Downwind tips topic

Stephen Holcroft posted this 19 August 2019

20-25 knots, relatively flat water, just enjoyed a screaming reach and completed the gybe, start the run, along comes a gust and bang in I go for yet another swim.

Does anyone have any tips for going downwind in strong winds? It seems I'm very unsteady if the winds up, if I make the run without going in it's unusual and if I do it's a pretty scary roller-coaster ride. I've tried putting the board down a little but still seem to lose control.


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Ian McDonald posted this 19 August 2019

Not having enough kicker encourages the " death roll" as the leach opens and flips you in.

. But as my kit is drying out after the weekend, we await advice from the "proper" sailors!

David Greening posted this 19 August 2019

Assuming that you are having problems only on the run, as posted;

Here are a few suggestions;

Calibrate (mark) the centreboard at the rudder depth position, this is typically where I have the plate when I am running dead downwind; if you get a bit of wobble pull the plate down a little more.

Calibrate the kicker; mark a medium wind running position, where the top batten is not hooked and is just flicking, this is a good "typical" running setting, if it is windy or the boat starts to wobble, pull a little more kicker on.

If anything, sail slightly by the lee in the puffs, rather than head up, this should enable you to sit on the inside edge of the tank with a slight heel to windward, in "equilibrium", this also gives you a light helm. Keep an eye for the puffs coming from behind and anticipate.

Sheeting 2:1 off the boom can be quite effective if you are strong enough and allows you to make big rig angle adjustments, though things can go awry if you let off too much at the wrong moment!

Make sure that the rudder blade is fully down. Use strong steady movements on the helm; assert control of the boat, not the other way around.

What really doesn't work imo is sailing down the run perched in the middle of the boat, perched on the "coffee table"!

Hope that this helps.

Stephen Holcroft posted this 19 August 2019

Thanks a lot for the tips which I'll be trying out next time.

Ian McDonald posted this 19 August 2019

Where do you calibrate the kicker David? Do you have other references than the downwind in breeze one?

David Greening posted this 19 August 2019

I have three magic marker marks on the kicker cascade ropes that line up with the final moving block and tackle block; offwind running; standard upwind; windy upwind; these give a visual clue of how much I am pulling on or letting off as I round a mark. I also know that standard upwind is where I have to let the kicker off to to enable comfortable tacking. It is also worth marking the boom slide position to ensure that these settings are repeatable should you ever remove the boom. These are not intended to be exact, but are more of a guide.

Another method for callibrating the kicker is to have a line attached to the moving block that runs through a block at the boom slide which is attached with some bungee to the gooseneck end of the boom. You can then have a number scale stuck to the boom, again allowing repeatable settings.

I also have a mark for my standard inhaul, outhaul and main halyard positions. I dont mark the cunningham, which is done by feel or a visual of the luff, nor do I mark the traveller, because this also depends on the conditions.

Ian McDonald posted this 19 August 2019

Thanks David , great help!. At 6,2 the max kicker position may be of even more use.

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