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Contessa in a blow

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GNGILPIN View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GNGILPIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Contessa in a blow
    Posted: 18 Jun 2009 at 1:49am
I need advice from more experienced contessa sailors please. We were caught in a blow in south Irish a few weeks ago ( June 5/6 Fri / Sat) . The instruments said we had about mid-high twenties wind speed in knots. With number 4 headsail and three slabs down we were still on our ear at 45 degrees to the wind. The seas were ,to my mind , close together and steep about  7' -9' at a guess. The boat handled beautifully and the tiller was very light well balanced slight weather helm prehaps. We eventually took down the mailsail and made up to weather 50 degrees or so on number 4 alone into ARKLOW ..SE Ireland. I suppose I should have put up the storm jib but was surprised that I would need it in only a force six / seven ....the tops were being blown off the waves. 
Any thoughts observations would be  welcome please.
 
ALSO I got water into lockers I did not think it was possible to get water into....on board we suspect it because the bilge was filling up ( as it was ; probably throught the aft cockpit locker ) and over flowing as we heeled over. ......
 
Thank you in anticipation.
 
George Gilpin
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robin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote robin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2009 at 10:39am
When we are racing in heavy weather (35-40 knots) , I find the Main becomes increasingly superflous and we feather it most of the time ... even take it down and drive uner the jib alone ... which is where the real power is in a Contessa.  My No4 is beautifully cut and works like a dream in heavy conditions.  However, a tip!  It is counter-intuitive but ... the harder it blows the harder you sheet the sail in.  This will flatten it and take a lot of the power out of the sail ... also move the cars back until the top of the jib is spilling wind ... this will bring the center of effort lower down the sail and reduce the healing force.   To be frank in 28 knots of wind you should be sitting comfortably in the cockpit with a G&T??
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GNGILPIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2009 at 7:40pm
Thank you very much for your reply.
I will  take note and do as you suggest ! Incidently I  like frank talk !
 
George
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James Moore View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote James Moore Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2009 at 3:30pm
Although not hugely experienced in bad weather, on the way to the Azores in 2007 AZAB we had full gale conditions for 12h and were immensley comfortable with 3 reefs in main and storm jib (hanked on baby stay). Could easily have prepared and drunk G+T! Admittedly the wind was beam on, would have been less comfortable further up wind!
 With regard to water coming in - have you looked to see if it is spilling in from the heads sink - thats where we got most water in until I learned to close its sea cock!
James - Katisha
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Post Options Post Options   Quote d4darwall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2009 at 9:01pm
Hello, we cruise rather than race so try to err on the comfy side:

When going up wind with apparent wind in the high 20's I find 2 slabs in the main and large amount of genoa rolled away (Probably equivilant to No.4) makes for comfortable sailing as long as the sea state is reasonable. As the sea state worsens (We sail in the Bristol Channel so it generally does) I want considerably less sail more in line with the situation you refer to. In reality I try to avoid sailing upwind in a bad sea if at all possible, in my opinion it is the sea state that causes the issues.

As far as water in lockers is concerned I have this problem as well. Water can get into the joint between hull and deck through any of the deck fittings or the toe rail if it is damaged. The joint consists of a tray about 4" wide modeled onto the top of the hull and filled with bog. The deck is pushed down onto this. Somtimes there is less bog than tray and whilst not a structural problem any water that gets in here tracks around the boat until it finds a way out. (Often where the bolts to hold hull and deck together when it was made as they penetrate the tray)  These bolts are situated in the centre of the station bases so you can't see the top unless you take the stantions out. The leak in can be anywhere!!

The windows also cause leak problems not necessary directly but again into the void between the inner lining and the coachroof. Water again tracks around until it finds a way out somewhere else.

Apart from resealing everything which a number of people have done. Captain Tolleys Creeping crack cure often works minor miracles.

Hope this lot helps

Dan



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Post Options Post Options   Quote GNGILPIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2009 at 9:04pm

Thank you for your reply and experience.

You clearly had more wind than us and were quite comfortable in bigger seas too.  I will have to look into this baby stay business as quite a few contessa sailors who sail off shore appear to have it rigged. I suspect that my rigging is a bit too loose , particularly my forestay......no shrouds were slack on the leeward side of the boat though. I will tighten them and wait for the next 'stiff' breeze!
 
