Heavy weather sailing – wind

A few weeks ago I posted about how quickly and easily the Sage 17, Sage 15 and SageCat mains can be reefed. To continue that theme here I’ll discuss ways to sail efficiently and more comfortably in heavy wind.

The Sages are very capable sailboats being excellent in light AND heavy winds. I have sailed all of the Sage boats in winds above 20 knots with gusts above 25. The highest winds I’ve sailed a Sage were in the mid-30 knot range in a SageCat & Sage 17.

AirBorn7

Sage 17 AIR BORN sailing with a single reefed main and storm jib – winds blowing 25-30 knots!

On a Sage 17 the first thing to do is tighten the backstay adjuster. Besides lessening the boat’s heel you will also lessen the weather helm felt at the tiller. The S17 also allows you to depower & reduce the heeling by letting out, to leeward, the mainsheet traveler out to leeward.

Next is to adjust the outhaul on the main (this is true for the S17, Sage 15 and SageCat). By tightening the outhaul the foot of the main is pulled closer to the boom and the sail’s draft is reduced. As the sail has less power the boat heels less. Adjusting the main’s draft is the first thing to do on a Sage 15 sloop and SageCat (catboat).

After making the above adjustments you can also let out the sail. On the S17 & S15 as you let out the main also let out the jib … the two need to be in balance. Be sure to keep sail luffing to a minimum as it greatly shortens the life of the sail.

The Sage 15 is a three-stay rig and doesn’t have a backstay. Don’t be tempted to let the main luff. A little bit in the buffs is OK, and letting the sheet fly free in a strong gust is fine, but don’t allow much more than a quarter of the sail to continually luff. This is why:

As the Sage 15 have no backstay as the main luffs the mast bends forward causing the forestay to sag. This means the headsail balloons out, becoming fuller, and catching more wind. Allowing the sail to luff in a three-stay rig, and this is true for any three stay rig, not just the Sage 15, the boat will heel more! Yes MORE. The main sheet and the leech (aft edge of the main) are the backstay on a three-stay rig. Keep tension on the mainsheet! This is why, versus on the Sage 17, you need to reef sooner once you feel uncomfortable with the amount of heel.

Another thing … with a poorly shaped headsail the boat loses speed, drive (ability to power through the waves, and doesn’t go to weather as well (ie, more leeway).

 

So, on the S15 reef before you are luffing the main!

cody on the columbia river

SageCat sailing with a single reefed main.

Next, on all the Sages, you need to put in a reef when the boat is still overpowered. In general if you are luffing more a ¼ of the main (or more) in the puffs you should reef. The other ‘sailor’s rule’ is if you think about reefing you have waiting to long.

 

 

After putting in a reef the above discussed sail trimming methods still hold true. But if the boat is still uncomfortable the next step depends on the boat sailed –

On a Sage 15 and SageCat the next step is to put in a second reef (all Sage 15s & SageCats come standard with a double reef main).

Video of an SageCat owner reefing his boat –

When sailing a Sage 17 you need to evaluate the headsail v. wind strength. In general the first step is to reef the main. If you have a larger headsail up, like the 150% or 130% genoa, dropping the sail is the best step (all S17s come standard with a jib downhaul so no need for you to go forward). The Sage 17 sails very well under main alone.

For example if sailing a S17 with the 150% genoa and the wind comes up I would reef the main. If still uncomfortable my next step would be to lower the jib and decide if I wish to change the headsail. If sailing a S17 with the lapper or working jib I would tie a second reef in the main before lowering the headsail.

For better overall sailing performance it is better to go to a smaller jib than reefing the main. The example above outlines a compromise if you are out on the water and don’t wish to conduct a headsail change.

On a Sage 17 you can also de-power the headsail by by moving the jib sheet lead blocks aft. This reduce the sail’s draft down low, flattening the foot, and lets the head of the sail twist off a bit.

For others’ perspectives on this here are two recent articles on heavy weather sailing published in the October 2017 issue of Spinsheet magazine –

 

Following the above you will find your heavy weather sailing a much more enjoyable experience (and maybe even fun!).

NOTE: The above discusses only the wind speed component of heavy weather sailing. A second and very important ‘second half’ of high wind sailing is the water’s sea state – the height of and if the waves are breaking. Sea state is actually the greater safety concern when the wind speed increases. I’ll discuss waves in another post. Until then remember – the captain is ultimately responsible for the safety of the boat, passengers and crew. If the captain isn’t sure about ‘going out’ then DON’T!

