Keep the Shrimp in the Sea…Heavy Air Spinnaker Sets on the C&C 30 One Design

They may seem untouchable, but sometimes even the pros learn valuable lessons the hard way. Scott Nixon, Quantum’s Director of Offshore One Design, sailed the 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week with team Bobsled aboard Bob Moran’s C&C 30. Nixon talks about a costly mistake the team made and what they could have done differently, so you can avoid making the same mistake.

The last race of Quantum Key West Race Week caught more than a few teams by surprise. Most of the racing throughout the week was held in moderate winds in the 12-16 knot range with flat seas. Friday a front passed through the Keys and delivered a solid 18 knots of wind at the start that quickly built to almost 30 knots. The strong southerly delivered large rollers and plenty of chop with the ebb tide flowing out of the Key West shipping channel.

Our solid group on the C&C 30, Bobsled, needed a good race to remain in contention. Our first spinnaker set was perfect as we bore away and surfed on a wave right before the hoist was called. The spinnaker went up with no issues and we survived the windy run.

On the last set of the day we were not so lucky and stuck the bow in a large wave on the bear away around the offset mark. This stuck the bow under the water, and with the tack of the spinnaker already set to the end of the prod, we were doomed. The water filled the spinnaker tack and then filled the entire spinnaker pulling it overboard before we could get it fully hoisted. Shrimp o’ plenty as the entire spin was under the boat. We had to do a full back down in 25 knots to recover the shrimp filled sail.

A tough way to end the week, but great lessons were learned in this new class.

Here is what we learned:

  1. The Quantum C&C 30 class spinnakers come with a Spin Pak Velcro System – use them all the time. You will be able to sneak the tack out to the prod and hoist a few seconds early without the sail twisting. The Spin Pak allows us to band the head and the tack of the spins with Velcro to keep the ends from opening too early on the first set. This is the modern method of ‘wooling’ your spinnakers (using yarn) and it works great. We do this to the spins before each race. One design racing in the C&C 30 class is so close that our second spinnaker set usually does not get banded with the Velcro system, since we can’t afford the bowman off the rail upwind during the race. This is why our first spinnaker set was so good and relatively easy compared to our disastrous second set on the last race.
  1. It’s OK to pre-feed the tack to the end of the prod in light to medium winds with flat water as you sail to the offset mark for the hoist. But, in heavy winds and large seas where there is a possibility of water on the deck, you must only pre-feed the tack to just past the bow pulpit. As the boat bears away around the offset mark and the hoist is called from the tactician, pull the tack line to get the remaining spinnaker tack out to the end of the prod simultaneously with the halyard hoist. This will reduce the chance of having the sail fill with water and collect shrimp. It may take a few seconds longer, but is much safer.

A very valuable lesson and one we won’t soon forget during the next class regatta.

___

Scott Nixon
Quantum Sails Annapolis
Director of Offshore One Design
410-268-1161
snixon@quantumsails.com

 

 

 

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Anchor a Boat

For many cruisers, escaping to quiet coves that can only be reached by boat is a real treat. Lunch on the hook or a week away—it’s up to you. But once you get there, you’ll need to know how to anchor your boat safely and securely. Use these expert tips so you can relax and enjoy the experience.

How-to-anchor-resized-for-wordpress

There are only four steps to anchoring well, but first here’s a quick overview of the necessary equipment and terms.

The right anchor for the job
It isn’t the weight of the anchor that secures your boat to the bottom; it’s the way it digs in. Different types of anchors work best with different bottom types (mud, sand, weeds, rock), though most are designed to handle a range of conditions. Check the manufacturer specs for the proper size to buy, and then measure your boat’s stowage space; owning a size larger than necessary might mean a better night’s sleep.

Line or chain?
“Rode” is what connects the anchor to your boat. Many boats use three-strand nylon line with a short piece of chain between line and anchor. Larger boats use all chain, which is more secure. It’s also hard to handle without a windlass, heavier to store, and harder to keep clean. And unless you want that chain jerking the boat around, you’ll want to add a short snub line as a shock absorber once the anchor is set.