Yes we did have all seacocks closed on that occasion; I know water is getting to a the aft lock via the backstay attachment through the deck ......the deck was awash for much of that night and we pumped the bilge twice or more per 4 hour watch.
 
There is no water getting in through the stanchion points or U bolt fittings as the top most lockers were all dry ....like gin.
 
George
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GNGILPIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2009 at 9:22pm
Thank you for your reply and input.  
 
You must see the odd dolphin ! They came to say 'hello' to us on our trip this year to the Scillys and last year to Portsmouth as we passed south  from Tusker and   west of the 'Smalls' towards Lands End!
 
The information about the construction  of the hull and deck is  most interesting and I will have a look at that.  I have removed and resealed all windows ( 'Eagle Windows' )  and can see no obvious water getting in via the deck fittings but I will recheck as my instruments 'birds nest' of wires are all immediately below the stantion seen throught the starboard aft window above the chart table.
 
George
 
 
 
 
 
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GlennG View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlennG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2009 at 11:14am
Had a bit of a fright in a bit of a blow off of Start Point.  Was one of those rank days with the wind from behind and lots of rain.  I was down below "doing navigation" and checked the bilge to find it full!  Turned on the electric pump and also used the saloon manual pump to clear it away.

At the time I thought it was coming in through the stern gland,  which needed more grease.  Subsequently I've discovered that it's getting in through the stern locker and cockpit bilge pump (confirmation was easy - the bilge fills when she's on the hard).

One day I'll get around to fitting some 'P' sealing extrusion around the locker back and sides.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carolus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 3:19pm
Most of my experience of sailing Contessa 32 was on Lake Huron - 80 miles across East - West and 200 miles North - South. It is fresh water prone to strong cold front winds and waves which are commonly some 8 ft high in 30+ knot winds. The waves are very close together and many canoe hull yachts are very unhappy trying to bounce over the waves and fall away. The Contessa 32 however, slices through the waves very well, puts her lee bow shoulder to the water and drives upwind very well. Novices feel very safe for the boat feels stable albeit tilted.

She will always sail in such winds with the rail close to being under; never had a problem with water coming in through the cockpit lockers or the bilge pump system.

As I understand, the C32 built in Toronto had a taller mast and sail plan; I almost always sailed with the 170% Genoa under which I found the mainsail was effectively just a trim tab. I did have a storm jib and used it when the winds were above 35knts - but once I did get caught with a very strong cold front which must have been over 40knts (no anemometer); the water was smoking white. I had the 170% up (no roller furling) and took the main down, I did not dare take the 170% down and could not bear off for we had a headland lee shore about half a mile to leeward; and was still able to sail closehauled to get into shelter. At no time was the wheel steering hard to handle. Wheel steering is a very valuable assist as is the Hydrovane Self Steering of which I can't speak too highly of - better than four other crew.

I have sailed spade rudder canoe hulled boats in similar conditions and they are awful. I recently sailed a Bavaria 36 in 27 knt winds in Firth of Clyde and she was incapable of any real progress upwind. We gave up and motored.

I never went into a harbour without someone coming over to admire the elegance of the hull form. Enjoy your Contessa 32!


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Post Options Post Options   Quote doug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 7:21pm
  In terms of storm conditions, it is interesting that Willy Kerr has recommended jogging to windward under self steering gear.  He was rolled when trying to lie ahull, losing his engine and electrics.
  John Kretschmer has similar advice:
  "I first came to appreciate forereaching in the middle of a tropical storm.....I was sailing a Contessa 32.....steady 45 kts ....gusting over 55.....tiny storm jib and triple reefed main.  We were forereaching at 45 to 60 deg off the wind, with the windvane firmly in control."
   Not liking the motion he decided to lie ahull:
   "We were suddenly a sitting duck.  Before I could get the main down a wave crashed aboard amidships capsizing the boat."
 
    I have no great experience but those two pieces of advice have lodged in my brain.   I guess what can be achieved in storm conditions can be used in conditions of less wind.
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