Small boats playing in strong wind ?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by seasquirt, Jun 16, 2023.

  1. seasquirt
    Joined: Dec 2015
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    Location: South Australia

    seasquirt Senior Member

    I have 2 small yachts to play with, a 16' Cherry, happy till about 15 Kn with gusts when single handed, and a 10' dinghy happy till 20 Kn with gusts, but anything over 20 Kn and not abating, and I have to refrain from launching, because I know it will be hard work and/or dangerous, single handed in a light weight centreboard sail boat, getting blown mostly sideways. It's annoying after many days of high winds, that all that power is being 'wasted' since I can't get out in it and make use of it to play on a day off.
    Searching for hull shapes and small boats which thrive in around 40 Kn winds, while home inside and it's too windy for me to sail, doesn't come up with much hull info. Most high wind info is about ways and methods to help a boat and crew cope with high winds and storms, rather than a design made to 'enjoy' those conditions. A bit like a motorcyclist having a dirt bike for playing in the mud on rainy days, leaving the fast shiny road bike home. Maybe I'm asking too much of a small boat, or a bit crazy, but someone else must have had the same idea at some time.

    I'm not talking about hitting the Great Southern Ocean, but just large lakes and gulf waters, semi protected but still plenty windy, with up to 2 - 3 m (10') swell and 2 m (6') seas on top, with crossing waves, (washing machine conditions), including tall short chop on shallow lakes, and tall standing waves in some tidal channels. No hurricane or cyclone action, but small storms and squalls, 30 - 40 Kn maxing to 50 Kn. Big boats can do it for survival in oceans, I would like a small boat to do it for fun close to land. Dinghy, small trailer sailer sized, 15' - 20' long, not massively heavy, not a death trap. Not for cruising for weeks, just short trips, a day or a few. Makes me think of Sven Yrvind's designs a bit, but his don't go fast.

    Some things I have gleaned from assorted big boat sources:
    Not a wide aft, or narrow, or double ended, but a reasonably straight run of the lines aft.
    Able to point.
    Spade rudder; balanced.
    Sufficient freeboard and volume forward.
    Able to go fast surfing down waves under control, so not full displacement.
    Convex bow, with some volume, not too pointy; deadrise spread evenly to aft.
    Rounded hull with flat bottom aft.

    Things I thought of or would maybe like:
    Take 2 people seated, side by side, looking through strong windows, like in a car
    Parabolic deck for self righting if inverted; locking down centreboard for same
    Long heavy centreboard pivots from above foreward, 0 - shallow central - fully down is deep at stern like a trad. keel shape
    Transom is the back end of centrecase, and is the hull's only rear structural member tying port and stbd sides
    Or short twin fixed keels like / \ to add righting weight when heeling and capsizing
    Mostly enclosed cockpit with internal controls
    Anti-dive horizontal fin at bow
    Twin rudders for a backup
    Masthead rig with backstay, several reefs available on main sail
    Twin forestays with 2 different sails hanked, and easily pulled up/down, no reefing, just down haul one and uphaul the other, or maybe gull wing both
    Small and tough enough and sealed enough to broach, roll 360 , bob up right way up, and continue sailing unaffected, maybe spilled coffee
    No deck or mast bling, like solar, windmills, etc. just essentials
    Ability to sail shallows and be beached
    Stitch and epoxy glue plywood, or some modified pipe section with ends
    Have you ever gone for a car drive on a stormy day just to look at the storm, - same type of thing only wetter and rougher

    It does take me back in a circle a bit, to a long ago thinking of a sailing surface submarine basically, fully weather proof and waterproof, internal controls, able to have decks awash regularly, made from a steel or fibreglass pipe section, shaped bow and stern, with a canoe shaped cockpit opening to access the mast, a shallow keel, and a strong low aspect sailing rig.

    Has the brains trust seen anything made or designed for this type of activity ?
    What else can use high winds safely. Like is a flettner any use in those windy conditions, maybe no good after a capsize.
    Windsurfers, kite boards, and similar enjoy some of those conditions, but I'm not as fit as I used to be; I want to sit down and be dry, well mostly dry.
    If I find something suitable I might build it.
    Paul Scott likes this.
  2. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    Years ago I often played with a Sunfish on San Francisco Bay in 30knts.
    Absolutely fun.
    Absolutely wet.
    Alternating between submarine and airplane.

    Your wishlist is unrealistic.
    Keep it simple
    One small sail
    One rudder
    Expect to use a wetsuit.

