Difficulty in 'falling off'

I have been having problems in falling off when sailing close hauled or on a beam reach in winds over 10 knots. Since I single-hand I sail without the jib in winds over 10 and I find it very difficult to fall off at those speeds. The Scot really wants to head up into the wind when I begin to let the main out. Sometimes I just give up and let the boat head up and tack to get around to the course I want to take but that's not always a viable option. In these conditions I sail with the centerboard about half way down. Am I letting the main out too soon? Any suggestions will be welcome.

FS367 Chin up

1) Make sure you have the vang off, or eased quite a bit

2) Make sure your board is down (or up) depending on balance

3) Check mast rake

Hope this helps

I agree with 5257, that the vang needs to be letting the leach open. Also if it's breezy and the boat is healing, it will want to round up. The jib has a tendency to pull the bow off the wind, so without it, the boat may not balance as well as the breeze picks up.

Depower the sail with lots of outhaul tension, a hard crease in the foot of the sail. Pull the draft forward with some cunnigham. The boat needs to be flat, or rolled to weather to want to hunt downwind. Be sure the main is out far enough, probably luffing. Remember that as the boat turns downwind the main has to go out even more as the boat is rotating (sheeting in) the main as you turn off the wind.

If it still won't hunt downwind, pull up some more board to get the boat to pivot off the centerboard that is sticking out at the back of the slot. It will feel faster and easier to get the boat rolled to weather and turning on it's lines, slippery in the water. The pivot move will feel slow and sticky in comparison.

Have fun,

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

Thanks for those hints and tips. Right away I can see a problem that I have been inadvertently causing and that is the vang, which in all cases has been tight. I have had the cunningham and the outhaul tight but I will also pay attention to the centerboard position.

FS367 Chin up

Watch your vang tension. I see warnings on the FS website about something breaking due to overly tight vang. I think the rule is that up wind there is no need for a very tight vang since there's no main traveler and you can flatten the main as needed just by sheeting her in.

See this: http://www.flyingscot.com/rig6.html

"Warning: The purpose of the vang is to keep the boom from riding up in strong winds. It tightens as the boom goes out. Since little tension is needed when the boat is close-hauled, we suggest merely taking up the slack and cleating the line after the mainsail is hoisted. If it would be set hard, when the boat is close-hauled it could develop enough tension as the boom goes far out to tear things apart or break the mast or boom. It must be used with discretion, with just enough tension to prevent the boom from riding up."

How to steer other than with the rudder:

1. Ease jib, boat wants to head up. Trim jib, boat wants to fall off.

2. Ease main, boat wants to fall off. Trim main, boat wants to head up.

3. Lower centerboard, boat wants to head up. Raise centerboard, boat wants to fall off.

4. Heel boat, boat wants to head up. Flatten boat (or heel to leeward), boat wants to fall off.

And of course an over tight vang will prevent the main from being eased which will prevent the boat from falling off.

A fun drill is to bring the board up half way, then remove the rudder (or more realistically tie the tiller to the center line), the practice steering the boat by sails and heel. You will get the hang of it fast. Doesn't work well with board all the way down.

Have fun.

J. Lott