Driving in chop

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Postby Guest » Fri Jul 13, 2001 8:29 am

I would appreciate any guidance, suggestions or references anyone may have about driving the J80 in chop, especially in a dying breeze. We had a good 12 mph before our race started last night, only to have the breeze change direction and die to 4 mph as soon as the gun sounded (go figure). We had a never-ending up wind leg in 2 ft chop with 4 mph on the nose. We thought we were on the layline only to have the chop push us below the mark. We tacked (yuck), and then tacked again (double yuck), only to get pushed by the waves into the mark as we tried - again - to round. We did our penalty and limped away with our tails between our legs. What say the great sailing minds out there.

Postby Guest » Fri Jul 13, 2001 8:48 am

Driving in waves is a very difficult skill to acquire and is the mark of a great helmsman. If it is truly chop (more or less regular pattern of closely spaced steep waves), you just need to keep the boat footing for speed and not try to point. Obviously keep the boat as powered up as possible in light air. More difficult are the periodic big, steep waves. Technique varies a bit depending on wave direction, but what I have found to work on the 80 is to head up slightly just before the wave (to keep the bow from being knocked down), then bear off as you cross the wave to regain your speed. Course changes on the order of 5-15 degrees depending on wave angle. What is hard is when you get two or three in a row. By the third one, the boat has little speed left to burn. Good luck.

Postby Guest » Fri Jul 13, 2001 10:57 am

I just had a similar experience. By the time the race was about 3/4 done, I finally figured out that in addition to moving the fairleads forward which I had done at the outset, I had been trimming the jib too tight. When I finally let it out so that it just hit the lifeline and footed, the boat went through the chop with speed and more than made up for the loss of pointing. trying to point in those conditions is fruitless. Just keep the boat going as fast as possible.
Warning- this advice is from a middle of the fleet
phrf racer so no guarantee is implied.
Ken Lury

Postby Guest » Fri Jul 13, 2001 11:00 am

Don't do it!

Actually Chris's advice is well founded as he sails on a large shallow bay (Galveston) and all they get is chop. I've sailed at Galveston three times and the first time with the J80 a few months ago. I occasionally felt that I got into the "rythm". Chris mentions the technique but there is definitely a point where you head up, deal with the wave and foot off all the while keeping the boat speed up and keeping your heigth and the boat "feels" right making the transition from point to power and point. When the wind was up we played the backstay to aid with this, occasionally the traveler. I'd like to hear comments from others on how they used sail controls to maximize speed and heighth through the chop.

Again I've only seen glimmers of this and I did not carry as much mast rake as the rest of the boats at that event and so did not point as high. I'm anxious to see if it goes better when I'm back down there in a few months. I've lengthened the forestay to max and the boat seems to point much better. Good luck!

Postby Guest » Fri Jul 20, 2001 10:18 pm

Dear Michael,
I do drive the J/80 in a lot of short chop (lake) in mainly heavy air.
Go for speed and do not worry about pointing till you reach you target speed is good advise. I use a lot "fatter laylane" the more chop there is. Keep up you boat speed at just about any price, if you do not make the mark so be it, go fat keep the speed up and do a good roll tack. There is always a tempation to pinch to the mark, in a chop this is a disaster. Just keep the boat speed up and bear away as much as you need, and next time in a chop just lay you lane a lot fatter.
A danish team once introduces me to the technic of roll tacking. Once you get the hang of it you can acually leave a tack faster then you enter (illegal) but it shows you the potential. The J/80 in light winds seem to respond very well..
I sure beats loosing 1/2 of you boatspeet and waiting for ages to get back up to the target speed. Highly recommended, and looks good too...
As far as sail trim, just have them really full for power, lots of grunt like a big truck thats what you want.

Warning: This advise comes from a recreatioal sailor keen to improve sailing . No guarantees

Kind regard


Postby Guest » Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:06 am

I drive a bene 40.7 in chicago and we get a lot of chop and waves at times. I sail the boat 'fat' in waves unless were overpowered. Pinching in waves and chop can cost you tons and tons. first of all by sailing fat your keeping the water moving faster around the keel, more lift less leeway. second the boat has more power to punch through. if your pinching to make a mark and your boat is going slower and you hit a wave you will lose 2 -3 times whatever you hoped to gain, and you wont make the mark or will have a really lousy rounding. I see a lot of the newer drivers always trying to point and the more exp helmsman keeping the boat fast, fat and powerered up which give them more options to steer around waves or punch through. dont be afraid to sail with a fair amount of twist in your sails when its blowing. A 40.7 has a keel with a short chord length similar to a j80 so i figure the same applies. Just sharing my thoughts. Sail fast in waves, sail really high with wind and flat water!

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