How much scope?
“Scope” is the ratio of rode length to water depth, and as a general rule more is better for holding power; picture pulling on a rode that’s parallel to the bottom (digging the anchor into the mud) vs. pulling straight up, and you’ll realize how important scope is. The usual restriction on scope is the available swinging room in an anchorage; the more rode you pay out, the bigger the circle of water you’ll “own” when the wind shifts. 4:1 is considered a minimum for chain, but how much you really need (or can get away with) will depend on many factors.

Pick your location
Because you want to be able to let out enough scope to get that good night’s sleep, try not to anchor too close to other boats. It’s also considered rude to anchor directly upwind of anyone (though in crowded harbors, this may be unavoidable). And make sure the spot you choose has enough water depth for your boat, even at low tide. Don’t rush into anchoring; take your time and sniff out the best spot, especially if the harbor is new to you.

HOW TO ANCHOR

Before you toss your hook over the side, make sure the rode’s bitter end is firmly attached to the boat. And if you can’t easily hear what’s said on the bow from the cockpit and vice versa, figure out some basic hand signals that will indicate where the anchor is and what state it’s in (to port/starboard, on the bottom, halfway up/down, safely back on board).

1. Stop and drop
Once you’ve chosen your location, head into the wind and bring the boat to a complete stop. (Use the engine, or back your mainsail.) The goal is to drop the anchor when the boat has stopped moving forward, to keep the boat downwind of it.

Depending on whether the anchor is stored on deck or on a bow roller, you will either have to toss the anchor over the side or ease it down into the water. Either way, make sure the rode will pay out cleanly, and try not to bang up topsides.

How deep the water is will determine how much rode needs to be paid out before the anchor reaches the bottom. If you’re handling the rode by hand (rather than using a windlass), you can usually feel the anchor’s weight diminish once it touches bottom. (In clear water like the Caribbean, you’ll be able to see it.)

2. Pay out scope and back down
Once the anchor is on the bottom, back the boat down and pay out just enough rode to keep from putting any strain on the anchor. If you pay out scope but don’t back down, the rode might drop on top of the anchor and create a snag. If you back down without paying out scope, the anchor will just drag along the bottom without digging in.

Wait to take any strain on the rode until the angle is as horizontal as space and available rode allow. A traditional Danforth-type will set very happily with 7:1 scope (though this may not be realistic in many of today’s anchorages). Other anchor types will do fine with less scope, but none will object to more than necessary—especially when first settling in.

3. Snub and secureTo set the anchor, snub the anchor rode (on a bow cleat for
line, or by engaging the windlass stop for chain). The rode should go taut as the anchor digs into the bottom. Cleat off the line, or (for chain) set up a snub line to run from the cleat out through the bow chock. In either case, keep watching the anchor and rode; it’s not quite time for cocktails yet.

4. Dig it in
The next step is to dig the anchor into the bottom, so it’s really secure even if the wind shifts or tide and current pull the boat in a different direction. The goal is to create more of a strain than you are likely to get during the rest of your stay—so if the anchor is going to drag, it will do so while you’re paying attention.

Use your engine (or a backed mainsail) to back down against the anchor line. If the tension on the anchor line increases, the anchor is holding. If the anchor is dragging, you’ll probably feel the anchor bouncing across the bottom and the boat will continue to move aft. If it doesn’t catch quickly, haul it up and try again.

How hard you’ll want to dig it in depends on weather, how long you will be anchored (for lunch or for a week), how good the holding ground is, and how well-matched the anchor type is to the bottom.

Once you’re secure, make sure to stay aboard for at least a half hour to watch for changes. And it’s a good idea to set up a visual range (or use your GPS anchor alarm) to alert you if the boat moves more than the scope allows.

Haul it up
Hauling anchor isn’t as much fun as dropping it, partly because it means your quiet escape may be coming to an end. Use the engine/sails to crawl forward, collecting the slack in the rode as you go; that will be a lot easier than hauling the entire weight of the boat up to the anchor, hand over hand. And your windlass will last longer if you use the engine to move the boat forward, taking in the chain as it comes slack.

Hopefully the anchor will pop out easily, once the rode is straight up and down and you’re pulling it up away from the bottom. If not, you may have to continue moving slowly forward until it pops free. Make sure to collect every bit of slack in the rode so it doesn’t get under the boat.

