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Nacra 5.8 - Heavy Weather Sailing?


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Hi Guys,

I've been in a 5.8 now the best part of 6 months (up from a 5.0) and I'm after tips on sailing in winds above about 20 knots - because frankly I'm finding it a handful when it starts to really blow. I have problems with main back-winding, jib leading edge luffing (even with really tight luff downhaul on jib) and hulls lifting at a rate that finds me dumping lots of sheet every few seconds just to stay upright. I'm OK if it’s a consistent wind but the worst is when the gusts are say more than 5 or 6 knots above the avg wind speed (eg 19 gusting to 25, I find much worse than say 23 knots and steady). Generally I do the following in strong winds:-

For Upwind:-

• Tight Rig

• Tight Jib Luff Tension

• Diamonds looser than normal (Can almost, but not quite, press them to the mast about 12 inches up)

• Mainsheet hooked on the front hole. Traveller centred (or maybe offset about 6 inches)

• Main Downhaul hanked on pretty much as tight as it'll go.

• Battens tied in fairly loose (top half pretty much just in the pocket)

• Mast Rotated to 90 degrees (especially if above about 20, but trailing edge into the apparent wind below say 20)

• Mast Raked back (so a trapeze measured to the tang on the bow when measured to the stern sits about an inch or so in from the stern)

• Mainsheet tight

• JibSheet tight

• Centreboards fully down (though Ive heard that having them only half down may be better in strong wind)

• My helm is fairly light and has a slight weather helm about it (I have rudders raked under to about 35-40mm when measured with a batten along the pintle)

Now I'm reasonably confident that the above is close to reasonable, but always capable of being corrected?

So my questions are:

1) Have I got it basically right upwind?

2) What do you change (in strong winds) when reaching and downwind? That is, do you guys do the usual stuff as in lift your centreboards, loosen your downhauls etc etc?

I'm really not about going absolute maximum performance here - more the basic survival before I try to crank it up on the edge. So far my results in races are slowly getting there in under about 17 knots, but above it - well forget it.

Doug L

NACRA 5.8 #1602

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It is probably a little hard for us to gauge how we are doing, but we are now waxing everything in sight in anything over 12 knots.

If the jib is backwinding the main, then its probably sheeted too far forward, moving the sheeting angle back opens the leech of the jib, and increases the slot.

you should not need to go to the front hole of the clewboard, the one behind should be enough.

if you cant get anything more on the main downhaul, start dumping traveller, I have found it gives enourmous acceleration, and with the speed comes pointing.

if your jib is backwinding, your plain pointing too high, try sailing more freely. (see traveller)

On reaches, we pull the windward board up, its marked so that about 50mm of board shows under the boat, and fills the hole. when its blowing hard, thats about all we do, you should just concentrate on driving the boat.

on reaches I use very little traveller, and plenty of twist, use your telltales to work out just how much.

When sailing to windward, in a blow, stand well back, the 5.8's biggest assett is its speed, if you dont drive it off the wind your going to miss its performance.

well thats what i have found so far anyway smile.gif and I am the state's current Nacra champ smile.gif much like how goose is WA's champ smile.gif

[This message has been edited by HooD (edited 11 March 2003).]

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Hi Doug,

My surgestion is that you and your son eat more meat pies before going out.

Sounds like you are not to far from the mark. The best thing you could do is talk to Richard and con him into going out for a spin. He realy knows how to tweek the boat for light and strong winds.

Or maybe you should trade up to a T (Sorry couldn't help myself)

See ya

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Believe me - the meat pies aren't the problem - more the opposite - Son is about 60Kg and I'm about 90Kg at the moment (and S**T its bloody difficult to pull 90KG + gear + water back on board after that second capsize).


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