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main sail trim

mm2347

.
Oct 21, 2008
238
oday 222 niagara
Help! Last week I could not get my main trimmed. My boat is a 222, the wind was at about 7 to 9 and 1-2 ft waves on Lake MI. I have telltails on the main at about the center on both sides and 3 at the battens on the leach. Sailing at about 50 to 60 degs into the wind, boat speed about 4 to 5, the center telltail was sucking back to the windward side of the leach. I moved, loosened, tightened, increased and decreased everything I could think of including working jib trim and slot. I could not get the middle tell tail on the leach to flow. The center ones were looking good. Any ideas on what I can try? Of course the first problem is to get those great weather conditions back.
 
Nov 9, 2012
2,499
Oday 192 Lake Nockamixon
I have experienced similar. 3 leech telltales, top, middle and bottom which is kinda center of the leech.

I figure if I can get top and bottom to fly, I'm doing better than 75% of other sailors who pay no attention to twist, and the boat moves well, so that ain't bad.

I somewhat attribute it to having an old sail.

I do think trimming the main a little more flat and the jib with more draft (if you have moveable fairleads for the jib sheets) will serve you well in chop and waves. It's like the front of the boat will have more power to push through the waves, while the main is more depowered to reduce heeling.

As always, when I'm thinking about main sail trim, I inevitably think about getting a nice, new main, and where I can scrounge up maybe $1300... Then again, the leech of my reasonably stiff and seemingly newer hank on jib always seems to have a bit of a hook to it, so a new jib would be lovely too. And if I'm new jibbing, I'm looking at roller furling. And if I'm looking at roller furling, I'm trying to figure where I can get long enough jib fairlead track without having to run down the side decks which would decrease the sheeting angles so that I can run a 135% instead of 110%. And then I'm adding all this up, and I just keep sailing with what I've got :D
 
May 17, 2004
2,023
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
mm2347: I'll do the best I can with this as I don't know what sail trim controls you were using or the condition of your sails etc.

It's difficult to get ALL the mainsail/jib telltales flowing in unison even if you have a new sail because some sail trim controls adjust more than one element (draft depth, draft position, twist & angle of attack). It's a sail trim control balancing act where you do the best you can. It's like feathering the accelerator on your car.

In my case, if I had the the most important mainsail/jib telltales flowing, which are the top mainsail telltale and the middle jib telltales I was a happy mate. Additionally, if I had my center mainsail telltales (plus the ones I had on each shroud) I knew I was in the "grove" and it was the best I was going to get in a cruising situation.

If I got 5 knots out of my C30 I'd have thought I was flying!!
 
Nov 9, 2012
2,499
Oday 192 Lake Nockamixon
Don, our 222/192 O'days don't have all the bells and whistles. They are fractional rigged, and as stock, there's an outhaul, a sliding gooseneck for luff tension, and end boom sheeting off a backstay pigtail. Many have also rigged a vang, and an adjustable topping lift (as mine has.) So, with a vang and good topping lift, it's possible to vang sheet, and have the TL control main twist to an extent, and leave the mainsheet for angle of attack without closing off the leech. Still not the same as having a traveller, unfortunately...

I have noticed that my backstay tension seems to cock back the top of the mast above the hounds. Looks kinda sketchy. I know of one guy who's 192 was featured in Small Craft Advisor who has rigged a 3:1 purchase on his backstay. One day I decided to see what I thought the mast would really do if the backstay were somewhat adjustable, so I tied a dock line to the backstay, and walked up to the companionway so I could sight up the mast. I pulled on the line, which deflected the backstay, effectively tightening it. Sure enough, with the swept spreaders of the uppers, the mast actually did bend and curve forward. I have decided that when I buy a new main sail, I'm going to have to rig a backstay purchase, because pulling on backsta would be a reasonably easy way to depower the main.

