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 Post subject: High Wind 20 Sailing?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:32 am
Posts: 23
Location: Minnesota
How much wind have you braved with your 20?

With a limited number of sailing days, I'm always weighing my options (enthusiasm versus judgement) when it starts blowing above 20mph. I was caught out in WAY too much wind once, so I'm a bit gun shy. I'm comfortable depowering, but would like to hear a few stories and recommendations... wind speeds, crew weights, main only? (Seeing the blog post, perhaps there are a few stories from Yankton today.) When does the 20 go from fun and manageable to scary?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:04 am 
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Location: Oceanside, California
I did a coastal race years ago from Spain and into Portugal on 20s with spinnakers.

We had a couple of legs of the race that saw 20-30s. One was was downwind. Some of the guys tried to carry chutes and there were a few broken masts. It was all that I could do to depower. I was sheeting in on the gybes to reduce the forces and the jib was simply flogging. Huge swells too.

The other high wind leg saw directly off shore winds and flat seas. We sailed that leg without jibs.

I don't like that much wind when off shore and its rough.

Now... give me a flat water back bay and things would be different.

Still, the best sailing is in the 12-18 knot range.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:37 pm
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Location: Columbus Ohio
I've found anything above 18 and I'm depowering to some extent. I live in a gusty area and that's what really makes it hard, it's so much boat to handle when it's blowing and gusty. I actually felt the boat become weightless at times. I like taking two crew with me and that way I don't have to depower so much and can let it rip. I was out in not even 20 last week and flipped with one crew, I stayed on the lower hull why my crew helped swim the boat around. All I did was pull directly on the dolphin striker and she came right up, never even used the righting line. I would say anything over 25 would be scary and really not that much fun with only two onboard. A third body helps alot. That boat really makes you respect it when your at those wind speeds. It ain't no 16 that's for sure.:)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 8:00 am
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Location: Northern VA
Been caught out with gusts to 30+, and have gone out in 25 steady. Upwind you just depower everything; travel out, HAUL on the downhaul, mast rotation in. Have to steer a very fine line between falling off (and over) and stalling out. The boat will SEEM slow because it's so noisy and wet and pinching, but just keep looking back at the rooster tail :-) Takes serious concentration.

Downwind you also have to concnetrate very hard not to come up too far. End up going close to DDW with the jib flapping a lot. If you can pull the boards up before you try to fall off around the windwark mark you're MUCH better off :-)

Three people in flat water is fun, but watch that leeward bow, she WILL cartwheel...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:32 am
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Location: Minnesota
Thanks for all the suggestions. Today I actually tested out the theories... it was blowing 18 gusting 24 this morning with a prediction to remain the same, so I ventured out with two friends from work. (I'm 190 lb, they're 170 and 230.) We went to Lake Red Rock (reservoir) and had to launch at a crowded ramp so I had the two paddle over to a grassy ramp to rig.

By the time we got going, the wind was up a bit, maybe 22 gusting 29. We had a blast with two on the trap. Upwind I was traveled out to the hiking straps and had full downhaul with a tight sheet. The wind was consistent enough to have great control and just a little pinching kept us happy. Tacks were a bear, though, as my rookie crewmen had trouble sailing the jib through. We'd head up, stall out, drift backwards, rudder over, and call it a tack.

As the day wore on, the wind got stronger and much more shifty. We were no longer flying the hull involuntarily, and would pop the jib and traveler then head way up when a lifting gust made the boat lift up like it was made of paper. The ramp was at the leeward end of the bay we were sailing, so as the wind grew (weather.com said 29 gusting to 39 when we got off the lake) we worked our way up into a protected cove. The lake is about 20 feet high right now, so there were no soft landings. One of the guys grabbed the top of a tree to hold us in place while I dropped the main with the other. We sailed downwind with the jib and it was a blast. Even with three of us on the windward hull (no trap) the hull lifted out a few times in the big gusts. It was a nice, controlled sail back to the ramp.

