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TECHNIQUE How to get by in 5 moves with strong wind

The role of the person in charge, the captain or skipper, is essential, especially when faced with critical conditions, it is he who must guide the crew according to clear priorities and precise instructions.

Before leaving / Guard rounds If the crew is made up of at least four people, guard duty must be decided, which must be at most three or four hours, each shift must have a “leader” of the guard on duty who must have all the skills, knowledge of the boat and know how to carry out every maneuver so as to make any decision. If there are only two shifts (minimum four people on board with two-person shifts), those who are not on duty can rest, but must always be ready to intervene in case of need. If the crew is large (minimum six people), three shifts can be organized: the first is on guard, the second rests but is ready (stand by) to intervene and the third is in total rest.

Before leaving / Clothing On the boat, when the wind is strong, the worst enemy to fight is always the cold (not only in winter). If it is obvious to reiterate the importance of a good oilcoat and a pair of comfortable boots, remember to wear them as soon as the weather worsens, without waiting to get wet. A pair of gloves, as well as warming up, will facilitate you in the maneuvers.

In navigation / Safety If the captain decides that all the crew must wear a jacket and safety belt, everyone must comply with the decision. Personal choices are not allowed. In navigation / Fatigue, seasickness, fear Everyone reacts differently to fatigue, seasickness, the threshold of fear. The commander must be careful about how each member reacts. Ready to change turns, dispensing those in difficulty.

Navigating in strong winds requires careful preparation of the boat before leaving the mooring and some precautions in navigation. Here are the main ones to remember.

Sockets at sea When sailing, it is a good idea to always close them, but in strong winds this rule becomes absolutely mandatory. And be careful, not only those of the toilet but also those of the sinks should be closed, especially that of a possible linear kitchen: being offset from the center line of the hull, in fact, it can trigger a dangerous entry of water when sailing with the opposite walls to his position.

The arrangement of the weights The rule is always the same: the more the weights are concentrated at the bottom and amidships, the better is obviously the step on the wave. If you are forced to face a long haul in rough seas, before setting off, it is advisable to transfer still and chain in the stern locker or, better, in a crate placed at the foot of a mast. If you are already sailing, at least make sure you anchor your anchor on the nose at least with a restraint line. And remember to empty the water tank if it is placed in the bow.

Watch the engine When you sail and motor together, pay close attention to your heeling angle. And this not only because the cooling sea intake could come out of the water, but also due to lubrication problems. The pump that fishes in the oil sump could in fact remain dry due to the liquid that moves to the side. The tolerated degrees of heeling are indicated on the engine use booklet.

The jack lines This is the correct name of life lines, those tapes to be mounted on deck, from bow to stern, on which the carabiner of the safety belts is hooked, to be worn especially at night in strong winds. Set them up before you set sail, it will be much easier. Remember that it is wrong to keep them always armed: UV rays in fact reduce their resistance.

Screenshot 2014-12-19 at 12.13.38How to reef easily Most of the modern cruising boats adopt the rapid catching of reefs: it is a system by which the closed circuit borosa can act both on the leech of the mainsail and on the infertility. The maneuver in this way can be carried out entirely by yourself from the cockpit, with a clear advantage in terms of safety, because you will no longer have to go to the mast to bury the mainsail walls. A great advantageespecially when the weather conditions are challenging (otherwise why should you take the reefs? …). But for those who do not have this system, there is perhaps an even more effective and reliable alternative adopted for some time on large boats: just use a cunningham for each reef, in addition to the usual borosa that maintains its traditional function. In essence,

it is a question of using a rope to be returned to the halyard winches to lower the lowering of the mainsail. To make this system, you need to mount twoScreenshot 2014-12-19 at 12.14.35eyebolts on the mast at the height of the boom, which serve as points of walls for each reef line in place of the classic steel hook. In some cases it is possible to mount the eyebolts in the same case, thus avoiding making holes in the shaft profile. The important thing is that the point of wall of the reef is positioned in such a way as to keep the mainsail inferior as close as possible to the shaft rail, so as not to stress the carts or garrows. The cunningham circuittherefore it starts from the eyebolts, where the buds are fixed with a gassa or a cappuccino knot, enters the eyelets on the mainsail, goes down on the other side of the tree to the base and, through a block, goes towards the winch of the straighten up first passing the stopper. On the lashing eyelets you can also apply a loop in tape on which to attach a ring and, if desired, a block. This way you will get an even smoother circuit.

And if you have a furling genoa?As many know, to bolinate with thirty knots a sling to mount on the removable forestay or a lean and heavy jib to arm on the forestay is undoubtedly more efficient than the partially wrapped genoa. But, let’s face it, often it is easier for your rig to include a furling fore sail. Stop. Let’s start with the analysis of the fabric: compared to traditional dacron, a taffeta laminate has the advantage of keeping the shape better over time because it is more rigid. And it is precisely the elasticity of the fabric that determines the excess fat in the central part of the sail which, when you partially reduce the surface, creates that “bag” that increases your heel, to the detriment of progress. The same can be said about the biradial or triradial cut,In any case, a lean cut sail is more efficient than a fat one at the start: in any case it is up to you to decide whether to limit the performance with light wind a little or improve the performance of the genoa when it is partially wrapped.Fabric reinforcements or those systems used by sailmakers have been shown to be useful to thicken the sail’s underfoot and make it leaner in the central part when it is semirollata, thus reducing folds.

With regard to adjustments, it is the backstay adjuster (if the boat is equipped with it) that has the greatest importance to obtain a correct profile of the genoa when it is partially wrapped. Before rolling it must be stretched to the maximum so as to facilitate the rotation of the drum and reduce the overhead line. The tension of the halyard is a topic that is often controversial: if on the one hand it is necessary to give a lot of it to lean the profile and bring the fat forward, on the other there is the risk of not being able to wrap the sail anymore, since it increases the friction on the balls of the drum. One solution is to completely wrap the genoa avoiding to tighten the coils of fabric one over the other; at that point bullshit the halyard with the genoa closed and finally carry out that much of surface that serves to bolinate. The advice: roll the head sail sailing down the hill, with the genoa not completely thrown out so as to prevent creases from forming. Once the sail is reopened, remember to back up the sheet slightly compared to what you usually do.

Waino Simons