Anchoring

I just love going for a cruise and finding a quiet cove away from all the other boats. These are one of many moments where a small trailer sailor like the Sage 17, Sage 15 and SageCat do what other boats can’t. Gunkholing requires an anchor. Here I’ll discuss how I store, launch and retrieve an anchor on a Sage.

When cruising I carry two anchors on the boat. Each set of ground tackle is in an anchor bag and has 200’ of rode (rope) and 10’ of chain. In addition I also carry an extra 200’ of rode. The anchors, their rodes & chains & bags and the spare rode fit easily in the Sage 17, 15 or SageCat cockpit lockers. My usual practice is to keep the ground tackle in the starboard cockpit locker.

When I come into an anchorage I take out the anchor I’ll be using and set it and its bag of chain & rode on the cockpit floor. Once the anchoring location I like is found I lower the anchor off the aft starboard over the cleat. Why here? Well this keeps the rode away from the outboard’s prop and single handing keeps me at the helm v. going forward to the bow.

I use the motor to set the anchor and tie off the rode to the aft starboard cleat. Now, this is important, it is not safe to anchor off the transom. Why? If the sea comes up the waves crashing into the transom can also fill the cockpit! There are also higher stresses put on the boat and anchor as the waves hit the transom. Finally … it is really uncomfortable!

After watching how the boat swings and assuring the anchor is set, leaving the rode tied to the starboard stern cleat, I go forward with the anchor bag and rode and tie to the bow cleat. For added safety I tie the bitter end of the rode around one of the bow pulpit stanchions. I then return to the cockpit and release the rode at the stern cleat (adding about 15-20’ of scope to my anchor set).

The boat will now swing bow to the wind and all is ready for a wonderful evening ‘on the hook’.

happy_sailor

Sage 17 AIR BORN ‘on the hook’ in Blind Bay, Shaw Island, San Juan Islands, Salish Sea, Washington State.

When i’m ready to retrieve the anchor I go forward and retrieve the rode from the bow cleat and re-secure to the starboard stern cleat. I then pull the anchor rode into the cockpit floor until the rode is almost vertical. I now get the boat ready to leave (ie, take off the sail covers, lay out the sheets, collect the anchor bag from the bow, start the outboard, etc). As the boat rocks it will loosen the anchor making it much easier to raise … especially if it was very well set it deep sticky mud!

I raise the anchor and lay it and the rode on the cockpit sole to drain excess water. Once I have left the anchorage I then stow the anchor, chain, rode & bag back into the starboard cockpit locker.

As part of a longer video of me cruising on a Sage 17 you can watch me using the above system. Here is a link –

SKIP AHEAD to to 5 minutes, if the link above doesn’t do that automatically, to see the anchoring system being used!

Let me know what you think.

– Dave

Do you know the condition of your boat’s deck hardware bedding?

Your sailboat’s deck hardware should have been installed using a bedding compound. (I sadly write ‘should’ as I have worked on boats where there is no evidence that bedding compound was used!) Commonly used are Sikaflex’s 291 and 3M’s 4000 and 4200 (remember, 5200 is for under the waterline applications that will very very very likely never be removed). SPECIAL NOTE: do not use silicone to bed deck hardware! 99.99% of the time silcone has NO PLACE for use in the marine environment!

Bedding compound isn’t forever. It does, slowly, loose its effectiveness. In high loading areas, such as the tabernacle, chainplates, bow plate and bow pulpit the working of the fixture causes the bedding compound to release from the part and/or deck. Water gets under the piece and a series of bad things happen: crevice corrosion (ie, stainless steel rusting), leaks (ie, water dripping on your head) and wet core material (ie, balsa).

Currently in the Sage Marine shop we are servicing an older boat (not a Sage). The boat is built 12 years ago so all bedding compound is suspect (I would write the same about a 12 year old Sage). The tabernacle showed all the signs of the bedding compound had failed as rust was seeping from under the fixture. After removing the bolts holding the tabernacle in place the fixture fell off as the bedding compound was no longer adhered to metal nor deck.

tabernacle and baseLooking at the part it was clear that bedding compound was used; BUT the tabernacle fasteners were overtightened and most of the sealant was squeezed out. Next the on-deck side of the fastener holes were not beveled to create a ring of bedding compound. Third the wire run for the mast lights was installed in a suspect way for a boat that will have its standing rig raised and lowered multiple times – the wires ran up through the center of the tabernacle. The wires were quickly broken from the mast being raised and lowered (which happened often as the boat is a trailered variety) and the hole the wires ran through wasn’t adequately sealed.

