Feb 22, 2018

Sailing in heavy airIf sailing in strong breeze isn’t your strong suit, you are not alone.

When I was about ten years old I starting racing sailboats on Cape Cod and the sound of the wind whistling overnight through the pine trees outside my bedroom would make it hard to sleep. Even the next morning I’d have a knot in my stomach when I woke.

Forty years later, I still get the knot in my stomach with just the thought of sailing in heavy air but luckily, I’ve learned more about the technique and in turn, have become more confident when it comes to heavy air sailing. If sailing in a strong breeze intimidates you, you are not alone, but you can learn to get better at it and actually start to dominate in the breeze. Here are some tips to help shake your nerves and get you confident for that next heavy air event.

Wear a Lifejacket

Seems pretty basic, but there was a day when wearing a lifejacket was not as prevalent as it is now. As soon as the breeze comes up, put one on yourself and make it mandatory that your crew do the same. It will give you more confidence to be more aggressive in moving around on deck and when trimming/pumping your sails. And it’s the right thing to do.

Know your Settings

Once you are out on the water and it starts blowing, there is no time to be figuring out how many turns to go up on the rig. Be sure to pre-measure your rig tension and know how many turns it takes to get to your heavy air settings for each wind speed.

YandySetup your Boat so it’s Easy

In all boats, flat is fast in breeze. It’s also important to keep the boat on an even angle of heel. If the boat is constantly heeling over you tend to use more rudder which creates drag, which will eventually cause the boat to stall out head to wind.

Concepts to keep in mind:

  • Set Up for Twist. Tight leeches on the main and jib will make the boat more sensitive to tipping over each time you get a puff. To induce twist:
  • Sail with the backstay VERY firm
  • Ease the main and jib (simultaneously)
  • Vang on hard if effective on your boat. This will flatten the lower portion of the main and open the lower leech
  • Play the sails. Play the main especially to keep the boat on an even angle of heel. The smaller the boat the more you play your sheets.
  • Keep the traveller on or slightly above the centerline.
  • Try not to Hit Waves Dead-on. If you do, at least make sure the boat is flat. Back when I learned to sail the mantra with steering in waves was to “head up the face of the wave and bear off on the backside of it. Today we use as little rudder as possible to steer around the big sets. Inevitably, you will hit waves, and some straight on. When you do, be sure your boat is flat. The boat will stop, but if it is flat it will not slip sideways as much.

Have fun. Sailing in heavy air is exhilarating. Enjoy the process of getting better each time you go out in a breeze!

 Chris Snow - Chris Snow, North Sails One Design Expert, San Diego, California

Chris Snow is a career sailmaker with experience in every aspect of the business. Most recently he has been involved with the management of North Sails One Design. He has a long record of small racing success in a diverse...

Destinations

  • Prev
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.

Grenada: It was all so inviting...

The Large Island of Grenada

By Katherine Stone

Anytime a Canadian is asked to travel south in the beginning of our spring, which this year was far from inviting, is a dream worth living. The thought of a sailing adventure, tropical breezes, the smell of spices and the warmth of the sun was too much – we HAD to go! The first thing we did was to dig out the copy of Ann Vanderhoof’s book, The Spice Necklace, we had acquired several years ago and to re-read the seven chapters of their adventures in Grenada. Not only should this be your required reading, but the book is loaded with scrumptious Caribbean recipes that are a must-try.

Read more about Grenada...

 

 

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...
The latest new model from Cruisers Yachts is the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the ...
The Sabre 45 Salon Express is new for 2017, making its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International ...

Leader 9.0

Leader 9.0By Andy Adams

In the case of baking a cake, Betty Crocker and Julia Child both start off with the same eggs, sugar and flour, but the results can be very different. Naval architects, designers and engineers in the boat business also have many of the same ingredients, but the trick is to make the cake unique and desirable.

With a huge history of innovative design in boatbuilding, Jeanneau brings the sort of skill and artistry to their boats that can set them apart. Their new Leader 9.0 model is a case in point.

Read more about the Leader 9.0...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 

Ask Andrew – How to hire a boat repair contractor

hiring a contractorBy Andrew McDonald

A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out there, including: Websites showing repairs, YouTube tutorials, Instagram pages and snapchat streams – let alone books, magazines, service manuals, and years of practical experience – how does a boat owner know which method(s) are ‘right’, who to trust, and who to hire to do the job? In short: How do you find and select a contractor?

Unfortunately, most people are forced to hire a contractor due to a circumstance where something has broken or failed, or the task...

Read more about hiring a contractor...

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
Looking for a great Christmas gift for the Offshore sailor on your list? This being a Marblehead to ...
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...