    Have you thought about having storm sails made for your existing boats?
    Manfred.pech likes this.
  3. seasquirt
    Joined: Dec 2015
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    Location: South Australia

    seasquirt Senior Member

    Hi Blueknarr, the Cherry can be roller reefed jib (not ideal aerodynamics), and 2 reefs on the main, but under reduced sail the cabin takes over in gusts, so any smaller sails and I'd be flotsam on the beach. The 10 footer, see my posts in 'Jack Holt Heron re-imagined', and my avatar pic., is run with no gaff on the wood mast, and using mast head sails, a cut down mainsail with a reef, and a reversed cut down jib as a storm main, with a reef, and a very small storm jib / stay sail. It is a tough boat, fun in the rough, but again any smaller sails and the hull windage takes over and I can't make any gain against the wind direction. 25 Kn is its max still feeling controllable. Surfing down a swell I made 7.4 Kn on GPS one day, not really fast, but can't expect much speed from a 10' hull. Imagining a more torpedo shaped hull to punch into/over waves. I have considered an Australian Lightweight Sharpie as a base for a smaller rig, to get out in solo, but the hull still presents lots of windage surface area. Wetsuit reminds me of beach cat racing in weather, fun for a while, then the club bar beckons.
  4. Dolfiman
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Dolfiman Senior Member

    A challenging programme indeed, may be you can start from a design like the V448 V2, because she is very stable and robust, with an un-stayed furling mast with one simple sail easy to adapt to the wind force, half fore deck closed, able to beach. She was designed at first for Italian lakes where you can have period of strong winds > 20 knots without much sea state.
    V448 V2 Full Plans
  5. skaraborgcraft
    Joined: Dec 2020
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    skaraborgcraft Senior Member

    You want a windscreen? Try a Topper dinghy and wear a dive mask. Snorkel optional.

    Down wind in 50 knots, not a problem, but upwind will take some serious ballast to make upwind, and some serious foils. I would go skinny and sharp, anything broad and flat will knock your fillings out. Some small boats like Hurley 18 with 55% ballast can make upwind into a F8, but that "only" 40 knots.
  6. skaraborgcraft
    Joined: Dec 2020
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    skaraborgcraft Senior Member

    Interesting boat. I can imagine though 50 knots of wind getting under that chine and flipping the boat, even with someone perched on it.
  7. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    Hull windage makes most of your wishlist counterproductive.
  8. kapnD
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    kapnD Senior Member

    You might want to take a look at saildrone vessels. They are sailing them right through hurricanes to gather data, and they’re coming through unscathed.
    I did watch one video where the camera went blank for a short while, I think the boat took a knockdown, but recovered and sailed on.
    Although they are obviously not designed for human occupants, their (similar) design could be adapted to accommodate a crew.
  9. seasquirt
    Joined: Dec 2015
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    seasquirt Senior Member

    Sitting out another beautiful blue sky Sunday with 30 Kn forecast, and strong wind warnings, swell 1m with 2.5m seas, all going to waste.

    I wouldn't plan on going out in 50 Kn, when you can barely stand up, but if out in 35 - 40, the gusts could reach 50 Kn easily, so that's the limit I would expect the rig to survive, like a mild micro burst, or violent line squall.

    Hi KapnD, yes I checked out the drones and they take a beating. Scientific drone yachts have been in the Great Southern Ocean for a couple of years and survived. No one inside to suffer the torturous rides in heavy storms though, but some of the drones survived almost intact. So if a smallish hull (~20 feet long) can survive 100+ Kn winds and the worst seas, one should be able to survive 50 Kn with relative ease, not much comfort. There are a few designs of them, square rig style and wing sail style I have seen. Not much room for a human in the hulls but they are proven survivors, well some of them. Many have disappeared or stopped transmitting.

    Hi Dolfiman, you spelled programme correctly, (despite the wiggly red line underneath), so rare to see nowadays, thank you. The V448 V2 looks nice, and fast, but the trouble with roller reefing the sail is that the centre of effort on the sail will progressively move foreward, so that when reefed for strong winds, the boat would tend to bear away, and may even be difficult to tack. With a foreward mast, and pointy bow, when on the run the bow might want to dive, not so good sliding down a wave into the next, maybe a lifting canard needed there. Gybing isn't a problem usually, except in high winds. A stayless mast has most of its stress at the deck, where it is likely to snap off; I'd want a backstay at least for following gusts; easy with little roach used, and a top swivel for mast rotation. I like the hull for flat water, not heavy seas, but not so much the rig.

    Hi Skaraborgcraft. The Hurley 18 looks sturdy, gets good reviews, nice looking boat, but the deep keel is restrictive, no ramp launching and beaching for them.

    The hull windage is a problem. With little freeboard there is less windage while level, until heeling, then the bottom will become an increasing windage area, at an angle for the wind to get under and flip. A more rounded torpedo type shape all over would present roughly the same windage surface no matter the angle of heel, making for more consistent stability in all attitudes. Not so aerodynamic for reduced windage though, just consistent windage, meaning fewer surprises.
    With no shortage of wind power available, aerodynamics for efficient foreward motion is maybe less important than aerodynamics for not being flattened so easily.

