What a blast!! And I survived.

I was sailing my little Skerry inside the breakwall because the waves were a bit much outside and I still had the nice wind and got caught in a tail-wind storm-is-a-coming-wind. I don't think I have ever gone so fast in a sailboat in my life. The water was all frothy just like it had been beaten with a whisk. Didn't help that the wind kept shifting around.

I was at the limit of my strength to keep the sail controlled and the rudder going. Because the wind was behind me the boat kept pulling to one side because the sail was way out to one side.

2 questions.

Is there any disadvantage in putting a double block instead of the 2 single ones I have now? I think that would give me a better mechanical advantage.

While I was (almost) flying home the boat started wobling from side to side.  I turned the boat a bit and I was just lucky it stopped. It was a sort of pendulum motion that was building. What did I do wrong to get this started? I asked at the club but it wasn't something anyone had had happen to them. 

On the bright side, not a drop of water came in Cricket except what was flying around lifted by the wind. She behaved very well. 


4 replies:

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RE: What a blast!! And I survived.

Good on you Christine, glad you didn't go swimming. Your sprit rig, assuming that's what you have, will take less strength to trim with double blocks however will also take a longer pull on the sheet to achieve the same amount of hardening or easing trim. Given that you probably won't sail in these conditions much the trade off is probably not worth it... I'm not sure what you mean by "wabling" but if you mean the boat was rolling uncontrollably it was probably due to the fact that a sprit rig tends to spill a lot of wind in a puff when on a run because there is no vang. As you ease the sheet the top of the sail spills wind and then the healing moment created by your hiking position temporarily becomes too great and the boat rolls to the other side. There is little, other than very acrobatic hiking, that you can do in this situation. SEEYA Jack

RE: What a blast!! And I survived.

I would add the double blocks. 

Also, I think you were heading close to dead downwind or possibly a bit by-the-lee as you describe a "pendulum motion".  This is the prelude to a deathroll, so you were wise to head up a bit.  As jacknlin described the mechanics, you can imagine that the boat could roll to windward in these conditions, which happens a lot faster than a typical capsize as when sailing to windward.   Another thing that sometimes helps in this situation is to get your weight as far back in the boat as you can to force the rudder down and the bow up.  Also, some of the pendulum motion could be due to lift generated by the daggerboard at high speed, so raising this about 1/2 way can reduce the roll too. 

 Sounds like you had a great ride. 


RE: What a blast!! And I survived.


Thanks for your suggestions. Its worth trying a double block at the cost of slower action. I had no margin for error or extra time and really was at the limit of my strength. At least that's what I think in my limited experience.

I never thought of moving back. My reaction was to stay right at the midpoint just behind the seat and balance as best I could. I could have done with extra rudder action.

It all happened so fast that I'm not sure I had the time to get to the centreboard. Steering and hanging on to the sail was all I could manage.

The "deathroll" (what a perfect description) took me completely by surprise. 

 The problem was that it happened so quickly and I was in a sort of wind tunnel caused by the breakwater and the shore. No waves to speak of luckily.


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