Definitely a fun day, but I don't know that I'll go out again in this much wind if I know it's coming. There were more than a dozen powerboats in the area out which added a small safety blanket if we would have gotten into trouble, but those 39mph gusts were brutal. I'd pinch way up to maintain just enough speed for control.

I don't know that we ever would have made it downwind with the main up - any suggestions? We were lucky enough to find protection where we could drop the main, but I'm still wondering what I would have done if we had to sail with it up. That said, downwind in 39mph gusts with jib only is a blast on the 20. Quite a bit of speed, easy to control (though the leeward helm is a bit disconcerting at first), and a nice way to spend the last hour on the water on a hot day.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:04 am
Posts: 853
Location: Clinton Lake Kansas
The only way to survive DW on the 20 in the big stuff is go way deep, DO NOT try to heat it up, 20's will pitchpole (for that matter any cat will pitchpole in big wind).

We were one of five boats that ended up on Midway Beach (about three miles west of the marina beach) after the storm rolled in on Thursday (MBounds said the RC's last wind reading was 31 knots, just before lighting was spotted over the dam and the race was abandoned). Friday morning we woke to lower 20's, gusting to lower 30's, running straight down the lake from the West, making the water look more like the ocean than an inland lake. Dan Kreuger took his jet-ski out and said he couldn't see over the top swells from the bottom of the troughs, and he's not a small man. When PU hinted of setting a course late Friday I was one that did NOT want to venture out in those swells and sail the three miles down wind to the race course. It was a harrowing experience but I'm glad we did it. I'm now better prepared with a safe way of returning to shore in case we ever get "caught" in big blow, like Thursday's, again.

Quote:
perhaps there are a few stories from Yankton today

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Last edited by J_Eaton on Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:35 am 
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Location: Clear Lake Iowa
We were one of the boats blown down, and usually I am not a complete sissy, but after the sustained 30 and the gusts way over that, my daughter and I decided to pack it in for the week. I was heading straight down wind, did every de-power trick I have learned thus far and we were still going faster than I can describe. Pretty fun for a while, but scary as sh#t. The hard part was righting and getting set back up when it was so big. We tried to make it to the beach Eaton was describing,but couldn't and ended up on the rocks a 100 yds to the east. We had to walk the boat a few hundred yards up the beach, stright into the wind to find a safe harbor. Thankfully, no damage to the boat or the daughter, but we were in some real danger for a while there. You never feel quite as alive as when you've lived through something like that and manage not to crap yourself in a full wetsuit.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:32 am
Posts: 23
Location: Minnesota
Sounds like you made the right call. I just did $3,300 in repair after punching holes in both holes by crash landing my 20 on its side at an ore dock in Superior Wisconsin (the Duluth-Superior harbor) when the wind picked way up on us. The boat looks great now and I'm not about to wreck it again.

Look forward to seeing you guys at a few races this summer. I found the regatta schedule on the Division 7 website, but I was wondering if there are any other regular club races with any of the fleets. If not, I'd love to meet up with someone just to sail a few 20s side-by-side to learn a bit.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2003 9:57 am
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Location: Clear Lake Iowa
I would normally send you to the Fleet 84 guys, but Saylorville is over the dam right now with all the rain. If you want to come to Clear lake for a weekend race, let me know and I'll get the 20 out and you can sail on either sat or sun. We have Yacht Club races every weekend.
What town are you in?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:46 pm 
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Location: Minnesota
I'm in Cedar outside of Oskaloosa - half way between Rathbun and Red Rock, which is nice for recreational sailing but tough for Hobie racing.

Do your yacht club races include Hobies - specifically 20s?