I'd love to have a traveller, too, but the only 2 viable ways come with drawbacks. Keeping end boom sheeting and rigging a raised bridge over the transom to clear the tiller would keep the traveler out the way of cockpit living, but it would make it more difficult to climb over the stern from the swim ladder, and I swim off the boat often. The other way is to convert to mid-boom sheeting, and run the traveller across the cockpit seats. The seats on these boats are very contoured, so that one would have to build up a bridge for the traveler to accommodate the sculpting of the seats, and then you'd limit cockpit livability. The seats are long enough I can lay full length, but with 4 or 5 inches of traveller raised up in the middle, I'd no longer be able to do that.

So, I just sail with vang sheeting, and I feel that's doing better than most cruising boats! :D:D:D
 
May 17, 2004
2,023
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Brian: You're trying to trim the mainsail with "one hand tied behind your back". The traveler would be nice but the one control I would add is a boom vang.

There are 4 elements you're adjusting - draft depth, draft position, twist and angle of attack. Unlike the traveler, which only adjusts angle of attack, when you mess with the mainsheet as your main control you're also adjusting the other 3 elements as well to one degree or the other.

So, getting back to your original question, I think you should adjust your telltales as best you can, just as I do. Get the top mainsail telltale streaming and the middle jib telltales streaming and then crack open a beer and enjoy the day.
 
Nov 9, 2012
2,499
Oday 192 Lake Nockamixon
Don, I do have a vang, and I do use it. Much of the time I get lighter winds, and it seems that to get the top main leech telltale to fly and not wrap around the leeward side, I lift the boom up a bit using the topping lift. The idea is to overcome the weight of the boom pulling the leech closed.

If the wind got up a bit, then I'd relax the topping lift, and possibly vang on. Usually the vang only does much for me off the wind, to prevent the boom lifting. The vang is only 4:1, and I don't know that it would be strong enough to act like a "kicker" on a racing dinghy with a bendy mast, using the boom as a ram to induce mast bend.

So, I just use what I learned from your book, adapt as best I can to not having a traveller, and do my best. We have a new guy in the club who has an O'day 192 with the standard jib, but his is still on the original (crappy) Schaefer wire luff roller furler (which means a lot of jib luff sag.) I was sailing near him the other day, and I caught him, then walked away from him. So, that means my sail trim is doing something right :D:D:D Poor guy was a bit disheartened. But it's ok, I'm going to take him out in my boat, then we'll go over to his boat, and he'll pick up some pointers and start doing better. Mind you, this is not on the race course, though we all know the definition of a yacht race: "Two or more vessels in sight of each other." :D
 

mm2347

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Oct 21, 2008
238
oday 222 niagara
Don: My speedo is in Miles per hour (Ive never changed it) but its a GPS and I think at least close. That said I did feel like I was flying and I confess I gave up and did sit back and enjoyed the ride. At 5 MPH and up the speedo wont give 10s of a MPH so I don't know if it was 5.1 or 5.9. Ive never got into or over 6 without a motor and hoped maybe this was the day. Except for the gusts or when I would change the trim the balance of the boat was great. I know--- it nuts to get excited over a MPH in an old little boat. O well. Maybe it was 5.9.
 

mm2347

.
Oct 21, 2008
238
oday 222 niagara
sail trim

Don: My speedo is in Miles per hour (Ive never changed it) but its a GPS and I think at least close. That said I did feel like I was flying and I confess I gave up and did sit back and enjoyed the ride. At 5 MPH and up the speedo wont give 10s of a MPH so I don't know if it was 5.1 or 5.9. Ive never got into or over 6 without a motor and hoped maybe this was the day. Except for the gusts or when I would change the trim the balance of the boat was great. I know--- it nuts to get excited over a MPH in an old little boat. O well. Maybe it was 5.9.
Your book and cheat sheets have been of great help. Have reread them often and just now starting to get thru my thick skull. About the only trim adjustment I don't have or didn't try were mast bend or moving my jib sheet out from the adjustable (fore or aft)rail on the cabin. I have original sails that are still med to good cond.

Thank you for helping guys like me out. It really makes it a lot more fun.