayed dinghys have the shrouds to stop the boom and protect the gooseneck to some degree.  The solution is to have a stopper knot on the mainsheet to prevent more than 80 degrees laterally. With a gybe there is always a shock load at the end although with 56 sq feet of sail this should be manageable.  I was sailing around Lasers yesterday on my first sail and with my relative Skerry inexperience found that the boat tends to track in a straight line by comparison and the main has to be eased to manoevre successfully.

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