    Where are the psychos who have already investigated this opportunity for fun in conditions when most sailors would rather stay in the marina or home ?
  10. trip the light fandango
    Joined: Apr 2018
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    Location: Rhyll Phillip Island Victoria Australia

    trip the light fandango Senior Member

    Have you utubed the bloke that crossed Bass Strait on a laser? It is amazing and shows that it is more about seamanship,,planning and fitness than anything else. Windsurfers are more like it as any extra weight is likely to be thrown straight at you when you least expect it ,..then sitting is out. A sub except for the cost.
  11. seasquirt
    Joined: Dec 2015
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    seasquirt Senior Member

    Hi TTLF, no not seen the vid, and yes for a Laser or anything under 40 feet you'd have to pick the weather there for sure, and train your muscles for hours of hard use, and have a backup vessel not too far away. No time out in / on a dinghy.

    Looking at the best old fast sailing ships like the Cutty Sark, with a squinty eyed look, they are a pointy ended long thin (ish) torpedo shape, with sails, ballast, and a keel, able to punch through or ride over the worst waves, and survive the worst weather, maybe under bare poles if need be. A smaller version of that general shape should handle equally scaled waves and winds.
    50' waves changed to 12.5' waves; 150 Kn winds changed to 50 Kn winds; 200' hull changed to 20' hull. Yes I know they're not equal scales but I misplaced my slide rule.

    Then for windows and visibility on a ship / torpedo shape, not a protrusion of a wheelhouse, but look at Jumbo Jets, streamlined enough to see out of but not bad enough to ruin flight characteristics / aerodynamics. The wind will flow over it fairly smoothly at any angle, meaning relative stability, nothing for the wind to grab.

    So a fast clipper ships bow, and jumbo jet shaped front window on the topsides somewhere, with an over engineered rudder, flat bottom behind the keel / centreboard, outboard motor in a well for when it's time, and a simple rig easily deployed, reduced, and trimmed from inside, which works in a balanced way at all stages of size reduction.
    I don't think a balanced lug or junk rig would survive a bad knockdown unscathed. What does survive a bad knockdown or capsize the least damaged ?

    Wouldn't it be a fun extreme sport, and development / research opportunity, being able to race storm ready boats / mini ships, when nearly all other boats are useless for the prevailing conditions. It would end up making boating and shipping safer I'm sure. Imagine different hulls wired with sensors of all types, feeding data loggers and university computers, for fine tuning everything in the design departments. Forget your laboratory testing in long tanks, get out there and break something in real conditions. Not being ships, the next iteration for racing / testing could be produced fairly quickly. On race day, the next design could be finalised in 3D cad cam files before the boat is back on the trailer, with a bunch of keen students involved. And if the winds and waves drop, the data and fun is still valid.
    Few restrictions: fixed waterline length for some hull data compatability, fixed beam max for transporting, fixed max weight for transporting, most everything else open.
  12. skaraborgcraft
    Joined: Dec 2020
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    skaraborgcraft Senior Member

    Those ocean drone travel at slow speed. But it got me thinking......

  13. Paul Scott
    Joined: Sep 2004
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    Paul Scott Senior Member

    Something like a Tumlaren?

    Uffa Fox thought a 30 sq m was good in the big stuff- he sailed from England to Norway through big storms and emerged a fan of the type.
  14. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    gggGuest ...

    Provided you have the skills and the fitness the best craft for very high winds is a sailboard.
    Paul Scott likes this.

  15. seasquirt
    Joined: Dec 2015
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    seasquirt Senior Member

    Thanks Skaraborgcraft, interesting design, pretty short WLL, 2001 drawing. That looks like a micro transat ready design. Without the foresails and canting keel it could be robust in heavy weather, but the freeboard / cabin windage area is maybe excessive for high winds on the beam, and you couldn't get it any lower in profile. It would probably roll without the canting keel. Canting keels are notorious for failures, so any problems in there and you'd get a wet bum, and probably more. I was impressed by the ClassGlobe 5.8 home build design, a bit bigger and sturdy looking, again windage over topsides is a problem. It's the main problem I think, in a small boat in high winds.

    Anything that's not driving the hull foreward is unwanted windage; but people need somewhere to be in and see out of, like a cabin, but cabins don't drive except in following winds.
    How about a hull with a flat deck, a fairly central mast placement, and the cabin is in the foreward part of a vertical wing like section under the boom, locked fore and aft in fickle winds, but rotates about the mast to either side, to minimise drag or create lift like a sail, in steady winds. Bodyweight is kept on the windward side close to the mast, or more toward the bow, and outboard, and a boxy cabin isn't acting as an unwanted crappy sail or wind spoiler. The mast base above deck becomes a major structural element bearing and securing the rotating cabin. Cables and linkages give controls between hull, and cabin, and sails. Sit in the wing and look out through clear panels. The hull then can be fully sealed and be a virtual submarine, while the cabin wing stays mostly dry, set at an angle with the wind, and the sails above work normally, or even better than before without a messy cabin disturbing flow. I think it's genius, although probably impractical in reality, but something else to think about; maybe good for a super yacht, holding a piano bar out over the water. A storm would probably smash it on a small boat. Still thinking. I'll look up Tumlaren, thanks Paul, and GGGuest.
    Here is a scribble to describe my idea. I'm no Michelangelo.
    Rotating Cabin 1.JPG
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