I'd definitely be up for a weekend - maybe in July before the regattas. I could bring my boat up or hop on with you. Hopefully Saylorville will settle down sometime soon, as well. Red Rock's currently over 20' high - nothing but tree tops all along the shore.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:12 pm
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Location: IOWA
Hi H2O GWoT I'm a 20 sailor out of Des Moines with Fleet 84. The sailing on Saylorville is kind of at a hault. Once all the floating sticks logs, and other crap clear off the lake sailing in the High water is fun. Its a lot less gusty. But Dagers cost too much too be out there now. I'm going to headup to Lake Peppin in two weeks. Hope to see you on the water some time.

Jamie Mauk
H20- 808
H14- 63077


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:49 pm 
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Location: Minnesota
Thanks for the response. To avoid hijacking this post, I added a new one to coordinate 20 sailing in Iowa. I might be heading out to Rathbun or Red Rock this weekend based on damn releases; let me know if you're interested in getting out of Des Moines for a few hours. I'll have my boat and probably be looking for crew, or I could drag someone along from work and we could share some time on the water.

Here's the new topic:
http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewtopic.php?p=50015#50015

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:27 pm 
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Location: Northfield Minnesota
First off I'm not a H20 sailor. Second, this thing is a brute. We were a measly 17lbs over minimum weight, (312lbs, min is 295lbs) Thursday in Yankton I was sure I was going to die. Maybe not, but it is honeslty the most anxious I have ever been on a boat. Going up wind wasn't that bad. We had downhaul maxxed, rotation all the way in, and sheeted bloody hard. We just pinched hard and everything was fine. Downwind was a different experience. On a sailboat without a chute I have never been moving that fast. I don't honestly know how long it took to go from A-mark down to the gate but if it was more than 5 minutes I'll eat my mouse. With that in mind I have never had so much go wrong in such a short amout of time. Twice we had both rudders kick up, and I don't think they were poorly adjusted, just not quite tight enough for those kinds of speeds. Losing helm at 20+ knots, and 30 knot wind gusts is not cool. I bet we almost pitchpoled a half dozen times in that leg. We just about tipped over an equal amount because the rudders don't grab. Now the worst thing is those rogue waves, the ones that somehow double up and are twice as tall as their brethren around them. The kind you see 15 seconds before you pile into it, and you know its trouble. "Can I turn down?, hmmmm, nope I'm DDW. Head up? eek, that's certain death, oh well, here we go." There is nothing to grab onto on the 20. On the FXone there is a hand hold everywhere, the 20 is clean. As a skipper you can grab onto the rear beam and that is about it, as crew you've got your hopes and dreams to cling to and that is about all. I typically won't and don't yell at crew, but I was yelling, "BLOW THE JIB!!!", quite a bit on that downwind leg. After going through the gate we were on our first tack back to A-mark when we met a boat with a skipper but no crew. The crew was swimming behind trying to rejoin the boat, that was the point when I decided to hit the beach. The two dis-masted boats, and half the fleet turtled should have been a clue prior to that. I told my 15 year old crew that if he's nervous, or wants to go in say the word. I actually think he was dissapointed we went in. :oops:

Good times......


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:33 pm 
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Location: Clear Lake Iowa
Hey, Karl's story is one of the success stories too. Some of us wish we were as lucky as him.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:04 am
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Location: Clinton Lake Kansas
The only boat I remember seeing on our first DW leg, before we flipped, was Tom & Nancy Page, still on their way up to the weather mark. Tom told me later after they rounded the mark he sailed straight to the beach...smart man!

Chuck Blair shared Bobby Edmund's technique with us after the debacle. He said Bobby hangs his aft leg, up to the knee, over the rear beam to take care of what Karl pointed out...nothing to hold on to. Chuck sat within 2 feet of the rear beam with the jib sheet in one hand and main traveler sheet in the other, heels in the hiking straps, ready to blow both sheets if necessary.

Karl, that is a very lonely feeling when your going so fast that the rudders lose flow. It's hard to keep the tiller steady and in your hand until the boat "regains conscientiousness", and hopefully you don't crash in the mean time. :x

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