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Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? #47181
04/10/05 12:24 AM
04/10/05 12:24 AM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 27
Los Angeles
spfechner Offline OP
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spfechner  Offline OP
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Los Angeles
Here is my question: What is the best boat to sail solo for fun when the winds are high and the waves are whitecapped?

I missed out on some great sailing the past 2 days because of high winds (20+ knots) and no crew to help me sail my Nacra F18. As I longingly looked out at the empty whitecapped ocean and wished I could be out there, it occured to me that there must be a boat that would be perfect for those conditions. What is it?

I guess one option would be to install some reefing points on the main of my F18. I sail it solo a lot, but this wind was too much for my weight (230 pounds) and the size of the mainsail. Any other suggestions on how to get out on those whitecaps solo?

-- Have You Seen This? --
Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: spfechner] #47182
04/10/05 03:20 AM
04/10/05 03:20 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 19
Copenhagen, Denmark
Mogens Offline
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Copenhagen, Denmark
In danger of being black listed in this forum: What about windsurfing

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: spfechner] #47183
04/10/05 07:14 AM
04/10/05 07:14 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
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brobru Offline
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Hello

Try going out with only the main sail.

You will have alot of fun and the boat will handle fine.

My I-17 is only 6 inches shorter than your rig and sometimes I wish for a longer hull in conditions like you describe.

So, go sailing and have fun!

Bruce
St. Croix
USVI

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: brobru] #47184
04/10/05 08:25 AM
04/10/05 08:25 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 6,049
Sebring, Florida.
Timbo Offline
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Sebring, Florida.
A Hobie 16 is great in those conditions, get a cheap used one for those rare days, or put a Hobie 16 mainsail on your F18, you can secure it with a line around the mast and tie a knot in the halyard to hold it up. Or try a Hobie Wave, but it doesn't have a trapeze.

As far as not using the jib, I tried that on my Inter 20 solo, It had way too much weather helm. I found it was easier to use the jib and then ease the main sheet and traveler a bunch in the gusts, the jib will keep you moving so you can steer and you won't be fighting the weather helm.

Also, pull the boards up at least half way, that will keep the hull from flying up so much. Sail it low and fast, back in the foot strap, it's a blast!


Blade F16
#777
Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: spfechner] #47185
04/10/05 02:59 PM
04/10/05 02:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 917
Issaquah, WA, USA
H17cat Offline
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My Vote would be for the Hobie 17. Look at the pictues from the Hobie 17 Worlds, and you will see why this is my choice. Going to weather in heavy seas with high winds, trapped out on the wing is a great ride.

Caleb Tarleton

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: spfechner] #47186
04/10/05 10:56 PM
04/10/05 10:56 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 27
Los Angeles
spfechner Offline OP
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spfechner  Offline OP
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Los Angeles
Thanks for the great responses.

Regarding windsurfing, I would actually love to windsurf in these small craft advisory conditions, but there is no good place to launch off of Redondo Beach, Calif, and the harbor prohibits windsurfing. The prevailing wind blows onshore making surf launches almost impossible in high surf. Kite boarding is an option, but I am not proficient yet.

Regarding the suggestion I sail with the main alone, I am probably understating the wind strength in my question. I do sail with main alone when there are moderate whitecaps and wind. I am talking about when its too windy for my 230 pounds to hold down the boat with full size main and a furled jib.

Regarding the Hobies, I have very fond memories of the boat that introduced me to my love of catamaraning. When I think of the 16, however, I think "pitchpole". I think the 17 might be a good choice, but the leeward wing would likely be hitting the breaking waves in more extreme conditions. Also, trapezing from the windward wing in rough conditions where you will likely be stuffing the bows into waves fairly regularly seems like a bad idea. Maybe I am wrong. Enlighten me, please.

I sure wish there was a good way to easily reef a catamaran mainsail while underway. Inventors, take note!

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: spfechner] #47187
04/10/05 11:59 PM
04/10/05 11:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 917
Issaquah, WA, USA
H17cat Offline
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On the Hobie 17 stuffing the leeward wing is rarely a problem. Usually you are launching off the tops. Pitching poleing is also not common, unless you are too far forward. With your weight you should have no problems holding it down. We had a light turn out for the Hobie 17's North Americans in Longbeach, CA, 1995. Good numbers at the North Americans last year in Monterey. Market should be good for Hobie 17's in your area. Check the pictures from the Hobie 17 Worlds, http://gallery.sailmelbourne.com.au/smgallery/album68?page=4 the pictures tell the story.

Caleb

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: H17cat] #47188
04/11/05 12:33 AM
04/11/05 12:33 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 917
Issaquah, WA, USA
H17cat Offline
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Issaquah, WA, USA
BTW, the top Multihull Sailors in the Country will be at Long Beach, CA, this week for the Hobie Alter Cup, see http://www.ussailing.org/championships/adult/USMHC/

Stop by, and get their ideas. They will be happy to share.