You will probably either feel or see the anchor pop free; once it does, stop/slow the boat until you can get the anchor to the surface (or ideally, back on board). The goal is to prevent the anchor and rode from angling back under the hull, which might damage the keel, rudder, or prop.

Clean it off
If the anchor and rode come up coated in mud, you’ll know you found good holding ground. Mud is much easier to remove when still wet, so don’t procrastinate; fire up the washdown if you have one, or use the old mop-and-dip approach.

Knowing how to anchor your boat securely will earn you friends in an anchorage. It also makes one of cruising’s greatest pleasures possible: a good night’s sleep in a secluded cove. Good luck, and good cruising!

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quantum Cruising Code 0: For All the Angles In Between

With no restrictions on design, the Quantum cruising Code 0 is created to be a very forgiving sail, perfect for light air on close angles upwind, at very broad angles in heavier breeze, and all the angles in between.

Code-0---1

The Quantum Code 0 for cruising monohaul sailboats is a full sail, shaped like an asymmetrical spinnaker, and furls easily on a top-down furling system. While the midgirth of the racing Code 0 is restricted to at least 75% of the foot length, the cruising version of the sail has no restrictions, giving the sailmaker a lot of leeway in design.

“You can make the midgirth anywhere from 55% to 75% of the foot length, allowing you to make them very deep and very flat,” says Quantum’s VP of Product Integration and sail designer Doug Stewart.

Many cruisers are intimidated by downwind sails, especially when sailing shorthanded or with inexperienced guests. The Code 0 is perfect for cruising boats because it is easily deployed on its furler and has a UV strip to protect it during a whole weekend or several days of use so that it doesn’t have to be taken down. “We find people will use this headsail more than any other on their boat,” says Stewart.

How and when to use the Code 0

The sail can be used at relatively tight angles in light air, and at very broad angles in heavier air. “It will take you through more wind angles than any other sail on the boat. Your kite is for downwind, your genoa is for upwind; the Code 0 is for all the angles in between,” Stewart says.

Rob Greven of the Netherlands-based Spirit Yachting first added a Code 0 to his sail inventory in 2009. “I was looking for a sail within my budget, easy in handling, good performance and reliable, and covering most of the wind angles.”

Now he says, he uses the sail on his Beneteau Oceanis 46 Spirit with clients and with his crew, on everything from short day trips to long-distance singlehanded racing—even the Rolex Fastnet race.

“We don’t carry a big genoa, so we use the Code 0 in light winds upwind—depending on the wind, up to around 40 degrees AWA. In the wind range of seven to eight knots, it’s possible to make seven to eight knots of boat speed. Even with our cruiser, it offers excellent performance.”

Greven says the versatility of the sail even extends to downwind running in stronger breeze between 18 to 24 knots at an angle of 160 to 170 degrees. “I’m able to sail light on the helm and with good control.”

He also carries a Quantum Vision Code 3 for downwind sailing with a full crew, but says the Code 0 is easier to use when sailing short- or singlehanded. “Since the sail is a little smaller and flatter than the V3, it’s a perfect sail for shorthanded sailing, even in stronger winds. It is better on the helm and easier to furl away,” says Greven.

Taking care of the sail

While the cruising Code 0 is designed with a protective UV cover, that cover is still very light. It will easily survive several days of use, but if you won’t be on the boat for a week or more, take the sail down, put it in its bag, and store it down below. Also, as with any sail furled on a torsional rope, if a storm blows through, there’s nothing to stop the sail from opening up. So if inclement weather is approaching, get the sail off the deck.

The sail sells itself

Greven would be the first to recommend the Code 0 to other cruisers, but says the sail sells itself.

“Last autumn, I sailed a singlehanded regatta, several days from one place to another. I almost only used the Code 0 in light winds and got a lot of positive response from other sailors.”

 

So while choosing a new sail for your inventory depends largely on what kind of sailing you want to optimize for, be sure to check out the Code 0. The versatility of the sail, combined with ease of use may very well prove to be the next best sail on your list.

Share
Posted in Cruising | Leave a comment