F32 Gale strength winds.

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F32 Gale strength winds.

Postby daletournier » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:32 am

Hi all, I thought a recent experience maybe of interest to some. I'm sailing up yhe west coast of sumatra and have been getting un seasonal weather. We left Kracatoa volcano Java to head north west, approx 400nm with really no place to stop until you hit the Mentawai islands. Weather should be and was predicted to be light Se. After the first 100nm winds turned to the north. At these latitudes squalls are expected daily, on the third day we were getting line squall after line squall , approx wind strength 25knots. During the evening we were hit with a bigger one but this time it didn't go away, we were having a steady 30-35 knots gusting to 40 knots. Ive experienced strong wind before but usually im heading downwind or know its coming and are in a safe anchorage. After an hour or so the seas are really building and im wishing I had left the third reef lines in ,that I never used. Freeform is starting to slam which is very unsettling. Ive got no where to run to but cant keep doing this, hard on the boat and hard on me, plus im getting very tired. I dont want to run as I would lose alot of ground. I decide to fore reach. I remember mike tyson saying "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth" this is sort of where I am. Managing a boat with gunnel in the water, waves coming over the deck and pouring rain isnt easy, also there is a huge difference between 25k and 40knots, but its got to a point where a new strategy is needed, if not freeform or me will break. Btw self tacking jibs are awesome. I drop the main and decide to forereach under jib as Im under the impression freeform wont heave to (note, try these things before you have to). So, im trying to forereach and the autopilot craps out. At this stage im exhausted, been sailing three days and been weathering squalls all day ,now this. I decide to try and heave to, I locked the wheel hard to starboard and started playing with the jib. I found if I trimmed the jib properly , sitting at approximately 60º off the wind on a starboard tack Freeform heaved to perfectly. I locked up the companion way and went down stairs and slept for 6hours. It was like someone turned the weather off. Sophia whos with me was also very impressed. I got up at dawn and looked at my track and had drifted 7.5nm in 6 hours in relative comfort, by this stage the winds had died down to approx 20 knots and are now more N toNE giving me a angle to an anchorage approx 20 nm away.
I dont want todo this again but it taught me alot and very comforting to know Freeform will heave to in bad weather when going forward is no longer an option.
Cheers Dale
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Re: F32 Gale strength winds.

Postby Castaway » Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:29 am

Awesome account! Had a night a bit like that a couple of years ago, and was glad to have tried heaving-to before. The PO had said he just ran under bare poles in very heavy weather, but he did it in mid Atlantic, with a bit more sea room. Glad you got through OK, and nice to have that extra bit of confidence in the boat.

Enjoy the cruise.

Gerald Freshwater,
s/y 'Castaway', (UK F35 cat ketch)
Lerwick Boating Club
Shetland Isles, Scotland
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Re: F32 Gale strength winds.

Postby Rick Simonds » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:26 pm

Dale, this is a terrific post and it's good to hear that you're under way again.

I am super interested in the fore reaching and I'm going to try it next time I'm out in some rougher weather. I've tried heaving-to with confusing, indifferent results and never found anything that worked well. I never tried the jib alone.

Just to make sure here, you didn't have the jib to windward, the jib boom was on the correct side to port and you were on starboard tack with the helm trying to turn you to windward, correct? Also, anything more on the sail trim? Do you think that the sail trim turned out to be undersheeted or oversheeted? Exhausted, a hundred miles from shore, in a gale, with important gear giving up :shock: ... I'm guessing you didn't have your notepad out furiously taking detailed notes, but any details you remember would be greatly appreciated.

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Rick Simonds
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Re: F32 Gale strength winds.

Postby daletournier » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:02 pm

Hi Guys, things that I will do differently next time. Companion way gets shut at the start of bad weather, even though I have a good dodger we had a wave come over the top I estimate that approx 60-80 liters went straight inside the boat, just missing computer etc on chart table. 3rd reef going back in, you dont need it until you do. Heave to earlier, I did approximately 12nm to windward once the conditions had deteriorated, very hard on boat. The thing is, even though the wind is strong you are only doing 4-4.5 knots due to the state of the sea working against you, this is where some extra waterline would be good.
Ive had weather like this before but downwind. That particular time I dropped the main and sheeted the jib to the centerline and let the hydrovane steer the boat, works very well, no worry at all,
Hi Rick,jib was to port not backed and I was on a starboard tack, I think I had it abit over sheeted, really not sure exactly. I had open cpn going and recording my track so was able to look the next morning and really evaluate what had happened. Was I heaved to or forereaching? Definately heaved to which surprised me. I just had another look then to grab some approx figures. The great thing about recording the track is that it shows freeform stayed true to her heave to course from midnight to dawn.Wind was approx NW approx 320º, I was beating on a port tack closehauled approx 009ºto get plenty of searoom. When I decided to forereach I changed tack to starboard with intention of slowing boat right down and making safe harbour in the morning, new tack 275º. I was making leewayat approx 1.25k approx 244º.
Without over thinking it I think above figures are fairly correct. Once again I was surprised how easy and successfully she did heave to.
I read a article a few years back about a doctor that raced his f32 to bermuda and forereached for a couple of days under jib alone. It came to mind while in the middle of deciding my course of action and this is why I decided to try just the jib.
One other thing, I usually sit under the dodger in bad weather and only head the wheel when I need to. At one stage I had to go to the wheel with it blowing around the 40k mark, I was really surprised at the stregth of the wind. The difference between 30k and 40k is not 10k!
Cheers Dale.
Ps. I apologize about spelling etc, using my tablet which has a mind of its own.
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Re: F32 Gale strength winds.

Postby daletournier » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:15 pm

One more thing I'd like to add. The Freedom 32 is a strong very sea worthy boat. I know most probably say that about their boats, a mate of mine says it about his Bavaria. The difference is ive tried Freeform in varying conditions in remote places over approx 20, 000nm, with all the trials and tribulations that go with this sort of cruising. She always proves me to be the weak link not her. Ive sailed with many other boats and she always punches above her weight.

Cheers Dale.
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Re: F32 Gale strength winds.

Postby VeloFellow » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:37 pm

Great Account Dale.

I enjoy sailing when the wind is to my liking.. My wife about 10mph less...

Great what these old boats can do.
s/v Clave'
1981Freedom 28
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Buit by Fairways Marine Hamble England
cat ketch, centerboard , wishbone booms, tides track slides
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