Caleb

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: H17cat] #47189
04/11/05 07:05 AM
04/11/05 07:05 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 552
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brobru Offline
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Mr. Tarleton,

You are 110% correct about the 'wings'.

A H17 came to rolex a couple of years ago, he was from Texas ( the boat name was 'USS Enterpoop').

Anyway, we were in the same class, with H16's, N5.8, P19mx's, N5.5sl.

The H17 driver would slowly go from hull to wing, as the wind picked up,...then I would see him go to trap on the wing, as the wind went to another level,....I admit, I was envious of his technology,.....that design is very applicable to many wind/wave ranges!

In fact, right now, I am working on a set of 'racks' for the I 17,...for the same reason you have them,....they make it a better boat!

I checked out the pics,...great shots, especially with the skyline in background. As the pics show, the driver appears to only use that rear 50% of the wing,......this is what I want,.....just from the board back,.....so, my 'wing' dimension is from rear xbeam to board well,...about 3 feet.

Any suggestions on design?

regards,
'a fan of racks/wings'

Bruce
St. Croix

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: spfechner] #47190
04/11/05 08:32 AM
04/11/05 08:32 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 264
Neb
flounder Offline
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Neb
Our main lake is completely open to the West, cliffs on the North and South side. When the West wind blows, the lake turns into soup. 3 footers on the beach in great frequency, 5+ footers out in the middle. Winds about 20-25mph gusting to 40.
I know guys that reef their Hobie 16 and go solo in it. They go out in it. Solo, I take my Nacra 5.2 with my square-top sail uni-rigged. Slices right through the chop and blows through the rollers. I don't care what boat you are on, it is going to be hairy. Going downwind will be very exciting.

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: spfechner] #47191
04/11/05 08:52 AM
04/11/05 08:52 AM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 778
Houston
carlbohannon Offline
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Houston
Let's redefine the question. The wind and waves are such (20+ kts 4-6 ft waves) that no other boat on the beach is even considering stepping the mast and you want something you can take out solo on a "death reach" just for fun.

You want something that above all else, you can right, alone, when things go completely to crap. And by right I don't mean turn it just so, sheet the ..... I mean climb up grab the righting line and haul the boat upright before you hit the rocks or the pier.

I would look at a 14. Like the NACRA 4.5 Mystere 4.3 or the little Escape (or the Wave I have a hard time recommending Hobie recently)

If I had to sail solo on a "death reach" something like this would be my first choice. It is amazing how much fun you can have when you are not worried about righting the boat or breaking something.

We were in the Turks with a hurricane about 100 miles away sailing Waves. We finally quit when the bottom of the waves started uncovering the coral heads.

(Definition, Death Reach - The wind and waves are such that no amount of planning or skill is going to keep you from going over when the wind and wave say you are going over)


Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: brobru] #47192
04/11/05 09:13 AM
04/11/05 09:13 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 206
Yardley PA
DanWard Offline
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Yardley PA
I would think your fore and aft position would be the same with or without wings so wherever you trap now is where you would want the wing. We tend to move back a bit as the wind kicks up.

Good luck

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: carlbohannon] #47193
04/11/05 10:00 AM
04/11/05 10:00 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 264
Neb
flounder Offline
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Neb
I had an H14 for a number of years when I was 14-18yrs old. I had a really tough time on that boat in high wind. Very little hull boyancy and bigger-ish waves = diving banana-boat. It was fun though.

My dad had a Hobie Wave went it first came out. The only time I thought it was fun was in a good blow... 20+mph. Too bouyant to really get up to speed with the wave frequence we experiance, but it was still a very good time.

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: spfechner] #47194
04/11/05 10:28 AM
04/11/05 10:28 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 18
Lawrence, KS
hobien Offline
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Lawrence, KS
I would also recommend the H-17. With your weight of 230lb you are going to want to have some high wind for the H-17.

The wings really allow you to get your weight out to take a tremendous amount of wind. The wings also lessen your chances of getting knocked off the boat in a trough as well as keeping you above much of the spray, hence your vision is un-obstructed. I usually take spray to about my knees while the whole tramp is white-water.

The last thing you want in heavy air conditons is to be tripping over half raised centerboards and getting tangled up in a mess of lines. The centerboards on the H-17 are minimal, so if you forget to pull them downwind, you'll still be fine or set them halfway down and forget about them. The deck area is clean and you have only the mainsheet, downhaul and tiller to contend with.