I suspected the core was wet and I hoped that by overdrilling the fastener holes I would find dry material … nope, the core was mush throughout the base.

rotten plywood core

The solution is to completely remove the core material and ‘start over’. I installed new core and then layered on a new top layer of fiberglass and gel coat.

The new fastener holes are over-drilled and then filled with thickened resin.

fastener holes filled

Once the resin had cured correctly sized holes are drilled and then beveled.

The tabernacle is now back in place and even if the bedding compound fails (just a matter of time because of the loads in raising, lowering and the boat sailing) any water will drip into the cabin but NOT get into the core. When the drip is noticed the owner can remove the piece, clean up, and reinstall with new bedding compound (about a one hour 1/4-day job v. 5 hour multi-day job to rebuild the area).

tabernacle installed

So … do you know the condition of your boat’s deck fittings’ bedding compound? If there is any evidence of leaks, rust coming from under the fitting, water drips in the cabin or the nut and washer on the bolt rusting, it is time to remove, inspect (hopefully not repair) and re-install.

Reefing

The question of how to reef a Sage has been asked recently so I am re-posting this description.

Simply stated reefing needs to be quick and easy.  To reef a Sage 17, Sage 15 or SageCat takes less than 30 seconds.

Happenings at Sage Marine

As Spring has come conversations among sailors has increased.  One topic that has been batted around is reefing.  For those reading that are not sailors reefing is reducing the size of the boats sails in response to the wind speed increasing.  The smaller sail catches less wind and the boat heels less (until the wind increases more and you need to reduce, reef, the sails to an even smaller size).

The above video is of Sage 17 AIR BORN sailing in winds blowing 25+ knots. I have double reefed the main and the headsail is a storm jib.

Reefing is a ‘must know’ skill for the sailor.  Sadly I feel that most folks don’t know how to efficiently, or effectively, reef their boat’s sails.   For a sailboat the size of a Sage 17 (ie, 17′ long) reefing should take less then a minute and optimally less than thirty…

View original post 657 more words

A Fire Extinguisher RECALL – important fire safety information

A well-known fire extinguisher manufacturer, Kidde, in conjunction with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), has announced a voluntary recall to replace certain Kidde fire extinguisher units. This recall involves two styles of Kidde fire extinguishers: plastic handle fire extinguishers and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers.

Plastic handle fire extinguishers: The recall involves 134 models of Kidde fire extinguishers manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017, including models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. The extinguishers were sold in red, white and silver, and are either ABC- or BC-rated. The model number is printed on the fire extinguisher label. For units produced in 2007 and beyond, the date of manufacture is a 10-digit date code printed on the side of the cylinder, near the bottom. Digits five through nine represent the day and year of manufacture in DDDYY format. Date codes for recalled models manufactured from January 2, 2012 through August 15, 2017 are 00212 through 22717. For units produced before 2007, a date code is not printed on the fire extinguisher.

Consumers should immediately contact Kidde to request a free replacement fire extinguisher and for instructions on returning the recalled unit, as it may not work properly in a fire emergency.

For more information –

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/kidde … fr3FggcNkQ

https://inmarmarketaction.com/kidde/ <– this link heads you to Kidde’s details on how return and gain a free replacement if you have one of the recalled units.

Busy at Sage Marine!

We are busy busy and even busier here at Sage Marine! Some photos of owners and their new Sage 17’s Sage 15s and SageCats –

 

We also had a great time at the Annapolis Sailboat Show –

annapolis 17

Looking ahead we are making plans for a big announcements on a boat & events for this upcoming first quarter of 2018. Watch this space!

One week until the 2017 October Annapolis show!

Starting on 5 October Sage Marine will be at our usual place, Land Sites 80 & 81, at the Annapolis Sailboat Show.  The show runs until 9 October 2017.

Sage Marine Annapolis Show location

A Sage 17 and SageCat will be attending.  Let us know if you wish to see the boats!

Following the show, 10 & 11 October, by appointment, there will be SageCat demo sails.  If you want to sail a SageCat let us know by sending an email to info@sagemarine.com

See all’ya’all in Annapolis!