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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:16 am
Posts: 95
Location: West Michigan (Grand Rapids, Holland Area)
Had fleet races last night, pretty light wind, and had a buddy on board, usually I sail solo, and we were a little heavy for the wind that we had and my skill in light wind.

My main sail was way too flat for the conditions, I felt like I was spilling out a high percentage of the air that I was getting (which wasn’t much). We tried some different downhaul settings and completely removed downhaul, still flat.

I’m guessing that I was over sheeting some of the time for the light winds but I think that I’m still missing something. Even downwind with the traveler and mainsheet out I didn’t have much pocket.

My thought is that there are four things that contribute to this, I'll list them. Please let me know if I’m wrong,

Downhaul – more tension = flatter sail
Batten Tension – tight battens = flat sail??
Outhaul – same as downhaul, but I’ve read multiple posts from Matt B that say that this isn’t a huge factor
Mainsheet – sheet tension flattens sail

Am I incorrect above, am I missing something, what can I try?

My sails are original but in really good shape for their age for what that is worth.

Any help/input is appreciated, Thanks

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Cesar (Cez) S.
H16 - "He gone!"


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:57 am 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
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Location: Jersey Shore
Your sails are over 30 years old. No amount of downhaul, etc. is going to make up for that. You may be able to get a little more shape up top by tapering your upper battens if they are really stiff, and put the battens in snug. But really, the age of this sail makes it only suitable for casual sailing at best. Learn with it and enjoy, but realize the main limiting factor of this sail is it's age and there's nothing you can do about that.

sm


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:21 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:08 am
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Location: Newport, NC
If I'm not mistaken increasing the tension on the battens will increase "bow" in the sail and maximize the bernouli principle to give your sail lift in light wind.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:32 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:58 pm
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Location: SE Michigan / NE Indiana
Increasing batten tension (within reason - don't go nuts) will give you a bit more camber which will help, but probably not in the right places to give you all the power you want. I've read and been told that as you look up at the sail, you want the most camber/draft/pocket at about the 30-40% mark (measured luff to leach or front/back). As sails age and stretch, this may move to 50% and higher. I've heard people often use the term "blown out" to describe sails that behave like this. BTW for all sails, the point of maximum camber will tend move further back as the wind picks up.

If you want to go crazy on the theory side you can check here.

I too have old tired sails on my H18 (as in original 24 yrs old) and am resigned to the fact that at some point I'll have to get new sails if I want to be competitive on that boat.

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'88 H18 Jolly Mon
'10 F18 Closely Called
Sail Michigan's Great Lakes in 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:32 am 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 10:33 am
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Location: Clinton, Mississippi
Older blown-out sails can actually do surprisingly well in light wind.

While not a HUGE factor, more batten tension for more draft for more power for light wind (and for the extra crew weight you're not used to sailing with). Otherwise, your observations are correct. You should have a set of tell-tales on the main that aren't influenced by the jib (above mast tang). Sheet in only as much as you can without stalling this top leeward tell-tale on the main. Then downhaul ONLY enough to get wrinkles out upwind. Knock downhaul off downwind, if possible.

I'm betting you were oversheeted if the performance was surprisingly bad. It's sort of counterintuitive, but you've got to loosen things up (including the jibsheet) a little and let those sails breathe in the light stuff.

I live in central Mississippi which unfortunately means lots of light air experience!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:16 am
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Location: West Michigan (Grand Rapids, Holland Area)
Thanks for the input guys,

I completely understand that I have old sails, I've been on a couple 16s with new sails and can definitely tell the difference. I do think that I have a decent set of sails but I don't expect the same performance as new ones at all.
I do race this boat as well as casual sailing, but I do know that my boat and skill level have limitations. but compared to my sails I know that I saw older, newer, and combinations of better and worse condition sails out last night with more shape than I had, and I think that luck had something to do with it on some boats, and I haven't had a chance to ask the other boats yet.

I do expect to be able to control the shape of the sail some, it looks like batten tension is a big key to it and it appears that I was slightly confused on that aspect. Some very good points about batten tension, shape, Bernoulli's principle, and letting the sails breath.
Keep on learning! Time to dig in further into this stuff, thanks, keep it comin'

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Cesar (Cez) S.
H16 - "He gone!"


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:28 am
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Location: Clinton Lake, KS
You are probably in the same boat as me...


With the exception I no longer have the excuse of old worn out sails and a beat up boat.. In fact last night I couldn't keep up with old washed out sails with my newer ones..

:oops: :oops:

Can you hang with the guys you were racing when weights are equal?




The good guys were probably sailing right by you.. and you kept moving around looking for something to pull on to make the boat go faster.. and there might be.. but you were probably slowing the boat down more by bouncing around looking for some magic string to pull than you would have gained had you found the 'secret'....

In light air you can't afford to make mistakes.. You HAVE to be a better skipper.. Oh sure.. there might be some little thing you can do to make the boat a little faster.. maybe.. but most of it is in the tiller nut.. I would focus more on fixing you than I would the boat.. unless something is horribly wrong.. I think you are seeing things.. I do this all the time..



I'll let you know when I finally figure it out.. :lol: it clicks for me from time to time... but yeah.. uuhhh....

:D


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:38 pm 
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Location: West Michigan (Grand Rapids, Holland Area)
I get KILLED in light wind during races, inexperience is a BIG part of the for sure. NOT forgiving at all. In the light wind yesterday I started evaluating things and I noticed the sail shape. Other than that I look at my technique once I get on the water. One of the wise guys in the fleet told me, "Once you get on the water, forget about all that stuff, it's too late to fix most of it anyways, just sail it the best that you can."
So I'm working on improving "the best that I can". :?: Easier said than done.

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Cesar (Cez) S.
H16 - "He gone!"


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:11 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2006 5:44 pm
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Location: Oshkosh, WI
Some of the racers on here should sell us their 3-5 year old sails for a decent rate.. I'm rocking my original sails from '82 as well. Can't justify a huge expense when I only have a grand invested in the entire thing.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:15 pm
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Location: Oakland, CA
ronholm wrote:
Can you hang with the guys you were racing when weights are equal?

Crew weight is a big factor in racing, especially in light winds. Heavier crews do better in higher winds because their weight can keep the hulls down without de-powering the sails.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:02 pm
Posts: 45
Location: Clinton Lake, Kansas
Jeromes' post +1
in light air (>8mph) bagged out rags can be faster because of their full shape.

The tendency is, when everyone's going faster and pointing higher (or at least it seems like it) is to sheet in tighter. This defeats the purpose of the full shape of the "experienced" sail by flattening it out, and hooking the leech. Hooking the leech creates drag, not thrust. How do you know if you're over-sheeting? Crack off the main a couple inches and see if the boat speeds up.
Again like Jerome said...loosen it up, and then concentrate on keeping the boat rolling, carrying the speed.

ps Ron Holm, those '84 Olympic sails are the best set of rec sails I have, nowhere near bagged out...yet :wink: ps


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:22 am 
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Location: Clinton Lake, KS
flatlander wrote:
ps Ron Holm, those '84 Olympic sails are the best set of rec sails I have, nowhere near bagged out...yet :wink: ps



:lol:

Listen to this guy.. Talking about how bagged out sails are faster in the really light stuff...

Then stating his 84 sails are not bagged out compared to my 2005 set after kicking my butt..

:lol:


I'll just keep blaming it on my rudders.. I like that excuse..


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