Your biggest issue may be tacking, can be difficult in big chop, so don't wait until you run out of real-estate to attempt it. Get your speed up by falling off a little and then pick your moment and commit, trying not to stuff the bows into the crest of a wave. Roll tacking and being prepared to backwind the main/reverse the rudders works well. The only time you'll really stuff a wing is flying a hull too high, easily avoidable. Trapping off the back of the wing downwind is awesome, but with your weight, even sitting on the back of the wing downwind you should do fine. Also, righting the boat with your weight shouldn't be a problem.

I sail on a lake outside a college town so there are many windsurfers/kiteboarders out when it's blowing and I'm usually the only cat out playing with these guys. Hoo-Hah, have fun!


Lifes a reach ...
Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: flounder] #47195
04/11/05 11:01 AM
04/11/05 11:01 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 8
Clayton, NC
Sailfish Offline
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Clayton, NC
To me it depends on whether you are coming off the beach or are on a lake.

There are a few more options on a lake.

A Hobie 16 is the only boat coming off the beach on those windy, rough days when you are single-handing the boat. H-14's are a little small in the rough conditions. Having a jib is a real advantage when coming through big surf when heavy winds are on your nose, so the Hobie 16 has the advantage over the uni-rigs. Daggers can also create some issues going out or coming in in the heavy wind and big surf.

Off the beach and in the condition you describe, I prefer the Hobie 16.


Team Windy Hill
Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: Sailfish] #47196
04/11/05 01:09 PM
04/11/05 01:09 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 465
FL
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FL
>H-14's are a little small in the rough conditions.<

I once thought like this too.
One day three H16 and three H14 were sailing in PR, and a squall came thru. The 3 H16 had the more experienced skippers (I was one of them). We were all feathering the boats into the wind. All H16's were blown over and all the H14's stayed upright with the less experienced skippers.

I enjoyed surfing the H14 more than than the H16 down a wave at the barrier reef because it was more maneuverable, but that is a 'Coke or Pepsi'thing.

Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: spfechner] #47197
04/11/05 01:16 PM
04/11/05 01:16 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 851
US Western Continental Shelf
hobiegary Offline
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US Western Continental Shelf
I solo a Mystere 6.0 and I weigh less than 200 pounds.

When it is blowing over 16 knots, I put up a mainsail that is 15% smaller,(Tornado square top), leave the jib in the box, and flatten like hell.

I'm in MDR and that make's us somewhat neighbors. Maybe the solution is to team up when it's blowing like that.

Are you talking about the conditions we had on Friday, April 8th?

GARY

[Linked Image]

Attached Files

Santa Monica Bay
Mystere 6.0 "Whisk" <--- R.I.P.
Suggestion on hiking racks design [Re: brobru] #47198
04/11/05 01:32 PM
04/11/05 01:32 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 851
US Western Continental Shelf
hobiegary Offline
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I suggest you contact Performance Catamarans. I am pretty sure that they have several pairs hanging in their warehouse.


GARY


Santa Monica Bay
Mystere 6.0 "Whisk" <--- R.I.P.
Re: Best solo boat for high winds & whitecaps? [Re: sail7seas] #47199
04/12/05 12:29 AM
04/12/05 12:29 AM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 27
Los Angeles
spfechner Offline OP
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spfechner  Offline OP
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Los Angeles
Wow, I am impressed with the speed and quality of responses to my question.

Regarding the Hobie 17, it does look like a great boat for this purpose. I will have to investigate further. There is one at my club I could probably borrow to try out.

Regarding the racks or wings, I have toyed with the idea of getting them for my Nacra F18. Maybe that is my solution for solo high wind sailing. I have seen them sold to fit Nacra and Inter catamarans through Murrays. (See link below, lower left corner of page 35). I have not heard from any Nacra sailor that has done it.

http://www.murrays.com/archive/34-35.pdf

I have some concerns about Nacra wings (based on no wing first-hand experience):
1. The time it takes to put them on and take them off…I am short on time.
2. The difficulty of docking solo with them sticking out 2 feet. I sail off of a dock into the ocean, rather than from a beach. Isn’t it hard to grab a cleat solo when its windy and you are going fast?
3. The added height from which to fall when the boat does flip.

Carlbohannon, I loved your redefinition of my question…”solo on a "death reach" just for fun”. It really cracked me up, and accurately stated the real question. Your point about being able to quickly right the boat is excellent. In these conditions, there is a good chance you will flip, and you will be drifting fast downwind, towards whatever dangers there are.

HobieGary, Thanks for the idea about using a Tornado sail. I might look around for a good used one. Will it fit the track on my Nacra? And yes, I did want to sail on Friday, April 8th, but thought the conditions were too much for me to solo. I guess the wind was more than 20 knots, according to your diagram. There were 2 flags up at the local Harbor Patrol, indicating a Gale Warning (predicted winds of 34 – 47 knots). Send me an email at spfechner@aol.com so we can exchange phone numbers and discuss possibly sailing together.

Steve


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